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How to tell Aluminium from Stainless Steel

How to tell Aluminium from Stainless Steel

Have you ever wondered how to tell the difference between aluminium and stainless steel? While both are extremely durable and corrosion-resistant materials, they have distinct characteristics that set them apart. In this blog post, we will explore the differences between aluminium and stainless steel so that you can easily identify which one is which.

Physical Appearance

The most obvious way to tell aluminum and stainless steel apart is by their physical appearance. Aluminium has a duller grey/white color, whereas stainless steel has a silver/shiny metallic look. Additionally, aluminum is much lighter than stainless steel due to its lower density. If you are in doubt about the material of an item, this can be a quick way to tell them apart without having to do any further tests.

Magnetic Properties

Another way to differentiate between aluminium and stainless steel is by testing their magnetic properties. Aluminium is non-magnetic, so it will not be drawn to a magnet at all. However, stainless steel does have some degree of magnetic attraction, so it will be attracted to a magnet if placed close enough. This test can also help you identify other types of metals as well – for example, copper or brass will also be drawn towards magnets.

Chemical Testing

The most definitive way to tell aluminium from stainless steel is by conducting chemical testing on samples from each metal type. Both metals have distinct elemental compositions that can be tested using spectroscopy or other analytical instruments such as X-ray diffraction or optical microscopy. These tests will show the exact chemical components present in each metal sample and allow for easy identification of the material type with certainty.


Aluminium and stainless steel may look similar, but they have distinct characteristics that make them unique from each other. By understanding these differences, it becomes easier to identify which metal type is which without having to conduct any additional tests or analysis on samples of the materials themselves. That being said, if you are ever uncertain about what type of metal an item is made out of, then chemical testing should always be done in order to get accurate results with certainty. With this knowledge in hand, anyone should now know how to differentiate between aluminium and stainless steel!

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