Do these words mean very specific things? Are they all the same? What are the defining factors?


closed as off-topic by Elliot Alderson, MCG, Leon Heller, RoyC, Huisman Jun 21 at 21:42

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    \$\begingroup\$ What has your research told you so far? Have you tried to learn about these terms through the usual internet resources? \$\endgroup\$ – Elliot Alderson Jun 21 at 14:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because this is a question that has shown zero research effort as a quick Google search of each component will easily answer the question \$\endgroup\$ – MCG Jun 21 at 15:19

A buck converter is a circuit that reduces an input voltage to a lower voltage with a higher current capacity.

A boost converter or step-up booster increases an input voltage to a higher voltage with a lower current capacity.

Those two terms are circuit descriptions and may be parts of more complex equipment including power supplies. However they be applied as a shorter version of something like "boost converter power supply"

A power supply is a product or circuit that receives input power at a voltage that may not be well regulated and delivers power at a voltage or current that is usually well regulated. If the output is not regulated the term unregulated power supply is usually applied. A power supply may be adjustable and often has protective features such as current limit for a voltage supply and voltage limit for a current supply. It may have fuses, a circuit breaker, over-temperature protection. Power supply products may have connectors of a type that would not be used if they were built into a product. A power supply in its own inclosure would usually be called a workbench power supply, but that is usually shortened to bench supply or just power supply.


A buck converter takes a voltage and outputs a lower voltage. A step-up booster takes a voltage and outputs a higher voltage. A power supply is a more generic term for either of these.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So buck converter == step-down converter? \$\endgroup\$ – user1282931 Jun 21 at 15:16
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    \$\begingroup\$ @user1282931 a buck converter is one kind of step-down converter. \$\endgroup\$ – The Photon Jun 21 at 16:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ All squares are rectangles, but not all rectangles are squares. Or in this case, all buck converters are step-down converters, but not all step-down converters are buck converters. :-) \$\endgroup\$ – evildemonic Jun 21 at 16:33

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