Analog vs. Digital Input: Everything You Need To Know in 2023


One of the essential purposes of every circuitry is to process signal transmission; however, if the quality of the peripheral that deals with this responsibility are inappropriate for the application, then it would be detrimental to the overall performance of the system.

As automation technology evolves, we currently have Analog Input and Digital Input to perform signal processing. In line with this, they are widely popular in the industrial industry, artificial intelligence or robotic technology, and the power industry.

Along with that, they are frequently associated with Distributed Control Systems and Programmable Logic Controllers; these two (2) categories fall under the category of Machine Learning Systems and Microcontrollers, respectively. In which the Programmable Logic Controller’s primary task is to process inputted data and generate an outcome from it.

Consequently, we’d like to further tackle the definition of Digital and Analog Input, its data processing approach, fundamental differences, sensor distinctions and similarities, and ways to choose the highly suitable input technology for one’s application. Hence, to fully grasp their concepts, we suggest completing the entirety; we assure you that one’s time will be worthwhile!

Introduction to Analog vs. Digital Input

Introduction to Analog vs. Digital Input

What is Digital Input?

Typically, it is pretty straightforward to distinguish a Digital Input from the Analog Input since it primarily utilizes two (2) states, which are known as ON and OFF. Further, it is represented with binary symbols 1 and 0; 1 refers to ON, while 0 refers to OFF.

Essentially, these values are termed voltage values. In a nutshell, if the code displays 1, then it has a voltage running through it. Whereas, if the code displays 0, then no voltage has been used. In the same sense, the 1 value has a varying representation ranging from 5 Volts up to 220 Volts. Otherwise, there’s no voltage input entering the system.

In line with this, Digital Input can be represented through a switch or a push-button to establish or break the route of the supply voltage. In a similar sense, if the switch is turned on, then it will generate a voltage; thus, it will display a value of 1. On the contrary, if the switch is turned off, it will not create any voltages through the system; instead, it will display a 0 value. Ultimately, this working principle is similar to the push buttons.

What is Digital Input?

In-Depth Understanding of Digital Input

What is Analog Input?

In contrast to Digital Input which can only cater to two (2) states, Analog Input has the capability to represent multiple states. Further, it can reflect things like temperature and mass flow. In the same sense, it can accommodate simultaneous change according to the electron’s speed.

In keeping with this, it employs parameters and can be applied to various tasks, such as activating a gate to the precise spot needed. In terms of voltage utilization, it isn’t limited to a particular range; it can run from 0 up to 100% of the maximum voltage. For instance, if we have a 20 VDC as input, then the outcome of Analog Input can range from 0 VDC to 20 VDC.

Another example would be the proportionality rate through a potentiometer. Let’s say, a potentiometer-connected 20 VDC input is what we’re implementing. It will create 10 VDC, which is 50% of the utmost VDC when the potentiometer hits 50% impedance. A power of 19 VDC, or 90% of peak VDC, will be present if the impedance hits 90%. Basically, we have the freedom to decide the scaling value depending on our preference.

What is Analog Input?

In-Depth Understanding of Analog Input

Data Processing of Analog and Digital Input

At this point, we have conducted extensive research about the data processing time of the Analog Input against Digital Input; we’ll thoroughly provide the outcome of our research in this sector. In that way, it will help the consumers to decide whether to take Analog or Digital.

  • Analog Input – As stated, Analog processes data in a simultaneous manner, and it was proven in our experiment. Basically, as the input varies, the resulting data varies as well. In terms of delay, the Analog Input experienced almost no impede while the process is ongoing.
  • Digital Input – In contrary with Analog Input which hasn’t experienced any hurdles during the process, Digital Input experienced discrete time delay. According to the time lag specified on the device’s specification, the latency varies. Regardless of whether the device uses a crystal or a clock mechanism, the frequency response is another factor that can be used to compute the latency.

