Steel Vs Aluminium Ute Trays

There’s a strong argument to be made for selecting aluminum over steel when your vehicle will be carrying heavy, durable equipment. For instance steel trays are more at absorbing the impact of wheels or dropped tools.

Steel Trays Queensland can also be useful for cab-chassis cars driven empty or with light loads as they add the sprung weight required to compress rear suspensions on bumps that are larger than pebbles.


A Ute tray is an ideal tool for any tradesman or outdoor enthusiast. There’s a myriad of options, including steel and aluminium tray. Each has its pros, and cons.

The strongest material is steel, but it is susceptible to rusting or corroding more quickly than aluminium – especially if exposed to salt water. A rusty ute could be weakened in time.

Steel is a great choice for heavy equipment like Acrow props made of steel, jackhammer bits star pickets or sledgehammers. It could also be the best material for moving landscaping materials, specifically piles of hard jagged rocks that fall out from the bucket of a front-end loader, with considerable force.


TUFF steel ute trays frames that are welded and avoid the reliance on hinges made of plastic and bolts like many of the products from competitors. They are abrasive-blasted and primed with high zinc, and powder coated.

In the beginning, they made ute bullbars, TUFF added alloy trays to their product line due to client desire for something lighter than steel yet still strong and durable, which is in line with the TUFF brand promise. Since then, they have expanded their product line to include fridges, tool boxes and dog box bodies that are constructed to the client’s specifications.

TUFF Coatings also provides a wet spraying and powder coating service in-house, so you can customize your ute tray according to your colour scheme. The unique Dingo eye-tie’s system provides an additional element of strength to your tray.


A tray made of steel adds weight that can reduce the GVM of a vehicle and consequently its capacity to carry a load. It is useful in cab-chassis cars that are driven with a low or no load. The additional weight can cause compression of the suspensions of the rear, which can improve ride comfort.

Aluminium trays are less heavy and more resistant to corrosion than steel. They are also more attractive visually. However, they may not be as strong and you may need to provide them with additional support when you transport large loads or work in harsh conditions.

Steel trays are up to four times robust as aluminium counterparts. They are also better suited to tough jobs like carrying landscaping materials like jagged stones. They are more expensive and require more maintenance than trays made of aluminium.


Steel trays are susceptible to rusting in outdoor conditions, especially salt water. Even with a protective treatment such as hot-dip galvanising or powder coating, even the slightest chip or scratch can start the rusting process.

Aluminium is, however, is a lot more resistant to corrosion and it will not rust completely unless you deliberately try to. This makes aluminum trays a better option for work in the outdoors.

The most important thing to remember is that both steel and aluminium provide plenty of strength and this all comes down to your specific work requirements and personal preference. If, however, you’re looking for a sturdy tray that can handle the weight of your load and cannot afford an individual tray, then a pre-fabricated one could be exactly what you need.


Many tradesmen are concerned about the appearance of their vehicles and would like a tray that is custom-built to match their truck’s cab. This could be due to commercial reasons (like fleets of uniformly colored and brand-named vehicles) or simply because they want an integrated appearance.

Steel trays are able to provide this feature, and are less likely to scratch or scratch than aluminum tray. The steel, unlike aluminium, can rust if exposed to moisture. Anyone who works near the coast should be concerned about this.

A tray made of steel could be a great option for carting landscaping supplies including large rocks that can be damaged by the dumping action of a front-end loader. They’re also a good option for transporting heavy tools like steel Acrow props and jackhammer bits, as they’ll withstand the weight, but not lose their structural strength.

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