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Benzyl Chloride vs. Benzoyl Chloride: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on January 10, 2024
Benzyl chloride is a chlorinated aromatic hydrocarbon with a -CH2Cl group, while benzoyl chloride has a -COCl group, making it an acyl chloride.

Key Differences

Benzyl chloride is characterized by a benzene ring attached to a -CH2Cl group. This structure makes it a primary alkyl halide. On the other hand, benzoyl chloride features a benzene ring bonded to a carbonyl group (-C=O) and a chlorine atom (-COCl), classifying it as an acyl chloride.
Benzyl chloride, due to its alkyl halide nature, primarily undergoes nucleophilic substitution reactions. Benzoyl chloride, being an acyl chloride, is highly reactive towards nucleophiles and is often used in acylation reactions.
Benzyl chloride is a colorless liquid with a pungent odor and is less dense than water. Benzoyl chloride is also a colorless, fuming liquid, but it has a sharp, irritating odor and reacts vigorously with water.
Benzyl chloride is used as an intermediate in the synthesis of various chemicals, including dyes and pharmaceuticals. Benzoyl chloride is widely used in the production of peroxides, dyes, and pharmaceuticals, especially for introducing the benzoyl group.
Both benzyl chloride and benzoyl chloride are corrosive and hazardous. Benzyl chloride is a lachrymator and skin irritant, while benzoyl chloride is particularly reactive and can cause severe burns upon contact.

Comparison Chart

Chemical Group

Alkyl halide (-CH2Cl)
Acyl chloride (-COCl)


Undergoes nucleophilic substitution
Highly reactive in acylation reactions

Physical State

Colorless liquid, pungent odor
Colorless, fuming liquid, sharp odor

Main Uses

Intermediate in dyes, pharmaceuticals
Producing peroxides, dyes, pharmaceuticals

Handling Risks

Lachrymator, skin irritant
Corrosive, causes severe burns

Benzyl Chloride and Benzoyl Chloride Definitions

Benzyl Chloride

It is less dense than water.
In a water mixture, benzyl chloride floats on the surface.

Benzoyl Chloride

Benzoyl chloride is an acyl chloride derivative.
Benzoyl chloride reacts readily with alcohols.

Benzyl Chloride

It is a colorless liquid with a pungent odor.
The laboratory was filled with the distinct smell of benzyl chloride.

Benzoyl Chloride

It is a colorless, fuming liquid with a sharp odor.
The presence of benzoyl chloride was indicated by its sharp, acrid smell.

Benzyl Chloride

Benzyl chloride is a primary alkyl halide.
Benzyl chloride is used in organic synthesis.

Benzoyl Chloride

Commonly used to introduce benzoyl groups.
Benzoyl chloride is essential for benzoylation reactions in organic chemistry.

Benzyl Chloride

Used as an intermediate in the manufacture of chemicals.
Benzyl chloride's role in producing certain dyes is crucial.

Benzoyl Chloride

Benzoyl chloride is used in organic synthesis.
Synthesizing certain pharmaceuticals often involves benzoyl chloride.

Benzyl Chloride

Benzyl chloride is a lachrymator and skin irritant.
Care must be taken to avoid skin contact with benzyl chloride.

Benzoyl Chloride

It is highly reactive and corrosive.
Handling benzoyl chloride requires extreme caution due to its reactivity.


Are benzyl chloride and benzoyl chloride the same?

No, they differ in chemical structure and properties.

What are the main uses of benzyl chloride?

It's used in making dyes, pharmaceuticals, and other chemicals.

What are benzoyl chloride’s primary uses?

Used in producing peroxides, dyes, and pharmaceuticals.

What is benzoyl chloride?

It's an acyl chloride derivative used in various chemical reactions.

What is the state of benzoyl chloride at room temperature?

It's a colorless, fuming liquid.

What is benzyl chloride?

It's a chlorinated hydrocarbon used in organic synthesis.

Can benzyl chloride be mixed with water?

It's less dense than water and reacts with it.

How does benzoyl chloride react with water?

It reacts vigorously and should be kept away from water.

What are the safety concerns with benzoyl chloride?

It's highly reactive and corrosive, causing severe burns.

How is benzyl chloride synthesized?

It's produced from toluene through chlorination.

Can benzyl chloride be used in pharmaceuticals?

Yes, as an intermediate in various drug syntheses.

Is benzoyl chloride used in medication production?

It's used in synthesizing certain pharmaceutical compounds.

Is benzyl chloride a liquid or solid?

It's a colorless liquid.

What is the synthesis method for benzoyl chloride?

Typically made by treating benzaldehyde with chlorine.

What is the odor of benzyl chloride?

It has a distinct, pungent odor.

Describe the smell of benzoyl chloride.

It has a sharp, irritating smell.

Can benzyl chloride be used in dye manufacturing?

Yes, it's an important intermediate in dye production.

Is benzyl chloride hazardous?

Yes, it's a skin irritant and lachrymator.

What reactions does benzyl chloride undergo?

It undergoes nucleophilic substitution reactions.

What type of reactions is benzoyl chloride involved in?

Mainly in acylation reactions due to its reactivity.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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