I believe the overall consensus is that building straight muscle mass without weights is less effective.
Here's a nice comparison of weight training vs callisthenics.
My summary of it is the following:
- Building muscle mass requires
progressive overload and a proper
- Progressive overload is achieved in weight training by adding more weights.
- Progressive overload in callisthenics is achieved by performing easier variations of an exercise and progressing to harder variations of the movement (e.g. wall pushups > chair pushups > knee pushups > pushups > advanced pushups).
- Bodyweight workouts have a barrier to entry, in other words, you need to be in shape a bit, to begin with (very hard to perform push-ups if you're overweight). You can overcome this by performing easier variations of the exercise as per the previous point.
- Building muscle with callisthenics is not impossible just different.
Does using weights allow you to build muscle faster[?]
[Can] you build muscle at a similar speed without using weights?
Potentially, up to a muscular ceiling.
I believe these types of questions arise from individuals who don't have access to a gym or the equipment needed to do weight training. If you're interested in building muscle mass and have access to a gym, I strongly suggest going. If you don't have access, for any reason, you can still do weighted workouts from home. You don't need an entire expensive home gym.
Find your favourite
bodyweight home workout and just start there. Get in the habit of performing it. While you're starting that, get your eating on point.
Now that you're getting your eating on point, you've got a left over jug of milk. Fill it with water. Got a back-pack? Fill it with heavy books. Boom, weight. Change those bodyweight squats to goblet squats. Start adding in some bicep curls and one arm rows too. Push-ups can become weighted push-ups.