PCAP Touch Screen vs IR Touch Screen: Which Is Better?

An engineer uses a gloved hand to touch a PCAP touch screen

Is a PCAP touch screen better than an infrared touch screen? 

Among the various touch screen technologies, Projected Capacitive (PCAP) and Infrared (IR) touch screens are two of the most well-known. To answer which is better, it’s important to discuss the advantages and limitations of each which you’ll find below:

PCAP Touch Screen

Projected Capacitive touch screens (PCAP) have gained popularity for their high sensitivity and precise touch capabilities. Its technology relies on a matrix of conductive electrodes—usually made of indium tin oxide (ITO)—layered on a glass surface. 

When a user’s finger or a capacitive stylus comes into contact with the screen, it disrupts the electrostatic field, enabling the detection of the touch point.

One of the best features of PCAP touch screens is their ability to support multi-touch gestures. Users can execute pinch-to-zoom, rotate, and other multi-finger actions accurately. This makes PCAP touch screens ideal for applications where precise touch input and complex gestures are essential, such as in interactive kiosks, gaming devices, and high-end smartphones.

PCAP touch screens also offer excellent clear images. Because the touch layer is placed on top of the display, it allows for unobstructed visuals. The absence of an additional layer also contributes to the overall sleekness of devices with PCAP technology.

However, PCAP is not suited in places with high levels of moisture or when used with gloved hands. The capacitive technology relies on the conductive properties of the user’s touch, and certain gloves may not be compatible.

Infrared Touch Screen

Infrared touch screens, or IR touch screens, take a different approach to detecting touch input. These screens consist of an array of infrared light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and photodetectors positioned along the IR frame. When a user touches the screen, it interrupts the infrared beams, allowing the system to pinpoint the touch location.

One of the advantages of IR touch screens is their robustness. Because it doesn’t have a touch overlay on the display, it means that IR screens are highly durable and resistant to scratches and abrasions. This makes them suitable for use in harsh environments, such as industrial control panels, outdoor displays, and public information kiosks.

IR touch screens are also versatile when it comes to input methods. Unlike PCAP screens, IR screens can detect input from any object, including fingers, styluses, or even gloved hands. 

However, IR touch screens can’t provide the same level of precision as PCAP screens, especially in situations requiring intricate gestures or small touch targets. Additionally, the presence of bezels around the display, where the infrared sensors are located, can slightly obstruct the visuals.

The Right Touch Screen for Your Needs

When choosing if a PCAP or an IR touch screen is better, consider the specific requirements of your application. 

Do you require precision and multi-touch capabilities? Will it be used in a controlled environment? Then a PCAP is your best choice. If you’re looking for durability and the versatility of the device to interact with various objects, an IR touch screen would be more suitable.

Whichever you choose, we can help. We are a touchscreen manufacturer that can produce high-quality yet affordable PCAP or infrared touchscreen. Reach out to us for a quote or if you want to learn more about our offerings.


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