Stainless steel and aluminum are two commonly used metals in various industries and applications. Telling them apart is essential, especially when it comes to their uses, properties, and scrap metal recycling. In this article, we’ll explore the distinctions between stainless steel and aluminum and provide you with tips on how to differentiate between them effectively! If you have any questions about either of these metals or are looking to sell scrap metal in the Southeastern Massachusetts region, contact our team at Middleboro Recycling today!

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a corrosion-resistant alloy known for its durability and aesthetic appeal. It is commonly used in kitchen appliances, cutlery, jewelry, construction, and more. Stainless steel contains iron, chromium, and other elements, which give it its unique properties.


Aluminum is a lightweight and versatile metal with excellent corrosion resistance. It is used in a wide range of applications, including aircraft manufacturing, construction, automotive parts, and packaging. Aluminum is known for its low density and malleability.

Tips On Between Differentiating Stainless Steel & Aluminum


Aluminum is significantly lighter than stainless steel. If you have two pieces of similar size, the aluminum one will feel much lighter when compared to stainless steel.

Visual Inspection

Examine the surface of the metal. Stainless steel often has a shiny, reflective surface due to its chromium content, which gives it a stainless appearance. Aluminum, on the other hand, may have a more matte finish.


Stainless steel often has a slightly darker and more metallic gray color compared to aluminum. Aluminum can vary in color depending on its alloy, ranging from silver-gray to dull white.

Use a File

If you gently file the metal’s surface in an inconspicuous area, stainless steel will produce fine metal filings, while aluminum will create larger, softer shavings.

Chemical Test

You can perform a chemical test by applying a small amount of vinegar to a hidden area. Stainless steel will not react, but aluminum may show a slight reaction by fizzing or discoloration.

Sell Scrap Metal To Middleboro Recycling Center!

If you have any questions about scrap metal recycling or are ready to start selling scrap metal in the Southeastern Massachusetts area, please don’t hesitate to contact our team at Middleboro Recycling, located in Middleborough, MA! A member of our team would be happy to help you in any way that we can! Give us a call today at (508) 946-2383 or fill out the contact form on our website, or if you’re wondering what your scrap metal is currently worth, check out our pricing page by clicking here!