Using steel studs in residential construction is a valid and beneficial alternative to wood. If you have tried to find a straight, relatively smooth 2 x 4 recently, you are well aware of the shortage of construction grade lumber.
Steel studs come in equivalent sizes to construction grade lumber. A 2 x 4 in wood is a 1.5 x 3.5 inch steel stud and a 2 x 6 wood stud is a 1.5 x 5.5 steel stud. There is even an equivalent for the 2 x 2 wood stud.
Steel studs are always straight, do not warp, or rot, and they are not subject to termites or other insects. They cut easily with a pair of tin snips or straight blade aviation snips. They are screwed together, rather than nailed with self-tapping screws. After a very short learning curve, steel studs assemble quicker than wood studs and they are much lighter. Most home handymen will already own the tools necessary to install steel studs.
For the home handyman it is wise to only use steel studs for non-supporting walls, those that are not carrying the weight of a second floor or a roof. Although steel studs can be used in a supporting role, it requires some engineering to design the framework.
The studs are used in the same manner as wood, there is a floor, and ceiling plate, which in steel stud terminology, is called a track.
Installing steel studs is much easier on the arms, legs and back. Driving in two self tapping screws takes a lot less effort than driving in a couple of 4 inch nails and the material is much lighter. There is no need to install the frame on the floor and then hoist it into position as the steels studs are screwed to the track from the side rather than nailed through the top and bottom plates.
When shopping for steel studs the only specification that you must pay attention to, is the gauge or thickness of the steel. The lower the gauge, the thinner the material, and the thinner the material the more flex in the stud or track.
Although a steel wall may seem to have a lot of flex in it, once the drywall is hung the wall will stiffen up dramatically.
Next time you are building a new wall in your home, consider the use of steel. You will be pleased with the results.