What is Resistor color code? Beginner's Guide

What is Resistor color code?

Resistor color code is used to easily identify a resistor's resistive value and its percentage tolerance. Another way, the resistor uses the color-painted bands to indicate both their resistive value and their tolerance with the physical size of the resistor indicating its wattage rating.

What is Resistor color code? Beginner's Guide

These colored painted bands produce a system of indication generally it is known as resistor color code.

Resistor color code table

The table is given below shows how to determine the resistance and tolerance for a resistor. This table is used to specify the color of the bands when the values are known.

Resistor color code

Resistor color code types

4 bands resistors - The 4 band color code is the most common variation. These resistors contain two bands for resistance value, one multiplier, and one tolerance.

5 bands resistors - Resistors with high precision have an extra color band to show a third significant digit. In the 5 bands resistors first three bands show the significant digits for the resistance value, the fourth band is the multiplier, and the fifth for tolerance.

6 bands resistors - Resistors with high precision have an additional band for indicating the reliability or temperature coefficient(ppm/K) is called 6 bands resistors. In the 6 bands resistors, the most common color brown is used for the sixth bands. This means that for a temperature change of 10℃, the resistance value can change by 0.1%. 

Resistor color code calculation

Resistance value calculation of a 4 bands resistor:

Let a resistor whose 1st digit color is yellow, 2nd digit color is violet and the multiplier color is orange, and also the tolerance color is gold. 

Resistor 1st digit color - Here the 1st digit color is yellow; therefore the accepted value from the table is 4.

Resistor 2nd digit color - Here the 2nd digit color is violet; therefore the accepted value from the table is 7.

Multiplier color - Here the multiplier color is orange; therefore the accepted value from the table is 3, for this reason, we take 000.
Therefore the resistance of the resistor is 47000Ω or 47kΩ.

Tolerance color - Here the tolerance color is gold; therefore the tolerates is 5%.


The maximum resistance value  is

47000 + 47000⨯5% = 49350

The minimum resistance value is

47000 - 47000 ⨯ 5% = 44650

Then using our above example, we understood the value of the resistance is between 44650Ω to 49650Ω. 

More about resistor color code

1. In resistors, the first band is usually the closest to the lead and a gold or silver color band is always the last band.

2. How can you remember the resistor color code?

You can remember the resistor color code by using mnemonics. It looks like this -

B.B ROY, Great Britain, Very Good Water 

3. It is better to measure the resistance with a multimeter because in some cases this might even be the only way to figure out the resistance; for example when the color bands are burnt off.

4. You can use an automatic resistor calculator to quickly find the values of the resistors.

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