Magnetoresistive vs. Hall Effect in Sensor Applications

Magnetoresistive Sensors and Hall Effect Sensors are both commonly used to detect magnetic field strength. Both technologies are compatible with integrated circuit processing. So is there any difference between them when designing a sensor application?

In general, Magnetoresistive sensors have much higher sensitivity than Hall Effect sensors. A magnetoresistive device’s sensitivity is adjustable through the selection of film thickness and line width, allowing you to tune the part to your needs.

In sensor application, magnetoresistive sensors are omni-polar (operates with North and South pole), while Hall Effect is beneficial for highly linear measurements with no saturation effects out to extremely high field strength.

Please note that a Hall Effect sensor responds to magnetic fields perpendicular to the sensor, while a magnetoresistive sensor responds to parallel fields.

Therefore, a Magnetoresistive sensor is good at unipolar sensing for precision, non-contact of displacement applications such as medical analyzers and magnetic field encoders, while a Hall Effect sensor is commonly used to determine the proximity of gear teeth such as CNC machine tools and measuring transmission speed.

For further detail about Magnetoresistive and Hall Effect sensors, please visit our TechZones article on magnetic sensors, here.

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Played with lots of magnetic sensors for our vehicle detection for parking product. Magnetoresistive are indeed much more sensitive but temperature stability is a big problem if you want to take advantage of this higher sensitivity in real world rather than a lab. It took a lot of coding and rigorous experimenting to resolve it to acceptable level.