Decoding Resistor Color Codes: Your Guide to Resistance Values

Reading resistor color codes is simple once you grasp the significance and math behind each band used to represent resistance value, tolerance, and, in some cases, temperature coefficient. For many people, this concept can be very difficult to understand which is why they try to read articles or watch videos about it. We advice heavily that you ask more in depth guide and help from practiced and well-versed electricians from Arc Angel Electric to make sure you are getting only the best answers from them. If you are having trouble with your electrical components that concern resistors and many other things, they can help you out too. However, if you are here to only open your mind to a little bit more information about resistors, then we might be able to help out too so continue on reading!

We have here is a simple graphic to help you understand resistor color coding.

Resistors come in a wide variety of values, physical forms, and sizes. Practically all leaded resistors up to one watt in power feature a pattern of colored bands that serve as indicators for resistance value, tolerance, and occasionally even the temperature coefficient. A resistor’s body can have three to six different colored bands, with four bands being the most typical configuration. The first few bars consistently indicate digits in the resistance value. The decimal point will then be moved right or left by a multiplier band. The last bands stand for temperature coefficient and tolerance.

Three or Four-band Resistors

The resistance value in ohms’ first two digits is always indicated by the first two bands. The third band on a resistor with three or four bands stands for the multiplier. To put it simply, this multiplier will move the decimal point so that your number can range from mega ohms to milliohms and wherever in between. Tolerance is represented by the fourth color band. Remember that the default tolerance is 20% if this band is absent and you are looking at a three-band resistor.

Five or Six-band Resistors

High-precision resistors include an additional color band to denote a third significant digit. If your resistor has five or six color bands, the third band, together with bands one and two, becomes this extra digit. The fourth color band becomes the multiplier and the fifth band becomes the tolerance while the rest moves to the right. A six-band resistor is essentially a five-band resistor with an extra ring denoting the temperature coefficient (ppm/K) standard or dependability. The resistance value changes by 0.1% for every 10°C increase in temperature while using brown, the most popular sixth band color.

Reading Resistor Color Codes Left to Right

Resistors can be used in any orientation in a circuit because they have no polarity. However, we must comprehend the colored bands on the resistor in order to determine the correct resistor color code values.

A standard four-band hobby resistor has three colors each group, with four bands total. These are the multiplier, first and second significant figures. The resistor’s tolerance, or error margin, is represented by the last band. A tolerance of 5% (Gold) is perfect and typical for most hobbyists.

Only when building delicate circuits, such as for audio and video projects, do we require the extra precision. The tolerance band is the only band printed on the resistor’s “shoulder,” therefore it is always easy to identify. To determine the resistor’s orientation, look for this band.

If a project calls for it, the fifth band of a five-band resistor, or third significant figure, provides a higher level of accuracy. As a result, we have a multiplier, a tolerance, and three significant digits. The tolerance is also printed in one place on the shoulder.

How to Read a Resistor Color Code

To demonstrate how to interpret resistor color codes, let’s take a look at a 220 Ohm resistor, which is frequently used with LED lights.

  • Using the decoder, we can determine that red is the first significant figure and has a value of 2.
  • The second important number is also red, giving us the total of 22.
  • The multiplier decodes to 10 and is brown. 22 is equal to 220 when multiplied by 10.
  • Tolerance, the last band, is made of gold. We can accept a resistance with a 5% tolerance for error because gold is 5%.

There are also five band resistors with a third significant figure for makers needing higher precision. Clarity, which is important in circuits sensitive to resistance, such as scientific and technical instruments, is provided by the additional figure.

A five band 220 Ohm resistor is shown below.

  • Red is the first important number, and the decoder reveals that red has a value of 2.
  • The second important number is also red, giving us the total of 22.
  • The third significant number is black and shows a value of 0. We now number 220.
  • The decoded value of the multiplier, which is black, is 1. 220 is equal to 220 when multiplied by one.
  • Tolerance, the last band, is made of gold. We can accept a resistance with a 5% tolerance for error because gold is 5%.

