Pressure vs Force: What is the Difference?

Here at SensorEdge, we love force plates. Like adding vanilla ice cream to a warm apple pie, they are great companions to our Pressure Mapping Sensors. That said, there are some important differences between Pressure Mapping and Force Measuring. We’ll break down a few of them here. We’re going to use the example of a person standing on a plate to make the explanation easier.


First, let’s talk about what they measure. You may remember that Force is calculated by multiplying mass by acceleration, or the formula F=ma. Where Force plates measure the force directly, pressure plates measure it indirectly by using the mass and acceleration from the Pressure data to calculate the force.

While Pressure Plates and Force Plates measure Force, only Pressure Plates measure the pressure distribution and changes throughout the foot and show how small tweaks to position, distribution, and movement influence the mechanics and results throughout the rest of the body. You can also think of the difference as a race car on a speedway. Force plates are like the radar gun telling you how fast the car is going, while pressure plates are like getting under the hood to understand what makes that car go fast.


Force plates are generally large pieces of heavy equipment that you will find difficult to move once installed. Pressure plates are significantly lighter and easier to move between locations or rearrange for different layouts. They are also easier to ship when due for calibration or service. Our pressure mapping sensors are also available for installation on top of Force Plates as a second mode of data collection, making setup in existing environments a breeze.


SensorEdge Pressure Mapping plates cost significantly less than force plates. For someone who is just getting started building a training facility for baseball, golf, rehabilitation, or fitness, the cost to include Pressure Mapping is generally 3x or more less expensive than incorporating force plates. For clients with force plates, Pressure Mapping is a way to include vast amounts of insightful data for a fraction of the price.

We often team up with Force Plate manufacturers to install our Pressure Plates on top of Force Plates to provide clients with integrated data, giving them a complete and detailed picture of the pressure and force data.

If you want to learn more about Pressure Mapping and how they can be used with Force Plates, please contact us. We're here to help.

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Pressure Mapping sensors have many applications.

Whether you're interested in one of our preexisting products, or if you have a project of your own, we are here to help!

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