We are reader supported. When you purchase products through links on this page, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn More.

Capacitive vs Resistive Touchscreen Car Stereo Comparison

Resistive and capacitive touchscreen car stereos, even though they look similar, they aren’t. There are some major differences between these two head units.

First difference is touch sensitivity; capacitive head units will work even with a negligible touch. Resistive units require proper touch as they work with the pressure put on the panel.

They also differ in input, resistive screens can work with anything that puts pressure. Whereas capacitive ones only work with bare finger.

Like these, there are several more differences we’ve covered in this capacitive vs resistive touchscreen car stereo comparison. Go through and pick the one that fits your needs.

Before we get into the comparison, let us give you a brief overview of these two units.

1. Capacitive Touchscreen Stereo

In capacitive touchscreen stereo, there is a glass surface insulator that we call the touch panel, it’s where we put the finger to give commands. There is a conductive plate placed underneath that touch panel.

That conductive plate has a very thin film containing electric charges which react to conductors.

In case you don’t know, the human body is an electric conductor. And when the human body such as a finger touches the glass (touch panel), it distorts the electrostatic field.

Capacitive Touchscreen Stereo

The controller detects that distortion location and sends instructions to the entire system. That’s how a capacitive touchscreen works.

Capacitive touchscreen stereo head units are super responsive, they’ll act even with the slightest touch. This is the reason why these stereo systems are very popular. Drivers can use them effortlessly while driving.

That being said, these screens won’t work if you’re wearing a glove, they need an electric conductor in order to work such as a human body or a conductor pen, etc.

Good Sides

  • Highly responsive
  • Better clarity on the display
  • Touch lasts longer
  • Supports dual touch


  • It’s expensive
  • Requires direct touch to work

2. Resistive Touchscreen Stereo

Resistive screens work differently from the capacitive screen. Unlike capacitive touchscreen, resistive screens detect pressure.

In these screens, there is a clear polyester film on the top which is the outer skin, underneath that there is an air gap and then there is a back layer after the air gap.

When the outer screen is pushed, it makes contact with the glass or back layer which completes a circuit. The system then detects the point being pressed and acts accordingly. Whether it’s your finger, a pen, or pencil resistive touchscreens work with anything.

Resistive Touchscreen Stereo

Having that said, their touch response might frustrate the user sometimes. These touch screens are less responsive, therefore, if you have to do something while driving, that can be a hell of a task

Good Sides

  • Comes at an affordable price
  • Doesn’t require direct body contact to work
  • Highly durable screen
  • Water and dust-resistant


  • Doesn’t support dual touch
  • Visuals aren’t very clear

Head To Head Comparison Between Capacitive and Resistive Car Stereo

We’re done with the overview, now let’s jump into one of the most in-depth resistive vs capacitive car stereo comparisons on the web.

Dual Touch

Capacitive touch screen stereo system allows dual touch, if you’ve to zoom in or out something, it’s possible with it. But resistive touch screen doesn’t support dual touch, they only counts single touch.

Now, do you really need this feature? Well, if you use the car’s stereo system to show you directions, images, etc. then you definitely need that. On the other hand, if you use the stereo system only for audio, then resistive screen stereo should be good enough.


Resistive touch screens will work with anything, whether it’s your finger, a pen, a stick, or anything that can put a pressure. But that’s not the case with capacitive stereo screens, they’ll only work if you touch with bare finger.

That’s a problem if you live somewhere cold and have to wear gloves. To give input, you’ll have to remove the glove and then wear it back which is a hassle.

Touch Sensitivity

In terms of touch sensitivity, capacitive screens are way ahead of the other one. These touch stereo systems will work even with a slight touch. The resistive touch screen is completely opposite of this. Resistive screens aren’t as sensitive as capacitive screens, nor are they fast.


When it comes down to durability, resistive screens win. They’re way too durable compared to capacitive screens because they come with thick layers. Capacitive units come with very thin layers which is why they get damaged pretty easily.

Display Quality

One of the main reasons behind the popularity of capacitive touch screens is the display quality. The visuals they offer are clear and sharp which is something you won’t find in resistive screens.

Even in bright daylight capacitive screens perform good and you can’t expect that from a resistive touchscreen stereo.

Display Quality of touchscreen car stereo

Ease of Use

You’ll be very comfortable using a capacitive touch screen stereo system because of its fast response to touch, better picture quality, multi-touch functioning, etc. These screens will allow you to use them even while driving.

Unlike capacitive screens, sometimes resistive units can be hard to deal with as they respond slowly.


Compared to resistive screens, capacitive ones are expensive and there are fair reasons for that. Capacitive screens have high sensitivity, they work faster and smoother, and their visuals are sharp and high quality. Resistive ones lack all of that which is why they come cheaper than capacitive units.

Which One’s better?

Ending this capacitive vs resistive touchscreen car stereo comparison with a few last words. If you’re someone who uses the car’s screen for navigation, videos, images, camera, audio, etc. Then a capacitive screen is a must for you. Such activities require frequent inputs which will be hard to do on a resistive touch screen, as they’re slow and less responsive.

Also Read Stereo Relevant Comparison:

Leave a Comment

seventeen − two =