Cessna 172 vs 182 | Best Aircraft For Flight Training School

The main difference between the Cessna 172 vs 182 is that the Cessna 182 offers higher performance with a more powerful engine and larger payload capacity, while the Cessna 172 is known for its ease of use and lower operating costs.

Cessna 172 vs 182

The Cessna 172 vs 182 both are two of the most iconic aircraft in general aviation, each boasting its unique blend of performance, utility, and ease of operation. The Cessna 172, with a more affordable new price of $419,620, is powered by a Lycoming IO-360-L2A engine, producing 180 horsepower. It’s renowned for its forgiving flight characteristics, making it a favorite among flight training schools. With a maximum gross weight of 2,558 lbs and a useful load of 878 lbs, it offers a cruise speed of 124 knots and a range of approximately 640 nautical miles, based on a fuel capacity of 56 gallons. Check out our comparison of the Cessna 150 vs Cessna 152 to see how they differ.

Cessna 172 vs 182
Cessna 172 vs 182

In contrast, the Cessna 182, priced higher at $530,000, steps up in performance with a Lycoming IO-540-AB1A5 engine, delivering 230 horsepower. This power boost translates into a higher service ceiling of 18,100 feet, a faster cruise speed of 145 knots, and a longer range capability, thanks to its 87-gallon fuel tank. The 182’s maximum gross weight of 3,100 lbs and a useful load of 1,110 lbs underscore its enhanced payload capacity. Its takeoff and landing distances are shorter than the 172’s, showcasing its robust performance.

Both aircraft share a wingspan around 36 feet and have similar wing areas, yet the Cessna 182’s larger engine and greater fuel capacity make it more suited for longer trips with more cargo or passengers. The 172, while slightly less powerful, shines in training environments and shorter, economical flights. Ultimately, the choice between the two comes down to specific needs: the Cessna 172 offers simplicity and cost-effectiveness, ideal for new pilots and flight schools, while the Cessna 182 serves those requiring more power, range, and payload capacity for varied missions.

Cessna 172 vs 182

Cessna 172

Cessna 172
Cessna 172

The Cessna 172, affectionately known as the Skyhawk, is the most popular and widely produced light aircraft in history. Since its introduction in 1956, more than 44,000 units have graced the skies, serving as the go-to choice for flight training, leisure flying, and light transport. Boasting a single Lycoming IO-360-L2A engine that delivers 180 horsepower, the Cessna 172 offers a blend of simplicity and performance that appeals to both novice pilots and seasoned flyers. It can carry up to four people, with a cruise speed of 124 knots and a maximum range of 640 nautical miles, making it ideal for a variety of flying activities. Its durable design, ease of control, and affordable operating costs have made the Skyhawk a foundational aircraft in the world of aviation, beloved by flying schools and private owners alike.

Cessna 182

Cessna 182
Cessna 182

The Cessna 182, also known as the Skylane, is a high-performance, single-engine airplane that’s been a favorite among pilots since its debut in 1956. It’s a step up from the Cessna 172 in terms of power, space, and capability, equipped with a robust Lycoming IO-540-AB1A5 engine that pumps out 230 horsepower. This power increase translates to a cruise speed of 145 knots and a range of up to 915 nautical miles.

The 182 can comfortably seat four people and is celebrated for its reliability, versatility, and the ability to handle different flying conditions with ease. Its spacious cabin, higher payload capacity of 1,110 pounds, and substantial fuel capacity of 87 gallons make it an excellent choice for longer trips and more demanding flight missions. With its blend of performance and practicality, the Cessna 182 Skylane holds a special place in the hearts of private owners, flight schools, and adventure seekers worldwide.

Cessna 172 vs 182 Engines & Fuel

When comparing the engines and fuel capacities of the Cessna 172 vs 182, there are significant differences to note. The Cessna 172 is equipped with a Lycoming IO-360-L2A engine that delivers 180 horsepower, making it a reliable choice for training and casual flying. It boasts a fuel capacity of 56 gallons, which contributes to its average cruise speed of 124 knots and a range of about 640 nautical miles on standard fuel settings. On the other hand, the Cessna 182 steps up the game with a more powerful Lycoming IO-540-AB1A5 engine, offering 230 horsepower. This engine supports the 182’s larger frame and increased capabilities, including a fuel capacity of 87 gallons. This larger fuel tank allows the Cessna 182 to achieve a cruise speed of 145 knots and extend its range up to 915 nautical miles, making it better suited for longer trips and heavier loads. The 182’s enhanced engine power and fuel capacity reflect its design for more demanding flight missions, providing a clear distinction from the 172’s focus on efficiency and training.

