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Butane vs. Butene — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Updated on September 27, 2023
Butane is a saturated hydrocarbon with four carbon atoms, while Butene is an unsaturated hydrocarbon containing a double bond between its carbon atoms.
Butane vs. Butene — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Butane and Butene


Key Differences

Butane and Butene, both hydrocarbons, have differing chemical structures and properties. Butane, characterized by its single bonds between carbon atoms, belongs to the alkane family. In contrast, Butene is part of the alkene family, showcasing a double bond between two of its carbon atoms.
In practical applications, Butane is commonly used as a fuel in lighters and portable stoves. Butene, given its double bond, serves as a building block in the petrochemical industry, especially in polymer production.
Regarding their physical properties, Butane is known to be a gas at room temperature under atmospheric pressure and is flammable. Butene, though also flammable, has variants based on the position of its double bond, leading to isomers like 1-butene and 2-butene.
In chemical reactions, Butane generally undergoes substitution reactions, given its saturated nature. On the other hand, the presence of a double bond in Butene allows it to partake in addition reactions, highlighting its unsaturated nature.
Chemically, while both are derivatives of crude oil and find their roles in the petrochemical industry, their functions and importance vary greatly due to their structural differences and consequent chemical behaviors.

Comparison Chart

Chemical Family


Bond Type

Single bonds
Contains a double bond

Common Use

Fuel in lighters, stoves
Building block in petrochemicals

Physical State

Gas at room temperature
Gas with various isomers

Reaction Type

Substitution reactions
Addition reactions

Compare with Definitions


A fuel used in portable stoves.
For camping, she bought a Butane stove.


A building block in the chemical industry.
Butene is used in producing polymers and other chemicals.


An alkane with four carbon atoms.
Butane's chemical formula is C₄H₁₀.


An alkene with four carbon atoms.
Butene can have isomers based on the position of its double bond.


A saturated hydrocarbon gas.
Butane lighters are popular due to their reliability.


A gas with variants like 1-butene and 2-butene.
The isomer 1-butene has its double bond at the first carbon.


A flammable gas used commercially.
The Butane cylinder needs careful handling due to its flammability.


An unsaturated hydrocarbon with a double bond.
Butene's presence in crude oil makes it valuable for petrochemicals.


Butane () or n-butane is an alkane with the formula C4H10. Butane is a gas at room temperature and atmospheric pressure.


Known for undergoing addition reactions.
Due to its unsaturated nature, Butene can react with bromine in an addition reaction.


Either of two isomers of a gaseous hydrocarbon, C4H10, produced synthetically from petroleum and used as a household fuel, refrigerant, and aerosol propellant and in the manufacture of synthetic rubber.


Butene, also known as butylene, is an alkene with the formula C4H8. The word butene may refer to any of the individual compounds.


(organic compound) A hydrocarbon (either of the two isomers of C4H10 n-butane, and 2-methyl-propane) found in gaseous petroleum fractions.


Any of three gaseous isomeric ethylene hydrocarbons, C4H8, used principally in making synthetic rubbers. Also called butylene.


The n-butane isomer only.


(chemistry) Any of several forms of butylene.


An inflammable gaseous saturated hydrocarbon, C4H10, of the marsh gas, or paraffin, series.


Any of three isomeric singly unsaturated hydrocarbons C4H8; all are used in making synthetic rubbers; - called also butylene.


Occurs in natural gas; used in the manufacture of rubber and fuels


Any of three isomeric hydrocarbons C4H8; all used in making synthetic rubbers


A derivative of natural gas.
Natural gas processing plants extract Butane for various applications.

Common Curiosities

What is Butane commonly used for?

Butane is commonly used as a fuel, especially in lighters and portable stoves.

Are both Butane and Butene gases?

Yes, both Butane and Butene are gases at room temperature under atmospheric pressure.

Why is Butene significant in the petrochemical industry?

Butene, with its double bond, serves as a building block for various chemicals, especially polymers.

How does Butene differ from Butane in chemical structure?

Butene has a double bond between its carbon atoms, while Butane only has single bonds.

Why can Butene undergo addition reactions?

Due to its unsaturated nature with a double bond, Butene can undergo addition reactions.

What kind of reactions does Butane usually undergo?

Being an alkane, Butane generally undergoes substitution reactions.

Is Butane an alkane or alkene?

Butane is an alkane, characterized by single bonds between its carbon atoms.

How many carbon atoms are in Butane and Butene?

Both Butane and Butene contain four carbon atoms.

Is Butane found naturally?

Yes, Butane is derived from natural gas and is also found in crude oil.

Does Butene have isomers?

Yes, Butene has isomers like 1-butene and 2-butene based on the position of its double bond.

In which reactions does Butene often participate?

Butene often participates in addition reactions due to its alkene nature.

Between Butane and Butene, which one is saturated?

Butane is saturated, having only single bonds, while Butene is unsaturated due to its double bond.

What is the significance of the double bond in Butene?

The double bond in Butene allows it to partake in addition reactions and determines its isomeric forms.

Are both Butane and Butene flammable?

Yes, both Butane and Butene are flammable gases.

How is Butene utilized in polymers?

Butene serves as a monomer or building block in the production of certain polymers.

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Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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