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A common question is whether or not radio-frequency (RF) chokes and inductors are the same. The answer can be a bit confusing, which is why we’re here to help clear up the answer so you can choose exactly what you need to get your product working right.  

A Brief Explanation of Inductors

Inductors (also sometimes called chokes) are passive electrical components used for:

 

  • Slowing down surges in current
  • Choking, blocking, attenuating, or filtering electrical circuit noise
  • Storing and transferring energy in power converters
  • Creating tune oscillators or LC circuits
  • Matching impedance

 

These actions occur when current circulates on an inductor’s tightly wrapped coils to create a magnetic flux opposite to the change in current but proportional to the value of the current.  

RF Chokes Explained

RF chokes are inductors that use frequency selectivity to pass low-frequency DC signals while blocking high-frequency AC signals. They are used for:

 

  • Protecting insulation from damage caused by step rises in circuit current
  • Breaking down the voltage to keep it from exceeding system voltages

 

RF chokes are made with iron powder or ferrite beads and a complex coil winding of insulated wires. 

 

Common applications for RF chokes include:

 

  • Computer and USB cables
  • Machine tool drives
  • Variable frequency motor drives

When to Choose RF Chokes vs. Inductors

Inductors of every type, including RF chokes, are used in many different industries, such as:

 

 

Choose inductors for:

 

  • Frequency filters
  • Induction sensors
  • Transformers
  • Motor power supply
  • Energy storage

 

Choose RF chokes for:

 

  • Microprocessor control 
  • Dimming and pulsing
  • Line filtering
  • DC output filtering

 

Use a larger RF choke for lower cutoff frequencies and smaller RF chokes for higher cutoff frequencies.

Get Help Choosing What You Need

If you’re still not sure which to choose between RF chokes vs. inductors for your specific application, there’s no need to worry. 

 

We’ve specialized in designing and manufacturing a wide range of high-quality inductors and magnetic components for over 70 years. With Schott’s proven experience and facilities in the U.S., Mexico, and China, we can help you get exactly what you need according to your specifications. 

View our catalog and contact Schott Magnetics!

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