# Weight vs. Capacity: What's the Difference?

By Harlon Moss & Aimie Carlson || Updated on May 23, 2024
Weight measures the heaviness of an object, while capacity measures the maximum amount something can hold or contain.

## Key Differences

Weight refers to the measurement of how heavy an object is. It is a quantitative measure of the force exerted by gravity on an object, typically measured in units such as pounds or kilograms. Weight is an inherent property of the object and varies depending on its mass and the gravitational pull acting on it. Capacity, on the other hand, refers to the maximum amount that something can hold or contain. It is often used in contexts like the volume of a container or the ability of a system to handle a certain quantity. Capacity is typically measured in units such as liters, gallons, or cubic meters.
Weight is a measure of an object's mass influenced by gravity, making it relevant in scenarios involving lifting, transporting, or supporting objects. It is a critical factor in engineering, shipping, and daily activities where the heaviness of items affects their handling and use. Capacity focuses on the containment aspect, relevant in scenarios where the volume or quantity an object can hold is crucial. This includes the capacity of tanks, storage units, or systems designed to manage specific volumes of materials, fluids, or information.
Weight is influenced by external factors like gravity, which means an object’s weight can change depending on its location, such as on Earth or the moon. Capacity is independent of external gravitational factors and remains constant regardless of location, solely dependent on the physical dimensions or limits of the container or system.
Weight measurements require scales or balances, providing a direct readout of heaviness. Capacity measurements involve calculating the volume or quantity a container can hold, often determined by geometric dimensions and mathematical formulas.

## Comparison Chart

### Definition

Measurement of heaviness
Maximum amount something can hold

### Units

Pounds, kilograms
Liters, gallons, cubic meters

### Influence

Affected by gravity
Independent of gravity

### Measurement Tool

Scales, balances
Volume calculation, measuring tools

### Relevance

Heaviness of objects
Containment of volume or quantity

## Weight and Capacity Definitions

#### Weight

A measure of the heaviness of an object
A contest to guess the weight of a pig.

#### Capacity

The maximum amount a container can hold.
The tank has a capacity of 1,000 liters.

#### Weight

The force with which a body is attracted to Earth or another celestial body, equal to the product of the object's mass and the acceleration of gravity.

#### Capacity

The potential or power to do something.
She has the capacity to learn quickly.

#### Weight

A unit measure of gravitational force
A table of weights and measures.

#### Capacity

The ability to receive, hold, or absorb something
The storage capacity of a car's trunk.

#### Weight

A system of such measures
Avoirdupois weight.
Troy weight.

#### Capacity

The maximum amount that can be contained
A bin filled to capacity.

#### Weight

A metallic solid used as a standard of comparison in weighing.

#### Capacity

The power to learn or retain knowledge; mental ability.

#### Weight

An object used to hold something else down.

#### Capacity

The ability to do, make, or accomplish something; capability
A comedian's capacity for making people laugh.

#### Weight

A counterbalance in a machine.

#### Capacity

The maximum or optimum amount that can be produced
Factories operating below capacity.

#### Weight

(Sports) A heavy object, such as a dumbbell, lifted for exercise or in athletic competition.

#### Capacity

The quality of being suitable for or receptive to specified treatment
The capacity of elastic to be stretched.

#### Weight

Excessive fat; corpulence
Exercising in order to lose weight.

#### Capacity

The position in which one functions; role
In your capacity as sales manager.

#### Weight

(Statistics) A factor assigned to a number in a computation, as in determining an average, to increase or decrease the number's effect on the computation, reflecting its importance.

#### Capacity

Legal qualification or authority
The capacity to make an arrest.

#### Weight

Oppressiveness; pressure
The weight of responsibilities.

#### Capacity

(Electricity) Capacitance.

#### Weight

The greater part; preponderance
The weight of the evidence is against the defendant.

#### Capacity

Filling a space with the most it can hold
A capacity crowd at the concert.

#### Weight

Influence, importance, or authority
Her approval carried great weight.

#### Capacity

The ability to hold, receive, or absorb

#### Weight

Ponderous quality
The weight of the speaker's words.

#### Capacity

A measure of such ability; volume

#### Weight

(Sports) A classification according to comparative lightness or heaviness. Often used in combination
A heavyweight boxer.

#### Capacity

The maximum amount that can be held
It was hauling a capacity load.
The orchestra played to a capacity crowd.
A factory operating at less than full capacity.

#### Weight

The heaviness or thickness of a fabric in relation to a particular season or use. Often used in combination
A summerweight jacket.

#### Capacity

Capability; the ability to perform some task

#### Weight

A measure of the relative thickness of yarn.

#### Capacity

The maximum that can be produced.

#### Weight

To make heavy or heavier
Our backpacks were weighted down with food and other essentials.

