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Choosing between an Aluminium or Steel Ute Tray

Re-kitting or purchasing a new Ute tray means choosing between an aluminium and steel Ute tray. While a pre-installed rear section comes with the purchase of a Ute, many buyers opt to purchase a bareback and chassis-only Ute.

Going this route allows the buyers the freedom and flexibility to get the best-fitting Ute tray for their needs. The value of the car not only increases with a customised Ute tray; personal style is also highlighted by the choice.

Moving any load from point A to point B is an easier job with the right Ute trays. Cargoes ranging from bulk shopping, fruits, camping gear, livestock, and even people can all be loaded with the right Ute tray.

The main materials used for making Ute trays are alloy, aluminium, and steel. However, the popular choices are with aluminium and steel Ute trays. Knowing their various advantages allows you to get the right tray suitable for your needs.

Choosing an aluminium or steel Ute tray is the first consideration every utility vehicle owner thinks about. Both types of Ute trays are good; the choice boils down to your preferences and needs.


Aluminium Ute Trays wins hands down when it comes to being resistant to rust and corrosion. The bauxite material of aluminium trays makes them rust-free and non-ferrous. An aluminium tray exposed to all types of elements from saltwater to sea air will maintain its looks.

 Steel Ute Trays will immediately rust when exposed to outdoor elements. The alloys of carbon and iron material of steel trays cannot withstand outdoor elements especially saltwater. A lick of paint or powder-coating can act as sealants to prevent steel trays from rusting. However, potential rust is always lurking especially with scratches and chips caused by hard loading.


Aluminium weighs lighter than steel. The total weight of a heavy-duty aluminium tray is only 160 kg. The lighter weight of the aluminium tray makes it a good choice when considering tyre wear and gas consumption. The kerb weight of the vehicle must come into play when choosing the right weight. A bigger payload is gained with a lighter-weight tray.

Steel trays are heavier than their aluminium counterpart. Choosing a steel tray will not work for your needs if the important need is payload capacity. However, the heavier weight of steel trays works to advantage when it is used in vehicles with cab-chassis that are driven with lighter loads.


Aluminium trays are more expensive compared to their steel counterparts. Customising an aluminium tray can cost a pretty penny because fabricating its material can take a longer time. The labour costs and the use of TIG/MIG special welding gases add to the overall cost as well.

Steel trays, on the other hand, costs less than aluminium. However, custom- designed flat-pack steel trays are also expensive.


Steel trays win this round. The steel material used for creating steel trays is three times stiffer and four times stronger than aluminium. The option should be steel trays when the need is for hard and strong work applications.

Aluminium trays have a softer material that pales in comparison to the hardness and strength of steel.

Contact us for more information about ute tray body types.

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