Difference Between Benzyl and Phenyl (With Table)

Organic Chemistry is the most diverse and important field of study. It not only makes the understanding of life easier but also takes us to the chemistry involved in the formation of the particles at a minute level.

The compounds in organic chemistry react with different atoms, reagents, and other compounds too to form a completely different product that has different characteristics than it had before.

The Carbon chain is one of the primary bases of identification in organic chemistry and the chain often forms a round circular structure by forming specific bonds. Benzene ring forms the most important compound, ring-shaped with 6 carbon atoms. The carbon atoms are further bonded with Hydrogen atoms.

The replacement of subsequent Hydrogen atoms with different functional groups gives rise to the formation of a different compound. Benzyl and Phenyl show similarity in structure as both have a ring-shaped structure, that is of benzene but still, form different functional groups.

Benzyl vs Phenyl

The difference between Benzyl and Phenyl is in their chemical composition and the functional group, a benzyl is a functional compound with a carbon bonded benzene ring attached to a CH2 whereas Phenyl consists of 6 carbon atoms, 5 bonded with a Hydrogen atom and one with a substituent.

Comparison Table between Benzyl and Phenyl

Parameter of ComparisonBenzylPhenyl
DefinitionBenzyl is a benzene derivative functional group carrying a CH2 compound that can further react with another atom, or compound to form a new product.Phenyl is a one hydrogen lacking functional group, the carbon atom lacking hydrogen is attached to a substituent.
Molecular FormulaThe molecular formula of Benzyl is C6H5CH2The molecular formula of phenyl is C6H5
ReactivityThe reactivity is high because of the weak bond between C-H atoms.The energy required to break the C-H bond is very high this the reactivity is low.
AbbreviationBn is used terminology while working and reacting with other compounds.It is abbreviated as to Ph.
AdvantageThey are used extensively as a protecting group for carboxylic acids.They are used in medicine and also to stop oxidation and reduction.

What is Benzyl?

Benzyl is a derivative of Benzene with few alterations. The ring is abbreviated as as “Bn”

It is a functional group thus, responsible for the chemical properties of the molecules they form.

The chemical composition of Benzyl consists of Carbon and Hydrogen atoms arranged in the sequence attached to a CH2 group

The chemical formula is C6H5CH2 thus benzyl is derived from Toluene which is C6H5CH3, forming monovalent radical.

The bonds of Carbon and hydrogen are not strong thus the external energy requirement in breaking the bond is low, around 90 Kcal/mol generally, and changes further for Methyl and ethyl CH bonds.

The reactivity is high because of weak bond energy as well, the compounds formed by it are benzyl methyl, benzylamine, etc.

They are used in organic science to protect the carboxylic acids and alcohols.

What is Phenyl?

Abbreviated as Ph, Phenyl is a cyclic functional group derivative of the Benzene ring and possesses certain similar properties as that of Benzene.

The molecular weight is 77g mol-1 and the molecular formula is C6H5.

Due to the lack of one hydrogen atom than a benzene Phenyl can easily bond with a subsequent atom or molecule or another phenyl group.

The energy required to break the bond is very high because of the strong atomic bond, the necessary energy to break the bond is 113 Kcal/mol, it varies with the bonds formed with different atoms, for example, with Methyl attached the dissociation energy is 105 Kcal/mol while with ethyl the energy requirement is 101 Kcal/mol.

The reactivity of Phenyl is very low because of strong Carbon and Hydrogen bonding. Like Benzene even Phenyl is sp2 hybridized.

The properties of phenyl changes with the change in substituents, the substituent can be a donor or electrons and can withdraw too.

The compounds with phenyl as a functional group are used for medicinal purposes. Allergies and problems related to cholesterol can be treated with Atorvastatin and Frxofenadine respectively containing phenyl.

Phenyl is also used in daily life, as a domestic disinfectant and for sanitation purposes in the home, schools, hotels, or anywhere necessary.

Main Differences Between Benzyl and Phenyl

  1. The main difference between Benzyl and Phenyl is that Benzyl is directly derived from Toluene and lacks a hydrogen atom, whereas Phenyl is nothing but a benzene ring lacking a Hydrogen atom, both of them are functional groups.
  2. The chemical formula of Benzyl is C6H5CH2 whereas that of Phenyl is C6H5
  3. Benzylis a reactive organic compound due to the low dissociation energy between the bonded carbon and hydrogen atoms but the bond in phenyl is stronger and thus less reactive
  4. In Benzyl the energy required to break C-H bonds is must 90 kcal/mol whereas Phenyl requires very high energy to break the bond the energy required is 113 kcal/mol
  5. Benzyl is abbreviated as Bn whereas a phenyl compound is simplified to Ph.for For example benzyl alcohol is represented as BnOH whereas Benzene can be represented as PhH.


Organic chemistry deals with the compounds and various combinations of atoms that are life forming, making the field an important area of study.

Benzene is the most interesting structure and important compound in organic science, it further forms subsequent functional groups like Benzyl and Phenyl by losing or gaining other compounds or atoms.

Benzyl is a functional group highly reactive in nature consisting of a benzene ring attached with a CH2 molecule. It is used as a protecting group and the bond dissociation energy is somewhat low.

Phenyl is derivative of the Benzene ring lacking a hydrogen atom, which can be easily understood from the chemical formula C6H5, the bond dissociation energy is high as the c-H bonds don’t break easily making the compound least reactive.

Both of them have their important use in our life and are life building force as well.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1386142512006051
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031942205004206