100 Ohm Resistor Color Code

Ohm Resistor Color Code

For protecting LEDs, the 100 Ohm resistor is frequently employed. Used best with 5V white, blue, and green LEDs. Although 100 Ohm resistors can be used with other colors, the brightness will likely be different because they are the incorrect value.

The resistor color code of Brown-Black-Brown-Gold, or Brown-Black-Black-Black-Gold for five band resistors, can be used to identify 100 Ohm resistors.

220 Ohm Resistor Color Code

220 Ohm Resistor Color Code

Due to its frequent use with LEDs, the 220 Ohm resistor is one of the most prevalent ones that amateurs will encounter. Simple LEDs would draw too much current and quickly burn out without a 220 Ohm resistor. The resistor is being used to restrict how much current the LED can draw. “The light that burns twice as bright, burns half as long” Red-Red-Brown-Gold or Red-Red-Black-Black-Gold resistor color codes can be used to identify the 220 Ohm resistor.

A 180 Ohm resistor would be required if a blue LED were to be used with 3.2V forward voltage (the voltage required to cause current to flow across a diode) and 10mA forward current (the maximum safe current that may be continually passed through the device without damaging it) on a 5V supply. Instead, we can use a 220 Ohm resistor, which is 40 Ohms higher and will safeguard our LED but reducing its brightness.

330 Ohm Resistor Color Code

330 Ohm Resistor Color Code

In starter electronics kits for the Arduino and Raspberry Pi Pico, the 330 Ohm resistor can be found. Although certain LEDs will start to appear dimmer than others, the 330 Ohm resistor is still a good option for the majority of LEDs. The tone of the buzzer can also be reduced from “annoying” to significantly less annoying by using a 330 Ohm resistor with it. In order to safeguard a GPIO pin on your Raspberry Pi or Arduino, Adafruit’s NeoPixel guide advises placing a resistor (between 300 and 500 Ohms) between the data pin input and GPIO.

The resistor color codes Orange-Orange-Brown-Gold or Orange-Orange-Black-Black-Gold can be used to identify 330 Ohm resistors.

1K Ohm Resistor Color Code

1K Ohm Resistor Color Code

The maximum resistance typically utilized for LEDs is 1K Ohm (1 Kiloohm). Any LED that employs a 1K resistor will illuminate, albeit dimly. In order to fine-tune a circuit or draw up/down a data pin, a 1K Ohm resistor is frequently utilized. When combined, a 1K resistor and a 2.2K resistor can provide a voltage divider that can reduce 5V to about 3.4V. This is helpful for using 5V components on the 3.3V GPIO of the Raspberry Pi.

The resistor color codes Brown-Black-Red-Gold or Brown-Black-Black-Brown-Gold can be used to identify a 1K Ohm resistor.

4.7K Ohm  Resistor Color Code

4.7K Ohm  Resistor Color Code

The SDA and SCL pins of an I2C device can benefit from having a pull-up resistor added by using the 4.7K Ohm resistor. If we were to use an other brand of board, we would need to add a 4.7 Kiloohm resistor to both of those pins because Adafruit’s Stemma QT boards already have this feature built in. By doing this, we ensure that the I2C data is supplied to our device regularly and accurately.

The resistor color codes Yellow-Purple-Red-Gold or Yellow-Purple-Black-Brown-Gold can be used to identify 4.7K Ohm resistors.

10K Ohm Resistor Color Code

10K Ohm Resistor Color Code

The 10K Ohm resistor is frequently used as an input pin pull-up resistor. For instance, we can pull up an input pin on an Arduino using a 10K Ohm resistor to ensure that when the button is pressed, it draws the input pin high with 5V and initiates a coded action. In our previous resistor reference, we pulled up the data pin on a DHT22 temperature sensor using a 10K Ohm resistor.

The resistor color codes Brown-Black-Orange-Gold or Brown-Black-Black-Red-Gold can be used to identify a 10K Ohm resistor.

