The pan on the left is stainless steel. Look very closely, and you should see the thick plate of aluminum bonded to the bottom. As far as cooking fuel, this is our thriftiest type of pan. The stainless interior does not react with foods, and it's very strong and easy to keep clean. With a tight fitting lid, I can simmer rice at the very lowest, number 1 setting on our electric range. The pan on the right is cast aluminum. I don't completely trust aluminum or non-stick finishes directly in contact with my food. Our electric range needs to be set to number 3 on the dial to simmer the same amount of rice. The stainless pan also gets the rice boiling faster. Both types were sold for 'waterless' types of cooking, where foods are mostly steamed in their own juices, and just a little water is added before cooking.