Difference Between Alkali and Base


Main Difference

The main difference between Alkali and Base is that Alkali is the type of base that can dissolve in water, whereas Base is a substance that can neutralize the acid.

Alkali vs. Base

Alkali compounds release hydroxide ions and accept protons; on the other hand, the base is a substance use to neutralize the acids to form salt and water. All alkali compounds are the type of bases. However, all bases are not said to be alkali. Elements of group 1, carbonates, and hydroxides of the periodic table are categorized as alkali elements; on the other side, such compounds that show basic properties are classified as bases singular base. Alkali is ionic salts; on the flip side, the base is not necessarily ionic salts. Alkali does not have proper ionic salts, whereas base compounds are proper ionic salts.


Alkali compounds are always the carbonates compound and hydroxide compounds of alkali metal; on the contrary, the base can be any compound that possesses hydroxide ions and pairs of lone electrons that can share. Alkali compounds are always from the alkali metals of the periodic table, while the base can be any compound that shows basic properties.

Alkali compounds don’t give OH ions when reacting with water; on the other side, base compounds give OH ions when they react with water. Alkali neutralizes the acid while dissolved in water; on the other hand, the base doesn’t have the ability to neutralize the acid, and it can’t dissolve in water. Term alkali belongs to the ionic compounds or salts containing alkaline metal that accept hydrogen ion in the solution; on the other side, the termbase belongs to the compound that produced a solution of a low concentration of hydrogen ions rather than the pure water.


Comparison Chart

Term alkali is referred to as the metals of group 1 of the periodic table.Compounds possess OH ions that can donate to other compounds.
Dissolve in water.Do not dissolve in water.
Potassium hydroxide, Sodium hydroxide, Calcium hydroxide, etcZinc oxide, Copper oxide, Ferric oxide, Magnesium oxide, etc
Compounds Mainly
Hydroxides and carbonatesAny compound that can donate electrons
Neutralize the compoundAccept protons

What is Alkali?

We commonly use the term alkali for the elements of the group one of the Mendeleev’s periodic table. The elements of the first group are called alkali metals. This group contains Hydrogen (H), Lithium (Li), Sodium (Na), Potassium (K), Rubidium (Rb), Cesium (Cs) and Francium (Fr) these all are the members of group 1 and known as alkali metals. The hydrogen element behaves somewhat differently from all other members of the group. Alkali compounds are soft in nature, shiny in appearance, and silvery color; these all are some specific properties of an alkali.


Alkali possesses a single electron on its outermost shell, which they happy to remove or donate to someone and make itself cations 1+. That’s why when the alkali metals are beginning to react with their electron in the outermost shell get excited and enters the ground state and start to emitting radiation of a visible range. Alkali metals are very reactive in nature because of this exciting emitting electron. However, the reactivity of alkali metals of group 1 of the periodic table gets increases from top to bottom.

The alkali forms ionic compounds having electronegative atoms that exhibit basic properties like the bitter taste, slippery touch, and ability to neutralize the acid. Alkali also different properties like they turn red litmus to blue. They are typically burning and corrosive compounds. Alkali is also known as the soluble salt that is obtained from the ashes of such plants that possess a high concentration of potassium and sodium carbonate. Caustic soda and caustic potash are the best examples of alkali.

What is Base?

The base is defined differently by many scientists. Arrhenius defined base as a substance that can donate hydroxide ions (OH) to the respective solution. Lowry Bronsted defined the base as a compound that can accept protons. Lewis also defined the base as an electron donor. According to the concept of Arrhenius base should have hydroxide ions to donate. Lowry Bronsted and Lewis said that those compounds could also act as a base that doesn’t possess hydroxide ions to donate.

As well as sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) is said as a Lowry Bronsted base because it doesn’t possess any hydroxide ion, but it has the ability to accept protons. Properties of the base include they are slippery in texture with soap like feeling; they are bitter in taste; they can easily react with the aids and in results produce salt and water molecule, they can change the color of the indicator. Baking soda, lye, sodium bicarbonate is some best examples of the base.

Bases are categorized into two different groups according to their ability of dissociation and production of OH ions i.e., weak bases and strong e only a few bases. Sodium hydroxide, Potassium hydroxide, is known as strong bases that can completely ionize in the respective solution. Ammonia is said to be a weak base that can partially dissociate in the respective solution and produce only a few OH ions. Furthermore, Kb is the constant of base concentration used as a parameter to check the ability of loses OH ions to categorize the base.

Key Differences

  1. Alkali form ionic compounds, whereas base form both ionic and covalent compounds.
  2. Alkali contains group 1 metal oxides and hydroxides; on the other hand, bases contain oxide ions and hydroxide ions.
  3. Word alkali is only for the alkaline metals; conversely, word base can be used for any compound that posses basic properties.
  4. Alkali compounds are soluble in the water; on the flip side, bases are insoluble.
  5. All alkali compounds can be said as bases, while the base cannot be said as alkali.
  6. Alkali releases OH ions, although bases neutralize the acid.
  7. As compared to the alkali, the base has a higher capacity to accept the protons.
  8. Alkali doesn’t exhibit the property to release OH ions comparatively base does exhibit the property to release OH ions.
  9. Alkali releases hydrogen ions and produces hydroxide ions. However, the base has the ability to reduce hydrogen ion concentration.
  10. Alkali never contains in a pure salt; on the other side, the base contains in the form of pure salt.


It is concluded that alkali yield OH ions and base is a compound that donates non-bonding electrons.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss