Chemistry Science

Difference between Molecules and Compounds

Molecules vs. Compounds

 Molecules and Compounds are both substances formed from the bond between the elements, but they carry one major difference along with them. Molecules are formed by the bond between atoms of the elements. On the other hand, compounds are formed when atoms of different elements combined together and establish a bond to give the result to a compound. The molecules may or may not contain atoms of various kinds but it mandatory for the compounds to contain different types of atoms; minimum two separate atoms of different elements.

Difference Chart

Molecules Compounds
Bond Molecules are formed by the strong bond between two or more interactive atoms. Compounds are formed by the bond between two or more different atoms of different elements.
Relevance Not all molecules are compounds. All compounds can be taken up as molecules.
Structure A molecule is just a group of atoms being tied by the strong force. A compound is an actual matter in its complete shape.
Charge A molecule has no electric charge in itself. A compound may carry a positive or negative charge.
Form Molecules of the same element can exist in solid, liquid or gas form, with any size and weight. The compounds of the two or more elements always give uniform results under similar internal and external conditions.


In a chemical element, a molecule is considered to be the smallest particle of the comprising elements, which carries a fundamental similarity in its properties with these elements. The molecules are made of the atoms being held together under strong chemical bonds. This bond can either be electrovalent, i.e. established by sharing of electrons or covalent bond, which is the exchange of electrons. The molecules are identified amongst ions by their neutral nature, which means that the molecules carry no positive or negative charge with them. They are simply formed by the reaction of two atoms. For example, N2 and H2 are molecules of Nitrogen and Hydrogen, respectively.


Compounds are those chemicals substances which have been formed by the chemical bond between atoms of different elements. These different atoms carry a specific charge, the positively charged atoms are electron deficient, and the negatively charged atoms are electron efficient. These two different atoms come together to get into the neutral state by being bonded together and producing a new compound altogether. For example, the hydrogen atoms carrying a plus charge, H+ and oxygen atoms carrying a negative charge, O2-, combine chemically with a proportionate weight and give rise to water or H2O. Hence, H2O is a compound as it is formed by the bond of the atoms of two different elements, hydrogen and oxygen.

Key Differences

  1. Molecules may or may not be the results of the combination of the atoms from two different elements, but compounds are always formed when the atoms of different elements are bonded. Hence it is said that all compounds are molecular, but not all molecules are compounds.
  2. A molecule can be very unstable in itself as it is just the combination of two atoms but a compound is very stable and has a physical form which is visible to the naked eyes.
  3. Molecules of the same elements can be in any state, solid, liquid or gas. It can also vary in the weight and quantity, but a specific amount of two elements reacting together in a specific form will always give rise to a uniform type of compound.
  4. A molecule is the smallest unit of any substance which is formed by the bonds between atoms whereas a compound is a complete unit resulting from the bonds between atoms of different elements.
  5. The molecules are recognized by various factors like their arrangements, sizes and weights. But the compounds can simply be identified by their chemical formula, as that formula has the name of the elements taking part in the reaction and make the compound known.
  6. The molecules carry no charge along with them and are electrically neutral. On the other hand, compounds are formed when two oppositely charged elements react with each other and are bonded by the covalent bond or the bond of sharing electrons.
  7. Further subdivision of a molecule is not possible as it will lead to the breaking of the molecules into their basic atomic structure but the compounds can be disintegrated into separate molecules.

Video Explanation

Here, we can clearly see that molecules and compounds share a very thin line of difference, which if repeated, will stand to be that molecules are formed by various atomic bonds and compounds are formed by the bonds between atoms of different elements. Apart from this, the differences in forms, size, nature and behavior create more separation between the two forms of a chemical substance and make it easier for us to distinguish between the two.

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