100K Ohm Resistor Color Code

100K Ohm Resistor Color Code

The maximum resistance that the majority of manufacturers require is 100K Ohm resistors. Although there is a lot of resistance in such a little space, it is useful. They are frequently used on capacitors as bleed resistors to dampen the possibility of an unpleasant zap or to fine-tune a delicate audio or video circuit.

The color code of Brown-Black-Yellow-Gold or Brown-Black-Black-Orange-Gold for a five-band resistor can be used to identify a 100K Ohm resistor.

1M Ohm Resistor Color Code

1M Ohm Resistor Color Code

The majority of makers and hobbyists won’t ever require this much resistance, which is a lot. A 1M Ohm resistor and an Arduino were utilized to build our own Makey Makey, a capacitive touch interface. But most people won’t ever require one. The 1M Ohm resistor, nevertheless, comes in either Brown-Black-Green-Gold or Brown-Black-Black-Yellow-Gold color codes.

The resistor color codes Brown-Black-Green-Gold or Brown-Black-Black-Yellow-Gold can be used to identify a 1M Ohm resistor.

How to Read Resistor Codes: Few Tips to Know Before You Call Your Electrician

Examples are provided in the sections below for various numbers of color bands. But first, a few general pointers for deciphering the color code:

  • Sometimes the reading orientation may not be obvious. The increasing distance between bands 3 and 4 can occasionally provide as a clue as to the direction of reading. Additionally, the lead is typically closest to the first band. The final band is always a gold or silver band known as the tolerance.
  • It is wise to confirm the color coding scheme utilized by consulting the manufacturer’s documentation.
  • When in doubt, use an ohmmeter to measure the resistance. When the color bands are burned out, for instance, this might even be the only way to determine the resistance.

Resistor Color Code Calculator

An interactive online calculator called the Resistor Color Code Calculator uses the color bands or color-coded stripes on a resistor to determine the resistance value. Resistors come in a wide variety of sorts in modern electronics. An effective technique to locate the proper resistor for your purposes, whether they are for a circuit or merely to know what kind of resistor you have in your box, is to use a resistance calculator for the color code of a resistor. The Color Code Resistor Calculator, often known as an ohmmeter calculator, combines the 4 Band, 5 Band, and 6 Band Resistor Color Code Calculators. Therefore, you may create simple and complex electrical circuits with this parallel resistor calculator for both domestic and commercial applications. You can use this tool to read resistor color codes, compute resistor values in Ohms () for 4-band, 5-band, and 6-band resistors based on the color codes on the resistors, and determine the resistor’s value, tolerance, and power rating as shown in the examples below.

How to Calculate the Resistor Color Code

The Utmel Electronic online resistor calculator is a tool used to determine the values of resistors for 4 band, 5 band, and 6 band resistors, often in the range of ohms, Kilo Ohms, and Mega Ohms. Additionally, this resistance calculator was created to compute the color code using the resistor color codes on their surface. Simply choose the appropriate color for each column to instantly see the resistor value on the calculator’s right.

Examples: Calculating the resistor color code for 10k/100 Ohm

Consider a 4-band resistor as an example. The 4-band color coding for a 10k ohm resistor is Brown-Black-Orange-Red. Thus, the first color band is brown, the second is black, the multiplier is orange, and the tolerance is red. As a result, the output resistor value is 10% of 10K ohms. The 100 Ohm Resistor Color Code for 4-band Resistors is also shown in the image below.

Ohm Resistor Color Code

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I choose which resistor end to begin reading from?

The color bands of many resistors are clustered together or at one end. These bundled bands are used to hold the resistor in your left hand. Resistors should always be read from left to right.

Resistors never begin with a left-facing metallic band. A 5% or 10% tolerance resistor is one that has a ring of gold or silver on one end. Once more, read your resistor from left to right while placing the resistor with this band on the right side.

The standard range of resistor values is 0.1 Ohm to 10 Megaohms. Knowing this, keep in mind that the third color on a four-band resistor is guaranteed to be blue (106) or less, and the fourth color on a five-band resistor will always be green (105) or less.

Why isn’t the color of my high voltage resistor metallic?

