If you are a science fiction fan you have probably heard of the terms Warp drive, Hyperdrive and Jump Drive. They all let the user travel at or past the speed of light. You probably thought they were synonyms for one 'faster-than-light' (FTL) engine. Well, you would be wrong in thinking that. We might not have Warp drives, hyperdrives or Jump drives yet but that doesn't mean we don't know the science behind them or what makes them different. Here is some science and some science-fiction to explain the difference between the three.

Warp Drive

A Warp drives Bends and manipulates space to get from one location to another. Unlike the Jump drive or Hyperdrive, you cannot instantly travel from location 'A' to location 'B'. Warp drive equipped ships to travel extremely fast, many times the speed of light. When in warp the ship still interacts with objects in space and can crash similar to a ship in hyperspace. As our current understanding of physics prohibits traveling past 99.999% the speed of light, we cant just accelerate the ship to begin warping. We have to warp the space around the ship to move the ship itself, this theoretically solves the speed of light limitation.


A hyperdrive is a device used to enter hyperspace, which is a completely different dimension. When the hyperdrive is activated it will propel the spacecraft into hyperspace where it can cover immeasurable amounts of distance in mere seconds. Once it arrives at the corresponding hyperspace position of 'our space' it will exit hyperspace and be at its destination. Here is the catch though, what happens if you hit something when traveling in hyperspace? Your ship is whizzing past star systems in seconds, you won't know something is in your way until it is too late. The chances of that happening are obviously extremely minuscule, but there is still that slight risk. Eventually, hyperspace highways might pop up where hyperspace travelers know the route is clear of objects and celestial bodies. 

Why is it possible to traverse great distances in seconds using Hyperdrives?

There are two main theories as to why you can travel faster in Hyperspace. The first is the laws of relativity don't existent or the speed of light is dramatically increased. Everything in hyperspace is scaled down to where you travel at the speed but don't need to go as far as you would in 'our space' because everything is smaller and closer together. I invite you all to trash each other in the comments over which one you think is more plausible.

Jump Drive

Jump drives don't bend space or travel through it. Jump drives simply teleport the ship from location 'A' to location 'B' in an instant. That's about it.

A Quick Summary

Warp drives travel through space to get to its destination. Hyperdrives enter hyperspace (where things are quirky) to get its destination and Jump drives straight up teleport you to your destination. Obviously, these three concepts are heavily based in science fiction but it still answers the question 'What is the difference between a warp drive, hyperdrive and jump drive'.