Difference Between Sand and Soil

There are many particles present in our environment that look similar. Even some of them have similar names. It is important to have a basic knowledge about them and how they are different. For example, sand and soil, if asked randomly, 2 out of 10 people can tell the difference between the two terms. And it is not something that is seen rarely or unknown by many. Both of them can be seen anywhere, and everyone on the planet knows this but still doesn’t exactly know the difference. This article has all the possible differences between sand and soil to have a better understanding of both.

Sand vs Soil

The main difference between Sand and Soil is in terms of their nature of being organic and porous. They also differ in terms of the ability to hold water. Both sand and soil are made up of different components. They both have different weights and different types as well. Sand is relatively smaller in size than soil and is a part of a type of soil.

Sand vs Soil

Sand is the small granules formed when mountains and other harder substance is crushed into smaller particles. They can resist melting at high temperatures. It is organic but not more than soil. Sand has several uses, and this is also the main reason why the amount of sand is being reduced at high speed.

Soil is a mixture of different substances, especially organic matter. It is the topmost layer of the earth that can be seen and touched. It is made when giant rocks and mountains are crushed into finner and smaller granules. It has several uses and types. Types of soil include Sandy Soil, Clay Soil, Peat Soil, Chalk Soil, Silt Soil, Loam Soil, etc., all of them have different properties and are found in different regions.

Comparison Table Between Sand and Soil

Parameters of ComparisonSandSoil
NatureLess organicMore organic
Capacity to hold waterIt does not hold waterHolds water
Common componentSilicon dioxideOrganic matter
Made up ofAir, water, and organic matterCalcium, silica, other minerals.

What is Sand?

It is a naturally occurring material found on land. It has a diameter of 0.0625mm minimum and a maximum of 2 mm. Some rare types of sand include white sand. And they are mainly differentiated by their sizes. It is becoming extinct day by day due to over usage and exploitation, especially industries that use million of sand for development and construction purposes. It is highly abrasive. It is also used as a means of making the soil more porous for agriculture and other similar activities.

As discussed above it is becoming extinct and is available in small quantity, therefore, many country imports sand. It can only melt under high and scorching temperatures, and for the same reason, sand on a beach does not melt. It is commonly said that there are more stars as compared to sand grains.

Uses of Sand

  1. To filter water.
  2. To have a grip.
  3. For making sandpaper.
  4. For cleaning oil and greasy liquids.
  5. For road base.

There are several usages of sands except the above.

Types of Sands:

  1. Pit sand: it is found in red or orange color and has rough, sharp, and usually sharp grains.
  2. River sand: it has fine grains formed by the water current and is in whitish-grey.
  3. Sea Sand: sand eroded by seawater and is brown. Grains are circular.
  4. Manufactured sand: it is when hard granite stones are crushed into small granules.

What is Soil?

It is an organic substance that has a natural occurrence. Soil is not made by anyone. There are several uses of the soil that includes:

  1. Agriculture usage: we all are aware of the fact that agricultural activities required several important nutrients. Or crops and plants need certain nutrition content for proper growth and development. Soil is the component that provides all these to them. Roots absorb these from the soil directly and distribute them to other body parts.
  2. Building: building process requires soil. It is also one of the main reasons for the exploitation of soil, as industries use tons of soil for the construction process. If properly soil is not used for construction, it can lead to structural failure and ultimately in some disaster.
  3. Poetry: after adding a proportionate amount of water to a certain type of soil, several utensils and other things can be made. Hence soil is also used for poetry purposes.
  4. Medicine: the soil is also used for medicinal purposes. Mostly for antibiotics as it has microbes that are dangerous for harmful bacteria that can enter our body.
  5. Beauty Products: some of the beauty and facial products are made with soil. From foundation to blush, soil is used in most makeup-related products.

Main Differences Between Sand and Soil

  1. When compared with each other, Sand is less organic while Soil is more organic.
  2. Both soil and sand are made up of different substances, the soil is made up of water, air, organic materials, solids, etc, and the most common substance that is present in all types of soil is the organic matter, white sand, on the other hand, is made up of calcium carbonate, silica, along with some other minerals, the common substance in the sand is silicon dioxide, i.e., is present in all its types.
  3. Both are also different in terms of porous as sand is not porous, whereas soil is porous.
  4. The capacity to hold water is only present in Soil, whereas Sand cannot hold water at all.
  5. They are also different in terms of weight; Sand is much lighter when compared to the heavier soil.
  6. Soil can also be red, white sand can also be green in color, while the rest of all the colors are the same.


Therefore, all the possible differences between Sand and Soil are cleared. It is important to understand as the base or land of our earth is covered with soil and sand, it is a basic thing seen and felt on a daily basis. The soil, in general, is a broader concept than sand. It has various types also along with the sand. Sugar is also said to be a type of sand due to its similar size and shape. But we all know sugar is edible while the soil is not.

Sand may or may not have any important functions to perform, but the soil is very important for the plants and some animals/worms of the earth; therefore, life without sand is imaginable but not without soil.


  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/4297985
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/25741536
  3. https://soil.copernicus.org/articles/1/117/2015/
  4. https://soil.copernicus.org/articles/2/111/2016/
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