What Elements Are Metals? Classification & Properties Of Metals

The periodic table elements are differentiated into metals, nonmetals, metalloids, halogens, inert gases, lanthanides, and actinides. Each category is arranged in different groups, and the elements in each group share similar physical and chemical properties.

Metals, the focus of this article, include sodium, magnesium, zinc, copper, and tin. There are other less common metals you probably do not know about. There are probably some elements you think are metals, but they are not.

Read this article to find answers to your questions on metals on the periodic table.

How many elements of the periodic table are metals?

The periodic table contains 118 elements, and about 75% of these elements are metals. To put a figure to it, it can be said that there are 94 metals on the periodic table.

Classification of metals

Alkali metals

These elements are on the far left end of the periodic table, except for hydrogen. They are known for their high reactivity and +1 oxidation state due to the single electron in their s-shell. In addition, these metals are soft and are found in compounds.

Alkali metals are six in number. They include:

  • Lithium
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Rubidium
  • Cesium
  • Potassium

Alkaline earth metals

Alkaline earth metals are next to the alkali metals on the left side of the periodic table. They are less reactive than the alkali metals but are stronger and denser.

Furthermore, alkaline earth metals have a +2 oxidation state. Some of these metals include:

  • Beryllium
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Strontium
  • Barium
  • Radium

Transition metals

These metals are found at the center of the periodic table. They are heavier and denser than the alkali and alkaline earth metals.

Additionally, they have partially filled d or f shells, which are responsible for their various oxidation states and the formation of colored complexes.

There are 38 transition metals. They are:

  • Scandium
  • Titanium
  • Vanadium
  • Chromium
  • Manganese
  • Iron
  • Cobalt
  • Nickel
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Yttrium
  • Zirconium
  • Niobium
  • Molybdenum
  • Technetium
  • Ruthenium
  • Rhodium
  • Palladium
  • Silver
  • Cadmium
  • Hafnium
  • Tantalum
  • Tungsten
  • Rhenium
  • Osmium
  • Iridium
  • Platinum
  • Gold
  • Mercury
  • Rutherfordium
  • Dubnium
  • Seaborgium
  • Bohrium
  • Hassium
  • Meitnerium
  • Darmstadtium
  • Roentgenium
  • Copernicium

Poor metals

“Poor metals” or “other metals” have lower melting and boiling points. They are also softer than the other metals. Compared to other metals, these metals are not very good conductors of heat and electricity.

The poor metals are:

  • Aluminum
  • Gallium
  • Indium
  • Tin
  • Thallium
  • Lead
  • Bismuth
  • Ununtrium
  • Flerovium
  • Ununpentium
  • Livermorium


Lanthanides are the first set of rare earth metals. Although, not all of them are rare. Some naturally exist in nature.

Lanthanides comprise 15 metals from atomic numbers 57 to 71. All lanthanides except for lutetium (a d-block element) are f-block elements.

Also, they are known for their various oxidation states. Lanthanides can have +2, +3, and +4 oxidation states. Of the three, +3 is the most common.

Here’s a list of all lanthanides:

  • Lanthanum
  • Cerium
  • Praseodymium
  • Neodymium
  • Promethium
  • Samarium
  • Europium
  • Gadolinium
  • Terbium
  • Dysprosium
  • Holmium
  • Erbium
  • Thulium
  • Ytterbium
  • Lutetium


The actinides are the second half of the rare earth metals. They are the elements from atomic numbers 89 to 103. They do not occur naturally because they are highly unstable. Actinides are products of nuclear reactions and are highly radioactive.

Here’s a list of all actinides:

  • Actinium
  • Thorium
  • Protactinium
  • Uranium
  • Neptunium
  • Plutonium
  • Americium
  • Curium
  • Berkelium
  • Californium
  • Einsteinium
  • Fermium
  • Mendelevium
  • Nobelium
  • Lawrencium


The periodic table contains 7 elements that exhibit metallic and nonmetallic properties. Moreover, they have the luster appearance of metals and are fair conductors of electricity.

It suffices to include them in this list of elements on the periodic table that are metals. They are:

  • Boron
  • Silicon
  • Germanium
  • Arsenic
  • Antimony
  • Tellurium
  • Polonium

What elements of the periodic table are solid metals at room temperature?

All metals are solid at room temperature, except for mercury and gallium. These metals are in their liquid state at room temperature.

Physical properties of metals

  • Metals are strong, malleable, and ductile. They also tend to have high durability.
  • They have high melting and boiling points.
  • They are also good conductors of heat and electricity.
  • Metals have a high tensile strength.
  • In addition, they have a lustrous appearance and are sonorous. Their ability to make tinkling sounds is the reason why they are used for the production of musical instruments.

Chemical properties of metals

  • Metals lose electrons easily to form cations
  • They readily form basic oxides when they burn in air.

4Na + O2 ———-> 2Na2O

  • These basic oxides dissolve in water to form alkalis.

Na2O + H2O ———> 2NaOH

  • Metals react with water to form metal hydroxides and hydrogen gas.

2K + 2H2O ———-> 2KOH + H2

  • Metals react with acids to form salts of metals and hydrogen gas

Mg + 2HCl ————-> MgCl2 + H2

  • When a less reactive metal reacts with the salt of a more reactive metal, a displacement happens. The more reactive metal displaces the less reactive metal from its salt solution.

Zn + CuSO4 ———-> ZnSO4 + Cu

  • In addition, metals are excellent reducing agents because they readily lose electrons


Are metals the same as metalloids?

No, they are not. Metalloids are elements with metallic and nonmetallic properties. They have the physical properties of metals and the chemical properties of nonmetals.

Which metals are very reactive?

Francium, cesium, rubidium, and potassium are the most reactive and electropositive metals in the periodic table.

Which metals are the least reactive?

In order of decreasing reactivity, silver, osmium, palladium, gold, and platinum are the least reactive metals. Of these five, silver, gold, and platinum are readily available in nature and are most commonly used for making jewelry.

Is hydrogen a metal or nonmetal?

Hydrogen is more of a nonmetal than it is a metal. Under standard conditions, it is a gas. Hydrogen tends to behave like a metal because it can lose an electron to form H+. However, it does this less readily than the other alkali metals.

Hydrogen is a nonmetal that is a gas and gains electrons to form a hydride ion H.


Over 90 elements of the periodic table are metals. However, it is quite difficult to put a figure to it because some periodic table elements are called metalloids and behave like metals.

All group 1, group 2, and transition elements are metals. All other metals are distributed across the periodic table under lanthanides, actinides, and poor metals.

Also, learn about the charge and properties of chromium, the fourth transition metal.

Thanks for reading.