In order to avoid metal particles in the outer coating, gold and silver are swapped out for yellow and grey in high-voltage resistors.

What is a resistor with 0 ohms?

Zero-ohm resistors are essentially wire links used to connect traces on a printed circuit board and are easily identified by their single black band. Since they are packed similarly to resistors, they may be installed on the circuit board using the same automated machinery. Due to its design, a jumper wire installation device is not required.

Is there a sophisticated technique to memorize the chart’s color order?

The resistor color coding chart’s color sequence can be remembered using a variety of mnemonics, some of which are more amusing than others. Another strategy for memorizing the color wheel is to see black as the absence of color, which is represented by the number “0,” and white as the mixture of all colors, which is represented by the highest number, “9.” The ROY-G-BIV acronym from your youth, missing the color indigo, comes into play when looking at the middle of the color chart, which lists the traditional rainbow hues in order for numbers 2 through 7. Just keep in mind that gray fits between violet and white as number “8” and that brown goes between black and red as number “1” and you’re good to go!

What is a reliability band?

Four-band resistors designed for the military frequently have an additional band to represent reliability, or the failure rate (%) per 1000 hours of service. In the world of commercial electronics, this is rarely used.

How do you read a resistor color code?

You must look at the colorful bands on the resistor to read its color code. The majority of resistors feature four or five bands. The resistor color coding can be read as follows:

For a 4-band resistor:

First Band: This band represents the first digit of the resistance value.

Second Band: This band represents the second digit of the resistance value.

Third Band: This band indicates the multiplier, which tells you how many zeros to add to the two digits you obtained from the first and second bands.

Fourth Band: This band represents the tolerance, indicating how close the resistor’s actual resistance is to its stated value.

For instance, if your resistor has four bands that are Red, Blue, Green, and Gold, you can decode it as follows:

  • Red: 2 (First digit)
  • Blue: 6 (Second digit)
  • Green: 10^5 (Multiplier, so add five zeros)
  • Gold: ±5% tolerance

Combine these values to get the resistance value: 26 * 100,000 = 2,600,000 ohms or 2.6 Megaohms with a tolerance of ±5%.

What is a resistor color code calculator?

A resistor color code calculator is a tool that enables users to quickly compute the resistance value of a resistor based on the color bands on the resistor. It is frequently offered as a physical device or an online application. The calculator asks for the colors of the bands and responds with the resistance value, tolerance, and occasionally additional pertinent data. Anyone working with electronic components will find this tool useful because it makes determining resistor values easier.

How do you read a resistor with 4 bands?

To read a resistor with 4 bands, follow these steps:

  1. Identify the color bands:
    • The first band represents the first digit of the resistance value.
    • The second band represents the second digit of the resistance value.
    • The third band indicates the multiplier, which tells you how many zeros to add to the two digits you obtained from the first and second bands.
    • The fourth band represents the tolerance, indicating how close the resistor’s actual resistance is to its stated value.
  2. Decode the bands: Using a standard resistor color code chart, determine the numerical value assigned to each color.
  3. Calculate the resistance value: To determine the resistance in ohms, add the numbers from the first, second, and third bands. Add the multiplier to the first two digits.
  4. Check the tolerance: The color of the fourth band denotes the tolerance level. The typical tolerance ranges are 1%, 2%, 5%, and 10%.

By following these steps, you can read and determine the resistance value of a 4-band resistor.


Anyone interested in electronics or electrical engineering has to be able to understand resistor color codes. The resistance value of resistors, a crucial element in electronics, can be determined using these color bands. For projects to succeed, accurate knowledge of resistor values is essential since it guarantees that your circuits work as planned. However, for people who are not really trying to pursue any electrical engineering passion, they don’t really need to know everything there is to resistor color codes especially when it tends to be a complicated concept.

The good thing is, even if you don’t really understand everything about resistor color codes and how to read them, you can always ask for professional help which makes your life even easier and better! Never hesitate to contact Arc Angel Electric if you ever require professional advice or support with electrical work. You can always count on their knowledgeable staff to give you the help and knowledge you need.

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