A Power Factor Definition
Depends on Your Perspective

A power factor definition is stated many ways, but it's the same phenomena explained from differing viewpoints. Often missing are some simple power factor theory fundamentals, thus causing it to seem like 'electrical voodoo'.

From an energy supplier's perspective:The power factor formula represents the fraction of power used by a customer compared to the total apparent power supplied, expressed as a percentage.Also stated as the ratio of 'real power' to 'apparent power', or as 'Watts' to 'kVA'
PF = avg Watts / (rms Volts x rms Amps)

From a transmission and distribution perspective:A power factor represents how far the electrical equipment causes its current flow to be out of phase with the voltage in the transmission line.

Power Factor Definition from a Textbook: (which meant nothing to me for sooo long)Power Factor is the cosine of the phase angle between the voltage and the current.

From an Industrial Engineer's perspective:Power factor describes how much of the current is attributable to delivering real power. A power factor of one (unity or 1.0) means that all the current is delivering real power and a power factor of zero indicates that none of the current is delivering real power.

These definitions lack the explanation "why do we have a phase angle to begin with", "how can power not be Real Power" and "so what if I have a low Power Factor". Don't worry. It's not that complicated!

OK, lets get some fundamentals on the "Power Factor Fundamentals" page.

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