Difference Between RMS and Average

Mathematics uses the terms root-mean-square (RMS) and average to define the overall character of a group of numbers. In the same sense, the usage is extended to physical sciences and allied technologies. RMS, on the other hand, is a notion with a mathematical definition, as opposed to average, which is more known and intuitive.

RMS vs Average

The main difference between RMS and average is that the root-mean-square (RMS) is utilized when the random variables presented in the data are negative and positive, such as sinusoids while the average is employed to find the central tendency of a given set of data.

RMS vs Average

The root-mean-square is a mathematical term representing the square root of the mean square. The arithmetic means square of the squares of a group of values is known as the mean square. Also called the quadratic mean, the RMS measures the average in quadratic form.

The average sum up all of the values in a collection to give a broad idea of it. Hence, it is a measure of central tendency when used in the descriptive sense. It is a way of representing a big number of numbers with a single one. Every digit given in the data set is represented by a single number.

Comparison Table Between RMS and Average

 Parameters of ComparisonRMSAverage
Also known asEffective valueMean value
The formula for Sine WaveVRMS = VPK/√2VAV = 0
The formula for Full rectified waveVRMS = VPK/√2VAV = 0.637 VPK
The formula for Half rectified waveVRMS = VPK/2VAV = 0.318 VPK
Degree of usageMost in Mathematical fieldsMost in Electrical physics fields
PK refers to peak value.

What is RMS?

If the function has a continuously changing value, RMS is defined as the integral of the squares of the instantaneous values squared throughout the cycle. Alternating current’s RMS is the same as a resistive load’s constant direct current‘s value for dissipation of the same power.

If the estimate does not fit the data well, it will have a large root-mean-square deviation (RMSD). The RMS value can alternatively be described in physics as a resistor‘s resistance to a given amount of power flowing through it.

The RMS voltage is defined in physics as the square root of the mean square of the voltage signal’s instantaneous values. The RMS voltage can also be defined as the integral of the squares of the instantaneous values during a cycle for a constantly fluctuating voltage.

If a periodic function has a period, then its RMS is equal to the RMS of the first period. Using the RMS value of a pattern composed of equally spaced observations, we can approximate the RMS value of a non-stop characteristic or signal. Aside from that, the RMS value of various waveforms can also be calculated without the use of calculus.

When computing an RMS statistic for an unpredictable process, the anticipated value is utilized in place of the mean.

What is Average?

The sum of all the numbers in a collection divided by the total number of numbers in the collection is the arithmetic mean, or average. In other words, the average is the total number of observations divided by the total number of observations.

The average is derived by adding up all the data values and dividing them by the total number of data points. To determine the average age of a class, the teachers gather the pupils’ ages and average them out. We use the word “average” a lot in our day-to-day lives. When the value of a quantity changes over time, the average is employed to represent the new value.

A vast quantity of data or a single piece of data can make it tough to make decisions. Averaging all these values yields a single number that may be used to represent everything.

Depending on the application, the mean is determined in a variety of methods. As a result, there are several different mathematical definitions of mean, including arithmetic, geometric, harmonic, and weighted.

The average is the data’s mean value; it differs from the data’s median value.

Main Differences Between RMS and Average

  1. In RMS, the data values are squared and the arithmetic mean of the squared values is taken before getting the square root of that number. On average, the sum of the data values is calculated without any adjustments.
  2. RMS has a more narrow application as compared to average which is widely utilized in all fields of science and engineering.
  3. RMS has a higher level of mathematical complexity than average.
  4. RMS involves the application of arithmetic mean which is nothing but the average. The average, on the othe hand, can be stated in a variety of ways, including the mean, median, or mode.
  5. RMS is critical in electrical engineering and signal sciences, although the average is common in statistics.


Modern voltmeters or oscilloscopes can readily assess average and RMS values and provide information about an AC signal in circuits from a physics standpoint. To calculate the average, add up all of the values in a signal and then divide the total by the number of values. For real signals, we prefer to employ the integration operation, which is a sum for an infinite number of values. Averaging over a full period or a half period yields two different definitions of average value. Full-cycle symmetry means that the average value of the symmetrical signal is 0.

Only if the signal contains a DC component or if it is not symmetrical around a horizontal reference does the average value deviate from 0. It is also possible to characterize variably symmetrical signals by averaging over a half-period. The RMS value is defined in the same way as the average value, except each sum is squared and the final result is rooted. To establish a link between the AC and DC regimes, engineers frequently employ the root-mean-square value, which is always greater than average.


  1. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/1166333/
  2. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2478.1974.tb00099.x
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