Aluminum vs. Stainless Steel: Which is Better for Metal Work?

Aluminum vs. Stainless Steel Which is Better for Metal Work

Metal work is a popular hobby and profession, and many different types of metal can be used for various projects. In this blog post, we will compare two of the most common metals for this type of work, aluminum versus stainless steel, and discuss 3 pros and 3 cons of each material.

Aluminum Pros:

  1. A lightweight metal. Aluminum has a low density of 2.7 kg per dm3, making it one of the lightest metals in the world. This property is what makes this metal so easy to work with.
  1. Durable material. Aluminum has a long lifespan – 40-plus years for building and 80-plus years for window frames, making it one of the most durable materials. For this reason, aluminum is a preferred construction material.
  1. A corrosion-resistant metal. Usually, a thin but effective layer of oxide forms on the surface of aluminum, preventing further oxidation from happening. This is what prevents aluminum from rusting.

Aluminum Cons:

  1. Aluminum is not as sturdy and strong as stainless steel. Therefore, it can only be used for very specific projects and not all projects.
  2. It can be difficult to cut or drill aluminum due to its ductility and softness. A gummy buildup is often formed when aluminum is machined or cut.
  3. Aluminum is a good conductor of heat and electricity, which can be a problem if you’re not careful when working on it.

Stainless Steel Pros:

  1. A strong and durable metal. With a density range of 7750 kg/m3 to 8050 kg/m3, stainless steel is 250% times denser than aluminum, making it very strong and more durable. This is the reason why stainless steel is used in heavy-duty projects.
  2. It’s corrosion-resistant. Stainless steel contains chromium compounds. When Oxygen in the air mixes with this compound, a protective layer forms on the surface of stainless steel, making it very resistant to corrosion and rust.
  3. It has a high melting point. The average melting point of stainless steel falls between 2550 and 2790°F, withstanding very high temperatures. This is why it’s used in the automotive industries, aerospace industry, and steam boilers.

Stainless Steel Cons:

  1. Stainless steel is not as easy to weld as aluminum. Therefore, you might need special equipment to weld stainless steel.
  2. The high-density property of stainless steel makes it not the ideal material for projects where weight is a factor.
  3. Stainless steel is expensive. It is much harder to produce stainless steel compared to aluminum and requires more energy and resources to do so, making it more expensive.

Key Takeaway

As with most things in life, there is no clear winner between aluminum and stainless steel. If you need something strong and durable, stainless steel is a good choice. If you need something light and corrosion-resistant, aluminum might be the better option. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which material is best suited for your project.

However, if you’re still unsure which metal is right for you, please contact the best metal supplier in Albuquerque, New Mexico Metals LLC. Our team of experts is always on hand to offer advice and assistance, so you can be confident you’re making the best purchase for your needs.