Difference Between Chloride and Chlorate


Main Difference

The main difference between the Chloride and Chlorate is that Chloride is monoatomic ion as Cl, whereas Chlorate is polyatomic ion as ClO3.

Chloride vs. Chlorate

Chloride is the ion that is derived from the dissociation of HCl or other compounds of chlorides by gaining an electron, whereas chlorate is the kind of polyatomic ion derived from the dissociation of the chloric acid (HClO3) or other compounds containing the chlorates. The chlorides have the oxidation state of negative charge on the chlorine as -1 on Cl. Chlorate has the oxidation state of the positive charge on chlorine as the +5 on ClO3.


Chloride is the monoatomic ion consisting of a single atom, while chlorate is the polyatomic ion consisting of the chlorine and three oxygen atoms. Chloride can easily undergo the oxidation, and chlorate can experience redox reaction (oxidation and reduction) as well. According to the VSEPR (Valance Shell Electron Pair Repulsion) theory, chlorate has the trigonal pyramidal geometry.

The molar mass of chloride is the 35.45gmol-1, whereas the molar mass of the chlorate is 83.45gmol-1. Chlorides are most important biologically as they play a role in the maintenance of the internal cellular environment (homeostasis). The essential chloride-containing compound is NaCl (table salt), whereas chlorate compounds included are as magnesium chlorate, potassium chlorate, etc.


Comparison Chart

Chlorides are the compounds containing monoatomic ion Cl.Chlorates are the compounds containing polyatomic chlorates as ClO3.
Oxidation State of Chlorine
-1 of Cl+5 of ClO3
Oxidation and Reduction
Undergoes oxidation onlyUndergo oxidation and reduction
Monoatomic ionPolyatomic has a trigonal pyramidal structure
It has the origin of the HCl dissociation or other chloride compounds.It is from the chloric acid (HClO3) or other chlorate containing compounds.
Molar Mass
NaCl, KCl, BaClKClO3, NaClO3 etc.

What is Chloride?

Chloride is the anion which is formed by gaining the electron as Cl. Chloride is the monoatomic anion which is formed by the dissociation of chloride-containing compounds such as HCl. Chloride is much larger than the chlorine atom because of an extra electron in its orbital being unstable. Chlorides are a very reactive form of ions. Chlorides undergo oxidation only, and thus the presence of chlorides may cause extreme corrosion with small holes (pitting corrosion) of most metals like aluminum alloys, stainless steel, etc.

In the biological field, Cl ions act as the primary electrolyte in the homeostasis of the cell. They also play a role in the action potential (occurs when membrane potential rapidly rises and falls) transmission in the neurons. The regulation of chloride concentration occurs through the kidneys in the human body. It is also the structural component of some proteins as in amylase enzymes.

Chlorides form salts with the metal, and when they get dissolve in water, they form the chlorides as salts of chlorides are water-soluble. An example of chloride is Sodium Chloride (NaCl); it is considered to be the common chloride as table salt and is very soluble in the water. As an electrolyte, it occurs in all body fluids involved in the maintenance of acid-base balance, fluid regulation, and transmission of nerve impulses. Other examples are NH4Cl (Ammonium chloride), MgCl2 (Magnesium chloride), CaCl2 (Calcium chloride), Hg2Cl2 (Mercurous chloride).

What is Chlorate?

Chlorate also means that any chlorine oxyanion as ClO3. Chlorate anion (ClO3) is the salt of chloric acid derived from the dissociation of the chloric acid (HClO3) and other chlorate containing compounds. It may occur in the form of compounds as crystalline, colorless crystals, or granules. Chlorate has an oxidation state of +5 on chlorine as polyatomic anion consisting of chlorine, and three atoms of oxygen. It has the geometry of the trigonal pyramidal, as explained by the VSEPR theory.

Chlorates naturally occurred in the relatively high concentrations in arid and hyper-arid regions on the earth. They have the property that their salt’s mixtures with the combustible compounds as organic solvents, sawdust, etc. can readily deflagrate, which is the process of combustion through heat transfer. Chlorates, when exposed to flammable materials they cause explosions because of decomposition of the chlorate ion under heat-releasing oxygen, which speeds up the combustion process.

Chlorate is considered to be comprising of the multiple resonance structures as in hybrid form. Chlorates undergo oxidation as well as reduction reaction as they also serve as the powerful oxidizers.

Some of the chlorates also form compounds with other oxidation states as +1, +3, +5, +7 of the hypochlorite, chlorite, chlorate, and perchlorate, respectively.

On the industrial scale, the chlorate compound, sodium chlorate (NaClO3), can be synthesized from the brine (aqueous solution of the NaCl). It can be achieved through the reaction of chlorine and sodium hydroxide at 50-70˚C.


  • KClO3: Most common chlorate in the industry
  • NaClO3: Prepared from the sodium chloride has wide application in bleaching paper
  • Mg(ClO3)2: White, water-soluble compound

Key Differences

  1. The chloride ion is represented as the Cl, whereas chlorate ion represented as the ClO3.
  2. The chloride is an anion which is formed from the HCl dissociation, while chlorate ion produced from the HClO3
  3. Chloride is a monoatomic anion that has chlorine atom only; on the other hand, chlorate is the polyatomic anion with chlorine and three atoms of the oxygen.
  4. Chloride ion undergoes the oxidation only can get easily oxidized, whereas chlorate ion undergoes redox reaction as both oxidation and reduction.
  5. Chloride has a molar mass of 35.45g/mol; chlorate has a molar mass of about 83.45g/mol.
  6. The oxidation state of Cl is -1; on the flip side, the oxidation state of the ClO3 is +5.
  7. The chloride is monoatomic; conversely, chlorate is polyatomic, having trigonal pyramidal geometry.


Chloride is the anion from the HCl dissociation and other chloride compounds with -1 oxidation state, whereas chlorate is anion from chloric acid dissociation having a +5 oxidation state.

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