How To Identify SMD Capacitor? (With & Without Multimeter)

Printed circuit boards are widely used, nearly in every piece of equipment we use. PCB has a lot of components that can be found installed on it. One of the PCB’s main components is the capacitor, the capacitor is a component used to charge and discharge the energy supply. So, how to identify SMD capacitor? 

How To Identify SMD Capacitor? (With & Without Multimeter)

You can test or identify SMD capacitors in two ways; you can do it either by using the multimeter or without it. To first identify the SMD before testing it, you have to search for small size and a leadless piece on your PCB or printed circuit board. It can have different shapes because it has different types, but you can test anyone.

How To Identify SMD Capacitor With Multimeter?

  1. Prepare The Multimeter. Adjust the multimeter reading for ohm but the high range, from 10k ohms to 1m ohms.
  2. Remove The Capacitor. You have to remove the capacitor from the PCB before testing it.
  3. Use The Multimeter Leads. Start putting the multimeter’s lead on the capacitor’s leads. The red multimeter lead is used for the capacitor’s positive lead, and the black multimeter’s lead is used for the capacitor’s negative lead.
  4. Observe The Readings. The multimeter’s readings will start moving slowly from zero to infinity. If you have this reading, then your capacitor is working, if the reading is constant at zero, your capacitor is not working.

How To Identify SMD Capacitor Without Multimeter?

To identify a capacitor without a multimeter, you can look for its values, any capacitor has its values printed on it; for example, it can be 25v and 2200uF. The next test is to look for its top surface; it’s a good capacitor if the capacitor’s top surface is flat. If the capacitor’s surface has a bit of bump or concavity, it’s a bad capacitor.

What Are SMD Capacitors?

SMD or SMT are terms for capacitors; SMD stands for surface mount device, meanwhile, SMT stands for surface mount technology; it is used to install it. Capacitors are manufactured with different technologies, a great advantage of SMD technology is that manufacturers can easily do bulk production or manufacture.

A capacitor usually has two leads; this makes it easily mounted on any PCB or printed circuit board. Capacitors have many different types, such as ceramic capacitors and tantalum capacitors. Another advantage of capacitors is they have a low cost due to their easy design.

What is The Definition of SMD Capacitors?

The SMD capacitor is one of the most important and most used capacitors because the SMD capacitor has some great features like small size and leadless, these features make these capacitors easily fitted on any PCB. They also perform so well when used with particularly RF, and they can be very useful in any manufacturer with high volume.

An insulator is used to insulate the two conductors of the capacitor; the insulator can be very important for electric energy storage because the main task of any capacitor is to charge and discharge electric power. SMD capacitors can be designed in many different ways.

For example, a dielectric plate can separate two metallic plates, the dielectric plate is so important for the capacitor, and the capacitor is named after the plate’s material. Capacitors can have many colors, brown, yellow, or black. However, the border color depends on the capacitor’s color. If it’s black, then the border is silver.

What Are The Types of SMD Capacitors?

The type of SMD capacitors depends on the dielectric plate material, and the capacitor is named after the plate’s material name, such as the multilayer ceramic capacitor, tantalum, and electrolytic capacitor:

The Multilayer Ceramic Capacitor

In this capacitor, the dielectric plate is made of ceramic, and the ratings of these capacitors can differentiate from one to another, and this is based on the ceramic electrical properties. These capacitors are smaller in size than other capacitors due to ceramic, the ceramics used in these capacitors have many types.

Examples of different ceramics types are titanium dioxide, barium titanate, and barium strontium. This difference in products can attain the desired temperature coefficient for the capacitor. Another feature of this type is di insulation, which can be attained through different layers of the dielectric plate.

The Tantalum Capacitor

The main difference between ceramic capacitors and tantalum capacitor is the high capacitances of tantalum. Some different packages are used for the design of these capacitors, and this depends on the capacitor’s requirements and design. Coding methods, marking, and respective standards are used to determine the other values of the capacitor.

The Electrolytic Capacitor

This capacitor also has a high capacitance and a low cost; you can always find their voltage and value on their top surface. The values on these capacitors can have two types, either the µF values or utilizing the code. So, for example, if the capacitor has 33 and 6v on its surface, then it has 33µF and 6v. The other method or values (Utilizing Codes):

E 2.5
G 4
J 6.3
A 10
C 16
D 20
E 25
V 35
H 50

Are SMD and SMT the Same Thing?

No, they are not the same thing; SMD stands for surface mount device. SMD refers to the capacitor itself or an electrical component. On the contrary, the SMT stands for surface mount technology, it’s the technology used to install the components on the PCB or the printed circuit board.

How To Know Capacitor Polarity?

The polarity can be determined through the white and black lines at the ends of the surface mount capacitor. Also, An important now when checking small rounded ones is that the negative side is determined by its black corners. Meanwhile, the positive side can be determined through the line or bar on the capacitor.

How To Tell if the Capacitor Is Non-Polar?

The main feature of the polar capacitor is the lines or the bar it has on its body. If there are no bars or lines, then the capacitor is non-polar. In addition, the non-polar capacitors have special colors—for example, grey, brownish-yellow, and brown. Meanwhile, SMD resistors are usually black-colored.

What Are The Advantages of SMD Capacitors?

SMD capacitors can have many advantages, for example:

  • They have small sizes.
  • Their high performance. 
  • Their low cost.
  • Easy installation using modern machines.
  • As the production increases, the cost decreases.

What Are The Disadvantages of SMD Capacitors?

Although they have many advantages, they also have some disadvantages; for example:

  • Their small size makes it hard to repair them.
  • They have low heat capacity.
  • Hard to operate them manually due to their size.
  • It can be easily damaged.

What Are The SMD Capacitor Uses?

SMD capacitors have many are widely used in many applications and devices, for example:

  • Every electronic equipment can have an SMD capacitor inside it. Due to its small size and is easily fitted on any PCB.
  • Every manufacturer uses SMD capacitors due to their low cost and high mass production. 


To sum up, to identify or test any SMD capacitors, you must first remove them from the circuit board because there is no way to test a capacitor without removing it. The leads of the capacitors are the parts used to test the capacitor. When the capacitor is connected to the PCB, you can’t reach them with multimeter leads.

Another way to test or identify capacitors is without a multimeter. You can tell which capacitor is good and which is not by its top surface. If it doesn’t have a flat surface, it’s a bad capacitor.

There are multiple capacitors types; each one has its specific dielectric plate material, and every material has its properties that make them different from each other. However, SMD capacitors generally have common advantages, for example, low cost, small size, and easy installation, but they also have some disadvantages.

The small size of the capacitors makes them hard to repair. Once the capacitor has gone bad, you can do nothing but replace it. Capacitors are really important for every manufacturer.

Related Readings:

How to Tell Positive and Negative on a Capacitor? And Test it?

How To Identify Positive and Negative Terminal of DC Motor?

How To Identify a Burnt SMD Component? (Every SMD Type)

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