# Calculate Number of Hours, Minutes & Seconds Between Two datetimes in Python (3 Examples)

In this article you’ll learn how to compute the number of hours, minutes, and seconds between two dates and times using the Python programming language.

Our table of content is structured as shown below:

Let’s dive right into it!

## Add-On Libraries

As a first step, we have to import the datetime module and relativedelta from the dateutil module:

import datetime from dateutil import relativedelta |

import datetime from dateutil import relativedelta

## Example 1: Calculate the Difference Between Two Dates in Hours, Minutes & Seconds Format

Then, let’s construct some example datetime objects for our example:

datetime_1 = datetime.datetime(1999, 10, 25, 19, 3, 16) datetime_2 = datetime.datetime(1999, 6, 1, 9, 12, 7) |

datetime_1 = datetime.datetime(1999, 10, 25, 19, 3, 16) datetime_2 = datetime.datetime(1999, 6, 1, 9, 12, 7)

Afterwards, we will set the difference between the dates to a timedelta object by simply using the minus sign.

Note: The following if else statement can be used to avoid negative difference results due to dates being unknown in the program initially.

if datetime_1 < datetime_2: diff = datetime_2 - datetime_1 else: diff = datetime_1 - datetime_2 |

if datetime_1 < datetime_2: diff = datetime_2 - datetime_1 else: diff = datetime_1 - datetime_2

The subtraction operation between two datetime objects returns a timedelta object.

print(type(diff)) # <class 'datetime.timedelta'> |

print(type(diff)) # <class 'datetime.timedelta'>

A timedelta object has the following fields and functions for use:

print("No. of Total Seconds:", diff.total_seconds()) # Total difference in seconds print("No. of Days:", diff.days) # Number of days between the datetimes print("No. of Seconds:", diff.seconds) # Number of seconds in the remainder print("No. of Microseconds:", diff.microseconds) # Number of microseconds in the remainder # of Total Seconds: 12649869.0 # of Days: 146 # of Seconds: 35469 # of Microseconds: 0 |

print("No. of Total Seconds:", diff.total_seconds()) # Total difference in seconds print("No. of Days:", diff.days) # Number of days between the datetimes print("No. of Seconds:", diff.seconds) # Number of seconds in the remainder print("No. of Microseconds:", diff.microseconds) # Number of microseconds in the remainder # of Total Seconds: 12649869.0 # of Days: 146 # of Seconds: 35469 # of Microseconds: 0

If you still have doubts about the timedelta object fields, you can use the following line to ease your mind (of course this is only true if there are microsecond differences between datetimes).

print("Are they the same?", (diff.total_seconds() - diff.days * 24 * 60 * 60) == diff.seconds) # Are they the same? True |

print("Are they the same?", (diff.total_seconds() - diff.days * 24 * 60 * 60) == diff.seconds) # Are they the same? True

Although the timedelta library provides the basic units, we may need more types of units. In order to achieve this, we can do the following:

First let’s set our desired time units in terms of seconds. In this example we will focus on hours, minutes, and seconds.

minute = 60 hour = minute * 60 |

minute = 60 hour = minute * 60

We will use the built-in function divmod for the next part. It’s a function which divides the first parameter with the second parameter and returns a tuple: (quotient, remainder).

hours = divmod(diff.total_seconds(), hour) # Calculate the amount of full hours minutes = divmod(hours[1], minute) # Divide remainder to find minutes seconds = minutes[1] # Divide remainder to find seconds print("Time difference: %d hours, %d minutes and %d seconds" % (hours[0], minutes[0], seconds)) # Time difference between dates: 3513 hours, 51 minutes and 9 seconds |

hours = divmod(diff.total_seconds(), hour) # Calculate the amount of full hours minutes = divmod(hours[1], minute) # Divide remainder to find minutes seconds = minutes[1] # Divide remainder to find seconds print("Time difference: %d hours, %d minutes and %d seconds" % (hours[0], minutes[0], seconds)) # Time difference between dates: 3513 hours, 51 minutes and 9 seconds

## Example 2: Difference in Weeks & Days

This example explains how to get the time difference in weeks and days using the same dates as in Example 1.

