Resistor colour code table

- resistor colour code chart / table for the four band, five band and six band systems used to provide value, tolerance and temperature coefficient details

Resistor colour codes are used to indicate the value of leaded resistors. These resistor colours have been widely used for many years.

The resistor colour code provides an easy and reliable method for value indication - often printing the values in figures can be obscured or erased during handling making identification difficult.

Resistor colour code basics

The resistor colour coding is carried on a number of coloured rings placed around the resistor. As virtually all leaded resistors are cylindrical, it is difficult to print numbers on them, and they can also become obscured during handling and use. As the resistor colour code system relies on rings around the resistor, even if part of the coding scheme is marked, other areas can be seen and the values and other information deciphered.

Dependent upon the tolerance and accuracy required for the resistor, there are a number of colour coding schemes that may be used. All the different resistor colour code systems are basically the same in outline, but there provide differing levels of information.

The main resistor colour coding schemes that are seen are:

  • Four band resistor colour code scheme
  • Five band resistor colour code scheme
  • Six band resistor colour code scheme

Dependent upon the number of rings used, the different resistor colour code schemes are able to provide

Four band resistor colour code system

The four band system is used for E6, E12, and E24 series values. It can accommodate values with up to two significant figures which is acceptable for the resistor value ranges up to E24 which normally accommodate tolerance values up to ±2%.

The resistor colour code bands give the value of the resistor as well as other information including the tolerance and sometimes the temperature coefficient. The band closest to the end of the resistor body is taken to be Band 1. The first two bands of the resistor colour code are the significant figures of the value, and the third of the resistor colour code is a multiplier.

A leaded resistor package showing a four band colour code
4 band resistor colour code

As an example the colours shown above are red, violet, and orange on the left - the forth band on the right is red. The value is given by the first three, red violet corresponds to the significant figures, 27, and then the orange corresponds to a multiplier of 1000. This gives the value 27kΩ. The fourth band gives a tolerance of ±2%.

Note:   If only three bands are present on the resistor, they will be the two significant figures, followed by the multiplier, i.e. no tolerance band.

Five band resistor colour code system

For resistors where higher tolerances are needed, i.e. ±1% and better and for the E48, E96 and E192 series resistors where three significant figures are required, an extra digit band is included. Otherwise this resistor colour coding system is the same as the four band colour code system.

A leaded resistor package showing a five band colour code
5 band resistor colour code

Using the example in the diagram where the resistor colours are, orange; brown; blue; red; brown. From the first three resistor colour bands, it can be seen that the significant digits are 316, and the multiplier is 100. This gives 31600 or 31.6kΩ. The final band or ring indicates the tolerance is 1%

Six band resistor colour code system

The six band resistor colour code system provides the maximum amount of information about the resistor parameters. Like the Five band colour code system, this one is generally used with high tolerance values i.e. ±1% and better and E$*, E96, & E192 series resistor values.

A leaded resistor package showing a six band colour code
6 band resistor colour code

The example of the six band resistor colour code system shown in the diagram has colours of where the resistor colours are, orange; brown; blue; red; brown red. From the first three resistor colour bands, it can be seen that the significant digits are 316, and the multiplier is 100. This gives 31600 or 31.6kΩ. The fifth band or ring is brown and indicates the tolerance is 1%. The final red band indicates the temperature coefficient is 50 ppm/°K.

Resistor Colour Code Chart

The resistor colour code table or chart below summarises the different colour codes used for resistors.


Colour Digits
(Sig Figs)
Multiplier Tolerance Temp Coefficient
ppm/°K
Black 0 100    
Brown 1 101 ±1% 100
Red 2 102 ±2% 50
Orange 3 103   15
Yellow 4 104   25
Green 5 105 ±0.5%  
Blue 6 106 ±0.25%  
Violet 7 107 ±0.1%  
Grey 8 108 ±0.05%  
White 9 109    
Gold     ±5%  
Silver     ±10%  
None     ±20%  

The resistor colour code is used in virtually all leaded resistors with power dissipation levels up to about a watt. Beyond this the resistors are generally large enough, and use a different form of construction allowing sufficient space for the values to be marked in figures. Nevertheless the resistor colour code is the most widely used system for leaded resistors. The same basic concept is also used on some capacitors.

By Ian Poole


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