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The Top 10 Operational Amplifiers on SnapEDA

October 23, 2019Henry Egejuru

The operational amplifier – or “op amp” for short – is a common building block in analog electronics. Whether you’re a professional electronics designer or just getting started, it is likely you’ve used an op amp in your designs. 

Invented in 1941 by Karl D. Swartzel Jr. of Bell Labs, the op amp was originally built with vacuum tubes and was invented to perform mathematical operations in analog computers, hence how it earned its name. Now, op amps are used in all kinds of applications, for everything from signal conditioning, filtering, as well as for complex mathematical operations such as integration and differentiation. They form the basis of many modern analog electronic circuits because they are cost-effective, perform optimally and are readily available.

Op amps are commonly available as integrated circuits (ICs). They have input and output terminals capable of giving out a larger version of voltage signals that are being passed through them. They can be designed to act as a voltage amplifying device when used with active components such as transistors and passive components like resistors and capacitors to provide the desired response.

When signals pass through discrete elements in an analog circuit, they tend to decrease in amplitude—their voltage level decreases, but an op amp can help buffer and boost the amplitude of such signals, hence, delivering a signal that is useful at the output.

Op amps are very adaptable and versatile to many electronic circuits. They are used in audio and video applications, voltage regulators, precision circuits, analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters, and many other applications.

Choosing an op amp

When designing an application that requires an op amp, it is important to consider the design requirements to ensure that you’ve selected the right one.

Designers should consider gain, input impedance, output impedance, noise, and bandwidth as well as the following factors to consider when selecting an op amp IC:

1. Number of channels/inputs

An op amp can come in a number of channels anywhere between 1 and 8 with the most common op amps having 1, 2, or 4 channels.

2. Gain

The gain of an op amp represents how much greater in magnitude its output will be than its input, hence its amplification factor. This is usually defined as an open-loop gain or large signal voltage gain.

The open-loop gain defines the gain of an op amp without any positive or negative feedback applied to the op amp. The gain of an op amp is ideally infinite; however, typical real values are in the range of about 20,000 to 200,000.

The large signal voltage gain, usually denoted as AVD, is the ratio of the change in the output to the differential voltage change in the input, measured at DC—at low frequency—with the amplifier producing a large voltage output. It is usually quoted in preference to the open-loop voltage gain typically in V/mV. The difference is that it is measured with an output load and therefore takes into account loading effects.

3. Input impedance

This is the ratio of the input voltage to the input current. Ideally, this value is infinite but most op amps that are now in production have typical values in the order of millions of ohms. The input impedance of the op amp is desirably high enough to get all the voltage from an input to the target without loss.

4. Output impedance

This is the small-signal impedance between the output terminal and ground. It is usually in series with the load thereby increasing the output available for the load. The output impedance is assumed to be zero for an ideal amplifier, hence it should be small for real values.

5. Noise

Op amps have internally associated parasitic noise sources. They are usually measured at the output and referenced back to the input. The most significant of them is the Equivalent Input Noise Voltage, often specified by en. It is given as voltage, Vn, per root hertz at a specific frequency. It is desirable for this value to be as small as possible.

6. Bandwidth

The bandwidth of an op amp is the allowable range of frequency of the input signal which it can reproduce. An ideal op amp allows all frequency hence, its bandwidth is infinite and can amplify any frequency signal from DC to the highest AC frequencies.

This is not the case for practical op amps, which are limited to a certain range and do not perform well above a certain frequency. 

The parameter Gain Bandwidth Product (GBP) is often used to describe the limit of the bandwidth of an op amp with respect to its gain. It is equal to the frequency where the gain of the amplifier becomes unity.

7. Nominal slew rate

The slew rate of an op amp is the rate of change in the output voltage caused by a step-change in the input. It is measured as a voltage change in a given time—typically V/µs or V/ms. Ideally, the slew rate of an op amp should be infinite thus allowing the output to be exactly an amplified copy of the input, without any distortion. In real-world applications, the higher the value of slew rate, the faster the output can change and the more easily it can reproduce high-frequency signals.

