Volume Of A Cylinder

How To Find The Volume Of A Cylinder

Definition: The number of cubic units that will exactly fill a cylinder

How to find the volume of a cylinder

Although a cylinder is technically not a prism, it shares many of the properties of a prism. Like prisms, the volume is found by multiplying the area of one end of the cylinder (base) by its height.

Since the end (base) of a cylinder is a circle, the area of that circle is given by the formula:

area = π r2

Multiplying by the height h we get

volume = π r2
π is Pi, approximately 3.142
r is the radius of the circular end of the cylinder
h height of the cylinder

Volume of a partially filled cylinder


One practical application is where you have horizontal cylindrical tank partly filled with liquid. Using the formula above you can find the volume of the cylinder which gives it’s maximum capacity, but you often need to know the volume of liquid in the tank given the depth of the liquid.

This can be done using the methods described in Volume of a horizontal cylindrical segment

Oblique cylinders

Recall that an oblique cylinder is one that ‘leans over’ - where the top center is not over the base center point. In the figure above check "allow oblique’ and drag the top orange dot sideways to see an oblique cylinder.

It turns out that the volume formula works just the same for these. You must however use the perpendicular height in the formula. This is the vertical line to left in the figure above. To illustrate this, check ‘Freeze height’. As you drag the top of the cylinder left and right, watch the volume calculation and note that the volume never changes.

See Oblique Cylinders for a deeper discussion on why this is so.


Remember that the radius and the height must be in the same units - convert them if necessary. The resulting volume will be in those cubic units. So, for example if the height and radius are both in centimeters, then the volume will be in cubic centimeters.

Things to try

  1. In the figure above, click ‘reset’ and ‘hide details’
  2. Drag the two dots to alter the size and shape of the cylinder
  3. Calculate the volume of that cylinder
  4. Click ‘show details’ to check your answer.

Circular Cylinder Shape

r = radius
h = height
V = volume
L = lateral surface area
T = top surface area
B = base surface area
A = total surface area
π = pi = 3.1415926535898
√ = square root

Calculator Use

This online calculator will calculate the various properties of a cylinder given 2 known values. It will also calculate those properties in terms of PI π. This is a right circular cylinder where the top and bottom surfaces are parallel but it is commonly referred to as a “cylinder.”

Units: Note that units are shown for convenience but do not affect the calculations. The units are in place to give an indication of the order of the results such as ft, ft2 or ft3. For example, if you are starting with mm and you know r and h in mm, your calculations will result with V in mm3, L in mm2, T in mm2, B in mm2 and A in mm2.

Below are the standard formulas for a cylinder. Calculations are based on algebraic manipulation of these standard formulas.

Cylinder Formulas in terms of r and h:

  • Calculate volume of a cylinder:
    • V = πr2h
  • Calculate the lateral surface area of a cylinder (just the curved outside)**:
    • L = 2πrh
  • Calculate the top and bottom surface area of a cylinder 2 circles:
    • T = B = πr2
  • Total surface area of a closed cylinder is:
    • A = L + T + B = 2πrh + 2(πr2) = 2πr(h+r)

** The area calculated is only the lateral surface of the outer cylinder wall. To calculate the total surface area you will need to also calculate the area of the top and bottom. You can do this using the [circle calculator.

Cylinder Calculations:

Use the following additional formulas along with the formulas above.

  • Given radius and height calculate the volume, lateral surface area and total surface area.
    Calculate V, L, A | Given r, h
    • use the formulas above
  • Given radius and volume calculate the height, lateral surface area and total surface area.
    Calculate h, L, A | Given r, V
    • h = V / πr2
  • Given radius and lateral surface area calculate the height, volume and total surface area.
    Calculate h, V, A | Given r, L
    • h = L/2πr
  • Given height and lateral surface area calculate the radius, volume and total surface area.
    Calculate r, V, A | Given h, L
    • r = L/2πh
  • Given height and volume calculate the radius, lateral surface area and total surface area.
    Calculate r, L, A | Given h, V
    • $r = √( V / πh ).

Volume of a Cylinder

A cylinder is a solid composed of two congruent circles in parallel planes, their interiors, and all the line segments parallel to the segment containing the centers of both circles with endpoints on the circular regions.


The volume of a 33 -dimensional solid is the amount of space it occupies. Volume is measured in cubic units ( in3,ft3,cm3,m3in3,ft3,cm3,m3 , et cetera). Be sure that all of the measurements are in the same unit before computing the volume.

The volume VV of a cylinder with radius rr is the area of the base BB times the height hh .

V=Bh or V=πr2hV=Bh or V=πr2h


Find the volume of the cylinder shown. Round to the neatest cubic centimeter.



The formula for the volume of a cylinder is V=Bh or V=πr2hV=Bh or V=πr2h .

The radius of the cylinder is 88 cm and the height is 1515 cm.

Substitute 88 for rr and 1515 for hh in the formula V=πr2hV=πr2h .




Therefore, the volume of the cylinder is about 30163016 cubic centimeters.

Method1: Find the Volume of a Cylinder


Find the radius of the circular base. Either circle will do since they are the same size. If you already know the radius, you can move on. If you don’t know the radius, then you can use a ruler to measure the widest part of the circle and then divide it by 2. This will be more accurate than trying to measure half of the diameter. Let’s say that the radius of this cylinder is 1 inch (2.5 cm). Write it down.
If you know the diameter of the circle, just divide it by 2.
If you know the circumference, then you can divide it by 2π to get the radius.

Calculate the area of the circular base. To do this, just use the formula for finding the area of a circle, A = πr2. Just plug the radius you found into the equation. Here’s how to do it:
A = π x 12
A = π x 1
A = π
Since π is normally rounded to 3.14, you can say that the area of the circular base is 3.14 in.2


Find the height of the cylinder. If you know the height already, move on. If not, use a ruler to measure it. The height is the distance between the edges of the two bases. Let’s say the height of the cylinder is 4 inches (10.2 cm). Write it down.

Multiply the area of the base by the height. You can think of the volume of the cylinder as the area of the base being extended throughout the height of the cylinder. Since you know that the area of the base is 3.14 in.2 and that the height is 4 in., you can just multiply the two together to get the volume of the cylinder. 3.14 in.2 x 4 in. = 12.56 in.3 This is your final answer.
Always state your final answer in cubic units because volume is the measure of a three-dimensional space.