Aluminium is inexpensive and lightweight. It conducts heat well but in its uncoated form is difficult to care for, wears quickly, and reacts with food. The exception is anodized aluminium, chemically treated in a way that removes the drawbacks of plain aluminium.
Best for: Frying pans and sauté pans.
Heat conduction: It conducts heat quickly but does not retain heat for long periods of time.
Temperature change: Good.
Non-stick surface: Can be treated with a non-stick coating such as Teflon or ceramic titanium coating (Scanpan).
Care: Aluminium discolours easily as it reacts with some food and chemicals. It can add a metallic taste to foods and give them a grey colour. Anodized aluminium will not react with food and has many of the benefits of the metal. It is still relatively soft, however, and should not be used with metal utensils.
Clean: Aluminium can be washed in hot soapy water. The outside of a pan made from untreated aluminium can be scrubbed with steel wool and soap to remove discolouration. Anodized aluminium should be used with steel wool.