Difference Between Analog Input vs. Digital Input

Generally, it is relatively simple to distinguish Analog Input from Digital Input. It can be done in two (2) ways, through its sensor or signal processing. Apart from that, we can tell its difference through their performance and purpose.

In terms of the signal processing of an Analog Input, it is way speedier and more continuous than Digital Input. Additionally, the Analog Input’s signal has the ability to determine the distance of a door from opening. As for Digital Input’s signal processing, it has experienced delays, which makes it more time-consuming than Analog. Furthermore, Digital Input’s signal can be used to determine whether something is turned ON or OFF and if a particular thing is OPEN or NOT.

Unlike a Digital Signal, which can use either Analog or Digital Input, an Analog Signal may only be handled by its similar kind, the Analog Input. Additionally, a conversion of an Analog Signal into a succession of Digital ones is occasionally possible since Analog Inputs are significantly more costly than digital ones, in reality, users never attach a Digital Signal to one.

Overall, even if we aren’t aware sometimes, we usually utilize Analog Input Signals since Digital Signals are commonly integrated into computers. Ultimately, if one is seeking a cheaper option, it would be better to select a Digital Input. On the contrary, we suggest going for the Analog Input if the input cannot be converted into a sequence of digital signals.

Sensor Distinctions of Analog and Digital Input

As an example, consider a water level regulator. If the water tank is filled or not, this liquid level indicator will let us know. In this instance, Analog Input denotes the desire to determine the current level of water. Alternatively, Digital Input requires only that one recognize the extent to which the storage tank is loaded.

  • Analog Input Sensor – We can determine the water level within the storage tank using a slider potentiometer and a meander. Depending on the depth of the water, the floater will adjust the adjuster upward and downward. The voltage output produced by this movable attenuator, which is coupled to a supply voltage, ranges from 0 to 100%. We can determine the precise liquid level we have using this parameter. By using a microcontroller to turn the input into an LCD display, we could accomplish this. Overall, this process was termed as Analog to Digital Converter.
  • Digital Input Sensor – If a liquid container is filled or not, it may be determined with a straightforward valve and meander. The floater is placed at a specific location beneath the water vessel’s opening. The configuration of the toggle will vary from 0 to 1 or conversely once the liquid presses the float. We could set 0 to be vacant and 1 to be loaded, or the other way around.

Which is Better: Digital or Analog?

Essentially, there are countless factors to consider regarding whether a Digital Input or Analog Input is better for one’s application. However, in this case, we’ll focus more on the field of advanced technologies; we’ll provide comprehensive information about it underneath.

In this situation, the Digital Input is highly superior to Analog Input. We’ll discuss the various reasons behind it thoroughly below.

  • We must employ a computer because we must code the machine; it is only possible through the assistance of Digital Input.
  • Aside from that, computers interpret electronic information.
  • Digital Input Signals transmit with less electrical interference.
  • Analog Input Signal processing is more expensive, while Digital Input Signal processing is economical and offers more implementations.

The preponderance of input-output in our environment is Analog, and that will continue to be the case, notwithstanding Digital Input in modern technology. We must transition Analog Input as soon as feasible to Digital Input in order to decrease Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) through a technique known as Analog to Digital Converter.


In summary, Analog Input and Digital Input have their own varying capabilities, characteristics, pros, cons, and appropriate applications. All of these were mentioned in this article; hence, we are sincerely anticipating that we’ve been a great help in one’s decision-making on whether to take an Analog Input or Digital Input for their desired purposes and applications.

If you’re seeking for a manufacturer to incorporate the Analog Input or the Digital Input into your system, then look no further since PCBTok has an extensive experience in the industry for over twelve (12) years. Thus, we are confident enough that we’ll meet all of your specifications. At PCBTok, we always consider the insights of our consumers; hence, we guarantee that all of your imaginations about the output will be developed accordingly.

Do not hesitate any longer! We are currently having our daily special offers; get a chance to avail of them by sending us your requirements today! We’ll do everything we can to make it happen for you in a swift period without compromising the quality of the byproduct. Contact us now!

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