When working with any form of electrical system, it is essential to understand The distinction between volts and watts , as well as between amps and ohms.

Electrical terminology must be thoroughly understood in order to repair domestic wiring, and it’s also useful to know it in general. How often have you pondered how the two electrical units, “100 W/120 V,” printed on a lightbulb, relate to one another? Can you switch between the two? Starting with fundamental definitions is helpful before examining differences.

Watts, Volts, Amps, and Ohms Defined

The SI system establishes the definitions and nomenclature for electrical units like watts and volts (International System of Units). Under this system, words and standards for weights and measures are established by an intergovernmental, worldwide organization called the Bureau International des Poids et Mesures (BIPM). The BIPM has associate members from over a hundred nations.

Electricity terminology is frequently explained using the hydraulic (water) analogy. Electrical flow and water flow are both examples of closed-system flow. Electricity must circulate in a continuous circuit (or circular form) in order to function, just like closed-system pipes.

What Do Volts Do?

The potential difference between two locations of a conducting wire carrying a constant current of 1 ampere when the power expended between these points is equal to 1 watt is what the BIPM defines as a volt as. The letter “V” stands for volt.

This essentially means that voltage is the rate at which electrons move through a point in the circuit, like water moves through pipes under pressure.


Volts is named after Italian inventor Alessandro Volta, just like watts, which is taken from the English inventor James Watt. A predecessor to the electric battery was created by Volta.

What Do Amps Do?

The SI official definition for amps, which is short for amperes, is not just complicated but also constantly evolving. But its overarching theme never changes. The primary unit used to measure the volume of electrons in an electrical circuit is the amp. Amperes or amps are denoted by the capital letter “A.”

Amps would serve as a unit of measurement representing the amount of water flowing past a specific location in the hydraulic comparison. Quantity, not speed, defines volume. An average lightning strike has 20,000 amps. An amp can be drawn by a watch in the millionths. Typically, household electrical cables have a 15 amp or 20 amp rating.

What do Watts do?

A watt is a unit used to measure electricity flow. Watts are used to indicate the output of an electrical flow of one amp through an electrical differential of one volt. The letter “W” stands for watt or watts.

V x A = W is the formula used to calculate watts.


Think of watts in terms of speed or rate rather than power or capacity. A excellent comparison for watts is the water flow rate through a garden hose or the speed of a moving object.

How Do Ohms Work?

The SI word for electrical resistance is the base unit ohm. Ohm is a unit of measurement used to describe how much an object or material placed inside an electrical circuit resists or lessens the passage of electricity. The symbol for ohms is the Greek letter omega, which looks like a horseshoe pointing downward.

The Distinction Volts and Watts Interchangeable

Volts and watts are reliant on one another. Watts are a mix of volts and amps, hence they cannot exist without volts.

Volts and watts are comparable to pressure and rate, respectively, in simple words and using the hydraulic analogy.

The Analogy of Travel Rate

Understanding watts vs. volts requires a fundamental understanding of rate.

One could estimate the distance travelled by the car at 65 miles while discussing a trip with a buddy. Even though this is helpful information, it doesn’t provide a complete picture of what just occurred.

What is the larger context of your claim that you travelled 65 miles? Did you complete the trip in around an hour? That is expected and normal. It would be entirely different if you drove it in three months. Time becomes important in this situation.

Time is also unreliable information on its own. If you informed a friend you had been driving for ten hours, the friend could inquire as to where you had been driving or how far you had travelled. A discussion about driving distance is an incomplete set of information.

One piece of data relates to actual distance, while the other deals with time. Coming up with a single figure that integrates the two sets of data is considerably more useful and practical than switching between two sets of data back and forth. That figure is the rate.

Thus, the automobile journey example and the formula V x A = W both imply rate. The rate for a car is represented by the well-known abbreviation MPH (miles per hour), where rate is defined as distance divided by time.

Amperage and voltage are helpful sets of data for electrical systems. Wattage, however, is another common form of data since it combines the two to create a measurement akin to rate or speed.

There it is: the distinction between volts and watts. The information provided here should act as a guide.