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Difference Between Mass And Weight

Difference between mass and weight

The study of physics has two quantities people usually interchange, but they are not the same entity. These two entities are mass and weight. There is a constant use of one in place of the other, but we should understand that physics considers it two different entities. Where one is the property of the body and remains constant, the other is the force a body experiences due to the action of a certain planet. Let's understand both of these and clear out our doubts here.


We define mass as the total amount of substance (matter) constrained within the preset dimensions of a body.

In classical mechanics, we define mass as the measure of the body's tendency to resist change in its rest or motion state. It is inertia, and it determines the force that would bring a change in its state.


We define weight as the value of force that the earth applies to your body due to its gravity. The value weight is a product of the body's mass and acceleration due to the earth's gravity. Therefore, this value is not constant even on the earth's surface (due to the changing value of acceleration due to gravity).

Difference Between Mass and Weight

Context of Comparison




Weight is the force that acts in the downward direction due to the gravity of the planet.

Mass is the measure of matter constrained in a body.


The letter 'W'denotes weight.

We denote mass using 'm'.

Quantity type

Weight is a vector quantity and has magnitude with a direction (downwards).


Weight is a derived quantity. 

Mass is a scalar quantity. It only has a magnitude.


Mass is a fundamental quantity. 


The dimensions of weight are [M][L][T-2].

The dimensions of mass are [M]


The formula for weight is m x g



m is the mass of the body 

g is the acceleration due to gravity. 

Mass finds its relations with volume. Thus, we can calculate mass using the formula:


mass= volume x density


The unit for force is newtons or kg m/s2.

The unit for mass is kg. 

Effect of Gravity

The value of weight depends upon the planet's gravity, and it changes when the acceleration due to gravity changes. 

The value of mass is constant, and it is not affected by gravity. 


Spring balances are excellent devices to measure weight

Many devices like beam balance, pan or lever balance are ideal for measuring the mass of a body. 

Frequently Asked Question about the Difference Between Mass and Weight

Ques: Does the mass of the body change from planet to planet?
No, the mass of a body will remain constant on every planet because it is not affected by gravity or any other planet entity. It is an intrinsic property of the body, and it doesn't change as per the surroundings. However, the weight of a body will change when the acceleration due to gravity changes.

Ques: When a body experiences weightlessness, will it also be considered massless?
No, weightlessness is the condition when there is no downward acting force on the body. It also means that a body is not experiencing a constant gravitational pull due to a planet; however, it still has mass. Mass is an intrinsic property of the body, and it will remain constant until the body ceases to exist.

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