Redstone comparators in Minecraft are often overlooked but are some of the most useful Redstone tools. The purpose of the Redstone comparator is to compare, reduce, and maintain signal strength.
This can be useful for certain functions like lighting or special engineering like experience farms. Moreover, it saves time and energy because it can measure a container's state (hopper, furnace, dispenser, et cetera) by detecting slot space.
Measuring items is not limited to containers but is most common. A comparator can be crafted using three Redstone torches, a nether quartz, and three stone blocks.
Minecraft's Redstone comparator is currently available for all versions. It became available to Java users in early 2013, with the Pocket Edition alpha (now Bedrock) in 2016. Other Minecraft editions proceeded shortly after.
Using Minecraft Redstone comparators
Maintenance is straightforward, considering that it generates the same signal strength as its rear input. For those new to Redstone in Minecraft, this is an excellent way to start learning.
To reduce signal strength using a Minecraft Redstone comparator: output = max(rear - max(left, right), 0).
Comparison matches the rear to the sides in terms of signal power. If the rear input is greater than both sides, then it will continue to produce an equivalent output to the rear.
If either side is greater than the rear, that output is cut. The formula is: output = rear * (left <= rear AND right <= rear).
In terms of measurement
The Redstone comparator is helpful regarding measurement. This feature of the comparator most often applies to containers but is not limited to them. Signal strength indicates how stocked the container is - zero being empty and fifteen being full.
Examples of other Minecraft blocks and items that a Redstone comparator can measure are cake (determined by the number of slices), command blocks (dictated by the count of successful commands), and a beehive (amount of honey present).
A simple set-up to test saturation through signal strength is to place down eight to fifteen Redstone lamps with Redstone wire adjacent to each block. At the end of the wire, place down a comparator with the block measured behind it.
Instructions on how to construct a Redstone Lamp in Minecraft can be found here.
Other Redstone tools often overlooked
While Minecraft players do not utilize Redstone as much as possible, some tools and their uses are entirely forgotten. Aside from the comparator, here are some others that go unused:
Redstone is one of the most interesting and playful parts of Minecraft. One of the most common uses for Redstone other than travel is for making rollercoasters and traps.
It adds to the positive experience of the game. It can also make survival mode more leisurely and efficient. Redstone comparators are just one example of how little detail can considerably lend to the big picture.