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What Is a 100 Ohm Resistor Used For?

Resistors are fundamental passive components found in almost every electronic circuit. They restrict current flow and help regulate voltages in a circuit. The 100 ohm resistor is one of the most common resistor values used in diverse applications.

This article provides an in-depth overview of the characteristics and applications of the humble 100 ohm resistor. We will explore the functions of 100 ohm resistors in various circuits along with design considerations and substitution scenarios.

What is a 100 Ohm Resistor?

A 100 ohm resistor is a fixed, linear resistor with a resistance of 100 ohms (+/- 5% or 10% tolerance). It impedes current flow by providing 100 ohms of electrical resistance in a circuit.

A standard 100 ohm resistor

Some key properties of a 100 ohm resistor:

  • Resistance value – 100 ohms
  • Power rating – Typically 1/4W or 1/8W
  • Tolerance – ±5% or ±10%
  • Temperature coefficient – ±100 to ±250 ppm/°C for metal film type
  • Voltage rating – Usually 200V to 500V
  • Package size – Mostly 0.25″ or 0.4″ width
  • Temperature range – -55°C to +155°C

The 100 ohm value provides both a useful mid-range resistance and preferred number value. It is available in through-hole or surface mount packages from all major manufacturers like Yageo, KOA, Panasonic etc.

Why Use a 100 Ohm Resistor?

Here are some of the key applications and circuits where a 100 ohm resistor provides an optimal, commonly used value:

Voltage Divider Biasing

In transistor biasing circuits, 100 ohm resistors make excellent bias resistors for establishing DC operating points like base bias voltage, etc. The mid-range value suits most biasing needs.

100 ohm resistors R1 and R2 bias the transistor in a voltage divider configuration

AC/DC Power Supplies

Feedback networks in power supply regulator circuits employ 100 ohm resistors to help scale feedback voltages and control gain alongside other value resistors.

LED Current Limiting

When using a higher supply voltage, 100 ohm is a commonly used value for limiting current through standard LEDs to 20mA range without using too high or too low resistor values.

ESD Protection

100 ohm resistors are widely used in ESD protection applications on data or signal lines for limiting transient spike current through protection diodes to safe levels.


Source termination networks on data lines often use 100 ohm resistors in combination with other values to match transmission line impedance and minimize signal reflections.

Waveform Shaping

RC timing circuits employ 100 ohm resistors alongside capacitors to help shape waveform rise/fall times and create delays orpulse stretching in timing circuits like monostables.

The 100 ohm resistor is an overall useful value that balances high enough impedance for voltage control while allowing substantial current flow for biasing, wave-shaping, termination and other common scenarios.

Real-World Uses of 100 Ohm Resistors

Beyond generic circuits, 100 ohm resistors sees specific applications across these domains:

Consumer Electronics

  • Biasing amplifiers, oscillators, control ICs in TVs, radios
  • Scaling voltage ratios for feedback and instrumentation
  • Wave-shaping and timing elements
  • Protecting signal lines from ESD damage

Automotive Electronics

  • Sensor interfacing, signal termination, isolation
  • Pull up/down networks for digital logic signals
  • LED current control for interior lighting
  • Surge protection of data communication buses like CAN

Power Supplies

  • Feedback voltage dividers for regulation control
  • Bleeder discharge resistors
  • Output voltage adjustment and monitoring
  • RC snubbers for transient suppression

Industrial Control

  • Interfacing with analog sensors like strain gauges
  • Signal termination in PLC (programmable logic controller) systems
  • Pull up/down resistors for digital logic circuits
  • Time constant components for monostable timers

Communication Systems

  • Biasing networks in amplifiers, oscillators
  • Impedance matching and termination resistors
  • ESD/surge protection of data lines
  • Timing elements for signals, wake events etc.

This illustrates the broad applicability of the 100 ohm resistor value across diverse electronics systems and environments.

Key Specifications

For optimal performance, choose 100 ohm resistors with suitable specifications for your application:


  • Tighter 5% tolerance for timing, termination, feedback networks
  • 10% sufficient for pull up/downs, voltage division

Power Rating

  • 1/8 W or 1/4 W suitable for most low current uses
  • Higher 1/2 W or 1 W rating for power supply bleeder resistors seeing higher wattages

Temperature Coefficient

  • Tighter tolerance (±100 ppm/°C) metal film resistors for precision DC biasing
  • Lower precision adequate for timing, protection circuits

Voltage Rating

  • 100V minimum; higher 200V+ rating for power supplies
  • Lower rating fine for lower voltage circuits

Operating Temperature Range

  • Standard industrial (-55°C to +155°C) range covers most needs
  • Wider range for military/automotive applications


  • 0402 or 0603 SMD packages for compact designs
  • Through-hole axial or radial packages where clearance allows

Using appropriately rated 100 ohm resistors ensures reliability, performance and safety margins in your application.

Substituting 100 Ohm Resistor Values

In certain scenarios, a 100 ohm resistor may need replacement with slightly varied values:

If 100 ohm not available:

  • Series: Combine two 200 ohm resistors
  • Parallel: Use two 220 ohm resistors in parallel

If higher voltage divider ratio needed:

  • Use 68 ohm and 150 ohm resistors

If higher wattage rating required:

  • Use 120 ohm 1/2W or 1W rated resistor

If better precision required:

  • Use 1% tolerance or wirewound 100 ohm resistor

A standard 100 ohm resistor can be swapped with various combinations giving a near equivalent overall resistance, within 5-10% tolerance.


A 100 ohm resistor provides a versatile mid-range resistance, making it one of the most commonly encountered resistor values in diverse electronics applications. Its popularity stems from its usefulness in biasing circuits, wave-shaping, protection networks, termination and other vital functions across consumer, automotive, industrial, communications sectors. With a foundational understanding of the 100 ohm resistor’s characteristics and uses, engineers can deploy this ubiquitous component optimally across a wide range of systems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Why is 100 ohms a commonly used resistor value?

A1: 100 ohms provides a practical mid-level resistance, suitable for many voltage divider biasing, termination, protection, wave-shaping and timing circuits. It strikes a good balance – not too low or too high.

Q2: When should I use a precision 100 ohm resistor?

A2: Precision 100 ohm resistors with 5% tolerance or better are recommended for precision DC bias networks, feedback circuits and matched termination networks.

Q3: Can I replace a 100 ohm resistor with other values?

A3: Other nearby values like 68 ohm or 120 ohm can substitute 100 ohm reasonably well in non-critical uses. Combinations of higher value resistors in series or parallel can also substitute.

Q4: What wattage 100 ohm resistor should I choose?

A4: For most applications, 1/8W or 1/4W 100 ohm resistors suffice. For high power applications like power supply bleeder networks, use higher wattage ratings like 1W.

Q5: What is the difference between axial and SMD 100 ohm resistors?

A5: Axial leaded resistors are through-hole mounted while SMD resistors allow direct surface mounting. SMD chip resistors take up less space but may have lower power handling. Choose package based on design needs.



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