Difference Between Metals and Non-Metals

Elements on the Earth are classified into metals and non-metals based on their characteristics and physical & Chemical properties. Let us understand what are Metals and Non Metals and the major differences between them their chemical and physical properties Metals and Non Metals

Definition Of Metals

What are metals? Metals are a class of elements that have properties such as luster, malleability, ductility, and high melting points. These characteristics make them excellent conductors of heat and electricity. Metals are also typically shiny or lustrous in appearance because they reflect light in their metallic form. It is one of the major factors that creates a comparison between metals and nonmetals.

Properties of metalsProperties of metals
Metals are good conductors of heat and electricityThe metal is malleable; it can be hammered into sheets or drawn into wires without breaking
Metals are ductile; they can be drawn into wires without breakingMany metals have a high melting point, making them useful for appliances and tools that require heat to function properly
Many metals are strong and durable, less likely to be damaged by chemicals or other forcesMetals are shiny and they can reflect light

Definition of Non-Metals

What are non-metals? Non-metals are a group of elements that typically lack metallic properties. They can be gases or solids and they don’t conduct electricity well. Non-metal atoms have their outer electron shell filled with electrons, so they’re reactive, not stable like metals. Non-metals include compounds such as oxygen and sulfur.

Properties of Non-MetalsProperties of Non-Metals
Non-metals are usually gases, liquids, or solids at room temperature.They have high surface tension and cohesion, so they don’t dissolve in water easily. They also won’t react with strong acids like hydrochloric acid. However, non-metals will react to bases such as sodium hydroxide, which is a base made of saltwater.
Non-metals are usually very reactive, and some react violently with oxygen in the air to create fire or explosions.One of the main differences between Metals and Non-Metals is that nonmetallic elements have a higher surface tension than metallic ones.    

Key Differences Between Metals And Non-Metals

Metals and non-metals are substances that can be differentiated on the basis of various physical and chemical properties.

  • Metals are easily oxidized and form a protective layer of oxide to prevent further oxidation.
  • Non-metals, on the other hand, do not readily react with oxygen, so they must be ignited or chemically combined in order to decompose.
  • Metals conduct electricity better than non-metals because their electrons are more free from one another. Lastly, metals are usually shiny and malleable, while non-metals tend to be dull or brittle.

These differences have significant implications in the way we use each of these substances, but it is also important that you know what else sets them apart.


The difference between metals and nonmetals is that the electrons in a metal are loosely bound to its nuclei. This allows them to be moved around easily, so they can conduct electricity or heat. Non-metallic elements do not have this property because there are no free-moving electrons.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the most abundant metal on earth?

Aluminium is the most abundant metal on earth.

How many metals are there in the periodic table?

There are 92 metals in the periodic table.

What is the most expensive metal on the Earth?

Rhodium is the most expensive metal on the Earth.

What is the difference between Alkali metal and alkaline earth metals?

Alkalis are softer, less reactive metals. They have a + charge on them because they lack electrons in their outer shells. Earths are more reactive and stronger than other metallic elements. Their name comes from an old word that means “earthen.”

What is the difference between a metal and an ore?

An ore is a mineral that occurs in an adequate quantity and has enough metal which can be extracted profitably. Whereas, a metal consists of two or more metallic elements. So basically, ores are mined to form metals.