Similar to the previous example, we will get the difference, set our time units, and calculate the amounts corresponding to each time unit.

datetime_1 = datetime.datetime(1999, 10, 25, 19, 3, 16) datetime_2 = datetime.datetime(1999, 6, 1, 9, 12, 7) if datetime_1 < datetime_2: diff = datetime_2 - datetime_1 else: diff = datetime_1 - datetime_2 minute = 60 hour = minute * 60 day = hour * 24 week = day * 7 weeks = divmod(diff.total_seconds(), week) # Calculate the amount of full weeks days = divmod(weeks[1], day) # Divide remainder to find days hours = divmod(days[1], hour) # Divide remainder to find hours minutes = divmod(hours[1], minute) # Divide remainder to find minutes seconds = minutes[1] # Divide remainder to find seconds print("Time difference: %d weeks, %d days, %d hours, %d minutes and %d seconds" % (weeks[0], days[0], hours[0], minutes[0], seconds)) # Time difference: 20 weeks, 6 days, 9 hours, 51 minutes and 9 seconds |

datetime_1 = datetime.datetime(1999, 10, 25, 19, 3, 16) datetime_2 = datetime.datetime(1999, 6, 1, 9, 12, 7) if datetime_1 < datetime_2: diff = datetime_2 - datetime_1 else: diff = datetime_1 - datetime_2 minute = 60 hour = minute * 60 day = hour * 24 week = day * 7 weeks = divmod(diff.total_seconds(), week) # Calculate the amount of full weeks days = divmod(weeks[1], day) # Divide remainder to find days hours = divmod(days[1], hour) # Divide remainder to find hours minutes = divmod(hours[1], minute) # Divide remainder to find minutes seconds = minutes[1] # Divide remainder to find seconds print("Time difference: %d weeks, %d days, %d hours, %d minutes and %d seconds" % (weeks[0], days[0], hours[0], minutes[0], seconds)) # Time difference: 20 weeks, 6 days, 9 hours, 51 minutes and 9 seconds

The previous two examples were solved with a more hands-on approach to the problem, and it is problematic for months because the day count varies throughout the months, which brings us to our final example.

## Example 3: Using relativedelta Library

In this example we will use a library which automatically partitions the time starting from years until seconds. If you need a full scope of standard time units, this is the most practical method.

Note: Even though relativedelta has a weeks field as well, it’s only for operations between relativedelta objects and can’t be used for this example.

datetime_1 = datetime.datetime(1999, 10, 25, 19, 3, 16) datetime_2 = datetime.datetime(1999, 6, 1, 9, 12, 7) if datetime_1 < datetime_2: diff = relativedelta.relativedelta(datetime_2, datetime_1) else: diff = relativedelta.relativedelta(datetime_1, datetime_2) years = diff.years months = diff.months days = diff.days hours = diff.hours minutes = diff.minutes seconds = diff.seconds print("Time difference: %d years %d months %d days %d hours %d minutes %d seconds" % (years, months, days, hours, minutes, seconds)) # Time difference: 0 years 4 months 24 days 24 hours 51 minutes 9 seconds |

datetime_1 = datetime.datetime(1999, 10, 25, 19, 3, 16) datetime_2 = datetime.datetime(1999, 6, 1, 9, 12, 7) if datetime_1 < datetime_2: diff = relativedelta.relativedelta(datetime_2, datetime_1) else: diff = relativedelta.relativedelta(datetime_1, datetime_2) years = diff.years months = diff.months days = diff.days hours = diff.hours minutes = diff.minutes seconds = diff.seconds print("Time difference: %d years %d months %d days %d hours %d minutes %d seconds" % (years, months, days, hours, minutes, seconds)) # Time difference: 0 years 4 months 24 days 24 hours 51 minutes 9 seconds

The tutorial where the relativedelta library is used to calculate the difference in terms of days, months, and years can be found in the list of tutorials below.

## Video, Further Resources & Summary

In case you need more examples and explanations on how to get time differences using Python, you should have a look at the following YouTube video of the Statistics Globe YouTube channel.

*The YouTube video will be added soon.*

Furthermore, you might have a look at some of the related tutorials on the Statistics Globe website:

- Calculate Number of Years, Months & Days Between Two Dates in Python
- Calculate Time Difference Between Two datetime Objects in Python
- Calculate Time Difference in Milliseconds Between Two datetimes
- Add & Subtract Weeks to & from Date in Python
- Add Days, Months & Years to datetime Object

This article has shown how to **get the time difference between two dates in hours, minutes, and seconds**. In case you have any additional questions, you might leave a comment below.

This page was created in collaboration with Ömer Ekiz. You may have a look at Ömer’s author page to read more about his academic background and the other articles he has written for Statistics Globe.