10 Differences Between potentiometer and voltmeter

Difference Between Potentiometer and Voltmeter

What is a Potentiometer?

A potentiometer, often referred to as a pot, is an adjustable resistor with a three-terminal device used to vary the resistance in an electric circuit. It allows the user to manually control the voltage, current, or power in a circuit. The resistance value can be adjusted by changing the position of a sliding contact called a wiper along a resistive element.

Uses of Potentiometer:

  • Volume control in audio equipment
  • Dimming controls for lighting applications
  • Adjusting screen brightness on electronic devices
  • Measuring displacement, position, or angle in various sensors

What is a Voltmeter?

A voltmeter is an instrument used to measure the potential difference between two points in an electrical circuit. It is connected in parallel to the circuit and provides a numerical value of the voltage being measured. Voltmeters can be analog or digital and are typically used to troubleshoot circuits, measure battery voltage, or verify voltage levels in power systems.

Uses of Voltmeter:

  • To measure the voltage across a resistor, capacitor, or inductor
  • To test the voltage of batteries and power sources
  • To determine the voltage drop across different electrical components
  • To ensure accurate voltage levels in power distribution systems

Differences Between Potentiometer and Voltmeter

Difference Area Potentiometer Voltmeter
Type of Device Adjustable resistor Measurement instrument
Function Vary resistance in a circuit Measure potential difference in a circuit
Connection Series or parallel Parallel
Reading Can produce varying resistance values Displays numerical voltage values
Usage Control voltage, current, or power manually Measure voltage accurately
Application Audio equipment, lighting control, sensors Circuit troubleshooting, measurement verification
Connection in Circuit Connected across the circuit Connected in parallel to the circuit
Display No specific display Analog or digital display
Purpose Vary resistance for control Measure voltage for analysis
Measurement Range Depends on the potentiometer’s resistance range Determined by the voltmeter’s design and specifications


In summary, potentiometers and voltmeters serve different purposes in an electrical circuit. A potentiometer acts as an adjustable resistor for controlling voltage, current, or power, while a voltmeter is used to measure the potential difference between two points accurately. The former varies resistance, whereas the latter provides voltage readings. The table above outlines ten key differences between potentiometers and voltmeters, including their function, connection, usage, and display.

People Also Ask:

Q: How does a potentiometer work?

A: A potentiometer works by manipulating the position of a sliding contact along its resistive element to vary the resistance and hence control voltage, current, or power in a circuit.

Q: What is the purpose of a voltmeter?

A: The purpose of a voltmeter is to measure the potential difference between two points in an electrical circuit, providing accurate numerical values of voltage levels.

Q: Can a potentiometer be used as a voltmeter?

A: No, a potentiometer cannot be used as a voltmeter as its function is different. A voltmeter is specifically designed and calibrated to measure voltage accurately, while a potentiometer’s primary purpose is to vary resistance.

Q: Can a voltmeter be used as a potentiometer?

A: No, a voltmeter cannot be used as a potentiometer as it does not have the functionality to control voltage, current, or power. Its purpose is solely to measure voltage levels in a circuit.

Q: Can potentiometers and voltmeters be used together in a circuit?

A: Yes, potentiometers and voltmeters can be used together in a circuit. The potentiometer can be used to control the voltage or current flowing through a circuit, while the voltmeter can be used to measure the voltage at various points to ensure accuracy and troubleshoot any issues.

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