Aluminum Foil Vs. Tin Foil | How Are They Different?

Note- This post may contain affiliate links, we earn from qualifying purchases made on our website. If you make a purchase through links from this website, we may get a small share of the sale from Amazon and other similar affiliate programs.

During the late 19th and early 20th century, tin foil was popularly used for packaging, wrapping, and insulin electrical wires. Later in the late 20th century, tin foil was replaced by thin sheets of aluminum called aluminum foil.

A container covered with foil

The reason was simple – aluminum foil was better than tin foil. In many places, aluminum foil is still referred to as tin foil because of its same appearance, and both are used mainly for the same purposes but are very distinct from each other.

In today’s discussion, we will look into the major differences between aluminum and tin foil based on ductility, usability, durability, and many other factors.

Tin and aluminum foil have similar appearances, with one shiny side and the other being a little dull. However, the tin foil is a little brighter than the aluminum foil.

Apart from this, aluminum foil has higher durability, ductility, and heat resistance as compared to tin foil. Therefore, aluminum foil has replaced tin foil in many areas.

In today’s aluminum foil vs. tin foil discussion, we will deeply dig into each factor and unleash all the interesting facts and information about both. Before jumping into the debate, let us have an overview of a table of major differences between them.

Aluminum Foil Vs. Tin Foil | Difference Table

Basis Of DifferenceAluminum FoilTin Foil
AppearanceThin with one bright and one dull side.Thin with one bright and one dull side (a little thicker than aluminum foil).
Heat conductivityHigher Lower
Temperature Limit1220 oF445 oF
UsesCooking and packagingWrapping, especially electrical capacitors
Taste alterationWhen cooking acidic foodGives a bitter taste.

What is Aluminum foil?

A roll of aluminum foil

Aluminum foil is a thin sheet of aluminum with a thickness of 0.2 millimeters. It is a very popular and important material in packaging, household goods, and construction. The history of aluminum foil goes back to 1910, when it replaced the use of tin foil.

Aluminum foil has a higher ductibilty and durability. The thickness of aluminum foil may differ as per its usage of it. Mostly aluminum foil is used for commercial purposes. Aluminum foil is also used for packaging food and other items.

Along with the packaging, aluminum is used for thermal insulation, cables, and electronics, as it has the ability to conduct electricity.

The aluminum foil can be used very easily by just tearing the sheet from the roll. Aluminum foil is multi-purpose use like- storage, packaging, and even for cooking.

In the current date, many people call aluminum foil with the name of tin foil, but it is important to note that they both are different. Unlike tin foil, aluminum foil does not leave behind any taste or smell of its own.

What is Tin foil?

Cans made from tin

Tin foil came first in existence and was used for multiple purposes. Tin foil is a sheet of foil made from tin. Before world war two, tin foil was popularly used for packaging and insulation. Additionally, tin foil was widely used in cans.

It is interesting to note that tin foils were also used to fill tooth cavities before the 20th century. However, tin foil was expensive and less durable.

After aluminum foil became famous, tin foil decreased as the tin foil was expensive compared to aluminum foil, and when wrapped in food, tin foil was used to leave a tin taste behind. 

However, tin foil is stiffer than aluminum foil. Another interesting fact about tin foil is that it was used in recordings, and the first audio recording was done on phonograph cylinders made of tin foil.

The process of making tin foil is similar to aluminum foil. Using the tin, the thin or thick sheets are rolled out as per the requirement. Today, many times, people address aluminum foil as tin foil only as tin foil has existed for a long time, and the appearance of both is very similar.

Aluminum foil vs. Tin Foil | Similarities

A hat made with tin foil

1. Appearance

The only similarity between aluminum foil and tin foil is their appearance. Both are thin sheets that have one shiny side and one dull side. The color of both foils is the same. However, tin foil is slightly brighter if both are placed on one table than aluminum foil.

2. Usage

Tin foil was used for packaging, storing, and insulating electrical items until aluminum foil came into existence. So, both were used for the same purposes, but with the arrival of aluminum foil, the use of tin foil in wrapping foods or cooking decreased.

Aluminum foil vs. Tin Foil | Major Differences

Roll of a aluminum foil

Apart from the appearance, there are significant differences between aluminum and tin, like ductility, durability, temperature limit, etc. Let us discuss them one by one. 

1. Ductility 

The ductility of tin foil is very poor compared to the ductility of aluminum foil. The poor ductility of tin makes it harder to produce or use. When it comes to aluminum foil, it can be easily rolled into thin sheets.

Even though aluminum foil is easier to tear apart, tin foil can be easily torn apart as soon as it is pulled out from the roll.

