“Electric” Vs. “Electrical”: Learn the Difference! (+ Examples)

Marcus Froland

Do you ever feel confused when trying to decide between the words ‘electric’ and ‘electrical’? Don’t worry, you’re not alone!

In this article, we’ll break down the difference between these two terms and give examples of how to use them.

We’ll also provide resources for further exploration so that you can become a master of electric vs. electrical in no time!

Key Takeaways

  • Electric refers to something powered by electricity, while electrical means related to the science of electricity.
  • Electric is a noun describing the use of electricity, while electrical is an adjective meaning anything relating to electricity.
  • Use ‘electric’ for something that runs on electricity, and use ‘electrical’ for something related to electricity itself.
  • Electric cars use batteries and convert electrical energy into mechanical power, while electrical engineers design electrical equipment.

What Is the Difference Between Electric and Electrical

Electric and electrical are two terms that are often confused, but they have different meanings.

Electric refers to something powered by electricity, such as an electric guitar or car.

Electrical means having to do with the science of electricity, or related to it. It pertains to wiring systems and circuits that power things like alarm systems, computers, and televisions.

In other words, electric is a noun describing the use of electricity whereas electrical is an adjective meaning anything relating to electricity.

For example, you might say ‘I’m going to buy an electric bicycle,’ versus ‘This house has faulty electrical wiring.’ Both describe items related to electricity but in different ways.

Electric Vs. Electrical: Usage in Everyday Context

Using ‘electric’ and ‘electrical’ in everyday speech can be confusing. Here are four tips to help distinguish between the two:

  1. ‘Electric’ typically refers to an electric current, either direct or alternating, while ‘electrical’ is usually used to describe something related to electricity.

  2. For example, a power cord would be considered electrical because it is connected with electricity but not producing it directly.

  3. An electric stove or space heater, on the other hand, produces its own electric current and would be referred to as electric rather than electrical.

  4. In general terms, if something uses electricity then it is likely electrical; if it produces an electric current then it is more likely to be electric.

How to Use Electric and Electrical Correctly

Knowing when to use ‘electric’ and ‘electrical’ correctly can be tricky, so here are some tips to help you out.

When talking about something that runs on electricity, like a phone charger or electric car, use the word ‘electric.’

If you’re discussing something related to electricity itself, such as an electrical outlet or a type of wiring, it’s correct to use the word ‘electrical.’

Likewise, if you are referring to a person who works in the power industry as an electrician or electrical engineer, then use the word ‘electrical.’

To remember which is which more easily: think of ‘electric’ for items that run on electricity and ‘electrical’ for anything related to electricity itself.

Examples of Electric and Electrical Usage

An electric car runs on electricity, whereas an electrical engineer works with it. Here are some examples of how these terms are used in the real world:

  1. Electric cars use batteries to store energy and contain motors that convert electrical energy into mechanical power.

  2. Electrical engineers design, develop, test, and supervise the manufacture of electrical equipment such as generators, motors, and navigation systems.

  3. Electricians install wiring and other electrical fixtures in homes, businesses, or factories.

  4. Electrical technicians maintain and repair electrical equipment in buildings or industrial plants.


It’s important to understand the difference between electric and electrical – they aren’t interchangeable. Electric is used to refer to something that runs on electricity or produces it, while electrical refers to the science of electricity itself.

By understanding these subtleties, you’ll be able to use each word correctly in everyday conversations and writing.

Now you have a better understanding of this tricky pair – so get out there and put your newfound knowledge into practice!