Difference Between Pyramid and Prism

Prism vs Pyramid

Prisms and Pyramids are solid (three dimensional) geometrical objects. Both prisms and pyramids are polyhedrons; solid objects with polygonal shape surfaces. They are not often found in nature, but most useful in mathematics, science and technology.


The prism is a polyhedron; it is a solid object consisting of two congruent (similar in shape and equal in size) polygonal faces with their identical edges connected by rectangles. The polygonal face is known as the base of the prism, and the two bases are parallel to each other. However, it is not necessary that they are positioned exactly above the other.

If the two bases are positioned exactly above each other, then the rectangular sides and the base meets at right angles, and the prism is known as a right angled prism.


The volume of prisms is given by a simple formula Vprism = Ah, where A is the area of the base and h is the height of the pyramid (the perpendicular distance between the planes of the two bases). This formula is important in many applications in physics, chemistry, and engineering. Many of the regular objects used in these fields are approximated using prism, and the properties of prisms are important in these scenarios.

A prism can have any number of sides; a cylinder can be considered as a prism with infinitely many sides and the above relation holds for cylinders too.


The pyramid is also a polyhedron, with a polygonal base and a point (called the apex) connected by triangles extending from the edges. A pyramid has only one apex, but the number of vertices is dependent on polygonal base.

Great pyramid of Giza is an example for a pyramid with four sides. Many pyramids of the ancient world are built with four sides. Therefore, sometimes four sided pyramids are only considered as the only type of pyramids, which is a misconception. A pyramid can have any number of sides. A pyramid with infinitely many sides can be considered as a cone, where the base is a circle.

The volume of a pyramid is given by the formula Vpyramid = 1/3 Ah

What is the difference between Pyramid and Prism?

• Both pyramids and Prism are polyhedrons

• A prism has two bases while a pyramid has only one base with an apex.

• The sides of the prism are rectangles or parallelograms while sides of the pyramid are triangles.

• If a prism has the same base area and height as a pyramid, the volume of the prism is three times that of the pyramid.