Sensor Vs Transducer

“Sensor vs. transducer” has become one of the most confusing topics for the students and engineers since the terms “Sensor” and “Transducer” both functionality look similar and are often used to describe the same devices. Even “linear sensor” and “linear transducer” refer to the same component; this is not necessarily incorrect terminology. But they are having different meanings and there are some key differences between the two terms. The article “Sensor Vs Transducer” will clear your doubts on the topic.-

What is a sensor?

Sensor is the first and foremost requirement for the measurement and control The Sensor senses the condition, state or values of the process variable and produces output that reflect this condition, state or value.

“A sensor is defined as a device or a sub system which is used to sense or to detect the physical changes or any change in its surrounding for the purpose of measurement or control and send the information or data to the next stage normally a signal conditioning element.”

A block diagram is shown below to understand sensor as follows-


Referring to the block diagram, a sensor detects physical changes and provides output to next stage which is used for further processing. Sensors are sometimes also called as primary sensing devices or primary devices Mostly the output information is sent to signal conditioning circuits i.e. to other electronics or a secondary stage. A sensor is always used with other electronics.

What is a Transducer?

“Transducer is a device which converts one form of energy into another form for the purpose of measurement and control.” It is a combination of a primary sensing element with a transduction element. A block diagram is shown below to understand transducer as follows-

Block Diagram of Transducer2

Referring to the block diagram, it is clear that a transducer is a combination of a sensing element also known as a primary sensing element or a sensor and a transduction element that provide signal conditioning for the sensor output.  

Comparison between sensor and transducer

The main difference between a sensor and a transducer is the output signal. Both a sensor and a transducer are used to sense a change within the environment they are surrounded by or an object they are attached to, but, a sensor will give an output in the same format and a transducer will convert the measurement into an electrical signal. A comparison chart is explained here as follows

sensor vs transducer chart

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