Speed vs Acceleration: Difference and Comparison

Every object or person is movable to some extent, although exceptions are always there. The movements might seem obvious, but they have science behind it.


Science Quiz

Test your knowledge about topics related to science

1 / 10

What is the fuel in the Sun?

2 / 10

Which among the following is not a synthetic fiber?

3 / 10

What is the S.I unit of frequency?

4 / 10

Potassium Permanganate is used for purifying drinking water, because

5 / 10

Acid turns blue litmus paper into which color?

6 / 10

Which of the following organism breathes from skin?

7 / 10

Permanent hardness of water may be removed by the addition of

8 / 10

An atom is considered to be ____________ when the number of protons and electrons are equal.

9 / 10

Name the veins that carry oxygenated blood from the heart to other parts of the body?

10 / 10

What is the PH of H2O?

Your score is


A branch of science, physics, plays an important role in understanding the movements of objects or people.

For example, acceleration can probably be seen in cars in daily life. Still, the meaning of acceleration is different in physics, which is more technical in giving the reasons behind them.

A few terms are used interchangeably in regular life, but they are different in technical terms; for example, acceleration, speed, race, or velocity, etc., resemble each other in regular life but in technical terms, they are different.

Key Takeaways

  1. Speed is a scalar quantity that measures the rate at which an object covers distance, expressed as distance per unit of time (e.g., miles per hour or meters per second).
  2. Acceleration is a vector quantity that measures the rate of change in an object’s velocity, expressed as the change in velocity per unit of time (e.g., meters per second squared).
  3. The main distinction between speed and acceleration is that speed represents the rate of distance covered, while acceleration represents the rate at which an object’s velocity changes over time.

Speed vs. Acceleration

Speed is a scalar quantity that measures the rate at which an object moves but does not provide direction. Acceleration is a vector quantity that measures the rate at which an object’s velocity changes. An object can accelerate if its speed increases, decreases, or changes direction.

Speed vs Acceleration


Comparison Table

Parameters of comparisonSpeedAcceleration
Quantity typeScalar quantityVector quantity
TypesUniform, variable, average, and instantaneous speedUniform, non- uniform, and average acceleration
Factors determiningDistance and timeVelocity and time
Relation with motionRate of motionDirection and rate of motion


What is Speed?

Speed is the scalar quantity that gives the idea of how fast the object is moving; in more technical terms, speed is the magnitude of change in the position of a moving object. Speed has a unit, that is, cm.s (CGS system) and m.s (SI system)

Speed is of four types, those are;

  1.  Uniform speed: when the object covers an equal distance in an equal interval of time is said to have a uniform speed.
  2. Variable speed: when the object covers different distances in equal intervals, the object is said in variable speed.
  3. Average speed: it can be defined as the uniform speed given by the ratio of the total distance traveled by an object to the total time taken by the object.
  4. Instantaneous speed: when the speed of an object is variable, then the speed of that object at any instant is said to be instantaneous speed.

Speed is determined by two factors: distance and time. The formula of speed is

S = D / T

  1. S – Speed
  2. D – Distance covered
  3. T – Time is taken

Speed is measured generally by distance-time graph for better understanding. A speedometer measures speed in vehicles, whereas the odometer covers the distance. Seed can fluctuate depending upon the person in the case of vehicles driven.

Some examples of speed are; a car being driven at 60  km per hour, a cheetah running at 130 km per hour, the speed of writing of a person, like writing one page in ten minutes is considered as writing speed of a person, etc.


What is Acceleration?

Acceleration is the rate of change in velocity of a moving object concerning time. Acceleration is said to be a vector quantity. The unit of acceleration is m/s.

Acceleration is of three types, those are;

  1. Uniform acceleration is the type of acceleration in which the velocity is uniform with the change in time. This is possible in the case of circular motions.
  2. Non-uniform acceleration is the type of acceleration in which velocity changes over time.
  3. Average acceleration is the type of acceleration in which the total change in velocity in a given interval is divided by the total time taken for the change.

Acceleration is determined by a few factors those are; change in velocity and time, and it can be measured with the help of a formula, which is –

Acceleration = (final velocity)- (initial velocity) / time

Acceleration is often explained with the help of graphs better. It is often confused with velocity or speed, but it differs from both.

Some examples of acceleration are; when the car is speed, or when the car is slow down, or the car taking a turn, falling from a bridge, climbing the bridge, fruits falling from a tree, or any object moving in north, south, west, or east direction, etc.


Main Differences Between Speed and Acceleration

  1. Speed is the distance covered in the unit of time, whereas acceleration is the rate of change in the speed.
  2. Speed is the scalar quantity. On the contrary, acceleration is the vector quantity.
  3. Speed is determined by distance and time, whereas velocity and time determine acceleration.
  4. Speed can remain constant in every case, but acceleration is not uniform except for circular motion.
  5. Speed is related to the rate of motion only, whereas acceleration is related to the direction and rate of motion.
  6. Speed is calculated with displacement, whereas acceleration is calculated with velocity. 
Difference Between Speed and Acceleration

  1. https://e-space.mmu.ac.uk/3518/1/williams%20-%20specificity%20of%20acceleration.pdf
  2. https://ascelibrary.org/doi/abs/10.1061/(ASCE)0733-947X(2002)128:2(182)
One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to save this article for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own articles box!