First time in this exchange, so please let me know if I am in the wrong location.

I am fairly new to using components ordered online for circuits, as I have a basic arduino starter kit. However, I recently overcooked my passive buzzer, so now it sounds like it has a sore throat, being partly fried.

I am looking for a replacement passive buzzer for it, but I cannot seem to find them on Digikey.ca I am ordering other parts through them, so I would like to get this through them as well to keep shipping costs down. It is the most common part used in any arduino project using sound, as most kits include this component over a speaker.

The issue is that I cannot find what this is called on their site. Searching "passive buzzer" pulls up one object, which is a PCB with the component I want on it. "piezo buzzers" seem to all return devices with wires attached, and most seem to be frequency locked. Alarms are even more so .

If someone can point me in the right direction, it would be greatly appreciated.

Here is an image of what I am looking for: Piezo Buzzer

Thank you

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Try looking for "piezo transducer - externally driven" \$\endgroup\$ Aug 8, 2021 at 21:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PeterBennett Thank you! That is what I am looking for. \$\endgroup\$
    – Collin
    Aug 8, 2021 at 21:45

2 Answers 2


There are two methods of buzzers: capacitive -piezo-electric and inductive-magnetic.

Active buzzers have their own frequency but can be amplitude modulated with supply voltage and self oscillating.

Passive buzzers just means no built in oscillation means with DC.

Passive magnetic buzzers are like < 0.5 W speakers at resonant frequency. But if you use the rated voltage at low frequency below resonance , you can warp the coil to rub the magnet and it starts to sound like a sick duck. if you don’t know why, then you should be using a piezo buzzer.

Passive piezo buzzers are diaphragms called piezo BENDERS or BUZZER elements and thus allows you to make melodies with them over a narrow range. Since they are capacitive elements it’s not possible to blow them out at the wrong frequency within the rated peak voltage as the current drops. They also are more efficient and draw less current.


That looks like an electromagnetic type. In Digikey's classification system (other distributors may differ somewhat), it's listed as follows:

Product Index > Audio Products > Alarms, Buzzers, and Sirens

enter image description here

Note that I've selected "Transducer, Externally Driven" under "Driver Circuitry".

You can further select the technology, availability and life-cycle status, and size.

Generally small size units (like 12mm diameter and 9mm high, which your photo resembles) will be electromagnetic and larger, flatter ones will be piezo. Also electromagnetic types are more likely to be specified at lower drive voltages.

It's fairly hard to damage piezo transducers with normal voltages, but if you apply 5V to a 1.5V electromagnetic transducer for too long it could lead to damage from the excessive heat, such as distortion allowing parts that should move freely to rub (or shorted or open coil turns).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Hobbyist memory is that it used to be (long time since I cared because then I had to) that piezo types came in two-wire and three-wire (feedback) versions, where the taller encased versions usually had the necessary circuitry to make them work simply, but cost more for the privilege, while the short, flat encased versions usually didn't carry any circuitry and were about half the cost, then. I suppose most of that has changed in the intervening decades, since, and taller ones are electromagnetic? (And it looks like the OP has discovered Digikey searching from Peter and is happy now.) :) \$\endgroup\$
    – jonk
    Aug 8, 2021 at 23:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ In the early 80’s everyone had the same phone bell and with over 50 phones in close proximity, you could never tell if it was your phone that was ringing if I stepped away from your desk but within reach, so I hooked up a 7kHz piezo buzzer To the ringer bell with a small circuit so it chirped at the 2 Hz modulation rate and bounced off all the walls so that no one else could hear the harmonic at the same time as the bell but I could anywhere in the office since my ear was tuned to expect this, worked like a charm before pagers were available and voice mail existed. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 9, 2021 at 0:24

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