Difference between EDT and EST | 6 Basic Comparisons

difference between EDT and EST

For me, time zones have always been confusing. I guess you are not any specialist on that too, that’s why you are here. Anyways, luckily I could manage to sort out the difference between EDT and EST. And now, I know what they are. Let me share the stuff I’ve learned regarding these two time zones. 

Eastern Time zone or ET is a time zone used in the North American regions (and a minor part of South America and the Caribbean region). The eastern time zone is divided into Eastern standard time(EST) and Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). These two time zones are used in the same region but during different seasons of the year. 

The concept of Time zone came into existence when a Scottish Canadian engineer named Sir Sandford Fleming proposed a system in 1878 to divide the world into 24 time zones based on the earth’s rotation. In 1883, the American railroads started using the time zone system that involves four time zones (Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific). By the year 1895, most USA states started adhering to the time zone system. 

The Eastern time zone includes 23 states from the eastern part of the USA, the eastern part of Canada, Panama, Haiti, Cuba, Ecuador, the Quintana roo state in Mexico, a minor part of western Brazil, some Caribbean regions like Brahmas and Jamaica. 
Since this article is based on the two eastern time zones, we will be specifically focusing on EDT and EST.

EDT is a north American time zone that is used during spring and summer. On the other hand, the EST time zone is a north American time zone that is used during the autumn and winter. Both these time zones are determined against the UTC. The EDT is one hour ahead of the EST.

Comparison chart

UTCUTC -4:00UTC -5:00
Part of the yearSpring and SummerAutumn and Winter
MonthsFrom the second Sunday of March to the first Sunday of NovemberFrom the first Sunday of November to the second Sunday of march
AbbreviationEastern Daylight TimeEastern Standard time
Number of countries5 countries9 countries

What is EDT?

Eastern Daylight Time, also known as Eastern daylight saving time (EDST) or North American eastern daylight time (NAEDT), is when observing daylight saving time during spring and summer. The EDT is four hours behind the UTC or the Coordinated Universal Time, generally represented by UTC -4:00. 

The Daylight saving time starts in the summer and ends right before the winter. During daylight saving time, the clock is forwarded by one hour. As a result, people get more sunlight during this time. 

George Hudson, an entomologist from New Zealand, proposed daylight saving time in 1895, and his idea was first implemented in 1908 in Thunder Bay, Canada.

However, the core idea of daylight saving time is to use daylight optimally and to save energy. By advancing the clock by an hour in the summer, the people get an extra hour during the day and an hour less in the night.

Usually, the daylight saving time starts on the second Sunday of March and ends on the first Sunday of November. And then the clock reversed to the Eastern standard time. 

Today, there are 5 countries around the globe that are using the EDT in many of their regions. These countries are the United States, Canada, Haiti, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos Islands. There are around 70 countries that have embraced the idea of daylight saving.

What is EST?

During the autumn and winter, the clock goes backwards again by an hour. This is the time that is referred to as the EST or the Eastern standard time. In many parts of the North American continent, a minor part of South America and the Caribbean follow the EST. Eastern standard time is five hours behind the UTC or the GMT (Greenwich meantime). EST is generally represented by UTC -5:00. 

Eastern standard time is being used throughout the year when the EDT is not in use. Typically starts on the first Sunday in November at 2:00 am and ends on the second Sunday of March. Then the clock is forwarded by an hour and reversed to the EDT time. 

Today several regions of 9 countries around the globe follow the Eastern standard time. These countries are the United States, Canada, Mexico, Panama, Haiti, Turks and Caicos Island, Jamaika, and the Cayman Islands.

The key differences between EDT and EST

  1. EDT stands for Eastern standard time, while EST stands for Eastern Standard Time.
  2. EDT is four hours behind the UTC. On the other hand, EST is five hours behind the UTC.
  3. EDT starts on the seconds Sunday of March and ends on the first Sunday of November. Conversely, the EST starts on the first Sunday of November and ends on the second Sunday of March.  
  4. EDT is followed during the summer and spring. In contrast, the EST is followed during the Autumn and Winter. 
  5. During the EDT, the clock is advanced by one hour. And during the EST, the clock is backed by one hour.
  6. Several regions in 5 countries follow the EDT. On the other hand, several regions in 9 countries follow EST.

EDT vs EST: Converting

As the entire world is divided into several time zones, it becomes confusing for us to choose the best time to contact other people who live in other regions of the world. In this era of the internet, or even during the days of telephones, it has always been an issue. 

But for necessity, we cannot avoid the obligation of choosing the best time. Hence, we need to be aware of the time zones at least where we are obliged to contact.

Luckily, the difference between EDT and EST time is not so broad. It’s only one hour. The EDT is 4 hours behind the UTC, while the EST is 5 hours behind the UTC: as we have mentioned earlier. Nevertheless, if you are from the EDT zone and you need to contact a person (maybe for the sake of an official or business conference), all you need to do is deduct an hour from your current time. 

Suppose the current time in your clock is 6 p.m, that means the current time in EST zones is 5 p.m. And if you are staying at an EST zone, and your time is currently 6 P.M, all you have to do is to add an hour with your current time. However, if that still confuses you, you can always use a time zone converter available on the internet.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs):

What is 3 pm EST in EDT?

Generally, the EDT is four hours behind the UTC, while the EST is 5 hours behind the UTC. That means 3 p.m EST means 4 P.M in EDT. You can use online time converters or applications if you still find the calculation a bit confusing.

Is Atlantic Time Zone same as Eastern?

The Atlantic time zone and eastern time zone are not the same. The Atlantic time zone is used by the Virgin Islands of the USA and Puerto Rico, Barbados, Bermuda, and some other regions. The Atlantic Time zone is UTC -4:00, while the Eastern standard time from the Eastern Time zone is UTC -5:00.

What GMT is est?

The eastern standard time is 5 hours behind Greenwich mean time or GMT. However, there is no time difference between GMT and UTC.


The core difference between EDT and EST is in the part of the year they are being used. While the EDT is followed in the summer and spring, the EST is observed during the winter and autumn. During the EDT time, the clock is forwarded by one hour. So, the EST time zone, while it comes to UTC, is one hour behind.

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