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Watt vs. Wattage: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Updated on November 16, 2023
Watt is a unit of power in the International System of Units (SI), while wattage refers to the amount of power, measured in watts, used by a device or system.

Key Differences

Watt is a standard unit for measuring power, specifically one joule per second. While, wattage is the measurement of how many watts are being used or produced by an electrical device.
Watt is used as a unit in equations and calculations involving power. However, wattage is used to describe the power capacity or consumption of electrical devices.
When discussing power output or consumption, watt is the term for the unit of measurement. Whwereas, wattage is the term used to describe the total power capacity or requirement of a device.
In everyday language, watt is often seen on bulbs or appliances indicating power use. Wattage is used to discuss or compare the power needs or outputs of different devices.
Watt, named after James Watt, has been a fundamental unit in electrical engineering. Wattage, as a term, evolved to simplify discussions about power consumption and capacity.

Comparison Chart


A unit of power
The amount of power in watts


In technical calculations
Describing power capacity or use


Power equations, energy conversion
Electrical appliances, power requirements


Standard unit of measurement
Descriptive of power capacity

Historical Origin

Named after James Watt
Evolved for consumer and technical use

Watt and Wattage Definitions


Used to quantify energy consumption.
Her computer uses about 500 watts.


Describing the power capacity of a device.
This appliance has a high wattage.


Specifying power in technical contexts.
The generator has a maximum output of 2000 watts.


The amount of power, in watts, used by a device.
The wattage of this heater is 1500 watts.


A unit of power in the SI system.
This light bulb uses 60 watts.


Used for comparing power needs.
Compare the wattage of different microwaves before buying.


Measurement of electrical power.
The motor has a 100-watt capacity.


Indicating energy usage level.
Look for low-wattage bulbs to save energy.


Indicating the efficiency of electrical devices.
LEDs are more efficient, using fewer watts.


Referring to the power required by a device.
This device’s wattage is too high for the circuit.


An SI-derived unit of power equal to one joule per second. See Table at measurement.


An amount of power, especially electric power, expressed in watts or kilowatts.


In the International System of Units, the derived unit of power; the power of a system in which one joule of energy is transferred per second. Symbol: W


The electric power required by an appliance or device.


A unit of power or activity equal to 107 C.G.S. units of power, or to work done at the rate of one joule a second. An English horse power is approximately equal to 746 watts.


An amount or power (especially electric), expressed in watts, kilowatts etc.


A unit of power equal to 1 joule per second; the power dissipated by a current of 1 ampere flowing across a resistance of 1 ohm


The power requirement of some electric appliance.


Scottish engineer and inventor whose improvements in the steam engine led to its wide use in industry (1736-1819)


The product of voltage and current


What is a watt?

A watt is a unit of power measurement in the SI system.

How is watt used in appliances?

Watt indicates the power consumption or output of an appliance.

Can watt be used to measure efficiency?

Yes, it can indicate the efficiency of electrical devices.

How is wattage important in buying electronics?

Wattage helps compare the power needs of different electronics.

Are watts used in solar panels?

Yes, to specify their power output capacity.

What does wattage refer to?

Wattage refers to the amount of power, in watts, used or produced by a device.

Is watt a global standard?

Yes, it's a globally recognized unit for measuring power.

Is wattage relevant in battery-powered devices?

Yes, it indicates the power consumption of the device.

What does wattage tell you about a device?

It tells you about the device's power capacity or consumption.

How do manufacturers use watts?

To specify the power use or capacity of their products.

Does wattage affect the durability of devices?

Not directly, but improper wattage can lead to malfunctions.

What is the significance of watts in light bulbs?

Watts indicate the power consumption of the bulb.

Does high wattage mean more power?

Yes, higher wattage indicates more power consumption or capacity.

Can watt measure all types of energy?

Watts are primarily used for electrical energy measurement.

How do watts relate to joules?

One watt equals one joule per second of energy conversion.

How does wattage affect energy bills?

Higher wattage appliances typically lead to higher energy bills.

Does wattage impact device performance?

In some cases, higher wattage can mean better performance.

Can watts indicate the brightness of bulbs?

Traditionally, yes, but efficiency can alter this correlation.

Does wattage vary with voltage?

Yes, wattage can vary depending on voltage and current.

Is wattage a consideration in energy-saving?

Yes, lower wattage devices generally save more energy.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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