Difference between Right and Left Lung

Published on November 30, 2015

The lungs are our primary organs for respiration that lets us enjoy a natural thing called breathing. They are divided into two parts, the right lung and the left lung. Many of us may find these two somewhat similar, and indeed they are in function, but they differ in ways that you probably didn’t know unless you’ve entered nursing or med school.


Right Lung vs Left Lung
Parts of the lungs

Right Lung

This part of the lung has three lobes and has more segments than the left. These lobes are divided into superior (upper), middle, and inferior (lower), by horizontal and oblique fissures. The right lung has a deep concavity on the inner surface that is called the cardiac impression, at the same level as the heart. It also has two bronchi, airway passages that regulate the flow of air into the lungs.

Regarding its size, it is shorter and wider than the left lung.

Left Lung

Unlike the right lung, the left lung has only two lobes instead of three, the upper and the lower. It is divided by a deep oblique fissure. With the heart close to the left lung, it partly compresses the anterior border of the left lung and so makes it comparatively smaller than the right lung. While it does not have a middle lobe like the right lung, it does have its ‘lingula’ (little tongue), a tongue-like projection on the superior lobe.

Regarding its size, even though it is a bit longer, it is still smaller than the right lung because of the heart occupying space.

Right Lung vs Left Lung

What’s the difference between a right lung and left lung? In truth, there are many differences between the two in regard to their physical structure. Regarding function however, they have their similarities in that they both serve as the main part of the respiratory system by putting oxygen into the bloodstream, and releasing carbon dioxide through the process called gas exchange.

Here are some notable differences between the two:

  • Right lung has one more lobe than that of the left lung that has only two.
  • Left lung is narrower and is oblong in shape whereas the right lung is shorter and wider.
  • The base of the right lung is more concave than that of the left lung.
  • Left lung possesses a single bronchus while the right lung has two.
  • Lobes of the right lung are separated by horizontal fissures, while the left has only an oblique fissure.
  • The left lung is lighter than that of the right.

Comparison Chart

Right LungLeft Lung
3 lobes2 lobes
Has more segmentsHas less segments
2 bronchi1 bronchus
Further from the heartNear the heart
Shorter and wider (positioned higher)Longer and narrower


Here is a video identifying the parts of the lungs.