What is the Difference Between Work and Power?

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The main difference between work and power is that work is described as the amount of energy required to move a body to a certain distance through the force applied, whereas power can be defined as the rate at which the energy is transferred.

‘Work’ and ‘Power’ are two of the many fascinating ideas found in the field of Physics. Understanding the meanings of these phrases and how they vary from one another is essential. Let us look at them in detail in this article.

What is Work?

In physics, work is defined as the energy required to move a certain object by the application of force. Joule (J) i the SI unit used to measure work. 

What is Power?

The amount of energy transferred within a specific period is known as power. The SI unit of power is the Watt (W), which is equivalent to Joule per second (J/S). 

What is the difference between Work and Power?

Understanding the difference between work and power in a table format will be better and easier. Below is a small table to understand the 2-

DefinitionAmount of energy to move an object through force appliedPower is the rate at which the energy is transferred while doing a work
SI UnitThe SI unit of work is Joule (J)The SI unit of power is Watt (W)
Other UnitsCan also be measured in other units like Electron Volt (eV), kWh, MWh, and GWhOther units of power- Horsepower (hp), kW, MW, and GW
FormulaWork = Force x DisplacementPower = Work / Time
Physical QuantityWork is a scalar quantity.Power is also a scalar quantity.
Factors that Affect Force and DisplacementWork and Time
Time DependencyIndependentTime-Independent Quantity

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Work Formula

Work can be calculated with W = F x D, where

W = Work

F = Force, and

D = Displacement

Real-Time Work Examples

Some real-time work examples are-

  • Door Opening and Closing
  • Rock Climbing
  • Riding a Bike

Power Formula

Power can be calculated with P = W / T, where

P = Power

W = Work, and

T = Time

Real-Time Power Examples

  • Electronic device usage, like phone and laptop charging
  • Cooling of AC
  • Usage of a grinder

Sample Question

These are two sample questions for Work an Power:


Acting parallel to the surface, a body is moved horizontally on a floor by a 200N force. Find out the amount of work done through a distance of 9 m.



F = 200N, D = 9 m

W = F x D

W = 200 x 9 

W = 1800 J 

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A garage hoist lifts a car 5 meters above the ground in 30 seconds. Find the power delivered to the car. The mass of the car is said to be 1000kg.

Firstly, we need to know the work done, which requires the force necessary to lift the car against gravity:

F = mg = 1000 x 9.81 = 9810N

W = FD = 9810N x 5m = 49050 Nm = 49050J

Now, P = W/T = 49050J / 30s = 1635 J/s = 1635W

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Is work a vector quantity?

Since work has only magnitude but no direction, it is a scaler quantity. 

General equation of work?

A simple equation to calculate work is Force x Displacement.

Are work, energy and power related?

When talking about work, energy and power, all three are related to each other.

What is the SI unit of Power?

Power can be calculated in Watt (W).

Is power a scaler quantity or a vector quantity?

Power is a scaler quantity as it is the ratio of 2 scalar quantities. 

This was all about the “Difference Between Work and Power”.  For more such informative blogs, check out our Study Material Section, you can learn more about us by visiting our  Indian exams page.

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