Difference Between Artery, Vein, and Capillary

Blood vessels are the channels inside the body that carry blood from and to the heart and other parts. The body has various areas where the vessels carry blood, so it is of 3 types; artery, vein, and capillary. The blood vessel which carries blood away from the heart is the artery. A vein is the smallest blood vessel that connects arteries and veins. 

Although the arteries, veins, and capillaries carry blood, they have many differences based on their location, size of the wall, blood type they carry, types, the direction of blood flow, presence or absence of valves, and the type of tissues.

Difference Between Artery and Vein

Arteries carry oxygenated blood away from the heart except for pulmonary arteries, which carry deoxygenated blood. Whereas veins carry deoxygenated blood towards the heart except for pulmonary veins that carry deoxygenated. Likewise, the arteries lie deep under the tissues, and veins are superficial (under the skin).

Direction of blood flowArteries carry blood away from the heart.Veins carry blood toward the heart.
The type of blood they carryCarries oxygenated blood except for pulmonary arteries.Carries deoxygenated blood except for pulmonary veins.
FunctionsCarry blood to the body organs.Carry blood to the heart.
The thickness of the wallThe wall is thick.The walls are thin.
LumenThe lumen is narrow.The lumen is wider.
Tunica ExternaLess developed and weaker.More developed and stronger.
Tunica MediaIt is muscular and consists of more elastic fibers.It is less muscular and consists of fewer elastic fibers.
Tunica InternaIt has many elastic fibers and collagen. It has fewer elastic fibers and collagen.
ValveOnly the pulmonary artery has valves.All the veins have valves for controlling the blood flow.
TissueHas a thick layer of muscle tissues.Has a thin layer of muscle tissues.
TypesArteries are of three types; elastic, muscular, and arterioles.Veins are of four kinds; deep veins, superficial veins, pulmonary veins, and systemic veins.
LocationArteries are rooted deep into the tissues.Veins are usually found near the skin.
ColorRed in color.Blue in color.
Blood pressureThe blood pressure is high.The blood pressure is low.
During death It empties out at the time of  death. The veins fill up at the time of death.

Difference Between Artery and Capillary

Arteries carry blood away from the heart, whereas capillaries join arteries and veins. The capillaries are the thinnest blood vessel, and arteries are the thickest blood vessels. Likewise, the arteries are located deep inside the tissues, and capillaries are located superficially just under the skin.

Properties ArteryCapillary
Function Artery carries blood from the heart to other body parts.Capillary joins artery and veins.
The thickness of the wallIt is the thickest blood vessels.It is the thinnest blood vessel.
LocationLocated deep inside the skin.Located more superficially.
SizeIt is the largest blood vessel.It is the smallest blood vessel.
Muscle TissueIt is present in large numbers.It is absent.
LumenIt is wider than the lumen of the capillary.Lumen is extremely narrow.
PressureThe pressure during blood flow is extremely high.The pressure is low. 

Difference Between Vein and Capillary

Although veins and capillaries are located superficially and visible under the skin, the capillaries join the arteries and veins, but veins carry blood to the heart. Also, veins have valves for controlling the transport of blood, but capillaries lack the valves. A detailed difference is given below:

Thickness of the wallThe vein’s wall is thicker than the capillary wall.The wall of the capillary is thinner than that of veins.
ValveThe vein has valves to control the transport of blood. Capillary does not have any valves.
FunctionCarries blood towards the heart.The junction where veins and artery.
The type of blood it carriesMostly deoxygenated blood.Both oxygenated and deoxygenated blood.
BranchesThere are no branches in veins.The capillary is highly branched.
Involved inThe veins are involved in the circulatory system.The capillaries are involved in microcirculation.
TypesFour types; deep veins, superficial veins, pulmonary veins, and systemic veins.Three types; continuous, fenestrated, and discontinuous or sinusoid.


Asma Shrestha

Hello, I am Ashma Shrestha. I am currently pursing my Master's Degree in Microbiology. Passionate about writing and blogging. Key interest in virology and molecular biology

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