Difference Between Metals and Metalloids

Key Difference – Metals vs Metalloids

Both metals and metalloids are part of the periodic table, but a difference can be observed between them based on their properties. The Periodic table has three types of elements; metals, non-metals, and metalloids. Most of the elements are metals, and a very few of them are metalloids. The key difference between metals and metalloids can be clearly identified when we closely monitor their properties. Metals have unique metallic properties such as shiny appearance, high density, higher melting points and electric conductivity. However, metalloids possess both metal properties and non-metal properties. Metals are located in the left side of the periodic table while metalloids are in the middle of metals and non-metals.

Difference Between Metals and Metalloids

Blue – Metals, Red – Non-metals, Green – metalloids

What are Metals?

About 75% of elements in the periodic table are metals. They are categorized in the periodic table according to common characteristics; Actinide Metals, Lanthanide Metals, alkali Metals, alkaline-earth metals, rare Metals, rare-earth metals, and transition Metals. Some metals like gold and silver are relatively expensive due to less abundance in the earth’s crust. Metals have special characteristics such as metallic luster, electrical and heat conductivity, high melting points and reactivity with other elements.  Some metals form alloys with other metals; they are very useful in industrial applications.

Difference Between Metals and Metalloids -metal


What are Metalloids?

Metalloids are located in the periodic table in a stair-step line separating metals (left side of the periodic table) from non-metals (right side of the periodic table). They show both metallic and non-metallic properties. For example, metalloids can be either shiny as metals or dull as non-metals. Metalloids such as Silicon and Germanium exhibit semiconductor properties under special conditions; therefore they are very useful in many industrial applications.

Key Difference - Metals vs Metalloids


What is the difference between Metals and Metalloids?

Properties of Metals and Metalloids:

Metalloids have intermediate properties of metals and non-metals. In other words, some metalloids show metallic properties while some show non-metallic properties.


Metals: In general, metals are shiny materials.

Metalloids: Some metalloids such as Silicon (Si) have metallic luster in appearance.

Physical and Chemical Properties of Metals and Metalloids:


Metals have a higher value for density and melting point.

They are good heat and electricity conductors.

Moreover, metals can be easily changed into thin wires (ductile) or large sheets (malleable).

All metals except mercury, are solids at room temperature. Mercury (Hg) is a liquid at room temperature.

Metals corrode under environmental conditions and slowly wear away like eroding iron.

Most of the metals are very reactive, they quickly oxidize when exposed to air and form a layer on the metal surface. Metal oxides are basic and ironic.


Metalloid doesn’t have malleable or ductile properties. It is a brittle material as non-metals.

Silicon is a very poor conductor of heat and electricity. But, Silicon and Germanium are the best semiconductors, which means they conduct electricity under special conditions. Therefore, these materials are used to manufacture  computers and calculators.

Examples of Metals and Metalloids:


Alkaline metals:

Lithium (Li), Sodium (Na), Potassium (K), Rubidium (Rb), Cesium (Ce), Francium (Fr)

Alkaline earth metals:

Beryllium (Be), Magnesium (Mg), Calcium (Ca), Strontium (Sr), Barium (Ba), Radium (Ra)

Transition metals:

Scandium, Titanium, Vanadium, Chromium, Manganese, Iron, Cobalt, Nickel, Copper, Zinc, Yttrium, Zirconium, Niobium, Molybdenum, Technetium, Ruthenium, Rhodium, Palladium, Silver,  Cadmium, Hafnium, Tantalum, Tungsten, Rhenium, Osmium, Iridium, Platinum, Gold, Mercury, Rutherfordium, Dubnium, Seaborgium, Bohrium, Hassium, Meitnerium, Ununnilium, Unununium, Ununbium

Metalloids: Boron (B), Silicon (Si), Germanium (Ge), Arsenic (Ar), Antimony (Sb), Polonium (Po), Tellurium (Te)

Uses of Metals and Metalloids:

Metals: Metals are used in many fields depending on their properties; they are used in cooking materials, jewels, electric equipment, engineering and building materials, machinery, and electric wires and also in both medicine and food in smaller quantities.

Metalloids: Metalloids have a great value in semiconductor industry due to their unique conductive properties (they only partially conduct electricity under some conditions).

Image Courtesy:
“Metalli, semimetalli, nonmetalli” by Riccardo Rovinetti – Own work.(CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons
“Gallium crystals” by en:user:foobar – Own work.(CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons
 “SiliconCroda” by Original uploader was Enricoros at en.wikipedia – Transferred from en.wikipedia. (Public Domain) via Commons