Ute trays are crucial for tradies and adventurers, whether hauling work gear or storing adventure essentials. Choosing between aluminium vs steel tray is key, impacting both performance and style. Our blog explores their pros and cons, empowering you to make an informed decision.


Pros and cons of aluminium trays

Aluminium ute trays are tough, versatile and lightweight vehicle customisation accessories. Aluminium is derived from bauxite ore, which undergoes refining through the Bayer process to produce alumina. The alumina is then smelted using the Hall-Héroult process, where it’s dissolved in molten cryolite and subjected to an electric current to extract pure aluminium.

This controlled manufacturing process results in a durable, corrosion-resistant material widely used in industries ranging from aerospace to automotive accessories, such as heavy-duty aluminium ute trays.

Pros of aluminium trays

  • Weight advantage: Aluminium trays are much lighter than steel, which can improve fuel efficiency and allow for a greater payload capacity. This is a major advantage for 4WD enthusiasts who need to maximise their vehicle’s performance.
  • Corrosion resistance: Naturally resistant to rust and corrosion, aluminium trays are perfect for use in coastal areas, mining sites or places with high humidity or high sulphur content, allowing them to withstand the harshest environmental conditions.
  • Style appeal: Sleek and modern aluminium trays bring a contemporary style to your ute, striking the perfect balance between form and function. They’re dust resistant properties help maintain their look over time with minimal effort.

Cons of aluminium trays

  • Load-bearing concerns: While aluminium trays are durable, they may not match the sheer strength of steel trays in extreme load-bearing scenarios and can be more prone to dents and damage from heavy impacts.
  • Cost consideration:The initial investment for aluminium trays can be higher than for steel, but the long-term benefits, including durability and corrosion resistance, often justify the expense.
  • Repair challenges: In the event of damage, repairing aluminium trays may require specific welding expertise, potentially adding complexity to maintenance.


Pros and Cons of steel trays

Steel trays are synonymous with strength and durability, crafted through a process from iron ore extraction to steel casting and shaping. They excel in heavy-duty applications, offering exceptional load-bearing capacity and resilience against wear and tear. Advanced techniques like galvanisation or powder coating can help to enhance their corrosion resistance.

Pros of steel trays

  • Strength: Steel trays can handle heavy loads and are less likely to bend or crack under extreme pressure.
  • Durability: Resistant to wear and tear, steel trays are built for carting heavy-duty equipment and heavy-machinery tools.
  • Robustness: From construction sites to farm fields, steel trays provide a solid platform for hard and jagged work tasks.

Cons of steel trays

  • Weight consideration: Steel trays, being heavier than their aluminium counterparts, may impact GVM, fuel efficiency and overall vehicle performance.
  • Corrosion susceptibility: While treated for corrosion resistance, steel trays may require extra care to prevent rusting, especially in harsh environments.
  • Aesthetic limitations: The classic, industrial look of steel trays may not appeal to those seeking a more modern and sleek look for their vehicle.

Steel vs aluminium trays — which should you choose?

Selecting between steel and aluminium trays involves thoughtful consideration of your specific needs. Here are some key points to consider when choosing between alum vs steel trays:

  • Usage: When it comes to usage, steel trays are optimal for heavy-duty tasks like construction and rigorous farm work. On the other hand, aluminium trays, which can be reinforced through welding and bending to provide the necessary strength for these same demands. Aluminium trays are versatile and fuel-efficient, making them ideal for a range of tasks without compromising strength.
  • Corrosion resistance: Steel trays are robust but may require additional measures to combat corrosion. However, aluminium trays are naturally corrosion-resistant, allowing them to excel in harsh environments.
  • Aesthetics: Steel trays have a classic, industrial look conveying strength and reliability. However, if you prefer something sleek and modern that adds a contemporary look to your ute, you may want to opt for an aluminium trays.
  • Budget: Generally, steel trays are more budget-friendly. But despite their higher upfront costs, aluminium trays have long-term benefits.

Ultimately, the choice between aluminium vs steel trays comes down to matching your selection with the specific demands of your work or adventures. Understand your needs, evaluate your tasks and let your tray become not just a utility, but a valuable asset to your journey — whether you’re on a job site, managing a farm, or exploring the great outdoors.

Find the right tray at Norweld

At Norweld, choosing the right tray for your vehicle is where our commitment to excellence shines. With over 50 years of industry experience, we offer a range of heavy-duty ute trays designed for durability, functionality, style and innovation.

Whether you’re considering aluminium vs steel tray or exploring the benefits of aluminium, Norweld sets the standard. Each tray comes with a lifetime warranty on all workmanship, built with precision right here in Australia and delivered with a down-to-earth, customer-centric approach.

For more details about our ute trays, reach out to one of our friendly staff today.

With Norweld-owned branches in Cairns, Townsville, Newcastle, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and numerous agents across the country, we’re here to guide you through the process.


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