Plant Cell vs. Animal Cell: What is the difference between Plant cell and Animal cell?

Plant Cell vs. Animal Cell: Discover the Key Differences, Similarities, as well as Some Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).
Plant Cell vs. Animal Cell: 5 Key Differences

Plant Cell vs. Animal Cell: Apart from being a type of eukaryotic cells meant to carry on all the essential life processes, plant and animal cell parts have many structural differences. Where plant cells have a fixed rectangular shape, animal cells are irregular in shape. While animal cells are devoid of chloroplasts and cell walls, they are important elements of a plant cell.

Defining plant cells and animal cells for better understanding

What is a plant cell?

A plant cell is the basic unit of life in all plants and contains chloroplast for food synthesis. It is enclosed by a cell wall that provides it a structure.

👉  Dwarf vs. Midget: Everything You Need To Know About The Difference Between Dwarf And Midget

What is an animal cell?

An animal cell is the basic unit of life in all animals and contains centrioles for cell division. It is not enclosed by a cell wall, thereby providing mobility to all the animals.

Considering plant cell vs. animal cell size and shape for differentiation

The size of plant cells could stretch anywhere between 10 to 100 micrometers, while that of an animal cell can range only around 10 to 30 micrometers. Plant cells have fixed shapes as cubic or rectangular. On the other hand, animal cells have varying shapes ranging from plain irregular to round ones.

Listing the similarities between a plant cell and an animal cell

  • Both plant and animal cells are eukaryotic, i.e., they have a nucleus.
  • Both plant and animal cells have vacuoles. 
  • Both plant and animal cells have mitochondria to help the cells break down sugar molecules and derive energy for life processes. 
  • A cell membrane surrounds both plant and animal cells. 
  • Plant and animal cell mitosis reproduction processes are also similar as they both use DNA while doing so. 
  • Both kinds of cells undergo cellular respiration to grow and maintain themselves.
  • Both cell types have ribosomes for synthesizing protein. 
  • Both microtubules and microfilaments are present in plants as well as animal cells to facilitate cytoskeletal support.
  • Granules are present in both plant and animal cells. 
👉  NATO vs. United Nations: What Is The Difference Between NATO And United Nations?

What are the 5 key differences between plant and animal cells?

BasisPlant CellAnimal Cell
Cell WallPlant cells have a cell wall.Animal cells do not have a cell wall. 
ChloroplastsTo synthesize their food by trapping sunlight, chloroplasts are present in plant cells.Animal cells do not have chloroplasts as they get their food from sources other than sunlight.
VacuolePlant cells have a single large vacuole for maintaining the shape and storing food and water.Animal cells have multiple small vacuoles.
LysosomesPlant cells rarely have lysosomes that are meant for molecule degradation.Animal cells contain lysosomes for breaking down the molecules with enzymatic action. 
CentriolesThey are absent in plant cells.Meant to assist in cell division, centrioles are present in animal cells. 

What is present in the animal cells but not in the plant cells?

Cilia and filaments, microvilli, centrioles, and lysosomes are all present in animal cells and absent in plant cells. 

Do animal cells have ribosomes?

Yes, ribosomes are present in both plant and animal cells. Composed majorly of RNA along with the proteins, animal cells contain ribosomes to be alive.

👉  Single vs. Duplicate Checks: What’s The Difference Between Single And Duplicate Checks?

Why do plant cells have cell walls and animal cells do not?

Cell walls are meant to provide rigidity and structure to the body. Plant cells have walls around them to have a rigid structure that eventually helps them to grow upright and stand tall without needing any support. Animal cells do not have cell walls as animals have a skeleton to provide structure and rigidity to the body. The absence of a cell wall allowed the development of greater diversity of tissues, cell types, and organs in animals. With constant evolution, it helped add mobility to the animal world.

Why are vacuoles absent in animal cells?

Vacuoles are meant to store food, water, and other nutrients for survival. Since plants are stationary, they need large vacuoles for sustenance. But this is not the case with animals. They are adept at locomotion and can move places in search of food and water. The presence of vacuoles in animal cells would mean a greater need for ATP (energy) consumption to get going. Thus, animal cells have extremely minuscule vacuoles.

Why are lysosomes absent in plant cells?

Meant for aiding in digestion and breaking down the waste material within the animal cells, lysosomes are absent in plant cells. This is because this action is performed in the plant cells by lytic vacuoles. 

Do plant cells have DNA?

All plant cells use DNA as genetic material. A coded set of instructions meant to synthesize RNA, DNA is found in the nucleus, the chloroplasts, and the mitochondria inside the plant cells. 

What is the smallest cell?

Smallest Animal Cell

A type of parasitic bacterium, mycoplasma, has been the smallest living cells discovered ever. It is present in the respiratory tract, primate bladder, genitals, and the waste disposal organs in animals. It is mere 10 micrometers in length and capable of growth and reproduction on its own. 

Smallest Plant Cell

The smallest living plant cell belongs to duckweed from the genus Wolffia. Their size is just 300 µm by 600 µm, with their mass reaching merely 150 µg. 

What is the color of the vacuole in an animal cell?

Smaller and fewer in number, animal cells have vacuoles that are the lightest shade of blue.

Where is DNA in plant cells?

The majority of DNA is present in the nucleus of the plant cells. Other than this, some DNA can be traced in the chloroplasts and the mitochondria within the cells. 

Looking at the plant cell vs. animal cell Venn diagram for further clarity

Comparison Chart

Plant Cell vs. Animal Cell: Discover the Key Differences, Similarities, as well as Some Answers to the Most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

Comparison Video


Plant vs. animal cell Bottomline

You may found an essential plant cell and animal cell difference in the life force the cell provides. Where plant cells are the basic units of life in all the plants, animal cells are essential for generating and sustaining the life force in all the animals. They differ in size, shape, and composition as well.

Alex Stantor
Alex Stantor

Alex Stantor is a Sorbonne University (Paris, France) graduate in Philosophy and Data Analysis. Currently, he is an Author and Researcher at Difference 101, he writes articles/blog posts on topics such as "thinking differently" and "the importance of difference". Alex is a passionate advocate of diversity in the workplace and in companies, and diversity and inclusion in corporate communications. He currently lives in Brooklyn.

      Difference 101