Difference Between Potassium Chloride and Potassium Gluconate

Potassium Chloride vs Potassium Gluconate

Potassium is one of the essential electrolytes in the body. It is important to maintain the correct pH and blood pressure. Also, it is important  for effective signal transduction. Therefore, if potassium is lacking in the body, it should be taken from outside. Potassium chloride and potassium gluconate are two compounds, which are given as supplements to treat potassium deficiency.

Potassium Chloride

Potassium chloride, which is shown as KCl, is an ionic solid. It is in the form of a white color, odorless crystal. Potassium is a group 1 metal; thus forms a +1 charged cation. Its electron configuration is 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s1. It can release one electron, which is in 4s sub orbital and produce a +1 cation. Electronegativity of potassium is very low, allowing it to form cations by donating an electron to a higher electronegative atom (like halogens). Therefore, potassium often makes ionic compounds.

Chlorine is a nonmetal and has the ability to form a -1 charged anion. Its electron configuration is written as 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p5. Since the p sub level should have 6 electrons to obtain the Argon, noble gas electron configuration, chlorine has the ability to attract an electron.

With the electrostatic attraction between the K+ cation and the Cl- anion, KCl has obtained a lattice structure. The crystal structure of this is a face-centered cubic structure. Molar mass of potassium chloride is 74.5513 g mol-1. Its melting point is about 770 °C, and the boiling point is 1420 °C.

Potassium chloride is mainly used to make fertilizer since plants need potassium for their growth and development. Being a salt KCl is highly soluble in water. Therefore, it readily releases potassium into soil water, so that plants can intake potassium easily. This is also used in medicine and food processing. Further, as for the chemical purposes, potassium chloride is used in making potassium hydroxide and potassium metal. 

Potassium Gluconate

The potassium salt of gluconic acid is known as potassium gluconate. The carboxylic acid group of the gluconic acid reacts with potassium to produce this salt. It has the following structure.


Since potassium is an essential element to our bodies, the potassium supply should be maintained. Changes in the potassium levels can cause many diseases to humans. Potassium gluconate is a form of supplying potassium into our bodies. Since potassium ions are loosely bound to the molecules, it is easily delivered to cells. Moreover, it is highly soluble in water; therefore easily absorbed into the body.  This is given as a dietary supplement, and it comes as tablets and in liquid form.

Although rarely reported, potassium gluconate can cause serious side effects such as stomach pain, chest or throat pain, etc. When taking potassium gluconate, there are several limitations. For example, people with kidney failure, urinary tract infection, uncontrolled diabetes, peptic ulcer in the stomach, Addison’s disease, and severe burns or other tissue injury should not take this.

Potassium Chloride vs Potassium Gluconate

  • Potassium chloride is an inorganic salt whereas potassium gluconate is an organic salt of potassium.
  • KCl is readily soluble in water than potassium gluconate.
  • Potassium gluconate is given as a supplement if the patient has a normal chloride level. Potassium chloride is given if there are low levels of both potassium and chloride in the blood.
  • Price Weston

    Potassium Chloride is used for water softeners and is food grade. You can get yourself a 40 lb bag and weigh out some crystals and dilute it in a fixed quantity of water. Since you measured out the product and water, you will know how much potassium chloride is in a particular quantity of water. Potassium chloride by weight is about 52% potassium. Personally, I used 7 grams of potassium citrate or 7 grams of potassium bicarbonate every day (a powder I mix in water and I used a 0.01 gram scale). The citrate form is 36% potassium and the bicarbonate form is 39% potassium. Mix it up in water and down the hatch, but ideally after eating a meal. That’s about 2.5-2.7 grams of potassium instead of 25-27 pills.