Difference Between Charcoal and Activated Charcoal (With Table)

At this point, sitting in my garden and looking at the woods which are kept by the side of my neighbor’s house, I am thinking what is the difference between Charcoal and Activated Charcoal. Is there any? Let’s find it out.

Charcoal vs Activated Charcoal

Charcoal is made from burning woods or carbon-contained materials in absence of oxygen. On the other hand, Activated Charcoal is also made from the same components but in presence of oxygen and it needs more temperature than producing charcoal.

Another difference between charcoal and activated charcoal is more porous than charcoal. It is because activated charcoal is produced at high temperatures.

At high temperature, the elements and components bound with carbon atoms get removed which assist to generate a porous form of activated charcoal.

You will be surprised to know that a teaspoon of activated charcoal contains the same amount of surface of a football field.

Charcoal is used for cooking, filtration, teeth whitening, and oral health. On the contrary, activated charcoal is massively used for medicine, removal of toxins, skincare, etc.

Difference between Charcoal and Activated Charcoal

Charcoal Activated Charcoal
By burning woods, we can produce charcoal. Carbon-rich components or woods produce activated charcoal.
Oxygen doesn’t present while producing charcoal. Oxygen presents while producing activated charcoal.
It needs a lower temperature to produce charcoal than activated charcoal. It needs a higher temperature to produce activated charcoal than charcoal.
Charcoal is less porous because of the lower temperature. Activated charcoal is more porous because of the higher temperature.
Charcoal has less absorbency power. Activated charcoal has more absorbency power.
It is used for cooking, water filtration, teeth whitening, fuel, etc. In medical science, the use of activated charcoal is huge. It helps to clean the skin, remove toxins, etc. It can also be used as a deodorant.

What is Charcoal 

Charcoal is generated from slight or full burning of carbon-rich materials like woods in absence of oxygen.

It has some definitive physical properties.

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  • Charcoal has a porous structure and because of this structure, it is mostly used for filtration.
  • It has low density.
  • Heat conductivity is low in charcoal.
  • Electricity conductivity is also low.
  • It is brittle in nature.


Charcoal is a human-made substance. It cannot be produced naturally. So if you find a piece of charcoal in nature, there is a massive probability that it has been made by Forrest fire or any such incident.

What is Activated Charcoal 

Actuated charcoal is the substance that can be produced from the burning carbon-rich materials as the same way charcoal has made but in presence of oxygen. It needs more temperature to produce activated charcoal than charcoal. Sometimes, acids or bases are used to produce activated charcoal.

Some of the physical properties of activated charcoal are 

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  • Because of its high temperature, it has a more porous nature than charcoal.
  • It has high absorbency.
  • It has a huge surface area.


Activated charcoal is mainly used for medical purposes. It can capable of removing the toxins. It is also used for skincare and other diseases.

Related: Difference Between Duty and Responsibility [With Table].

How can you make Activated Carbon?

We know that activated carbon is made in absence of oxygen. Firstly, carbon is kept in a tank with extremely high temperatures.

Mostly 600-900 degrees Celsius is used in this case. Then, some different chemicals like argon and nitrogen are added with carbon and again placed in a tank.

The temperature rises from 600-1200 degrees Celsius which is the most crucial part of generating activated carbon. Oxygen and heated steam are added in this stage with the carbon. Thus, a pore structure and a huge surface area generate.

Charcoal vs Activated Charcoal

Main difference between Charcoal and Activated Charcoal 

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  • Charcoal needs low temperature to generate but activated charcoal needs low temperature than charcoal.
  • Charcoal is produced in absence of oxygen but activated charcoal is produced in the presence of oxygen.
  • Charcoal has a less porous structure but activated charcoal has a more porous structure.
  • Charcoal has less absorbency but activated charcoal has more absorbency.
  • Charcoal has less surface but activated charcoal has more surface.
  • Charcoal is mainly used for filtration but activated charcoal is mostly used for medical purposes.


Similarities between Charcoal and Activated Charcoal 

Charcoal and activated charcoal are produced from the burning of carbon contained organic materials. Both of them need temperature to produce.

Both of them are conducive to filter the contaminants. In comparison to other carbon materials, both of them are more porous.


Charcoal and activated charcoal both are produced from the same materials. In comparison to charcoal, activated charcoal has better properties. But both of these are playing great roles in the history of mankind and scientists are still trying to discover new uses for them.

The FAQs Activated Charcoal vs Charcoal

So guys, if you have any other queries regarding the difference between charcoal and activated charcoal, you can see the FAQ section. You can also put your valuable comments, appreciations, or criticisms in below comment section. We are eagerly waiting for your opinion.

What does Activated Carbon do?

Activated carbon attracts and holds the organic chemicals and holds organic chemicals and then cleans the unwanted chemicals.

What is Activated Carbon made from?

Activated carbon is made from bituminous coal, lignite coal, coconut shell, and woods.

Minhajul Islam

Minhajul Islam is a passionate technology writer and the founder of DifferencePlanet. He is dedicated to exploring the latest advancements in the tech industry and sharing his insights with the world. With a background in computer science and a keen interest in smart homes, Minhajul has written numerous articles on a wide range of tech topics. He believes that technology has the power to transform the way we live, work, and interact with the world around us, and is always on the lookout for the next big thing.

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