Difference Between Work and Power (With Table)

Science has been active in every part of the world, in everything, in every activity of human or nature. Everything has the essence of science in it. Science has mainly three branches, those are physics, chemistry, and biology.

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

Science has been considered the most practical subject of all the time, as it believes in what is present in the universe and not the hypothetical thought. Science is not new to the world, it always persisted since the times of early humans the only difference could be the acknowledgement of it.

Work vs Power

The main difference between work and power is the amount and rate of energy used. Work and power might seem similar to each other as both involves energy but they have differences, in scientific terms.


Comparison Table Between Work and Power (in Tabular Form)

Parameters of Comparison



Definition in terms of energy

Energy required

Energy consumed


W = F * D

P = W / T

SI unit

Joules (J)

Watt (W) or Horsepower (hp)

Use in daily life

Less use

More use

Factors affecting

Force and Displacement

Work and time


What is Work?

Work is the amount of energy required to move an object from one point to another. The definition of work is different from what it is defined on a regular basis. Like in regular basis work is defined as some activity of a person.

The SI unit of work is 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. 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 force. There are few factors that affects work, those are; 

  1. Force – it can be defined as 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 state of the object then the work done by the force is considered zero.
  2. Displacement – it is that vector quantity that gives the distance between the initial position and the final position of the object displaced. If the displacement of any object done 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 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, 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 on a regular basis in life.

The SI unit of power is Watt ( W ). In case of machines or motor vehicles the SI unit is different which is given the term horsepower (hp). Watt can be seen in daily life as a unit of electricity as well. Which implies that electricity which is a form of power is used.

Power decides how quickly work could 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, it can be 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 is dependent on the work and time taken to accomplish it.

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

P = W / T

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

Power can be changed so to measure the standard power it is either calculated at a given point of 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 meant as the energy spent to move the object.
  2. Work is determined by factors like force and displacement on 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 (in case of motor vehicles or any machinery).
  4. Work is calculated by formula; W = F * D  whereas power is calculated by formula of P = W / T.
  5. Power is a more used concept in daily life as compared to work.



Work and power are intertwined. Both are necessary in daily life. Their meaning and definitions are somewhat different in physics than their use in daily life. Undoubtedly use of power is more in regular life.


  1. https://www.archives-pmr.org/article/0003-9993(91)90247-G/fulltext
  2. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00140138608968287