Ceramic capacitors: advantages and disadvantages

Ceramic Capacitors: How They Compare to Alternatives - Semiconductor for You

high voltage ceramic capacitors are discussed along with their advantages and disadvantages on this page. In this article, Ceramic Capacitors are discussed in terms of their advantages and disadvantages.

Capacitors made of ceramic are known as ceramic capacitors.


Ceramic capacitors are capacitors that use ceramic material as dielectric material. According to their construction, ceramic capacitors can be divided into two main types: ceramic multilayer capacitors (MLCCs) and ceramic disc capacitors. They are available with small values ranging from 1nF to 1F. It is also possible to construct ceramic capacitors with a value of up to 100 F. Such capacitors are small in size and have a low maximum rated voltage.

Hence, ceramic capacitors can be connected to an AC supply since they are not polarized. Furthermore, ceramic capacitors have a low parasitic effect, so the frequency response is good. Decoupling and bypassing applications use ceramic capacitors.


A disc-type ceramic capacitor has two conductive discs on either side of the ceramic insulator, as shown in the figure. These plates have ceramic coatings which protect them from water damage. Both plates have leads attached to them. Up to 0.01 F of capacitance is available in ceramic capacitors of this type. DC voltages up to 750 volts and AC voltages up to 350 volts are no match for these components.


Multiple layers of ceramic material (such as barium titanate) are sandwiched between two metal electrodes in MLCC ceramic capacitors. Several capacitors are formed in parallel by this method. The MLCC is made up of hundreds of ceramic layers that act as single ceramic capacitors. There are typically 500 layers in an MLCC. A MLCC can have a value less than 1 F, as well as a value in the range of 10 to 100 pF. These capacitors can withstand voltages of up to 50 volts. A high frequency filter uses MLCC ceramic capacitors.


As shown in figure-2, the table gives tolerance values for disc ceramic capacitors. As per code “K”, example 104K stands for 10 x 104 pF, which equals 100 nF with a tolerance of +/-10%.

According to their applications, ceramic capacitors can be categorized into two classes: class-1 and class-2. Class-1 capacitors are designed for use in high-reliability systems with low losses. Class-2 capacitors are intended for high capacitance per volume applications.

Ceramic capacitor advantages or benefits

Ceramic capacitors have the following advantages:

➨The high operating frequency does not affect their reliability due to good frequency response characteristics.

➨Up to 100 volts can be applied to them.

➨There is less weight to them.

➨In terms of cost, they are inexpensive.

➨Various sizes and shapes are available.

➨They offer low ESRs (Effective Series Resistances) and low ESLs (Effective Series Inductances).

Ceramic capacitor’s disadvantages or drawbacks

The following are the disadvantages or drawbacks of ceramic capacitors:

➨With its construction, it is not feasible to achieve higher capacitor values. The maximum capacitor value is 150 F.

➨The above ceramic capacitors are not available in higher voltages. Ceramic capacitors designed for power applications have larger physical dimensions and shapes. Capacitors designed for power applications have higher voltage ratings of 2KV to 100KV.

➨Their temperature coefficients are larger.

➨The tolerance values of ceramic capacitors are higher.

➨Certain power supply circuits do not operate well when ceramic capacitors are used as output capacitors.

➨When the PCB flexes, larger capacitors cause cracks. As a result, several smaller units are paralleled.