#### Capacity

Mental ability; the power to learn

#### Weight

To cause to feel concerned, sad, or preoccupied; burden or oppress
He was weighted with guilt.

#### Capacity

A faculty; the potential for growth and development

#### Weight

To increase the weight or body of (fabrics) by treating with chemicals.

#### Capacity

A role; the position in which one functions

#### Weight

(Statistics) To assign weights or a weight to.

#### Capacity

Legal authority (to make an arrest for example)

#### Weight

To cause to have a slant or bias
Weighted the rules in favor of homeowners.

#### Capacity

Electrical capacitance.

#### Weight

(Sports) To assign to (a horse) the weight it must carry as a handicap in a race.

#### Capacity

(operations) The maximum that can be produced on a machine or in a facility or group.
Its capacity rating was 150 tons per hour, but its actual maximum capacity was 200 tons per hour.

#### Weight

The force on an object due to the gravitational attraction between it and the Earth (or whatever astronomical object it is primarily influenced by).

#### Capacity

Filling the allotted space.
There will be a capacity crowd at Busch stadium for the sixth game.

#### Weight

An object used to make something heavier.

#### Capacity

The power of receiving or containing; extent of room or space; passive power; - used in reference to physical things.
Had our great palace the capacityTo camp this host, we all would sup together.
The capacity of the exhausted cylinder.

#### Weight

A standardized block of metal used in a balance to measure the mass of another object.

#### Capacity

The power of receiving and holding ideas, knowledge, etc.; the comprehensiveness of the mind; the receptive faculty; capability of understanding or feeling.
Capacity is now properly limited to these [the mere passive operations of the mind]; its primary signification, which is literally room for, as well as its employment, favors this; although it can not be denied that there are examples of its usage in an active sense.

#### Weight

Importance or influence.

#### Capacity

Ability; power pertaining to, or resulting from, the possession of strength, wealth, or talent; possibility of being or of doing.
The capacity of blessing the people.
A cause with such capacities endued.

#### Weight

(weightlifting) An object, such as a weight plate or barbell, used for strength training.
He's working out with weights.

#### Capacity

Outward condition or circumstances; occupation; profession; character; position; as, to work in the capacity of a mason or a carpenter.

#### Weight

(lubricants) viscosity rating.

#### Capacity

Legal or moral qualification, as of age, residence, character, etc., necessary for certain purposes, as for holding office, for marrying, for making contracts, wills, etc.; legal power or right; competency.

#### Weight

(physics) Mass (atomic weight, molecular weight, etc.) in restricted circumstances

#### Capacity

Ability to perform or produce

#### Weight

Synonym of mass}} {{qualifier

#### Capacity

The susceptibility of something to a particular treatment;
The capability of a metal to be fused

#### Weight

(measurement) Mass (net weight, troy weight, carat weight, etc.).

#### Capacity

The amount that can be contained;
The gas tank has a capacity of 12 gallons

#### Weight

(statistics) A variable which multiplies a value for ease of statistical manipulation.

#### Capacity

The maximum production possible;
The plant is working at 80 per cent capacity

#### Weight

(topology) The smallest cardinality of a base.

#### Capacity

A specified function;
He was employed in the capacity of director
He should be retained in his present capacity at a higher salary

#### Weight

(typography) The boldness of a font; the relative thickness of its strokes.

#### Capacity

(computer science) the amount of information (in bytes) that can be stored on a disk drive;
The capacity of a hard disk drive is usually expressed in megabytes

#### Weight

(visual art) The relative thickness of a drawn rule or painted brushstroke, line weight.

#### Capacity

An electrical phenomenon whereby an electric charge is stored

#### Weight

(visual art) The illusion of mass.

#### Capacity

The power to learn or retain knowledge; in law, the ability to understand the facts and significance of your behavior

#### Weight

(visual art) The thickness and opacity of paint.

#### Capacity

Tolerance for alcohol;
He had drunk beyond his capacity

#### Weight

Pressure; burden.
The weight of care or business

#### Capacity

The ability to perform or produce.
The factory is working at full capacity.

#### Weight

The resistance against which a machine acts, as opposed to the power which moves it.

#### Capacity

The potential or suitability for holding something.
The auditorium has a seating capacity of 500.

#### Weight

Shipments of (often illegal) drugs.
He was pushing weight.

#### Capacity

The maximum amount something can contain or accommodate.
The server's storage capacity is 2 terabytes.

#### Weight

One pound of drugs, especially cannabis.

Money.

Weight class

#### Weight

(transitive) To add weight to something; to make something heavier.

#### Weight

To load (fabrics) with barite, etc. to increase the weight.

#### Weight

(transitive) To load, burden or oppress someone.

#### Weight

To assign weights to individual statistics.

#### Weight

(transitive) To bias something; to slant.

#### Weight

To handicap a horse with a specified weight.

