Difference Between Leading and Lagging Power Factor

Leading and lagging power factors are the two major terms associated with the power factor of the alternating current (AC electrical system). The main key difference between the leading power factor is that in case of leading power factor the current leads the voltage.

The main key difference between leading and lagging power factor:

  • When the load of the linear electrical network is capacitive in nature then it generates a leading power factor, as against when the load is of inductive nature then it results in lagging power factor.
  • In the case of leading power factor, the phase angle of current is positive with respect to voltage, in the case of lagging power factor current phase angle is negative with respect to that of voltage.
  • In the case of the capacitive load, the load supplies reactive power. Thus the reactive component is negative as here the power is provided to it, but for inductive load, the load consumes reactive power, hence reactive component will be positive.
  • The value of leading power factor, with capacitive load range between -1 to 0, while for the lagging power factor with an inductive load, it lies between 0 and 1.
  • The key factor of differentiation between leading and lagging power factors is that the leading power factor is attained when the load current is in the leading position to that of the supply voltage. While lagging power factor shows that the current pages the voltage by some phase angle.
  • As the power factor is a crucial parameter of ca electrical circuits thus correction is quite necessary if the power factor is quite low. Thus a leading power factor is corrected by the addition of inductive loads, whereas the correction in the lagging power factor is done by adding capacitive loads.
  • Example of leading power factor of capacitive load, include radio circuit, electric motor, power supplies, etc. While in lagging power factor common examples of inductive load are propulsion, inductive motor, power generator, and relay, etc.
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