How to Buy the Right Rheostat for Your Needs

Your Guide to buying the best Rheostats


A rheostat is an electrical device used to control the flow of current in a circuit by varying the resistance. When shopping for a rheostat, it’s important to consider factors such as wattage, resistance, power rating, and resistance range in order to find the right fit for your project. This buying guide will cover these topics in detail, helping you understand exactly what to look for when shopping for a rheostat. It will also provide some tips and advice on what to look out for when buying a rheostat to ensure you get the best device for your needs.

Key features

  1. Control Type: Consider the type of control needed for the application, including linear, logarithmic, dual-gang, etc.
  2. Mounting Type: Determine the appropriate mounting type for the application, including panel mount, surface mount, etc.
  3. Voltage Rating: Confirm that the voltage rating is compatible with the system, typically ranging from 24V to 480V.
  4. Current Rating: Check the current rating of the rheostat, which typically ranges from 0.5A to 200A.
  5. Resistance Range: Confirm that the resistance range of the rheostat is suitable for the application, typically ranging from 0.001 ohms to 5M ohms.
  6. Power Rating: Ensure the power rating is compatible with the system, typically ranging from 0.5W to 200W.
  7. Temperature Rating: Verify that the temperature rating is suitable for the application, typically ranging from -25°C to 125°C.

See the most popular Rheostats on Amazon

Important considerations


  • Cost-Effective - Rheostats can be more cost-effective than other electrical resistors, making them ideal for those on a budget.
  • Easy to Install - Rheostats are relatively easy to install. They are simple to wire, and don’t require complex configurations.
  • Highly Durable - Rheostats are designed to last for many years. They are often made with sturdy, impact-resistant materials.
  • Accurate Control - Rheostats are able to provide precise control of electrical current. This makes them ideal for delicate electrical tasks.
  • Versatile - Rheostats come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and capacities. This makes them suitable for a range of different applications.


  • Cost - Rheostats are often expensive compared to other types of electrical controls, as they must be constructed with precise materials and built to specific specifications.
  • Size - Rheostats are typically larger than other types of electrical controls, making them difficult to install and use in small, cramped spaces.
  • Durability - Due to their precision components, Rheostats are not known for their durability and can experience wear and tear over time.
  • Heat - Rheostats produce a significant amount of heat while in operation, which can be dangerous in some environments.

Best alternatives

  1. Potentiometers - Variable resistors used to control the output of an electrical signal.
  2. Variable Transformers - Electrical components used to adjust current or voltage by altering a ratio of turns in the transformer.
  3. Variable Capacitors - Electrical components used to adjust current or voltage by altering the capacitance value.
  4. Voltage/Current Sources - Electronic components used to provide an output voltage or current, independent of the load.

Related tools, supplies, and accessories

  • Multimeters - tool used to measure electrical currents, resistances, and voltages
  • Wire cutters - tool used to cut wires for connecting rheostats to power supplies or other components
  • Heat shrink tubing - used to insulate and secure rheostat connections
  • Connectors - parts used to connect rheostats to power supplies or other components
  • Power supply - provides electrical current to a rheostat
  • Mounting hardware - used to secure a rheostat to a wall or other surface

Common questions

  1. What is a Rheostat? A Rheostat is a type of variable resistor used to control the current flowing through an electrical circuit.
  2. What are Rheostats used for? Rheostats are most commonly used as dimmers for lighting controls, as speed controllers in motor applications, and as voltage regulators.
  3. Where can I buy Rheostats? Rheostats can be purchased from electrical suppliers, electronic component stores, and online retailers.
  4. What types of Rheostats are available? Rheostats are available in various shapes, sizes, and styles, including slide, rotary, and panel mount models.
  5. What should I consider when buying a Rheostat? When buying a Rheostat, shoppers should consider the current rating, voltage rating, temperature rating, and resistance range of the part they are selecting.


Rheostats were once used in the production of the first television remote control, the Zenith Space Command. Zenith produced the first remote control device for their televisions in 1956, and the device was operated by a rheostat. The rheostat was used to send a signal to the television which would then change the channel. This was the first time that the public were able to change the channel on their television without having to get up and manually change the dials. This innovation revolutionized the television industry and was an important step forward in the development of the remote control device. The use of a rheostat in the production of this device is a fascinating and important part of television history. Source:

Disclaimer: This buying guide was not created by humans, and it is possible that some of it's content is inaccurate or incomplete. We do not guarantee or take any liability for the accuracy of this buying guide. Additionally, the images on this page were generated by AI and may not accurately represent the product that is being discussed. We have tried to convey useful information, but it is our subjective opinion and should not be taken as complete or factual.