This paper presents a new energy-efficient ring oscillator collapse-based comparator, named edge-pursuit comparator (EPC). This comparator automatically adjusts the performance by changing the comparison energy according to its input difference without any control, eliminating unnecessary energy spent on coarse comparisons. Furthermore, a detailed analysis of the EPC in the phase domain shows improved energy efficiency over conventional comparators even without energy scaling, and wider resolution tuning capability with small load capacitance and area. The EPC is used in a successive-approximation-register analog-to-digital converter (SAR ADC) design, which supplements a 10 b differential coarse capacitive digital-to-analog converter (CDAC) with a 5 b common-mode CDAC. This offers an additional 5 b of resolution with common mode to differential gain tuning that improves linearity by reducing the effect of switch parasitic capacitance. A test chip fabricated in 40 nm CMOS shows 74.12 dB signal-to-noise and distortion ratio and 173.4 dB Schreier Figure-of-Merit. With the full ADC consuming 1.17 mu W, the comparator consumes 104 nW, which is only 8.9% of the full ADC power, proving the comparator's energy efficiency.