What Are Peripheral Devices of a Computer?

computer peripherals

Peripheral devices of a computer are normally the input/Output devices that send information to the system and get information from the system. Storage devices are also peripherals that store data processed by the computer. The term peripheral is use for the devices that are optional to use unlike motherboard and CPU without which the computer cannot run. There are three different types of peripherals:

  • Input – These devices are used to input data, they send information to the system, by processing which the system gives an output. Some of the input devices are keyboard, mouse, joystick etc.
  • Output – These devices are used to get output from the system, they include printers, monitor etc.
  • Storage – These devices as the name suggests store data processed by the computer. Some of the examples of storage devices are flash drives, USBs, hard drives etc.

What are peripheral devices?

  • A peripheral device is also called as an auxiliary device such as keyboard or mouse. These devices connect to the system and work in some way.
  • Other computer peripherals are image scanner, microphones, graphic cards, expansion cards, webcams etc.
  • RAM (Random Access Memory) is the line between primary component and peripheral, technically it is a storage peripheral, but it is an essential component of computer, removing which will make it unworkable.
  • Other devices include smartphones, digital watches, and tablet computers that work as a peripheral through their interface that connects with a computer. Unlike other peripheral devices they are not host-dependent.

Peripheral devices are also classified into 2 broad categories – internal and external. Let us take a look at what these devices are.

External and Internal Peripherals

Generally we use the word peripheral for devices that are external to the computer such as printer, scanner etc. But there are also peripherals that are located inside the computer. You might not call them peripherals, but technically they are.

  • Devices that connect to computer from outside are external peripherals, or we also call them auxiliary components like printer, mouse etc. 
  • Devices are within the computer case are called internal peripherals such as internal hard drive etc. Those small devices on chip that are on the integrated circuit along with central processing unit (CPU) are also called peripherals, but CPU does not fall in the list.

Common Peripherals

  • Input
    • Computer Mouse
    • Keyboard
    • Barcode Reader
    • Touchscreen
    • Microphone
    • Scanner
    • Webcam
    • Track Ball
    • Game controller
    • Light pen
    • Joystick
    • Optical Mark Reader
  • Output
    • Computer display (Monitors)
    • Printer
    • Graphic Plotters
    • Projector
    • Speaker
  • Storage devices
    • Floppy disk drive
    • Solid State Drive
    • USB Flash drive
    • Blue-ray Disc
    • CD/DVD drive
  • Input/Output
    • Network interface controller (NIC)
    • Modem

Input Devices

Input devices are peripherals that are used to provide give information to the system in order to get the output. Examples of input devices are computer mouse, keyboards, scanners, joysticks and digital cameras.

Input devices are classified according to:

  • modality of input such as audio, video, motion etc.
  • discrete (e.g. key press) or continuous (e.g. mouse’s position)

There are also two types of input, Direct and indirect, which could again be either relative or absolute. 

There could be more types, but these are the most used.

Output Devices

An output device is something that connects to the user. It converts the computer language data into human-readable form. Output devices show the results of input to the user. These include computer monitor, printer etc.


Input is the signals or data received by the system, and output is result of the input sent to the user in readable form. There are several input and output devices such as computer-based navigation systems. In the world of computing, input/output means source that works as a channel of communication between computer system and the user.

Storage Devices

storage device is computer hardware piece that is used to store, carry and pull out the data.  These devices can keep the information for both short and long term. These devices are either inside the system or could be outside. These devices come in different shapes and sizes depending on the requirement of the user. They are further categorized into two types: primary and secondary.

To know more about the storage devices, read the article below.


We have discussed the peripheral devices for computer, their importance and role. There are on-going research on peripheral devices that can handle large tasks quality and save user time.

What are the peripherals that you use?

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