This is going into the FAQ at some point, but we get a lot of questions about it, so I thought I'd write a quick post. We make branding heads out of either brass or aluminum. What's the difference?
Both offer very long service life. We've got aluminum branding heads in production environments that bang out work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week--same with brass. Aluminum heats more rapidly and is pretty easy for novice branders to use. At high temperatures, it's a bit softer than brass, and if heated incorrectly (and I mean really, really incorrectly--you have to go out of your way to mess it up) it can sustain damage.
Brass takes a fairly long time to heat, and it needs to be hotter than a comparable aluminum head to make a clean mark, primarily due to the fact that it doesn't transfer heat as quickly to the workpiece surface. However, it's almost impossible to destroy with high heat, and it withstands non-ideal conditions a bit better. I typically recommend brass-head brands for fieldwork, like branding lumber, fenceposts, and beehives, or for branding dirty or heavily-painted surfaces.
Again--both yield identical results as far as sharpness and detail. Hope this helps out.