Difference Between Selectivity and Sensitivity of a Radio Receiver

What is a Radio Receiver?

A radio receiver is an electronic device that captures radio waves carrying information and converts them into a usable form, like the music you hear on the radio.

It accomplishes this through several stages:

It functions as the counterpart to a radio transmitter, which emits the radio waves into the air.

Difference Between Selectivity and Sensitivity of a Radio Receiver

What is Selectivity?

Selectivity refers to a radio receiver’s capability to isolate the desired signal while filtering out unwanted signals that might interfere with the reception.

When you’re tuning into a specific radio station, you want to hear that station clearly without interference from other stations broadcasting nearby on different frequencies.

Selectivity allows the receiver to filter out those unwanted signals and focus on the one you want to hear.


Imagine you’re at a crowded party, trying to have a conversation with someone across the room.

Selectivity is like being able to hear that person’s voice clearly amidst all the other noise and conversations happening around you.

How Selectivity Works?

Selectivity works by employing filters and tuning circuits within the receiver to discriminate against signals on frequencies other than the one being tuned in.

By doing so, it ensures that only the intended signal is amplified and processed, enhancing the clarity of the received signal.

What is Sensitivity?

Sensitivity, is the ability of the radio receiver to pick up weak signals.

In some situations, the radio waves carrying the desired signal might be weak, perhaps due to distance from the transmitter or interference from other sources.

A sensitive receiver can still detect and process these weak signals, allowing you to listen to distant stations or pick up faint transmissions.


To continue the analogy, sensitivity is like having really good hearing that allows you to pick up even the faintest whispers in a quiet room.


As a wrap up, selectivity is the ability to isolate desired signal while rejecting unwanted signal, while sensitivity of a radio receiver is the ability to process weak signals.


1. What is the primary function of a radio receiver?

The primary function of a radio receiver is to capture radio waves from the air and convert them into audio or data signals for interpretation.

2. How does selectivity contribute to clear reception?

Selectivity enables a radio receiver to isolate the desired signal while filtering out unwanted signals, thereby enhancing the clarity of reception.

3. Why is sensitivity important in a radio receiver?

Sensitivity allows a radio receiver to detect and process weak signals, ensuring reliable reception even under challenging conditions.

4. Can selectivity and sensitivity be adjusted in a radio receiver?

Yes, selectivity and sensitivity can often be adjusted in radio receivers through various controls and settings to optimize reception quality.

5. How does sensitivity impact the range of a radio receiver?

Sensitivity directly affects the range of a radio receiver by enabling it to detect signals with lower amplitudes, thereby extending its reach to distant stations.