What is the difference between capacity and ability

Difference between volume and capacity

In our daily life, we have come across three-dimensional (3-D) objects that have a certain volume. The volume of a substance is the total amount of space it covers, that is, if we measure the area of ​​space that a solid object occupies, it is called volume. Conversely, references Capacity on the amount of something that a container contains. In short, capacity is the volume of the container.

Due to many similarities, volume is often confused with capacity, but there are fewer but significant differences between volume and capacity that one can understand by learning their meaning, unit of measure, etc.

Comparison table

Basis of comparisonvolumecapacity
importanceVolume implies the total amount of space occupied by an object.Capacity refers to the ability of an object to contain a substance, that is, solid, liquid, or gas.
What is it?It is the actual amount of something that covers a given space.It is the potential amount of substance that an object can hold.
MeasurementMeasured in cubic units such as cubic centimeters or cubic meters.Measured in metric units such as liters, gallons, etc.
objectBoth solid and hollow objects have volume.Only hollow objects have capacity.

Definition of volume

In mathematics, the term "volume" is used to denote the three-dimensional space occupied by matter. It is nothing but space occupied by the substance, which can be solid, liquid or gaseous. It measures the total size of the closed area.

The volume of an object can be calculated by multiplying length, width and height. Usually this is measured in cubic meters, that is, cubic meters, cubic centimeters, cubic liters, etc., which indicates the number of cubes required to fill the object. Depending on the shape of the object, its volume changes. Assessing the volume of an object provides information about how much space the object covers.

Definition of capacity

The term "capacity" is understood to mean the ability of the hollow body to contain substance, ie. solid, liquid or gas. It is a measure that determines the available space in a container that can be filled with matter. In other words, the total amount of matter that can be contained in the object is the capacity of the container.

You may have observed that when we put air or liquid into a hollow object, it takes the shape of the container. So the maximum amount of material the container can hold is its capacity. It is measured in metric units, i.e. milliliters, liters, kiloliters, gallons, etc.

Main differences between volume and capacity

The points listed below are important for the difference between volume and capacity.

  1. The space that a substance takes up is called volume. The maximum amount of a substance that an object can contain is called its capacity.
  2. The volume of a substance is the measure of the space it covers. On the other hand, the capacity of an object is nothing more than the space that is inside the object that can be filled.
  3. The volume is always measured in cubic units such as cubic centimeters or cubic meters. Conversely, capacity is measured in metric units such as milliliters, liters, gallons, pounds, etc.
  4. When an object is solid it only has volume, but when an object is hollow it has both volume and capacity.


Suppose there is a tank filled with water. So volume is the space that the tank and water take up in the tank, while its capacity is the amount of water needed to fill the tank.


After a detailed discussion of the two topics, you may have understood that volume is understood to be the space occupied by matter, while capacity is understood to be the space that is available for matter.

The term capacity is used in relation to containers, cups, or other hollow objects. Furthermore, the capacity of a container cannot be changed, but the volume of material within the container can be changed by increasing or decreasing the amount of substance.