Work vs Power: Difference and Comparison

Science has been active in every part of the world, in every activity of humans or nature. Everything has the essence of science in it.

Science has three branches: physics, chemistry, and biology.

Physics has more technical and practical theories, which can be seen in day-to-day life, the human body’s movements, or anything. It gives all the relevant movement points concerning nature, force, etc.

Science has been considered the most practical subject of all time, as it believes in what is present in the universe and not hypothetical thought.

Science is not new to the world; it has always persisted since the times of early humans. The only difference could be the acknowledgement of it.

Key Takeaways

  1. Work measures the energy transferred when a force is applied over a distance, expressed in joules (J).
  2. Power is the rate at which work is done or the amount of energy transferred per unit of time, measured in watts (W).
  3. The key difference between work and power is that work quantifies energy transfer, while power indicates the speed at which work is performed.

Work vs Power

Work is the product of the force applied to an object and the distance it moves in the direction of the force. The unit of measurement is the joule, which is equal to one newton-meter. Power is the amount of work done per unit of time, expressed in watts, which is equal to one joule per second.

Work vs Power


Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonWorkPower
Definition in terms of energyEnergy requiredEnergy consumed
FormulaW = F * DP = W / T
SI unitJoules (J)Watt (W) or Horsepower (hp)
Use in daily lifeLess useMore use
Factors affectingForce and DisplacementWork and time


What is Work?

Work is the energy required to move an object from one point to another.

The definition of work is different from what is defined regularly. Regularly, work is defined as some activity of a person.

The SI unit of work is the joule (J).the work done can also be defined as the product of components of force in the direction of displacement and the magnitude of the displacement.

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Work done is said to be the energy transferred.

Work done by a force of 1 Newton in moving an object through a distance of 1 meter in the direction of the force. There are a few factors that affect work, those are; 

  1. Force – it can be defined as the push and pull of any object to a mass to change its velocity and acceleration. There should be force applied to make work done. If the force acting on an object is zero, irrespective of the object’s state, then the work done by the force is considered zero.
  2. Displacement is the vector quantity that divides the distance between the initial position and the object’s final position. If the displacement of any object due to force acting is zero, then the work done will also be zero.

Work done by gravity on an object is considered zero, as the object experiences zero force when the angle of displacement is perpendicular to the direction of the force. To calculate work done in physics, there is a formula;

W = F * D 

  1. W – work done
  2. F – force
  3. D – displacement

Some examples of work are; pushing the car horizontally from rest, shooting a bullet, a book falling from the table, walking upstairs, sawing the log, etc. These examples are taken from regular life scenarios, which justifies the definition of work.


What is Power?

Power is the rate of doing work. It can be defined as the rate at which energy is spent.

The definition in physics of power is somewhat different from what it is used in context regularly in life.

The SI unit of power is Watt ( W ). In the case of machines or motor vehicles, the SI unit is different, given the term horsepower (hp).

Watt can also be seen in daily life as a unit of electricity. This implies that electricity which is a form of power is used.

Power decides how quickly work can be done; it is interlinked with work. But power is more used in regular life when compared to work. Power refers to the rate at which work can be done, whether slow or fast.

Power is determined by two factors: work and time. Power is defined as the rate of energy spent, so when power is calculated, it depends on the work and time taken to accomplish it.

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Average power signifies the energy consumed divided by the total time taken. The average amount of work done or energy converted per unit of time. Power can be calculated in physics by using a formula which is;

P = W / T

  1. P – power
  2. W – work
  3. T – time

Power can be changed, so measuring the standard power is either calculated at a given time or by calculating the average power.

Some examples of power are; 60 Watt power bulbs spend 60 Joules of energy or a car accelerating, which does work and consumes large amounts of fuel, etc.


Main Differences Between Work and Power

  1. Work is the energy required to move an object, whereas power is the energy spent to move the object.
  2. Factors like force and displacement determine work. On the contrary, power is determined by work done and time.
  3. The SI unit of work is Joules, but the SI unit of power is Watt and Horsepower (motor vehicles or machinery).
  4. The formula calculates work; W = F * D, whereas power is calculated by the P = W / T formula.
  5. Power is a more used concept in daily life as compared to work.
Difference Between Work and Power


Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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10 thoughts on “Work vs Power: Difference and Comparison”

  1. This article provides an insightful perspective of science’s presence in various parts of the world throughout history.


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