Difference between half wave rectifier and full wave rectifier

The half wave and full wave rectifier have a significant difference. A rectifier converts AC voltage into pulsating DC  output voltage. A half wave rectifier is an electronic circuit which converts only one half of the AC cycle into pulsating DC output. On the other hand, full wave rectifier is an electronic circuit which converts the entire cycle of AC into pulsating DC output. This page gives the half wave vs full wave rectifier provides the difference between half wave rectifier and full wave rectifier

Half wave rectifier:
  • A rectifier which rectifies only one half of each AC supply. 
  • The frequency of the output signal is exactly the same as that of the input signal.
  • Half wave rectifier gives discontinuous and pulsating DC output, Half wave rectification involves a lot of wastage energy.
  • Half wave rectifier is unidirectional.
  • Half wave rectifier efficiency around 40.6 %.
  • Half wave rectifier is only one diode is required.
Full wave rectifier :
  • A rectifier which rectifies both halves of each AC input cycle is called as full wave rectifier
  • It gives continuous and pulsating output.
  • The frequency of the output signal is double that of the input signal.
  • A full wave rectifier is bi-directional.
  • Half wave rectifier efficiency around 81.2%.
  • Full wave rectifier varies from 2 to 4, in case of a bridge rectifier.
A main key difference between half wave rectifier and Full wave rectifier:
  • Half wave rectifier is a low-efficiency rectifier while the full wave rectifier is high efficiency.
  • The losses due to saturation of the DC core in half wave rectifier and full wave rectifier also create a significant difference. The half wave process DC saturation of core, but this problem can be overcome in the full wave circuit.
  • Full wave requires more electronic components as compared to half wave rectifier. Thus requires double the number of diodes.
  • The ripple factor in case of half wave rectifier is compared to the full wave rectifier, for half-wave rectifier it is about 1.21 but for the full wave rectifier, it is about 0.482.
  • The full wave circuitry does not possess DC saturation of the transformer core because of the current in the secondary winding of the transformer and in opposite directions.
  • A half wave rectifier hs good voltage regulation however full wave rectifier provides better voltage regulation as compared to half wave rectifier.
  • Half wave rectifier does not require centre tapping of the secondary winding of the transformer while full wave rectifier centre tapping of the secondary winding of the transformer.
  • The fundamental ripple frequency in case of half wave rectifier is f, supplied input frequency 50 Hz while in twice the supplied frequency 2f (100Hz) in case of full wave rectifier.
  • The peak inverse voltage in case of half wave rectifier is equivalent to the maximum value of applied input voltage while in peak inverse voltage of full wave rectifier is twice the maximum value of applied input voltage.