15 Difference between Catapult and Trebuchet (With Table)

War started a long time ago. It either existed between communities or countries. This was called the need for defense hence ancient people had to invent some weapons they could use to protect themselves against enemies.

The catapult and trebuchet are among the weapons that were invented. Most people think that catapult and trebuchet are the same thing hence use the words interchangeably.

So, what is the main difference between catapult and trebuchet? Catapult is used to target objects which are small in size and weight while a trebuchet is used to target objects which are big in size and weight.

For more information about the difference between catapult and trebuchet in tabular form, continue reading the article. You will also get to learn of the similarities between the two.

You May Also Like: Difference between Black and Milds and Cigarettes

Comparison Table (Catapult vs. Trebuchet)

Basic TermsCatapultTrebuchet
MeaningIt is a type of ancient weapon used to throw objects at a greater distance.It is a type of catapult.
InventionIt was invented first.It came into existence after some time.
FunctioningIt uses abrupt releases of reserved potential energy to drive the load.It uses mechanical energy to throw a projectile.
Length of the arm.It has a short arm.It has a long arm.
Effect of climateIt is affected by climate as it is built of spring which may not work properly during the rainy season.It is less affected by climate.
AccuracyIt is more accurate.It is comparatively less accurate.
PopularityIt was more popular during middle age.It was less popular as it came in to picture later.
Commonly usedIt is not commonly used.It is commonly used because of its impact and acceleration.
ImpactHas less impact.Has more impact.
MovableIt is more movable as it has less weight.More difficult to move because it is heavy.
Torsion springIt uses a torsion spring.It commonly uses wood.
Traction and gravityIt does not use traction and gravity to hurl at the objects.It uses traction and gravity to hurl at the objects.
Weight topsIt has a maximum of 180 pounds.It has a maximum of 350 pounds.
RangeIt has less range.It has a longer range.
PreferenceIt is not preferred in most cases.It is mostly preferred as it can lift heavy objects.

What is Catapult?

The catapult is a weapon that was invented by ancient people in order to defend themselves in case of an attack. It is a device made for shooting with small stones.

It is made in a Y-shape stick with a piece of an elastic band tied between the two top parts. It is used to set objects in motion at a significant distance.

They are usually small in size and are of different types. The commonly used ones are the ones with a twisted spring.

The other types include; Ballistae which was used for hurling large stones. The mangonel was used to throw large objects. Sprinkled which was used in limited space and finally the trebuchet.

It was considered as one of the most effective weapons to destroy the enemy key objects. It is also available in modern times in form of a slingshot.

What is Trebuchet?

The trebuchet is a weapon that was invented after the invention of the catapult. It is a type of catapult only that it is large in size and can aim at large objects as compared to catapult.

It consists of a sling on a pivoted wooden arm set in motion by the fall of the weight. It was first invented in China and thereafter moved to the West.

It carries a heavy load and has a flexible strap to support the loaded objects. It can throw an object weighing 200 kg to a distance of 500 meters.

It is not easily moved. It has four parts whereby the first is a motionless frame, signals on a shaft, slingback to hold the load, and finally ropes on each side to pull down the beam.

It is popular among people who engage in warfare. It carries more impact as compared to other weapons in the same category.

Main Difference between Catapult and Trebuchet

  1. Catapult is small in size while trebuchet is large in size.
  2. Catapult is movable while trebuchet is not movable.
  3. Catapult has less speed and impact while trebuchet has more speed and impact.
  4. Catapult has less capability to hurl objects at long distances while a trebuchet has more capability to hurl objects at longer distances.
  5. Catapult is not a type while trebuchet is a type of catapult.
  6. Catapult does not have the ability to throw heavy objects while a trebuchet has the ability to throw heavy objects.
  7. Catapult uses torsion spring while trebuchet uses wood.
  8. Catapult is more accurate while trebuchet is less accurate.
  9. Catapult is affected by climate while trebuchet is rarely affected by climate.
  10. Catapult has a short arm while a trebuchet has a long arm.

Similarities between Catapult and Trebuchet

  1. They are both used to hurl at objects.
  2. Both were ancient weapons.


The catapult and trebuchet were both ancient weapons that were invented by ancient people to be used during war times.

The two have been confused by many people and referred to interchangeably. Trebuchet is a type of catapult while catapult is not of any type.

The main difference between catapult and trebuchet is that the catapult is small in size and is used to hurl at objects which are small while the trebuchet is large in size and is used to hurl at objects which are large in size.

More Sources and References:

Leave a Comment