Plant Cell vs. Animal Cell

Plant and animal cells have several differences and similarities. For example, animal cells do not have a cell wall or chloroplasts but plant cells do. Animal cells are round and irregular in shape while plant cells have fixed, rectangular shapes.

Plant and animal cells are both eukaryotic cells, so they have several features in common, such as the presence of a cell membrane, and cell organelles, like the nucleus, mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum.

Comparison chart

Animal Cell

Plant Cell

Cell wall Absent Present (formed of cellulose)
Shape Round (irregular shape) Rectangular (fixed shape)
Vacuole One or more small vacuoles (much smaller than plant cells). One, large central vacuole taking up 90% of cell volume.
Centrioles Present in all animal cells Only present in lower plant forms.
Chloroplast Animal cells don't have chloroplasts. Plant cells have chloroplasts because they make their own food.
Cytoplasm Present Present
Endoplasmic Reticulum (Smooth and Rough) Present Present
Ribosomes Present Present
Mitochondria Present Present
Plastids Absent Present
Golgi Apparatus Present Present
Plasma Membrane Only cell membrane Cell wall and a cell membrane
Microtubules/ Microfilaments Present Present
Flagella May be found in some cells May be found in some cells
Lysosomes Lysosomes occur in cytoplasm. Lysosomes usually not evident.
Nucleus Present Present
Cilia Present Most plant cells do not contain cilia.

Contents: Plant Cell vs Animal Cell

Chloroplasts

Plants are autotrophs; they produce energy from sunlight through the process of photosynthesis, for which they use cell organelles called chloroplasts. Animal cells do not have chloroplasts. In animal cells, energy is produced from food (glucose) via the process of cellular respiration. Cellular respiration occurs in mitochondria on animal cells, which are structurally somewhat analogous to chloroplasts, and also perform the function of producing energy. However, plant cells also contain mitochondria.

Shape

Cell Wall

Plant cells have a rigid cell wall that surrounds the cell membrane. Animal cells do not have a cell wall. When looking under a microscope, the cell wall is an easy way to distinguish plant cells.

Vacuoles

Shape and size of vacuoles

Animal cells have one or more small vacuoles whereas plant cells have one large central vacuole that can take up to 90% of cell volume.

Difference in function of vacuoles

In plant cells, the function of vacuoles is to store water and maintain turgidity of the cell. Vacuoles in animal cells store water, ions and waste.

Pictures of plant and animal cells

Structure of a Typical Plant Cell (click to enlarge)
Structure of a Typical Plant Cell (click to enlarge)
Structure of a Typical Animal Cell (click to enlarge)
Structure of a Typical Animal Cell (click to enlarge)

Video Comparing Plant and Animal Cells

This video summarizes the differences between animal and plant cells:

For a more in-depth look at the differences between plant and animal cell organelles, see this video.

Types of plant cells

This is a picture of the various types of plant cells, including xylem, phloem, sclerenchyma and collenchyma.
This is a picture of the various types of plant cells, including xylem, phloem, sclerenchyma and collenchyma.

References

Share this comparison:

If you read this far, you should follow us:

"Plant Cell vs Animal Cell." Diffen.com. Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 21 May 2015. < >

Related Comparisons Follow Diffen
Top 5 Comparisons
Make Diffen Smarter.

Log in to edit comparisons or create new comparisons in your area of expertise!

Sign up »

Comments: Animal Cell vs Plant Cell

Anonymous comments (13)

June 19, 2012, 3:55pm

Thank You very much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

— 115.✗.✗.83
49

June 24, 2010, 2:43am

thank you so much buddy!!!! this will be very helpful in my assignment... thanks a lot God Bless

— 121.✗.✗.148
32

February 4, 2014, 6:08pm

helped me TONS with my science review(: thanks!

— 216.✗.✗.28
23

October 6, 2009, 7:20pm

thank you so much! u made my biology project MUCH easier! :D

— 98.✗.✗.216
15

February 17, 2010, 2:12pm

helped me a lot seriously!!!!!

— 115.✗.✗.163
14

October 20, 2013, 8:38pm

Essay complete! Thanks so much!

— 98.✗.✗.233
12

April 12, 2012, 10:09am

wohooooo....i like it....

— 106.✗.✗.23
12

June 21, 2010, 1:55pm

THANKS ALOT ..BUDDYY..

— 212.✗.✗.200
11

October 6, 2009, 1:34am

thankyou soo muchh i understand soo much now
you made it so much more easy to understand THANKYOUU!!!

— 114.✗.✗.50
11

December 24, 2013, 6:55am

Wow science is very so easy 4 some 1 dat is gifted

— 141.✗.✗.163
10

November 29, 2013, 4:01pm

Not bad

— 98.✗.✗.128
9

January 21, 2014, 9:35pm

Shapes are SO varied across plant and animal cells that they should NEVER be used as a comparison... e.g. columnar epithelial cells in animals are cuboidal and parenchyma cells in plant stems are spherical.

— 190.✗.✗.124
8

February 27, 2014, 2:38am

this was perfect......I got 9/9 on an assignment

— 184.✗.✗.67
6

share

Up next

Cross Pollination vs. Self Pollination