# How to visually tell the difference between axial inductors and common resistors?

Is there a simple way to tell axial inductors and resistors apart in through-hole type PCBs? I do find the color code on both very confusing. Is there an obvious difference that I am missing? As a beginner, I might just be overlooking something very simple.

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There is no universal reliable way. Most of the time you just know, or keep your stock properly labeled. –  Olin Lathrop Apr 27 at 12:15

I suggest you go to a parametric search engine such as Digikey's, and search for a common value of axial-lead inductor (10$\mu$H will do) and look at the photos (you can mouseover the pictures to get a better view (more-or-less ignore the ones that are obvious 3D renderings of ideal 3D models). You can see that some are dipped as the photo above, some are molded like the old carbon-composition resistors, and some have a bit of shrink wrap around them. Here is a search that I did, not sure how long it will work, but with "in-stock" and "bulk + cut tape" restrictions, there are only two pages of parts, so you can look at all the variations in a couple of minutes, and quickly gain the kind of experience that would have taken many years not so long ago (and might still not have been exhaustive).