Difference Between Ionic, Covalent, and Metallic Bonds (With Table)

Primary bonds and secondary bonds are the two types of bonds available. Primary bonds are further subdivided into three types of bonds, namely, ionic bonds, covalent bonds, and metallic bonds. These are all different types of bonds with distinct features. It is critical to grasp the distinctions between these three types of bonds to avoid confusion.

Ionic Bond vs Covalent Bond vs Metallic Bond

The main difference between ionic, covalent, and metallic bonds is that Ionic bonds arise when one atom contributes electrons to another atom. On the other hand, covalent connections form when two atoms share their valence electrons, and metallic bonds form when a varying number of atoms share a variable amount of electrons in a metal lattice.

Certain atoms tend to contribute or receive electrons to stabilize them by filling their outermost orbit. Atoms with a small number of electrons in their outermost shell are more likely to give electrons and form positively charged ions, whereas atoms with a larger number of electrons in their outermost orbit are more likely to receive electrons and form positively charged ions.

There are certain instances when two atoms share their valence electrons, which creates a covalent bond. The electronegativity of the two atoms differs slightly. These bonds can form between atoms of the same kind or between atoms of different sorts. 

The nuclei of metal atoms loosely bind valence electrons in a metal lattice. As a result, valence electrons require very little energy to escape from nuclei. Metal atoms create positively charged ions when their electrons detach. An electron cloud surrounds these positively charged ions, which is made up of a huge number of negatively charged, free-moving electrons.

Comparison Table between Ionic, Covalent, and Metallic Bonds

Parameters of ComparisonIonic BondCovalent BondMetallic Bond
DefinitionIt is an electrostatic force that occurs when negative and positive ions interact.It is formed when two components share a valence electron to obtain the electron configuration of neutral gases.It is the forces that exist between negatively charged electrons that are free to move and positively charged metal ions.
Bond EnergyThis is greater in ionic bonds than in metallic bonds.This is stronger in covalent bonds than in metallic bonds.This is lesser in metallic bonds than in other primary bonds.
FormationIonic Bonds are formed when one atom donates electrons to another one.Covalent bonds are formed by sharing valence electrons of two atoms to fill their octet rule and form molecules.
In a metallic structure, metallic bonds arise when a variable number of particles share a variable amount of electrons.
ConductivityIt has Poor Conductivity.The conductivity of covalent bonds is quite low.The conductivity of metallic bonds is extremely high as compared to ionic or covalent bonds.
Melting and boiling pointThe melting and boiling points of ionic bonds are higher than covalent bonds.Whereas, covalent bonds, acquire lower boiling and melting point as compared to ionic and metallic bonds.Melting and boiling points of metallic connections are exceedingly high.

What is Ionic Bond?

In ionic compounds, the major interaction is the electrostatic contact among positive and negative ions, or among two atoms with significantly differing electronegativities. It is one of the most common forms of bonding, alongside covalent and metallic bonding. Electrostatically charged atoms are known as ions (or groups of atoms). When atoms gain electrons, negative ions are created (called anions). Ions are atoms that have lost their electrons and are positively charged (called cations).

The exchange of electrons is referred to as electrovalence as opposed to Covalence. In the simplest case, a cation is a metal unit, and the anion is a non-metallic atom. In the simplest form, a cation is a metal unit; and the anion is a non-metallic atom. However, these ions can be more complicated, such as molecular ions like NH+ 4 or SO2-4.

What is Covalent Bond?

A covalent connection is created when the electrons from each participating atoms are shared equally. Bonded pair or sharing pair refers to the electron pairs involved in this sort of bonding. Molecular bonds are another name for covalent bonding. The atoms will gain stability in their external shell through the sharing of bonding pairs, analogous to noble gas atoms.

Particles with equal electronegativities have the highest covalency. The two atoms do not have to be of the same element to form a covalent connection; their electronegativity must be the same. The delocalized bond formation is the process of exchanging electrons between more than two atoms.

What is a Metallic Bond?

The electrical interaction between positively charged metal ions and conduction electrons creates this connection. The conduction electrons may be in the form of an electron cloud of delocalized electrons, and the distribution of unpaired electrons among positive ions in a framework is called (cations). A metallic bonding determines several physical properties of the samples. These include strength, flexibility, thermal and electrical impedance, permeability, opacity, and brightness.

This isn’t the only type of chemical bonding a metal can even have as a specific compound.

Main Differences between Ionic, Covalent, and Metallic Bonds

  1. When negative and positive ions interact, they form an ionic bond, which is an electrostatic force. Covalent bonds, on the other hand, are generated when two components share a valence electron to attain the electron configuration of neutral gases, whereas metallic bonds are forces that exist between freely moving negatively charged electrons and positively charged metal ions.
  2. Ionic and covalent bonds have more bond energy than metallic bonds. The bond energy of metallic bonds is the lowest.
  3. An ionic link is established when one atom exchanges electrons with another. Metallic bonds are formed when a changeable number of atoms share a variable excess of electrons in a metal component. Covalent bonds are formed when two atoms exchange their valence electrons.
  4. The conductivity of an ionic connection is poor. Covalent bonds have very poor conductivity. The thermal and electrical conductivity of metallic connectors is extremely high.
  5. The melting and boiling temperatures of other types of bonding are lower than those of ionic bonds. Ionic bonds have higher melting and boiling points than covalent connections. Metallic connections have rather high melting and boiling points.


Therefore, we can see that these three kinds of primary bonds are very different from each other.

A chemical bond holds the atoms or groups of atoms of a chemical species together.


  1. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/nn301097y
  2. https://aip.scitation.org/doi/abs/10.1063/1.3159673
  3. http://files.aws.org/wj/supplement/WJ_1983_05_s137.pdf