Inductor Color Code Guide

About: Electrical Engineer, control systems, automation, small electronics, home automation, microcontrollers etc.

This will be a simple guide to reading inductor color codes

The color codes for inductors are identical to that of a resistor so if you are familiar with resistors this should be very easy

the tricky part is remembering the results from this will be in microHenrys, not just Henrys

First break down the bands.  The last band is the tolerance, and the band right before that is the multiplier.  The other bands are the numbers

so the easiest way will be to show an example.  Say we have the colors BROWN, ORANGE, BROWN, BLACK

They would mean the inductor has a value of:

BROWN   -   ORANGE   -   BROWN   -   BLACK
       1                     3                   X10           +/-20%

So we have 13 x 10 +/-20%, 
meaning out inductance is 130 micro Henrys with a 20 percent tolerance, or in other words, our actual inductance can be anywhere between 104 and 156 micro Henrys.

Pretty straight forward, you can find some online interactive tutorials for practice, but you should pick it up pretty quickly

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    9 Discussions


    Question 8 months ago on Introduction

    What way do you read the colours if silver black white red/brown?
    Apologies if I missed this.

    1 answer
    Jack A LopezMikGold

    Answer 8 months ago

    Are you sure you read unto us those bands in the right order?

    A wide silver band as the first band, means ignore that band, because it just means, "military", whatever that means.

    A narrow silver band as the first band, I think means you are reading it backwards; i.e. that band is actually the tolerance band, specifically, silver means: +or- 10%

    Black as 1st band does not make sense, because I don't think they ever put a leading zero in those two significant figures; e.g. [black][white] = 09 = 9

    Also I am wondering why your list of color bands has a "/" between red and brown? Like what does that mean? Does it mean the last band (or the first if reading it backwards) band could be red OR brown?

    Also, white does not make sense as a multiplier, because 10^9 is 1 000 000 000, it gives an inductor value in kilohenries, since (10^9)*(10^-6) = 10^3, and that is just crazy big.

    I dunno. I am hopeful you can decode it once you get the get the bands in the right order.

    Or maybe it is the colors. Like perhaps if what they intended to print as "brown"=1 looks like "black"=0 to your eyes. I can see how that would mix things up.

    BTW, I found some other links which, explain the same thing, as explained in this instructable, here:


    1 year ago

    I have an induct with 6R8 and 1216 below that, but can not find any info. Can any one help me out please.

    3 replies

    Reply 1 year ago

    Can you post a picture of the inductor with the markings?



    Reply 1 year ago

    Yes, it is next to the wire tie, 6R8/1612.

    Thank you.


    Reply 1 year ago

    The 6R8 is the marking for the value. The R acts as a decimal point. So 6R8 = 6.8 uH. Im not sure what the 1612 is. It may very well be a lot number for the manufacturers reference.



    3 years ago

    The bands of the military grade example at the bottom of the diagram are all mixed up. I fixed it my diagram. It should be BLUE-GREY-GOLD-SILVER instead of BLUE-GOLD-GREY-SILVER.


    Thanks a million! I was looking all over for a reliable guide to inductor color codes without success. But I've found one thanks to you! =D


    6 years ago on Introduction

    To determine the value of a given resistor look for the gold or silver tolerance band and rotate the resistor as in the photo on the left. (Tolerance band to the right-- refer to the tolerance chart below for exact values.). Look at the 1st color band and determine its color. This maybe difficult on small or oddly colored resistors. Now look at the chart and match the "1st & 2nd color band" color to the "Digit it represents". Write this number down.

    Now look at the 2nd color band and match that color to the same chart. Write this number next to the 1st Digit.

    The last color band is the number you will multiply the result by. Match the 3rd color band with the chart under multiplier. This is the number you will multiply the other 2 numbers by. Write it next to the other 2 numbers with a multiplication sign before it. Example : 2 2 x 1,000.

    To pull it all together now, simply multiply the first 2 numbers (1st number in the tens column and 2nd in the ones column) by the Multiplier.

    Read the number as the '% Failure rate per 1000 hour' This is rated assuming full wattage being applied to the resistors. (To get better failure rates, resistors are typically specified to have twice the needed wattage dissipation that the circuit produces) 1% resistors have three bands to read digits to the left of the multiplier. They have a different temperature coefficient in order to provide the 1% tolerance.