2. Durability

The high durability of aluminum foil makes it more beneficial as compared to tin foil. The durability of tin foil is very low, and tin foil is sturdy and stiffer than aluminum foil. One interesting point related to aluminum foil and tin foil is that they can be recycled.

It only depends upon the fact that how they are used. The recyclability of both is more or the same.

3. Heat conductivity 

The heat conductivity of aluminum foil is spectacular as compared to tin foil. High heat conductivity makes aluminum foil a perfect companion for your kitchen. Until aluminum foil came into existence, foils were not used in the kitchen.

Nowadays, aluminum is widely used in baking and grilling. The heat conductivity of tin foil is approximately 3.5 times lower than aluminum foil.

4. Electrical conductivity 

Before aluminum foil, tin foil was used for all electrical purposes. When aluminum foil came into the picture, it replaced the use of tin foil. The simple reason is that aluminum foil has a higher electrical conductivity as compared to tin foil.

The electrical conductivity of aluminum foil is 4.2 more elevated than that of tin foil.

5. Temperature limit 

Aluminum foil has a magnificent temperature limit with a melting point of 1200 oF, so it can not be melted or burned while cooking. When it comes to tin foil, the melting temperature is 445 degrees F, which is even lower than that of parchment paper.

Therefore tin foil can not be used while cooking due to its lower temperature limit.

6. Taste Alteration

Tin foil was also used to wrap food items or cover them, so the food was unspoiled, but tin foil always left a ‘tin taste’ – a bitter flavor. When the use of aluminum foil spread, it quickly replaced the use of tin foil.

However, it is essential to note that aluminum foil can also leave a metallic taste if cooked with acidic food items.

7. Uses Today 

Aluminum foil is used in the kitchen to wrap food and pack food items like chips and cookies. Tin foil is majorly used in electrical products. Aluminum foil has replaced tin foil in many places, and sooner it will also conquer the electrical world.

Aluminum foil in the kitchen

Burritos rolled in aluminum foil

So far, we have learned that aluminum foil is widely used in the kitchen. Whether baking or grilling, aluminum foil is a go-to foil. Let us see how it is used in the kitchen to cook or store food items.

  1. Wrapping – Aluminum foil locks the moisture, which keeps the food item warm for a more extended period. It is also waterproof and has a greaseproof, which helps lock the moisture. Also, aluminum foil can be used as a wrapper while cooking. This can support maintaining the tenderness and juicy flavor of the food.
  2. Grilling – As we already know, aluminum foil has a melting temperature of 1200 oF; therefore, it can be used for grilling purposes. Aluminum foil is the best option as it will work even in open flames compared to other substitutes.
  3. Baking – A very concerning question arises when using aluminum foil: whether can it be used in ovens or not? The high heat resistance makes aluminum foil safe in the oven. There are different ways aluminum foil can be used in an oven, like wrapping or covering.

Aluminum foil vs. tin foil | which is versatile?

A roll of foil

As we can clearly see, aluminum foil is more versatile as it can be used for household and commercial purposes. Compared to tin foil, aluminum foil has high heat conductivity and electrical conductivity, making it more valuable and versatile.

There is no doubt that aluminum foil will replace the use of tin foil and completely vanish the existence of tin foil in the coming years.

Aluminum foil vs. tin foil | which is better?

three aluminum balls

Without any doubt, aluminum foil is better than tin foil. Firstly, aluminum foil is cheaper as compared to tin foil. Secondly, when it comes to usage, aluminum foil has replaced tin foil in many areas.

From wrapping food items to packaging and application in electrical items, aluminum foil has become a very common and popular foil. With high ductility and durability, aluminum foil is much better than tin foil.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can we replace tin foil with aluminum foil?

Yes, you can easily replace tin foil with aluminum foil, as it is a better substitute.

Which has a higher heat resistance?

Aluminum foil has a higher heat resistance as compared to tin foil.

Is aluminum foil flammable?

es, aluminum foil is flammable. However, the melting temperature of aluminum foil is 1200 degrees F, which makes it safe to use in the kitchen while baking or grilling. One should note that aluminum foil can easily catch fire in a microwave.

Can aluminum foil be stored in the refrigerator?

Yes, as the aluminum foil can easily lock moisture and is greaseproof. So you can store food in the fridge by wrapping it with aluminum foil.


Finally, we are at the end of the discussion on aluminum foil vs. tin foil, and after reading the complete differentiation thoroughly, you are an expert on this topic. Tin foil existed for a long time until the better version arrived.

Today we learned that both of them are very different from each other despite the fact that their appearance is more or less very similar to each other. So now, when using tin foil, remember that you have a better alternative that is more versatile and better comparatively.

I hope the information was helpful and handy to you. We will be back with more discussions soon. Until then, wrap some foil and keep your food warm.

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *