Tin vs Aluminum Packaging—Which is Better?

Choosing the right packaging for products could be confusing for new business owners. Multiple options make this selection extremely difficult.

The most common packaging options are Aluminum packaging and Tin packaging. Still, choosing one of them is a tough decision.

In this article, we’ll discuss Tin vs Aluminum packaging. We’ll explain what these packaging types are, point out the differences, and help you choose the right option for your business. Let’s start with the basics.

What is Tin Packaging?

Tin was the first metal in human history to be used for creating metal packaging. It is an ideal option for food items because of its non-corrosive properties. It keeps the item fresh and ensures airtightness to increase its life.

Note: The idea of preserving food in tin cans was patented in 1810.

It is a strong material that can withstand impact. Due to its low melting point and malleability, it is easy to convert it into the desired shape.

Back in the day, packaging was made completely from tin or tin coating over iron. However, modern tin cans you see for packaging are actually made of steel. They have a thin layer of tin coated to protect steel from corrosion.

What is Aluminum Packaging?

Aluminum packaging was introduced in 1965, and since then, it has been a leading metal packaging material.

It is a very lightweight metal that offers incredible strength at the same time. Due to its non-toxic and corrosion-resistance properties, it is a good option for food items.

It also helps food to last for a long time by preventing light and air from getting into it. That’s why it is preferred in the beverage industry.

Aluminum packaging comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. It can be turned into foils that are commonly used for wrapping food items.

Difference Between Tin vs. Aluminum Packaging

Before diving into the differences between Aluminum and Tin packaging, it would be much better to understand the difference between the two metals first.

Tin is the 49th most abundant element in Earth’s crust with the chemical symbol “Sn,” a molar mass of about 118.71 g/mol, and atomic number 50. It is a soft, silvery-white metal with a melting point of 231.9⁰C. Other than hand, Aluminum is the 3rd most abundant element in Earth’s crust. Its chemical symbol is “Al,” and it has a molar mass of about 26.95 g/mol and atomic number 13. It is a soft, silvery-gray metal with a melting point of 660.3⁰C.


Tin is obtained from a compound of oxygen and tin called cassiterite, which is a mineral. It goes through a refining process to make it suitable for the manufacturing processes.

It is the 49th most abundant element in the Earth’s crust. However, its availability is the main issue, and it can’t fulfill the needs of the packaging industry.

In contrast, Aluminum is available in the form of compounds. It goes through a refining process, which is way more difficult than Tin. However, Aluminum is available in abundance, and it can fulfill the needs of the packaging industry.


Recycling Tin is not encouraged because it is an energy-inefficient process. However, modern cans that are made of steel are recyclable with fewer negatives.

Aluminum recycling is pretty easy. It can be melted down and reused, and this process can be repeated infinite times without losing the quality.

Secondly, its recycling is energy-efficient, and it is cheaper than producing Aluminum. Only 5% of the Aluminum production energy is required to recycle it. On top of that, the process is environmentally friendly. Therefore, Aluminum is widely preferred for packaging.


Tin is heavier than Aluminum and more durable. It can bear pressure impact, which is ideal for some packaging needs. However, higher weight increases the transportation cost.

Aluminum is a lightweight material, which is why it can be transported at a low cost. Although it is light, it is strong, and its alloys can offer excellent strength.


Aluminum is the cost-effective option for packaging. It is way more than less expensive compared to tin cans/packaging. It is abundant and cheap.

However, in some cases, you need Tin packaging because of its strength, and you have to compromise on the cost.

Aluminum vs. Tin: Which One is Stronger?

Aluminum is lightweight, ductile, and malleable. It can even be turned into foil and offer enough strength for usage.

However, it is not as durable and strong as tin, which is heavy and impact-resistant.

Applications of Aluminum vs. Tin in the Packaging Industry

Both Aluminum packaging and Tin packaging are being used nowadays as they offer different properties and serve distinct purposes.

Uses of Aluminum Packaging

The common use of aluminum packaging is in the beverage industry. Soda cans, beers, and other drinks are usually packaged in aluminum cans and aluminum bottles.

It is a reliable option as these cans and bottles block oxygen, air, and light to protect the taste, carbonation, and other features of the liquid inside. Secondly, it is more economical than other metal packaging options.

Another common use of aluminum packaging is food containers. Restaurants offer takeaway food items in aluminum containers that keep everything fresh and warm.

Deodorants, air fresheners, and other aerosol sprays also have aluminum packaging. These can handle the pressure built inside the bottle.

We use aluminum foil for food packaging, wrapping, and other purposes. Tin can’t be turned into foils like aluminum ones.

It is also commonly using aluminum cups to replace plastic cups and paper cups nowadays. This is because aluminum cups are recyclable and drinking water or beer in aluminum cups feels much better than plastic or paper cups.

Other than these, aluminum packaging is used for cosmetics, snack packaging, water bottles, etc.

Uses of Tin Packaging

Tin packaging has its own perks. It is strong, durable, and versatile.

Food items that have a longer shelf-life are usually in tin cans. They are resistant to corrosion, which ensures the freshness and taste of the food for a long time.

It is also common in oil packaging, such as olive oil containers, vegetable oil containers, etc.

You will witness tin packaging for packing chocolates, candies, and snacks. Moreover, gift containers or boxes are usually made of tin.

Other than these, tin packaging is used for candles, tea, lunchboxes, soap, spices, etc.

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Aluminum cans are ideal for drinks, while tin cans are well-suited for food items with longer shelf lives. Both materials have their advantages, so people can make informed choices based on their preferences for preserving food and sustainability goals.

Aluminum and tin are commonly used metals with distinct price differences. Aluminum is generally cheaper than tin due to its abundance and lower production costs. The lightweight nature of aluminum makes it cost-effective for various applications, such as packaging and construction. In contrast, tin is relatively more expensive due to its scarcity and higher production expenses. As a result, aluminum is often preferred over tin for cost-conscious consumers and industries seeking affordable and versatile metal solutions.

Aluminum and tin are both commonly used for packaging, but each has its own unique advantages. Aluminum packaging is lightweight, durable, and resistant to corrosion, making it ideal for preserving food and beverages. On the other hand, tin packaging is known for its ability to maintain flavor and freshness. While aluminum is more commonly used today due to its recyclability and cost-effectiveness, tin remains popular for specialty products. In conclusion, both materials have their strengths, and the choice between aluminum and tin depends on specific packaging needs and product requirements.

Tin and aluminum both have environmental impacts, but aluminum has a higher recycling rate of 99% compared to tin’s 32.5%. Aluminum also requires less energy to recycle, making it a more sustainable choice.

Aluminium’s ability to form any shape and its protective qualities have made it the most versatile packaging material in the world. In addition, a key benefit is that aluminium foil, aluminum cans and other aluminium packaging materials can be fully recycled and reused an infinite number of times.

Aluminum and tin are two distinct metals commonly used in packaging. Aluminum is lightweight, corrosion-resistant, and widely used in packaging for food and beverages due to its ability to keep products fresh. On the other hand, tin, often referred to as “tinplate,” is a steel sheet coated with a thin layer of tin, providing good protection against corrosion. While both metals are used in packaging, aluminum is favored for its lightweight and recyclable nature, while tin offers excellent corrosion resistance.

Aluminum packaging provides better protection against light, moisture, and oxygen, leading to longer shelf life for food products. Studies by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have shown that aluminum packaging can extend the shelf life of food by up to 3 years.