What’s the difference between a regular relay and a power relay?

A relay is a type of electrical switch. It is used to control high power circuits using low power signals. The main advantage of the relay is that the low power control circuit and the controlled circuit are completely isolated from each other. Transistors are also used in switches, but they do not provide isolation between control and load circuits like relays do. Relays are also used where multiple circuits need to be controlled with the same signal.

A conventional relay is an electromechanical device that uses a solenoid to close or open a switch. On the other hand, a power relay is an electromagnetic switch used to control high power circuits. Power relays can handle higher voltages and currents than ordinary relays.

What is a regular relay?

A regular relay is an electrical switch that allows a current to flow through it in only one direction. It consists of a coil of wire that is wrapped around an armature, or metal rod. When the coil is energized, the armature is attracted to the coil and makes contact with a switch, which completes the circuit and allows current to flow.

What is a power relay?

A power relay is an electrically operated switch that can be used to control a circuit. Power relays are used in a variety of applications, including automotive, industrial, and military. In an automotive application, a power relay can be used to control the electrical current to the headlights, turn signals, and other accessories. In an industrial setting, a power relay can be used to control the flow of electricity to machinery. In a military application, power relays can be used to control the flow of electricity to weapons systems.

Regular Relays vs Power Relays

There are two main types of relays: general relays and power relays. Both types of relays are used in control circuits, but power relays can handle much greater power than regular relays.

Conventional relays are often used in low power applications such as controlling lights in a room. On the other hand, power relays are used in high power applications such as controlling electric motors in air conditioners. To meet such high current and voltage requirements without exceeding power and temperature thresholds, power relays are used.

The working principle of a power relay is the same as that of a normal relay. They have the same components, the same switching method as above, but they have higher current and voltage ratings that allow us to perform switching on high power loads. Unlike regular relays, power relays are specially designed so they generate less heat and also reduce arcing when switching. The switching contacts of a power relay are quite different from those of a normal relay.


Selecting the correct relay is critical to the reliability of the controller and the integrity of the switching signals. Remember that selecting a relay involves a balance between performance, size, cost, and expected life. It is essential to thoroughly evaluate your application’s requirements and choose a suitable relay to achieve reliable and safe performance.

Shenler specializes in the research and development of relays and sockets. After more than 35 years of development, our company has passed the ISO9001 quality management system certification. Won dozens of honors such as “Top Ten Brands of Relays in China”. If you have any questions about our products, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].