8. Maximum input offset voltage

This is the maximum differential voltage needed at the input to get a 0V output. Ideally, it is zero when both inputs to the op amp are zero. Hence, it should be small enough.

9. Maximum supply voltage

The allowable operating voltage range of an op amp should be considered, hence it’s maximum supply voltage should not be exceeded.

Remember that every application will have different design requirements, so be sure to keep that in mind when selecting an op amp.

Now let’s dive into the top 10 most downloaded op amps on SnapEDA!*

The Top 10 operational amplifiers on SnapEDA

#10 LM741H from Texas Instruments

LM741H

The LM741H is a general-purpose operational amplifier that comes in an 8-pin TO-99 package with a nominal supply voltage range of ±15V. It has a large signal voltage gain of 200V/mV and bandwidth of up to 1.5MHz. Its input and output come with overload protection. This op amp also features no latch-up when the common-mode range is exceeded. It is a direct, plug-in replacement for other op amps like the 709C, LM201, MC1439, and 748 in most applications.

Average price across distributors at time of publish: $11.78

Download Symbol, Footprint & 3D Model on SnapEDA.

#9 LM324AMX/NOPB from Texas Instruments

LM324AMX/NOPB

The LM324AMX/NOPB comes with four internally compensated op amps all in a 14-pin SOIC package. It is a low power general-purpose operational amplifier that features a large signal voltage gain of about 100 V/mV, a wide gain-bandwidth of 1MHz and a low input bias current of 45 nA. It operates from a single power supply over a wide range of 3 V to 32 V and also supports dual supplies with a range of ±1.5 V to ±16 V. It is suitable for transducer amplifiers, DC gain blocks, conventional op amp applications.

Average price across distributors at time of publish: $0.29

Download Symbol & Footprint on SnapEDA.

#8 MCP6001T-I/OT from Microchip

MCP6001T-1/OT

The MCP6001T-1/OT is a single general-purpose op amp that comes in a 5-lead SOT-23 package and an industrial temperature range of -40°C to +85°C specifically designed for low-cost and low-power applications. It operates with a single supply voltage going as low as 1.8V while drawing 100 µA (typical) quiescent current, and as high as 6.0V. It has a typical gain-bandwidth product of 1 MHz. Its features make it suited for battery-powered applications, automotive applications, portable equipment, and analog filters.

Average price across distributors at time of publish: $0.24

Download Symbol & Footprint on SnapEDA.

#7 LM324N from Texas Instruments

LM324N

The LM324N is a low power quad operational amplifier that comes in a 14-pin DIP package with similar features to the LM324AMX/NOPB except with a wide gain bandwidth of 1.3MHz, a low input bias current of 20nA with a maximum input offset voltage of 5 mV.

Average price across distributors at time of publish: $0.52

Download Symbol & Footprint on SnapEDA.

#6 LM358DT from STMicroelectronics

LM358DT

The LM358DT comes with two independent, high gain, internally frequency-compensated op amps packaged in an 8-pin SOIC package with an operating free-air temperature range of 0 °C to 70 °C. It operates from a single power supply with a range of 3 V to 32 V and also supports dual supplies with a range of ±16 V. It has a large signal voltage gain of 100V/mV and a wide gain-bandwidth of 1.1MHz. It has a typical input offset voltage and current of 2mV and 2nA respectively. Suitable for all conventional op amp circuits.

Average price across distributors at time of publish: $0.48

Download Symbol & Footprint on SnapEDA.

#5 UA741CP from Texas Instruments

UA741CP

The uA741CP is a general-purpose operational amplifier that comes in an 8-Pin PDIP Tube featuring short-circuit protection, offset-voltage null capability. It has a nominal supply voltage range of ±15V, a large-signal differential voltage gain of 200V/mV. Its internal frequency compensation ensures its stability without external components. A low-value potentiometer may be connected between the offset null inputs to null out its offset voltage. Its high common-mode input voltage range and the absence of latch-up makes the amplifier ideal for voltage-follower applications.

