Difference Between Area and Volume

It is true that both the terms, area, and volume, have large scale uses in normal day to day lives. Although we are taught about area and volume during our school days, it is important that we remember them for the rest of our lives.

It is often seen that most of us often get confused by both terms.

Although area and volume may seem almost similar to most of us, it is not so at all.

Area vs Volume

The difference between Area and Volume is that area means the space which an object occupies and volume means the space which the object contains. The area has 2-dimensional shapes while volume has 3-dimensional shapes. For example, a can covers 5 cm of the area whereas the same can contains 5 liters of water which is the volume of the can.

Area vs Volume

The total space that objects occupy when placed on a plane or flat surface is known as the area of the object. Similarly, there are also some objects that have their own capacity.

For example, a water tank has its own capacity of holding a certain amount of water inside.

This capacity is the volume of the water tank. It is important for you to note that only hollow objects have volumes that can be measured with relevant formulae.

The table and forthcoming information on the two terms should be able to throw some light on the topic and help you understand the basic differences between an area and a volume of an object.

Comparison Table

Parameter Of ComparisonAreaVolume
DefinitionRefers to the space occupied by a shape or object when placed on a flat surface.Refers to the total capacity of an object.
ShapesSimple figures.Solids of any shape with hollow inside, such as tanks, suitcases, and glasses.
Measured InSquare Unit.Cubic Unit.
InvolvesAlways involves 2 dimensional objects or shapesAlways involves 3 dimensional objects or shapes.

What is Area?

Traveling back in time, if we go back to our mathematics classes, we were told that the area of any object is the total 2-dimensional space that is covered by an object or shape. It will not be wrong if we say that the area of an object basically tells us the amount of space that is taken up by any plane object.

This is simply calculated by multiplying the different dimensions of the given shape. It will not be wrong if we say that the area of any object will tell us the total number of squares of fixed sizes that will be required to cover up the said object.

According to the International System of Units or SI, the standard unit of an area is square meters, which is expressed in the form of m². It is important for us to note that the area of different shapes is measured with the help of different formulae.

Some of the most commonly used formulae have been discussed below.

  1. Area of a Square: Side x Side
  2. Area of a Rectangle: Length x Width
  3. Area of a Parallelogram: Breadth x Height
  4. Area of a Triangle: (Breadth x Height) x 2
  5. Area of a Circle: πr²

What is the Volume?

When we talk about the volume of any object, it basically refers to the total quantity of 3-dimensional space that is enclosed by a closed surface.

In other words, it tells us the total amount of space that is contained in the object. The SI unit of volume is the cubic meter and is represented by m³.

If we put it in a simple language, the volume of anything is just the total capacity of the object. For example, a soccer ball or even a basketball will hold a specific volume or quantity of air inside.

Just like an area of an object of different shapes, there are different formulae to measure the volume of different types of objects. These formulae have been discussed below for your benefit.

  1. The volume of a Cube: a³
  2. The volume of a Rectangular Prism: Length x Width x Height
  3. The Volume of a Sphere: (4/3) x π x r³
  4. The volume of a Cylinder: π x r² x Height
  5. The volume of a Cone: π x r² x (Height/3)

Main Differences Between Area and Volume

  1. The area always refers to a 2 dimensional or an object in a plane. On the other hand, the volume is used to define a 3-dimensional object and its individual capacity.
  2. Any plane figure will have an area, whereas, solid shapes will always have a volume.
  3. When we talk about an area of anything, it basically tells us about the amount of space enclosed by the sides of the object, which are normally the length and the breadth. At the same time, the volume means the total capacity of any solid object that involves its length, breadth, and height.
  4. The area of any object is measured in square units such as square centimeters or square meters or even square kilometers. However, the volume is measured in the form of cubic units such as cubic centimeters, cubic meters, and cubic grams.
  5. Any shape that has 2 dimensions, which are length and breadth, will always have an area. However, any shape that has 3-dimensions such as length, breadth, and height, will always have a volume.
Difference Between Area and Volume
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Eric Wrollie
Eric Wrollie


I wanted to know about the units used to measure area as I always get confused with them. Please guide

Piyush Yadav
Piyush Yadav
Reply to  Eric Wrollie

Hi Eric,

The easiest solution to this is to first choose a unit of your choice (the one most commonly used in your country is a good choice). Now if someone uses some other unit for quoting area, you can easily convert it to your choose unit with the help of your smartphone app.
This should make things easy for you.


Is there any figure that doesn’t have any volume or area?

Piyush Yadav
Piyush Yadav
Reply to  Shehzad

all solids will have an area as well as volume