Windmill vs. Wind Turbine: Things You Didn’t Know Before

Windmill and wind turbine both use wind energy effectively. People of early ages, invented windmill to harness the wind energy and it was the best way to utilize this great power source.

With the advancement of modern technology, yesterday's windmill is presented to us with significant improvement as benefits which is known as a wind turbine.

Both these practical machines of using wind energy work in their own way, they also differ in terms of functioning and how they generate power. Let's have some detail ideas about them concerning various aspects.


Previously, the windmill was one of the most effective media to harness wind energy. The modern wind turbines of today are an improvised and developed form of what people used to pump water, grind grain, and sawmill timber using windmills.

The blades of a windmill are well engineered to make the most out of wind energy. It converts wind energy into mechanical energy and uses the power to tasks that are previously mentioned. The blades of windmills are also known as vanes or sails.

How Does a Windmill Work?

The enormous blades of windmills move whenever the wind blows against them while turning a camshaft. This shaft is connected to a gear and it generates electricity when the generator prompts.

Operating Principle of Wind Turbines


When the wind blows over the blades of a windmill, a pressure difference takes place over various regions and cause the blades to turn.

Applications of Windmill

Primarily windmills were used for pumping water. But later, people were using it for grinding grains, crushing and shredding rocks, agricultural purposes, and so on. Windmills have the great potentiality to work in extreme weather conditions.

Wind Turbine

The wind turbine is known as an advanced mechanical device that generates electricity from the kinetic energy of the wind to use for commercial applications. This technology is renewable and one of the most efficient ways to produce energy. It doesn’t produce harmful gases while converting kinetic energy into electricity.

How Does a Wind Turbine Work?

Most of the wind turbines have 3 large propeller blades that rotate when the wind blows. During the rotation, the blades turn a rotor around which is connected to the main shaft. When the blades spin, an electrical generator prompts and generate electricity.

Operating Principle or Wind Turbines

A wind turbine’s blades work following lift and drag principle. When the wind blows, the blades rotate and exploit aerodynamic forces. As the blades are curve shaped, they generate lift. Air pressure generates when wind passes over the aerofoil on the curved side and high-pressure air is sent to the aerofoil side.

Applications of Wind Turbine

Wind turbines are used for powering electronic devices in households and businesses. Local government, as well as municipalities, also get benefits from this great renewable source of power.

Windmill and Wind Turbine as Wind Energy

Wind energy is a great source of clean energy that can be produced without any harmful emissions. Both the windmill and wind turbine are effective machines to produce electricity.

However, the windmill can still be used for basic energy requirements such as pumping water, grinding grains, farming, etc. But it cannot be used for massive production of electricity and that's where the wind turbine strikes. The wind turbine is a more advanced way to use wind and turn it to electricity to power up homes, schools, and businesses.

Final Words

Although both windmill and wind turbine harness wind power to produce electricity, they differ from each other in terms of how they function and their capabilities. A windmill can be used without much investment for sectors that require a small amount of power.

Nonetheless, when it comes to make the most out of wind energy and use it for both household and commercial purposes, it would be worth choosing and investing in wind turbines.

  • Updated April 22, 2020