Analog to Digital Converter Comparison

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An analog-to-digital converter (ADC, or A/D) is an electronic circuit that converts an analog voltage into its digital representation. The latter is an integer that is proportional (relative to an internal or external reference voltage) to the magnitude of the sampled analog voltage While an analog signal has (theoretically) infinitely fine resolution, a digital signal can resolve only down to the voltage increment represented by its LSB.

How to select the Analog to Digital Converter ?

Selecting the Analog to Digital Converter would require the tradeoff between various parameters such as  resolution, channel count, power consumption, size, conversion time, static performance, dynamic performance and price. Below table gives a high level comparison of commonly used ADC’s.

ADC Type



MAX Resolution

MAX Sample rate


Successive Approximation (SAR)

Good Speed/ Resolution Ratio

No inheritant anti-aliasing protection

18 bits

10 MHz

Data loggers, Temperature sensors, Bridge Sensors, General purpose, CMOS imaging

Delta Sigma

High Dynamic performance, Inheritant anti-aliasing protection

Hysteresis on unnatural signals

32 bits

1 MHz

Data Acquisition, Noise and Vibration, Audio, Precision Industrial Measurements

Dual Slope

Accurate, Inexpensive

Low speed

20 bits

100 Hz

Voltmeters, Multimeters


Very Fast

Limited Resolution

16 bits

1 GHz

Oscilloscopes, wireless and line communications, Test and Measurement, Instrumentation, Medical Imaging, RADAR systems



Low bit resolution, High Power Consumption

12 bits

10 GHz

Oscilloscopes, Microwave measurements, fiber optics, RADAR detection, Wideband Radio

Farees Ahmed

The aim of this blog is to serve as a quick reference guide for the Curious. Appreciate your feedback and comments !