Which Metals Conduct Heat Best?

Thermal conductivity is the ability of a metal to conduct heat. This property is different for different types of metal, and it is important to consider in applications where high operating temperatures are common. So let’s find out which metal is the best conductor of heat and in what context.

Which Metals Conduct Heat The Best?

Out of some very common metals, copper and aluminum conduct the heat best, while steel and bronze have the lowest thermal conductivity. Heat conductivity is a crucial property when deciding which metal to use for a specific application.

Below are some applications which require metals with good heat conducting properties:

  • Heat Exchangers
  • Heat Sinks
  • Cookware

Heat Exchangers

A heat exchanger is a common application that requires metal to be a good thermal conductor.

Copper is very commonly used for heat exchangers in air conditioning, industrial facilities, hot water tanks, and refrigeration. Its thermal conductivity properties allow the heat to pass through it quickly. Copper has additional properties that make it a popular choice in heat exchangers, such as resistance to corrosion, stress, and thermal expansion.

For a more cost-effective alternative, aluminum can come handy.

Heat Sinks

Heat sinks are a type of heat exchanger that transfers heat generated by an electronic device into a moving coolant fluid. They cool central processing units, high power devices like power transistors, lasers, and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Heat sinks require metals with high thermal conductivity.

Aluminum alloys are common heat sink material because they are cheaper than copper. However, if you need higher levels of thermal conductivity, copper is the best option.


When heating up the food, you don’t want to wait all day. That is the reason copper is used in the bottoms of high-quality cookware because the metal rapidly conducts the heat. However, if you are tight on a budget, you can use aluminum cookware as an alternative.

Contact Fort Bend Steel Supply for more information.