A superconducting fault current limiter of the transformer type (inductive FCL) based on magnetic coupling between a superconducting element and a protected circuit has been investigated by many authors for various parameters and performances of a superconducting element. Another design of the device preventing high short-circuit currents is a self-limiting transformer combining the functions of a usual power transformer with the functions of a current limiter. In the presented work we compare the parameters, operation and application of these two devices. The operation of the devices is investigated experimentally on small models fabricated using the same superconducting element. The parameters of the full-scale devices are evaluated. It is shown that the requirements to superconducting elements are practically the same for both devices.