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Tin Foil vs Aluminum Foil - How They Are Different

Tin Foil vs Aluminum Foil - How They Are Different

Nov 1,2022
Tin Foil vs Aluminum Foil
Are you confused about tin foil and aluminum foil? If tin and aluminum are not the same metal, how can tin foil and aluminum be the same thing? Even if they are not the same thing, what makes them different?

Today, many people still have this confusion. Let's identify these foils and clear your mind with this in-depth post!

Is aluminum foil the same as a tin foil?

Technically, aluminum foil and tin foil are not the same. Foils are thin sheets of metal - almost any metal can be used as a foil material. So you can find aluminum foil - the most common foil, gold foil, silver foil, and tin foil.

However, you can hardly find any different aluminum foils at your local grocery store. The reason is that aluminum foil is the cheapest and has many uses, including cooking, storing food, decorating, and even as a conductor of heat.

You might be surprised to learn that tin foil can do almost everything aluminum foil does. In fact, the tin foil has been the most widely known material for wrapping and storing food long before people started using it in cooking.

What makes you mistake for tin foil and aluminum foil?

So far, it can be seen that aluminum foil and tin foil are different. So what makes people misunderstand them? Well, I can tell you 3 main reasons:

Appearance similarities

Let's put the visible reasons first. Despite all of the above differences, you can hardly identify them visually, as they are both on the thin side, dull on the other, and glossy on the other.

However, if you put both of these foils on a table, you'll notice that the tin foil is slightly brighter than the aluminum foil, and you may only be able to feel the difference through physical testing.

The historical truth about tin foil and aluminum foil

For this particular misnomer, history has given it a touch. Aluminum foil has slowly replaced tin foil, which many people do not recognize. Let's see why and how to use aluminum foil instead of tin foil.

Aluminum foil begins its conquer since 1910

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, tin foil was commonly used for packaging and insulation. Then there comes a higher durability foil with a lower price: aluminum foil.

Nonetheless, many other manufacturers have started using aluminum in place of tin in their products due to its ductility and cost-effectiveness. Aluminum then quickly became the standard material in the packaging industry in the 1920s.

1940: Speaking of cooking

At a Reynolds Wrap Thanksgiving event in 1940, an employee couldn't find a pan for a turkey. It was a wit; he grabbed some foil nearby to secure the turkey.

This move surprised people at the time. Since then, aluminum foil has been used in cooking and is eventually known as the kitchen tool of today.

Generational impact

We all believe what our parents tell us, don't we? It's perfectly normal that you grew up in a home where your parents used the name "tinfoil" instead of aluminum foil.

After 1940, only a minority preferred to call aluminum foil by its real name, while others continued to use the term "tinfoil." This can be considered the main reason why the term "tinfoil" still exists today, despite the change in trends.

Some specific geographic locations

In many countries, people have the act of calling something new as it is. Therefore, although tinfoil has long been phased out, people still refer to aluminum foil by this name.

For example, people in some parts of England today still prefer to refer to their everyday items as 'tin', such as a can of Coke, a can of beans, etc. Although the jars are actually made of aluminum.

Most of them will tell you that their parents used to call these items that and they were just followed. I believe arguing with them will do you no good.

The main difference between tin foil and aluminum foil

Then aluminum foil rose to be the cheapest material, and the rest is history. But the price isn't the only reason aluminum foil has surpassed tin foil; here are some of the key differences between these materials.


The poor ductility of tin makes it more complex in either production or use. In manufacturing, aluminum can be rolled much thinner and easier than tin, which makes the quantity in each roll of aluminum foil much higher.

In contrast, even though you can easily tear apart aluminum foil, as soon as the tin foil is pulled from the roll, it will be torn apart.


Besides price, high durability is one of the main reasons why aluminum foil is replacing the tin foil. Tinfoil is not as strong and rigid, so you don't want to wrap food in this type of tin foil.

Regarding whether aluminum foil and tin foil can be recycled, I would say that the recyclability of both materials is more or less the same. And this factor may also be affected by the purpose for which you use both products.

Thermal conductivity

Aluminum foil conducts heat very well, about 3.5 times that of tin foil, making it a bigger companion in your kitchen.

Due to this property, aluminum foil is now widely used in grilling and baking methods to reduce cooking time. So you can see why cooking was not one of the uses of aluminum foil before it came along.


The conductivity of aluminum is about 4.2 times that of tin. Therefore, aluminum foil is more suitable for electric cookware, as well as many other electrical uses.

Temperature limit

Aluminium foil is known for its significant temperature limitation; with a melting temperature of 1220oF, it will not melt or burn when cooked. By comparison, tin foil melts at about 445oF, which is even lower than parchment.

So if you're wondering if it's wise to put aluminum foil in a crock or other typical kitchen appliance, you need to consider the temperature of the appliance. In most cases, aluminum foil has better temperature resistance than tin foil, so it is also a safer choice. 

Taste changes

The biggest problem with tin foil when storing food is that it retains the "tin smell" -- a bitter taste. On the other hand, aluminum foil does have a certain level of contamination in food, but you may only experience the metallic taste after cooking with acidic foods.

Use today

Aluminum foil is widely used today, not only in the kitchen but also by packaging manufacturers, such as potato chip bags. Capacitors were one of the last products to be produced from tin foil. Aluminum foil is widely used in roof insulation and cold chain. If you want to buy aluminum foil, please contact us.

PENGYUAN is a professional custom thermal insulation aluminum foil manufacturer. We have 3 vacuum coating machines and 8 PE extrusion coating production lines, guided by the 6S management system. As the largest extruder coating base in China, the company has obtained ISO9001, ISO14001, ISO45001 full-system production standards. With wider and deeper cooperation, Pengyuan will continue to focus on the development and manufacturing of extrusion coating technology. We are committed to becoming an advanced energy-saving new material and solution provider.
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Learn more from our FAQ
Which to choose Aluminum foil coated PE or Metalized pet film coated PE ?

It depends on what product to be made in final procedure. Aluminum foil coated pe is with at least 97% reflectivity, it can be bonded to EPE foam but also most of time for laminated with bubble. Metalized pet film coated PE with lower reflectivity ,but it is with strong surface.

I am a insulated liner/bag manufacturer,what product do you suggest?

There maybe bubble lamination machines and heating pressure lamination machines in your factory, we suggest Aluminum foil 7mic+PE20mic, and Metalized PET film12mic+PE15mic.

If i would like to get a quote ,what information shall i need to know first?

You are request to telling application, material structure,thickness and roll width and quantity.

What is the MOQ and how is packaging?

MOQ is 1000kgs for each product, packaging depends on roll size, common width is 1200mm and 1500mm, length are 4000m to 5000m per roll. Rolls can be vertically packed on pallet also accept to do horizontal suspending packaging.

Is this product by wet lamination or by dry lamination?

Both wet lamination line(extrusion coating) and dry lamination line(glue coating) are equiped in our Pengyuan group.

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ZHEJIANG PENGYUAN is the leader of extrusion coating, the professional manufacturer & supplier of PolarFoil