Cessna 172 vs 182 Performance

The Cessna 182 outperforms the Cessna 172 in several key areas, most notably in maximum cruise speed (145 ktas for the 182 vs. 124 ktas for the 172) and maximum range (915 nm for the 182 vs. 640 nm for the 172), making it the faster and farther-reaching aircraft. The 182 also has a higher service ceiling (18,100 ft vs. 14,000 ft) and a greater maximum climb rate (924 fpm vs. 730 fpm), further showcasing its superior performance capabilities. While the 182 consumes more fuel at 75% power (13 gph vs. 8.6 gph for the 172), its performance enhancements justify the increased fuel burn. Takeoff and landing distances are relatively comparable, but the 182’s slightly shorter takeoff distance and higher service ceiling indicate its enhanced efficiency and capability in various flight conditions.

Cessna 172 vs 182 Performance

Cessna 172 vs 182 Capacity and Capability

The Cessna 182 significantly surpasses the Cessna 172 in terms of capacity and capability, as evidenced by its higher maximum ramp weight (3,110 lb for the 182 vs. 2,558 lb for the 172) and takeoff weight (3,100 lb for the 182 vs. 2,550 lb for the 172). This higher capacity allows for a greater useful load (1,110 lb for the 182 vs. 878 lb for the 172) and maximum payload (950 lb for the 182 vs. 870 lb for the 172), providing more flexibility in cargo and passenger transport. Additionally, the Cessna 182’s fuel capacity significantly exceeds that of the 172, with a usable fuel volume of 87 gallons compared to the 172’s 53 gallons, enhancing its range and endurance capabilities. These figures highlight the 182’s superior operational flexibility and utility, making it a more versatile choice for a wider range of flight missions.

Weight MetricCessna 172Cessna 182
Maximum Ramp Weight2,558 lb (1,160 kg)3,110 lb (1,411 kg)
Maximum Takeoff Weight2,550 lb (1,157 kg)3,100 lb (1,406 kg)
Maximum Landing Weight2,550 lb (1,157 kg)2,950 lb (1,338 kg)
Useable Fuel Weight318 lb (144 kg)522 lb (237 kg)
Maximum Fuel Volume56 gal (211.9 l)92 gal
Useable Fuel Volume53 gal (201 l)87 gal (329 l)
Basic Empty Weight1,680 lb (762 kg)2,000 lb (907 kg)
Useful Load878 lb (398 kg)1,110 lb (503 kg)
Maximum Payload870 lb (395 kg)950 lb (431 kg)
Full Fuel Payload560 lb (254 kg)588 lb (267 kg)
Cessna 172 vs 182 Capacity and Capability

Cessna 172 vs 182 Pricing

When comparing the Cessna 172 vs 182, pricing plays a significant role in decision-making for potential buyers. The Cessna 172, recognized for its affordability and reliability, typically ranges in price from around $70,000 for older models to upwards of $400,000 for new, state-of-the-art versions. On the other hand, the Cessna 182, with its enhanced performance capabilities and larger size, starts at about $100,000 for older models and can exceed $500,000 for the newest models on the market. These figures highlight the 182’s position as a more premium offering, reflecting its higher performance and capacity, while the 172 remains a popular choice for those seeking a more cost-effective entry into aircraft ownership.


In conclusion, the Cessna 172 vs 182 both planes stand as pillars of general aviation, each offering unique advantages to pilots and aviation enthusiasts. The Cessna 172, with its lower cost and ease of handling, is perfect for students and recreational pilots. Meanwhile, the Cessna 182, boasting higher performance and carrying capacity, caters to those requiring more power and space. Whether you’re taking your first flight lesson or looking for a reliable aircraft for cross-country trips, both the Cessna 172 and 182 provide dependable options that have stood the test of time. Ultimately, the choice between them depends on your specific flying needs and preferences, making either aircraft a worthy companion in the skies.


What are the main differences between the Cessna 172 vs 182?

he Cessna 172 is known for its ease of handling and lower operating costs, making it ideal for training and recreational flying. The Cessna 182 offers higher performance, more power, and greater carrying capacity, suited for more demanding flying tasks and longer trips.

Which aircraft is better for a beginner pilot, the Cessna 172 or 182?

The Cessna 172 is generally considered better for beginner pilots due to its forgiving flight characteristics and lower complexity, making it a popular choice for flight training.

Can the Cessna 182 carry more passengers and cargo than the 172?

Yes, the Cessna 182 has a higher payload capacity, allowing it to carry more passengers and cargo compared to the Cessna 172.

How do the operating costs of the Cessna 172 and 182 compare?

The operating costs of the Cessna 172 are typically lower than those of the Cessna 182, due to the 172’s less powerful engine and overall simpler design, leading to lower fuel consumption and maintenance expenses.

Which model has more advanced technology and avionics?

Newer models of both the Cessna 172 and 182 can be equipped with advanced technology and avionics, including the Garmin G1000 glass cockpit. However, the specific avionics package can vary depending on the year of manufacture and optional equipment chosen.

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