The decibel watt or dBW is a unit for the measurement of the strength of a signal expressed in decibels relative to one watt. It is used because of its capability to express both very large and very small values of power in a short range of number; e.g., 1 milliwatt = −30 dBW, 1 watt = 0 dBW, 10 watts = 10 dBW, 100 watts = 20 dBW, and 1,000,000 W = 60 dBW.
Compare dBW to dBm, which is referenced to one milliwatt (0.001 W).
A given dBW value expressed in dBm is always 30 more because 1 watt is 1,000 milliwatts, and a ratio of 1,000 (in power) is 30 dB; e.g., 10 dBm (10 mW) is equal to −20 dBW (0.01 W).
Although the decibel (dB) is permitted for use alongside SI units, the dBW is not.