Whether you’re sitting behind a desk dreaming of camping with the family or navigating the jobsite and saving for the next big fishing adventure, choosing the right setup to best meet the demands of your ute is important.

To help you out, we thought we’d weigh in on the debate: Ute tray vs tub. We will take a deep dive into the differences between these two options to give you the added confidence to make a decision that’s right for you.

Benefits of a ute tray

  • More space: The bottom line is a ute tray will have more flat bed space. When it comes to hauling camping gear, work equipment, fishing gear, motor bikes and everything in between, a ute tray offers more space.
  • Easy access: Who doesn’t want easy access when they’re working on the farm or loading up for a weekend getaway! With an open ute tray, accessing your gear from the sides as well as the back becomes much easier, saving you precious time and effort.
  • Functionality: Ute trays often come with added functionality. For example under tray tool boxes for extra storage and security, under tray trundle drawer that can double as a workbench and water tanks to ensure you have fresh drinking water or water to clean up on job sites.
  • Style: Ute tubs can look “vanilla” or “plain”, most ute trays not only add additional functionality, but they also add a unique look to your ute. Obviously, you get what you pay for, but quality ute trays certainly offer a unique style. For business owners, trays can not only help make your fleet look more professional, they are more functional.
  • Compatible with wind-off canopies: Most fibreglass canopies that are designed for tubs, can be restrictive. Ute trays can give you greater options in terms of usability and functionality (full time and wind-off canopies) allowing you to customise your vehicle to suit your needs. Run a tray only option during the week and throw the canopy on, for weekend adventures (or vice versa if you are using your canopy for work).
  • Reduced risk of damage: Tubs are more prone to panel damage. Ute trays like Norweld heavy duty aluminium ute trays have been built in Australia for the harsh outback and day to day work conditions. Backed by a lifetime warranty on workmanship, ute trays like those offered by Norweld give you greater peace of mind that your tray will outlast your ute.
  • Longevity: In fact ute trays are transferable between vehicles, so when the time comes to upgrade you can take your tray with you, giving you greater longevity of your asset. This is not an option with ute tubs.


Downsides of a ute tray

  • Rattling trays: Some entry level ute trays have the tendency to rattle when travelling over rough terrain. Essentially you get what you pay for when it comes to ute trays. Norweld prides itself on building durable trays that are expertly engineered to withstand the harsh Australian conditions, whether on or off road and provide you with a rattle free experience.
  • Waterproofing constraints: Ensuring all your gear is kept waterproof can be more challenging with a ute tray compared to factory tubs that come standard with ute tray covers. It is important to note that Norweld tray toolboxes and undertray drawers are all dust and water resistant, meaning that your equipment will be kept safe from the elements.
  • Securing loads: When you’re loading up a ute tray with gear, you’ve got to make sure it’s secure. Tubs are useful with consideration for securing your gear, but come with numerous other limitations as previously discussed. Whether you use tie down straps or ropes, Norweld tray designs provide differing tie down options to secure your gear.
  • Higher cost: Standard tubs provide a cost effective option for budget-conscious buyers. For those wanting to invest in the added durability, functionality and style of your ute, Norweld trays are backed by a lifetime warranty on the workmanship and an investment that you can count on.


  • Standard: Tubs are a standard feature on most utes, with many owners unaware that they are replaceable. Standard tubs feature deeper sidewalls, enabling quick and easy transportation for taller items. Norweld are able to remove standard tubs and provide tray options for most dual cab, single cab and extra cab utes.
  • Cost-effective replacement: Should you damage your tub, they are relatively cost-effective to replace compared to a ute tray.
  • Design: If you are happy with the standard factory design ute tubs provide a seamless fit with your utes overall esthetics.

Have a look at the Norweld tray built on the 2023 VW Amarok – an Australian first!

downsides OF A Ute tub

  • Limited canopy options: Ute tubs have very limited options for compatible canopies compared to trays, restricting you from the great range of wind-off and full-time canopy options.
  • Less durable: Tubs tend to suffer more damage from the impacts from daily use. Even a small knock can leave noticeable scratches or dents on the tub, whereas trays have more resistance to wear and tear.
  • Limited functionality: From restricted deck space to limited access, lack of tool boxes, undertray drawers and water tanks, standard tubs limit the functionality of your ute.

Ute tray vs tub: Important things to consider

Tubs come standard (but are replaceable). For those happy with the factory options, your ute is ready to go.

Ute trays increase the durability, functionality and style of your ute, giving you more options.

In the end, it’s all about your preferences.


  • Can you change a tub to a tray?

Absolutely, you can. This process involves removing the tub and installing a tray in its place. Speak to a Norweld professional today to discuss options for your vehicle. Feel free to utilise our handy search tool below.

  • What is the difference between a ute and a cab chassis?

Most utes come standard with a tub. A cab chassis is sold without the tray, giving you the option of which tray to put on the back.

  • How does the tray get mounted to the cab chassis?

Norweld have engineered proprietary tray mounts that connect the tray to the ute chassis. Mounts that are fully welded to the tray body tend to flex and crack, which is why we have developed a process of bolting the mounts to the ute and the tray to the mounts. This proven design has been refined over the years with countless hours and millions of kilometres of testing and R & D in some of Australia’s harshest conditions.

  • Is a tub or tray heavier?

In general, a tray tends to be heavier than a tub. For example, the weight of a Norweld Deluxe Cab Tray is around 233 kg, while a Toyota Hilux Dual Cab tub typically weighs about 130-170 kg.

While the tray may be heavier, it offers the advantage of increased volume for carrying items compared to a tub. The choice between a ute tray vs tub depends on your specific needs i.e. carrying capacity and the overall weight distribution of your vehicle.

Speak to a Norweld professional today to discuss options for your vehicle or use our tool to search ute trays by vehicle to find your perfect fit.


If you’re looking to extend your functionality, with a tray option that is not only durable but elevates the style of your ute, Norweld’s ute tray range is the perfect addition.

We have Norweld-owned branches in Cairns, Townsville, Brisbane, Newcastle, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and various agents around the country. Get in touch with our team to organise a quote today, and we’ll set you up with a package that’s right for you.


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