Is A Coupler The Same As A Power Divider?

Couplers and power dividers are two of the most fundamental components of electronic devices used for the transmission and reception of radio waves. They both are classified as passive Radio Frequency (RF) components and can be found in almost every electronic device that is used for telecommunication purposes.

Many people think that couplers and power dividers are the same thing. On the contrary, several prominent differences separate the two RF components. Not only do they differ in the functions they perform, they also have different mechanisms for dividing radio signals.

The Working Of Power Dividers And Couplers

Couplers and power dividers are termed as passive devices because they don’t contain an energy source that can be used to modify the radio signals that they deal with. However, the basic function of power dividers and couplers is the same: they split incoming signals. Since the input port of a unidirectional power splitter has a greater resistance than the output ports, it is an ideal choice for applications requiring a calibrating device.

What Are The Differences Between Power Dividers And Couplers?

Here are some of the major differences between coupler and power dividers:

The Number Of Ports

A directional coupler contains 4 ports that allow radio signals to be split unequally. The power of the incoming signal is split at each port with a portion of it going to the next one. In ideal circumstances, the fourth port is completely isolated and no power flows through it.

On the other hand, power dividers contain 3 ports that split radio signals into two equal parts containing roughly the same amount of power. The two output ports produce signals of equal amplitude and are phase balanced.


Isolated Port

Power dividers do not contain a single isolated port, whereas one of the output ports of a coupler is always isolated.

Heat Loss Property

An unidirectional or multidirectional coupler has zero power loss because none of the energy passing through the coupler system is transformed into useless heat energy. On the other hand, power dividers may experience a tiny amount of power loss when energy flows through it.


The properties of a radio signal, such as its frequency and power, can be measured by using signal sampling techniques. Power dividers are ideal devices for this purpose as they can divert power to several radio antennae at the same time.
Couplers, however, capture a certain amount of energy from transmission lines and are commonly used to transfer a signal from one radio system to another.

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