Differences Between Electronic & Magnetic Transformers


Electronic and magnetic transformers both convert 120-volt current loads from main power lines into either 24- or 12-volt current for household usage. Without these devices, our electric appliances would overload with power and fry. While both types of transformers essentially perform the same job, the design and function of each differs in four main ways.


  • Probably the most noticeable difference between electronic and magnetic transformers is the size -- electronic transformers are significantly smaller than magnetic ones. Most electronic transformers measure approximately 6 x 4 x 4 inches, and magnetic transformers measure around 10 x 5 x 5 inches. This makes electronic varieties ideal for fitting into compact spaces or into hidden areas, where their view is obstructed.


  • Since electronic transformers are smaller than magnetic ones, it only makes sense that they also weigh less. On average, electronic transformers weigh approximately 5 to 10 pounds, and magnetic varieties are usually over 20 pounds. Magnetic transformers are often known for their bulkiness and heavy weight. As a result, they are often limited to larger, open spaces.


  • The temperature that each type of transformer reaches during operation also differs. Generally speaking, electronic models reach much higher operating temperatures than magnetic ones. Most electronic products can reach approximately 220 degrees, while magnetic transformers usually max out at 180 degrees. This is mainly due to the compact nature of electronic transformers. Since they are smaller and more compact, they produce a higher frequency of alternating currents, which produces higher temperatures.


  • An additional difference is the durability of each type of transformer. Nearly all magnetic transformers of reasonable quality will dramatically outlast an electronic model. In fact, an average magnetic transformer will last at least 25 years. On the other hand, an average electronic transformer will only last approximately five years. For this reason, if you want a model to be around for the long run, a magnetic transformer is usually the best choice.

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