#### Weight

To give a certain amount of force to a throw, kick, hit, etc.

#### Weight

The quality of being heavy; that property of bodies by which they tend toward the center of the earth; the effect of gravitative force, especially when expressed in certain units or standards, as pounds, grams, etc.

#### Weight

The quantity of heaviness; comparative tendency to the center of the earth; the quantity of matter as estimated by the balance, or expressed numerically with reference to some standard unit; as, a mass of stone having the weight of five hundred pounds.
For sorrow, like a heavy-hanging bell,Once set on ringing, with his own weight goes.

#### Weight

Hence, pressure; burden; as, the weight of care or business.
For the public all this weight he bears.
[He] who singly bore the world's sad weight.

#### Weight

Importance; power; influence; efficacy; consequence; moment; impressiveness; as, a consideration of vast weight.
In such a point of weight, so near mine honor.

#### Weight

A scale, or graduated standard, of heaviness; a mode of estimating weight; as, avoirdupois weight; troy weight; apothecaries' weight.

#### Weight

A ponderous mass; something heavy; as, a clock weight; a paper weight.
A man leapeth better with weights in his hands.

#### Weight

A definite mass of iron, lead, brass, or other metal, to be used for ascertaining the weight of other bodies; as, an ounce weight.

#### Weight

The resistance against which a machine acts, as opposed to the power which moves it.

#### Weight

To load with a weight or weights; to load down; to make heavy; to attach weights to; as, to weight a horse or a jockey at a race; to weight a whip handle.
The arrows of satire, . . . weighted with sense.

#### Weight

To assign a weight to; to express by a number the probable accuracy of, as an observation. See Weight of observations, under Weight.

#### Weight

To load (fabrics) as with barite, to increase the weight, etc.

#### Weight

To assign a numerical value expressing relative importance to (a measurement), to be multiplied by the value of the measurement in determining averages or other aggregate quantities; as, they weighted part one of the test twice as heavily as part 2.

#### Weight

The vertical force exerted by a mass as a result of gravity

#### Weight

Sports equipment used in calisthenic exercises and weightlifting; a weight that is not attached to anything and is raised and lowered by use of the hands and arms

#### Weight

The relative importance granted to something;
His opinion carries great weight

#### Weight

An artifact that is heavy

#### Weight

An oppressive feeling of heavy force;
Bowed down by the weight of responsibility

#### Weight

A system of units used to express the weight of something

#### Weight

A unit used to measure weight;
He placed two weights in the scale pan

#### Weight

(statistics) a coefficient assigned to elements of a frequency distribution in order to represent their relative importance

#### Weight

Present with a bias;
He biased his presentation so as to please the share holders

#### Weight

The heaviness of an object.
The weight of the suitcase is 50 pounds.

#### Weight

A measure of the force of gravity on an object.
On the moon, your weight would be less.

#### Weight

The burden or responsibility carried.
She felt the weight of her decisions.

#### Weight

The importance or influence of something.
His opinion carries a lot of weight.

#### Weight

A unit of measurement for mass.
Please provide the weight in kilograms.

## FAQs

#### How is weight measured?

Weight is measured using scales or balances.

#### What does capacity measure?

Capacity measures the maximum amount something can hold or contain.

#### Does weight depend on gravity?

Yes, weight depends on gravity and can vary by location.

#### Why is weight important?

Weight is important for understanding the heaviness and handling of objects.

#### Why is capacity important?

Capacity is important for determining how much a container or system can hold.

#### What does weight measure?

Weight measures the heaviness of an object influenced by gravity.

#### Does capacity depend on gravity?

No, capacity is independent of gravity.

#### What units are used for capacity?

Common units for capacity include liters, gallons, and cubic meters.

#### Can an object's capacity change?

No, an object's capacity remains constant regardless of location.

#### How is capacity measured?

Capacity is measured by calculating volume or quantity using measuring tools or formulas.

#### Can an object's weight change?

Yes, an object's weight can change depending on the gravitational pull at different locations.

#### What tools are used to measure capacity?

Tools like measuring cups, tanks, and mathematical formulas are used to measure capacity.

#### Can capacity affect system performance?

Yes, capacity affects how well a system can handle or store materials.

#### What units are used for weight?

Common units for weight include pounds and kilograms.

#### Can weight affect transportation?

Yes, weight affects transportation costs and methods.

#### How does volume affect capacity?

Volume determines capacity based on the physical space available to hold materials.

#### How does gravity affect weight?

Gravity pulls objects, giving them weight that varies with the strength of the gravitational field.

#### What tools are used to measure weight?

Tools like scales and balances are used to measure weight.

#### Is weight a factor in engineering?

Yes, weight is a critical factor in engineering for design and safety.

#### Is capacity a factor in storage?

Yes, capacity is crucial for storage, ensuring containers can hold the necessary volume.
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Co-written 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.