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Quintillion vs. Quadrillion — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman & Fiza Rafique — Updated on February 27, 2024
A quadrillion in the American English system represents 1,000 trillion, while a quintillion is 1,000 quadrillion, Quintillion is a magnitude greater than quadrillion, indicating a vastly larger number.
Quintillion vs. Quadrillion — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Quintillion and Quadrillion


Key Differences

Quadrillion and quintillion represent staggering quantities, each differing by a factor of 1,000. The term "quadrillion" is used to denote a figure that is a thousand times larger than a trillion, which itself is a thousand billion. This makes a quadrillion a significant measure, often used in astronomical or scientific contexts to describe vast distances, quantities, or theoretical calculations.
Moving up the scale, a quintillion is another leap in magnitude, being a thousand times larger than a quadrillion. The use of quintillion is less common in everyday contexts due to its immense size but finds relevance in fields such as astrophysics, computing (particularly when discussing data storage or processing capabilities), and theoretical mathematics.
The difference between these two can be visualized in numerical terms, with a quadrillion written as a 1 followed by 15 zeros, and a quintillion written as a 1 followed by 18 zeros. This numerical representation underscores the vast difference in scale between these two quantities.
Understanding the scale of quadrillions and quintillions is essential in fields that deal with large numbers, as it helps in accurate data representation, calculation, and theoretical modeling. It also provides perspective on the relative magnitude of various phenomena, from the number of grains of sand on Earth to the number of stars in the observable universe.
Both quadrillion and quintillion are beyond the scope of daily transactions or the global economy's scale, they play crucial roles in scientific research and theoretical exploration, offering insights into the vastness of the universe and the complexity of theoretical constructs.

Comparison Chart


1,000 trillion
1,000 quadrillion


Astronomical, scientific
Beyond astronomical

Common Usage

Large distances, quantities
Astrophysics, computing

Numerical Representation


Compare with Definitions


In astrophysics, to describe the number of stars.
The universe could contain up to a quintillion stars.


A unit of measurement.
The earth contains over a quadrillion liters of water.


In mathematics, representing large number sets.
There are quintillions of possible chess games.


In astrophysics, for distances.
Some galaxies are quadrillions of miles away.


For theoretical data storage.
Future technologies might store quintillions of bytes.


In financial modeling, for theoretical values.
Hyperinflation scenarios might use quadrillions in calculations.


In environmental data, calculating global phenomena.
Quintillions of water molecules evaporate daily.


In computing, representing data volume.
Big data analytics can process quadrillions of bytes.


In geology, estimating atomic structures.
The earth's crust contains quintillions of atoms.


In environmental studies, estimating particle quantities.
Quadrillions of plastic particles pollute the oceans.


The number that is represented as a one followed by 15 zeros

Common Curiosities

Which is larger, a quadrillion or a quintillion?

A quintillion is larger, being 1,000 times a quadrillion.

How many zeros are in a quadrillion?

There are 15 zeros in a quadrillion.

Why are these large numbers important?

They help scientists, mathematicians, and researchers accurately describe and model the vastness of the universe and theoretical constructs.

Where might you encounter a quadrillion in real life?

In discussions of national debt, astronomical distances, or large-scale data processing.

Can the human mind easily comprehend these numbers?

These magnitudes are beyond everyday comprehension and are usually contextualized through comparisons or scientific notation.

Is there a number larger than a quintillion?

Yes, the next in the series is a sextillion.

How many zeros are in a quintillion?

There are 18 zeros in a quintillion.

Where is a quintillion used?

Mostly in theoretical mathematics, astrophysics, and future projections of data storage.

How does understanding these numbers benefit students?

It expands their grasp of numerical concepts, scales, and the importance of precision in science and mathematics.

Are quadrillions and quintillions used in economics?

Rarely, as these figures exceed the scope of global economic totals, but they can appear in theoretical discussions or hyperinflation scenarios.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.

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