Stainless Steel vs Aluminium – What’s the Difference

Difference Between Stainless Steel and Aluminum

Have you ever wondered what the difference was between stainless steel and aluminum? Whether you’re an experienced craftsman or just beginning to learn about metals, understanding vital information such as this can be a great starting point in selecting the best metal for whatever project you may have. In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between these two popular materials and determine which one is right for your needs. We’ll discuss how their physical properties affect their uses, advantages and disadvantages of each metal, and much more! By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly which material will work best for your application; no matter if it’s a kitchen backsplash or something else entirely. So let’s get started by looking at some of the key features that separate stainless steel from aluminum!

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What is Stainless Steel?

Despite having characteristics that reduce the likelihood of staining, one steel alloy is not corrosion-resistant. This is so because stainless steel, which is usually compared to aluminum on many scales, is the “better” form of steel. For instance, comparisons of the density, electrical conductivity, and thermal conductivity of various metals are common. For instance, aluminum is denser than stainless steel, and the scale also shows that stainless steel is a far better heat conductor than aluminum.

When stainless steel is referred to be “ferrous,” it signifies that iron is present in (or used to make) it. Due to the substantial amounts of carbon used in their production, the majority of ferrous metals and alloys rust when exposed to the elements. Galvanizing carbon steel is common practice to boost corrosion resistance. Zinc is applied to the outside of galvanized steel that doesn’t corrode so that it becomes a chemical component of the steel.

Pros –

  • Sturdy, thick, and heavy
  • Non-Reactive (Stainless steel won’t react to any foods or liquids it comes in contact with)
  • Materials Resistant to Corrosion
  •  Can be long-term cost-effective if properly maintained.

Cons –

  • not as good at conducting heat as aluminum
  • could cost more than aluminum

What is Aluminum?

Similar to galvanizing steel, anodizing aluminum does the same. The thickness of this outer, passive layer of oxide coating increases aluminum’s resistance to corrosion and abrasion. The primary differences between steel and aluminum are their ferociousness and conductivity.

Non-ferrous materials, like aluminum, are perfect for compact devices because they don’t have magnetic qualities. Aluminum is frequently the first material that springs to mind when discussing malleability. It is simple to bend, mold, and press into shape without using excessive force. Although steel is more powerful, aluminum can be hard-anodized to make it equally as powerful if necessary or if there is no other option.

Pros –

  • Economic (inexpensive)
  • Better heat conductors than stainless steel

Cons –

  • Not as good as stainless steel
  • Reactive (doesn’t respond well to alkaline or acidic meals)

Difference Between Stainless Steel and Aluminum


Iron, chromium, nickel, manganese, and copper make up stainless steel. To offer corrosion resistance, chromium is used. Additionally, because it is non-porous, its corrosion resistance is strengthened. Because of its passivation layer, aluminum has great resistance to oxidation and corrosion. The surface of a metal oxidizes, turning white and occasionally pitting. In some severely acidic or basic situations, aluminum may corrode quickly, and disastrously.

Effect on foods

Foods don’t react as strongly to stainless steel. Foods and aluminum can react, changing the flavor and color of the food.


Due to its relative softness, aluminum is simpler to cut and shape. Stainless steel is tough to work with because of its resistance to wear and abrasion. Compared to aluminum, stainless steels are more challenging to shape.

Strength-to-weight ratio 

Even while aluminum weighs roughly a third less than steel, it is typically not as robust. Aluminum is mostly utilized to construct airplanes for this reason.


Aluminum can be difficult to weld, while stainless steel is generally simple.

Thermal properties

Unlike aluminum, which gets very soft above roughly 400 degrees, stainless steel can be used at considerably greater temperatures.

Electrical Conductivity

Stainless steel is bad conductivity when compared to other metals. Electricity travels very well through aluminum. Because of its excellent conductivity, lightweight, and resistance to corrosion, aluminum is frequently used for high-voltage overhead power lines.


Aluminum is less powerful than stainless steel (provided weight is not a consideration).

Thermal Conductivity

Compared to stainless steel, aluminum has a substantially higher thermal conductivity (heat conductivity). Its use in automotive radiators and air conditioners is one of the main justifications.


Generally speaking, aluminum is less expensive than stainless steel.

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