Difference Between Air and Oxygen (With Table)

Oxygen is a gaseous atom that exists in its purest form. Even though the element is often used medically, continued exposure can lead to serious complications. Because most animals require a particular oxygen level in their blood to live, the gas is employed in emergencies where access to fresh air is restricted.

Whenever oxygen is used medically, it is frequently combined with other substances. 

Although the terms “air” and “oxygen” are often used synonymously, the two are not the same. The air we breathe is a composition of components, whereas oxygen is a pure element.

Whereas oxygen is required for survival, prolonged emergencies may be hazardous. The elements in the air that make up the Earth’s atmosphere are in an excellent balance to support human life.

Air vs Oxygen

The main difference between air and oxygen is that air is a mixture of many gases present in the atmosphere, and all the living animals respire using air. On the other hand, oxygen is a pure element that has the atomic number eight and is essential for living organisms

32 5

Oxygen is a single elemental component found in common air. The majority of oxygen is transported as a bulk solution to a healthcare center and kept in a big tank on the premises. The element oxygen is found in the periodic table of the elements.

The air we breathe is mainly made up of oxygen and nitrogen. Nitrogen constitutes about 78 percent of the air, with oxygen accounting for the remaining 21%. Carbon dioxide, hydrogen, helium, inert gases, and neon make up the vast majority of the gases. 

Comparison Table Between Air and Oxygen

Parameters of comparisonAirOxygen
DefinitionAir is a combination of many other gases present in the surrounding.Oxygen is a single gaseous atom which does exist in nature in a diatomic form.
Colour and odorIt has a colour and smell depending on the constituents in the air.Oxygen does not possess any colour or smell.
CompositionAir has many constituents gases like nitrogen, hydrogen, helium, etc.Oxygen is the purest form of element.
ImportanceAir is essential for respirationIt protects us from UV lightIt act as a medium for sound to travelOxygen is need at high altitudesPure oxygen is needed for survival of humans and many wild animals.

What is Air?

Air is a mixture of several gases in variable amounts, as well as water vapor and particulate matter. 99.99 percent of the air is made up of nitrogen (78 percent), oxygen (21 percent), argon (0.9 percent), and carbon dioxide (0.03 percent) gases. 

Other gases such as neon, helium, krypton, sulphur dioxide, hydrogen, methane, and ammonia are known as trace gases since they are only present in small proportions. 

Air is necessary for climate patterns, as well as the absorption of hazardous solar energy and the propagation of sound waves, among other things. 

Furthermore, air may also have a hue or fragrance depending on its constituents, but the air is generally colorless and odorless. 

When more particulate matter is present, such as when manufacturing fumes are released, the air may also have a darker color and a chemical smell.

Air pollution is the degradation of air quality caused by the release of substances into the environment in such large amounts that they disrupt natural systems and have adverse health and environmental consequences.

What is Oxygen?

Oxygen is a component with the atomic number of 8 that belongs to the periodic table’s category 16. It is made up of three isotopes: 16O, 17O, and 18O. 16O is perhaps the most stable and plentiful isotope among these. 

In addition, an oxygen atom possesses eight electrons and can receive two extra electrons from some other atom to produce a -2 charged anion. To remain stable, two molecules can share four electrons and create a diatomic molecule (O2).

We refer to it as oxygen gas, as little more than a popular term since this molecule occurs in a gaseous phase at standard temperature and pressure.

Likewise, the three-atomic form of oxygen is referred to as ozone, which is a prevalent type of oxygen. The gas molecule oxygen is colourless and odorless. 

The Earth’s atmosphere contains around 21% oxygen. It has a low water solubility and is somewhat heavier than air. Apart from inert gases, oxygen combines with all other elements to generate oxides. 

As a result, it is an excellent oxidizer. Therefore, this gas is required for both the respiration and carbonization of living creatures. Oxygen is used in hospitals, metalworking, and a variety of other fields.

Main Differences Between Air and Oxygen

  1. The atmosphere’s gas composition is called air. Air contains oxygen, which is a necessary component. As a result, the primary distinction between oxygen and air is that oxygen is a single gaseous element in the air, while air is a mixture of gases.
  2. Air is a combination of helium, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and many other trace elements, whereas molecular oxygen comprises diatomic oxygen molecules.
  3. Air is crucial for climatic patterns, absorbing negative sun energy, sound wave transmission, and many other sectors, whereas oxygen is necessary for health facilities, welding, and many other professions.
  4. The combustion of natural gas, the creation of synthetic gases, and the reduction of water vapors by carbon all utilize oxygen. On the other hand, the air is essential for retaining water and managing humidity activity.
  5. The pressure required for the plane is provided by oxygen. When submarines activate their engines, they use a different kind of oxygen called hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), whereas the air in the atmosphere shields us against meteoroids. When meteoroids collide with our atmosphere, they burn up into tiny fragments before hitting the Earth’s surface.
  6. Ozone, a naturally occurring gas, shields us from too much radiation, whereas rockets need liquid oxygen as an oxidizer.


In atmospheric chemistry, a significant branch of chemistry, we analyze the properties of air. As a result, oxygen is a critical component of the air we require to maintain life on Earth. However, the percentage of oxygen is 0.003% in air, which is needed by all the living creatures on Earth.

Although the first living species, roughly 3.5 billion years ago, did not require oxygen to survive, oxygen is currently needed for the bulk of living animals we observe daily.

To maintain the equilibrium of gases on Earth, plants take up the carbon dioxide present in the air and release oxygen. Both air and oxygen have their significance and uses.