Difference Between High-Level And Low-Level Languages 

Difference Between High-Level and Low-Level Languages

Language is the simplest way of communication and connection between humans. Similarly, programming languages are the mean of communication between humans and computers. We command the computer and it interprets the command in form of a machine language and generates a response. 

There are thousands of programming languages in today’s world, although a few ranks higher than others. All languages can be classified into two groups: high-level and low-level. The major difference is in the orientation of these two languages. A high-level language is called a user-orientated language while a low-level language is considered a machine-oriented language.

Let us discuss in detail the difference between high-level and low-level languages

Side-to-Side Comparison

Features  High-Level Language   Low-Level Language
BasicsA high-level language is a user-friendly language and cannot be understood by the machine easily.A low-level language is a machine-friendly language and cannot be understood by humans easily.
AbstractionA high-level language provides strong abstractions from the details of the computer.A low-level language provides little or no abstraction from the computer’s instructions set architecture.
FeasibilityIt is easy to understand and use by programmers.It is difficult to understand and use by programmers.
DebuggingHigh-level language can be easily debugged.It is difficult to debug a low-level language.
Memory- efficientA high-level language is not memory efficient. It consumes more memory than a low-level language.Low-level language is memory efficient. It consumes less memory than high-level language.
MaintenanceIt can be easily maintained.It is difficult to maintain.
PortabilityIt is a portable language means it can run on different computers with no modification.It is a non-portable language means it cannot run on different computers unless rewritten.
Speed of executionThis language is slower because it requires a translation program to be converted.This language has more speed of execution as it does not require a translation program to convert.
Hardware knowledgeIt does not require any hardware knowledge for developing programs. It is independent of computer architecture.It requires hardware knowledge to develop the programs. Low-level language is hence described as ‘close to the hardware’
UseDue to ease, high-level language is widely used and many people have shifted from low-level to high-level language.It is not used commonly now due to its difficult features.
TranslationA compiler is needed to convert the high-level language program to machine language.An assembler is required to convert the low-level language program to the machine code.
LanguageIt contains English statements and mnemonics.This language consists of binary words and a few mnemonics, making it difficult to understand.
StructureA high-level language is highly structured and organized.A low-level language is not well structured.
ExamplesCommon examples of high-level languages are Java, Pascal, Perl, Ruby, Python, Visual Basic, C, C++, C#, BASIC, COBOL, and DelphiExamples include Machine Language and Assembly language.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of High-Level Language

High-level language has takeover the programming world in the twenty-first century. Due to its easy-to-use features, it is widely used and popular among programmers. Although it was introduced in the 1950s, it has remained close to humans. 


You should prefer a high-level language due to the following advantages: 

  • It is a user-friendly language and can be easily understood, learned, programmed, or used. 
  • It used English phrases and words thus making it simpler to learn. 
  • It can be easily maintained and debugged. 
  • It can be ported from one computer to another easily. 
  • Most of the modern and accessible programming languages like Java, Python, C, and Ruby are high-level programming languages. 
  • They contain more libraries than low-level languages that contain a dense set of codes, keywords, phrases, and words. 

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However, you should take into view the following disadvantages before using a high-level language: 

  • A high-level language is less memory-efficient. Therefore, it will consume a lot of memory. 
  • High-level language has to be translated into a binary language for the computer to intercept and hence the speed of execution is slow. 
  • A high-level language is independent of hardware or computer system architecture. Any programming function related to computer hardware is lost. 
  • Since it takes time to translate the language, it is not time-efficient. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Low-Level Language 

The low-level language that was developed in the late 1940s and is considered to be closer to computers has a set of advantages and disadvantages.


  • It is a memory-efficient language and consumes comparatively less memory. 
  • It is a fast language as it does not need to be translated. 
  • It can communicate with hardware or computer system architecture. 


  • It is a complex language and cannot be understood easily. 
  • It is a difficult task to debug and maintain the language. 
  • It is losing significance in recent years due to the prevalence of high-level language. 
  • It is a non-portable language and cannot run on different computers. 
  • It results in poor programming productivity. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which language can the computer understand? 

A computer can understand machine language (low-level language) which is the form of binary numbers. A programmer codes in English-languages (a high-level language) which is then covered in machine language. 

Is high-level language better than low-level language? 

Programmers tend to prefer high-level language because it is easy to learn, understand, maintain and debug. A high-level language usually increases programming productivity.

Why is low-level language faster than high-level language? 

Low-level language is faster than high level because it does not require translation. Low-level language is in the binary form that is understandable by the computer. While high-level language includes English phrases that need to be converted first. 


It is clear that high-level and low-level languages serve completely different purposes. High-level language meets the level of the user by providing accessible programming techniques and services. While low-level programming language matches the level of machine, serving machine language. 

In a nutshell, a programmer uses a high-level language (Java, C++, Python) to write programs which are then converted into a machine language (also called low language) by an interpreter, compiler, or assembler. 

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