Powerball vs Mega Millions: Which One is Better for You?

Playing the lottery is pretty much the same no matter which one you play. But there are some subtle differences between each game like how it’s played, and sometimes the price of the tickets. Regardless of your preference between recent Powerball results and Mega Millions results, both are highly popular with massive prizes offered and a solid history of paying out life-changing wins.

Whether you’re looking for better odds, larger prizes, or simply a lottery option that draws more often, we’ve got you covered with all the details you need to make an objective comparison. Let’s consider both these lottery games and compare them against each other to see which one is the best.

An Overview of Powerball vs Mega Millions

US Powerball Mega Millions
Price per ticket $2 per play $2 per play
Largest prize pool $2.4 billion
Popularity Both are very popular and ticket sales often depend on the size of the prize being offered
Available in the US Available in 45 US states Available in 45 US states
Largest jackpot won $2.4 billion $1.6 billion

Powerball vs Mega Millions By Criteria

When choosing between the US Powerball and the Mega Millions lotteries, there are some of your own preferences we’ve put forward. Your criteria may be different from someone else’s, so here are some suggestions to consider when choosing.

Ticket Prices

The ticket prices per play on the Powerball and the Mega Millions are the same. Of course if you decide to buy lottery tickets online from sites like theLotter, you may notice some bonuses or discounts on buying them in bulk. Depending on your budget, it’s often a good idea to buy more than one ticket at a time, since this significantly reduces the per-ticket price and increases your chances of hitting a win.

Odds of Winning

The odds of winning the US Powerball are 1 in 292.2 million. The odds of winning the Mega Millions lottery are 1 in 302.5 million. As you can see, these are close to each other, and each may fluctuate based on how many people play at any particular time (which usually depends on the size of the jackpot).

Availability in Your Country

Both the US Powerball and the Mega Millions lotteries are available in 45 US states, and these are the same states respectively. Since only 5 states are excluded, these two lotteries are very popular across the US, which is why the prize pools are often so huge.

Bonus Numbers and Other Game Rules

Now let’s look at how to play each of these two games:

  • How to Play US Powerball: Playing the US Powerball involves picking five numbers from 1 – 69. These will be your main lottery numbers which can also be selected through the “Quickplay” option where these numbers are drawn at random. Then you can pick one Powerball number from 1 – 26. If your numbers match the five drawn, you will win $1 million. If you match the five numbers AND the Powerball number, you will win the jackpot which is often in excess of hundreds of millions of US dollars. There’s also an option to play Powerball x2, which costs an extra $1 and doubles your prize if you win any prize tier other than the jackpot.
  • How to Play Mega Millions: Similarly, Mega Millions is played by picking six numbers from 1 – 70, but in this case the numbers are selected from two pools of numbers. Then a “Gold Mega Ball” number must be selected from 1 – 25. Again, these numbers can be generated randomly when you buy your ticket through the “Quick Pick” option if you choose. If you match all six numbers, you will win $1 million, and if you match all six numbers along with the Gold Mega Ball, the jackpot is yours!

Draw frequency

One main difference between the Mega Millions and US Powerball lotteries is that US Powerball draws three times every week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Mega Millions draws only twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays each week. This may be the factor that makes Powerball just slightly more popular than the Mega Millions lottery.

Powerball vs Mega Millions: Which Jackpots are Higher?

As we’ve seen, the US Powerball trumps Mega Millions in terms of the biggest historic jackpot payout. Let’s look at some of these winner stories to inspire you to buy lottery tickets online from sites like Lotto Agent.

Largest Powerball Jackpot Won: $2.04 Billion

Edwin Castro of California was the winner of the largest US Powerball jackpot in history, boasting a win of $2.04 billion in Nov 2022. He opted for the lump sum option and took home just under $1 billion after taxes ($997.6 million to be exact).

Largest Mega Millions Jackpot Won: $1.6 Billion

The largest Mega Millions jackpot was won by an anonymous player in Florida in August of 2023. The winner did not have to pay any income tax on his winnings, and it’s unknown whether he or she took the lump sum or was paid out progressively through the annuity option.

2nd Largest Powerball Jackpot Won: $1.765 Billion

Theodorus Struyck was the lucky Los Angeles winner of the second largest Powerball jackpot ever won. He also opted for the lump sum amount and took home $774.1 million after taxes.

2nd Largest Mega Millions Jackpot Won: $1.537 Billion

A lottery player from South Carolina won the second biggest Mega Millions jackpot in October 2018. The player won a whopping $1.537 billion and opted to remain anonymous.

Our Verdict?

Objectively speaking, we’d have to say that the US Powerball is better than the Mega Millions lottery. This verdict is based on the fact that Powerball has paid out higher jackpots in the past, and their number pool of 69 is lower than Mega Millions’ number pool of 70. The US Powerball also lets you pick 5 numbers instead of 6, making the odds slightly more enticing than Mega Millions.

But the main reason is the excitement factor of Powerball. Since draws take place three times a week, there’s more excitement throughout the week for players who play regularly. There are more opportunities to play and watch the exciting draws on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays as opposed to only two Mega Millions draws on Tuesdays and Fridays.

That being said, there’s no reason not to play both! And as for calculating the probability of winning each lottery, we’ll leave that up to you.


Which Lottery Pays Out the Most Between Powerball and Mega Millions?

While the two have paid out similar amounts, historically US Powerball has the reputation for paying out the largest jackpots. Both these lottery games have exceeded the billion dollar mark, but only Powerball has reached an excess of $2 billion for a single jackpot.

Who are the Youngest Powerball Winners in History?

Both Farrah Slad and Timothy Schultz were only 21 when they won respective US Powerball jackpots in 1999. These amounts were nowhere near what’s won these days for those who play the lottery online or traditionally. Farrah Slad won $78 million and Timothy Schultz won $28 million.

What are Some Strategies for Winning the Mega Millions Lottery?

Some players claim they can increase their odds of winning the Mega Millions lottery by implementing certain lotto winning strategies. Whether or not these strategies work is up to you to decide, but many players have taken home 2nd, 3rd, and 4th tier prizes more than once using them.