Average price across distributors at time of publish: $0.48

Download Symbol & Footprint on SnapEDA.

#4 LM358N from ON Semiconductor

LM358N

The LM358N is a dual-input operational amplifier similar to #6 – LM358DT – except that it comes in an 8-pin DIP package, has a typical input offset voltage and current of 2.9mV and 5nA respectively and has a typical and maximum input bias current of 45nA and 250nA respectively.

Average price across distributors at time of publish: $0.77

Download Symbol & Footprint on SnapEDA.

#3 LM358AN from ON Semiconductor

LM358AN

The LM358AN is a single supply dual operational amplifier, the same as #4 – LM358N – except with a maximum input offset voltage and current of 3mV and 30nA, and a typical and maximum input bias current of 45nA and 100nA, all lower than the LM358N.

Average price across distributors at time of publish: $0.58

Download Symbol, Footprint & 3D model on SnapEDA.

#2 LMV358IDGKR from Texas Instruments

LMV358IDGKR

The LMV358IDGKR is a dual low-voltage rail-to-rail output op amp that comes encased in a VSSOP-8 package type with 1-MHz unity-gain bandwidth. It typically operates between 2.7 V to 5.5 V with a supply current of 210 μA. The LMV358IDGKR is a cost-effective solution for applications where low-voltage operation, space-saving, and low cost are needed.

Average price across distributors at time of publish: $0.62

Download Symbol, Footprint & 3D model on SnapEDA.

#1 LM358ADT from STMicroelectronics

LM358ADT

The LM358ADT is the same as #6 – LM358DT – except for the typical input offset voltage current of 1mV and a maximum input offset current of 10nA. It also has a maximum input bias current of 50nA which is lower than the LM358DT.

Average price across distributors at time of publish: $0.42

Download Symbol, Footprint & 3D model on SnapEDA.

There you have it, our Top 10 list.

If you would like to see another category of components, kindly let us know in the comment section. 

Do you have a different set of op amps that make your list? We would also like to hear your thoughts on which factors you consider when selecting an op amp below.

* This data was collected via SnapEDA’s analytics by looking at downloads from its part model library (symbols, footprints, and 3D models). Millions of parts are evaluated on SnapEDA annually, however, if a part isn’t in our database it will not show up on this list. We’re continually increasing coverage and will update this list periodically!

Henry Egejuru Administrator

Technical content writer at SnapEDA 

Comments (4)

  • 3415

    Steve

    October 31, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    Good article on op-amps in general.
    There are two titles to the article as presented to me: “The Top 10” and “The Best”; these are not the same thing.
    Many of these have been popular for decades. More interesting would be discussion on why these remain popular today on SnapEDA compared to the thousands of other options. So, what makes these popular on SnapEDA versus the other 99%?

    I’m sure there are many others that are downloaded from SnapEDA. Perhaps list each family as a single item, with the derivatives discussed within the family ranking, making room in the Top 10 for more variety.

    1. 3420

      Elizabeth Bustamante

      November 3, 2019 at 7:06 pm

      Hello Steve! Thanks for your great feedback and it’s something we could do for our next top 10.

      Yes, that’s correct. There are many others that are downloaded from our website and I like the idea of listing each family as a single item, this can also be done in our next top 10 list!

  • 3417

    steve

    October 31, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    LM741H goes back to 1968. The device listed is super expensive compared to modern better performing op-amps.

  • 3421

    Elizabeth Bustamante

    November 3, 2019 at 7:29 pm

    Hi Steve!

    Good catch! I think from the engineering side is super interesting to see what are the top downloaded op-amps but I agree with Steve’s comment above about the difference between “The best” and “The top 10” and it’s something that we will try to cover in our next blog post.

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