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 mostly 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 versus Plant Cell comparison chart
Animal CellPlant 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 to 90% of cell volume.
Centrioles Present in all animal cells Only present in lower plant forms (e.g. chlamydomonas)
Chloroplast Absent Plant cells have chloroplasts to make their own food.
Cytoplasm Present Present
Ribosomes Present Present
Mitochondria Present Present
Plastids Absent Present
Endoplasmic Reticulum (Smooth and Rough) Present Present
Peroxisomes Present Present
Golgi Apparatus Present Present
Plasma Membrane Only cell membrane Cell wall and a cell membrane
Microtubules/ Microfilaments Present Present
Flagella Present in some cells ( e.g. mammalian sperm cells) Present in some cells (e.g. sperm of bryophytes and pteridophytes, cycads and Ginkgo)
Lysosomes Lysosomes occur in cytoplasm. Lysosomes usually not evident.
Nucleus Present Present
Cilia Present Most plant cells do not contain cilia.

Cell Wall

A difference between plant cells and animal cells is that most animal cells are round whereas most plant cells are rectangular.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.


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.


All animal cells have centrioles whereas only some lower plant forms have centrioles in their cells (e.g. the male gametes of charophytes, bryophytes, seedless vascular plants, cycads, and ginkgo).


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


A lysosome is a membrane-bound spherical vesicle which contains hydrolytic enzymes that can break down many kinds of biomolecules. It is involved in cell processes,like secretion, plasma membrane repair, cell signaling, and energy metabolism. Animal cells have clearly defined lysosomes. The presence of lysosomes in plant cells in under debate. A few studies have reported presence of animal lysosomes in plant vacuoles therefore suggesting plant vacuoles fulfilling the role of the animal lysosomal system.

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.


Share this comparison:

If you read this far, you should follow us:

"Plant Cell vs Animal Cell." Diffen LLC, n.d. Web. 16 Jan 2018. < >