Aluminum vs Steel Trailer: Which is Better?

I used to feel pretty overwhelmed by the amount of CHOICE there was for trailers. Aluminum vs steel trailer, which one is better, and why does it even matter?

Aluminum trailers are lighter and more durable, but steel trailers are cheaper and can be paired with stronger and heavier vehicles for more challenging workouts. The best one depends on what you need it for.

In this guide, I will take you through the pros and cons of each to help you decide which one will work for you.

CHECK: The 12 Best Top Rated Horse Trailers

Key Takeaways:

  • Steel trailers are cheaper, stronger, and easier to repair
  • Aluminum trailers are light, provide better mileage, and don’t rust
  • Both steel and aluminum trailers are excellent options, but they serve different purposes

Aluminum vs Steel Trailer

There are definitely pros and cons to an aluminum vs steel trailer, but it’s all about what they can do for YOU and which one will be best for your situation.

So, it’s steel vs aluminum.

Steel trailers are more rugged and rigid than aluminum trailers and are also CHEAPER when initially purchased.

Aluminum alloys CORRODE more easily than steel, so it requires more maintenance to keep it looking good and functioning properly. Additionally, aluminum is a LIGHTER metal, so aluminum trailers are typically easier to tow than steel trailers.

CHECK: What Is The Difference Between Horse And Stock Trailer?

Let’s take a more detailed look at the benefits of these different types of horse trailers as well as what they can be used for.

What Are the Benefits of Steel Trailers?

The advantages to having a steel trailer are convincing, and it’s easy to see why they are the most POPULAR choice amongst trailer owners.

aluminum vs steel trailer

1. They’re Cheaper

The lower price tag is why people go with steel trailers. They’re just LESS expensive to make, so you can save a few hundred dollars upfront by going with steel.

Steel trailer manufacturers pride themselves on providing something sturdy, RELIABLE, and affordable.

2. They’re Stronger

Steel is a much STRONGER metal than aluminum [2], so steel trailers will last LONGER and be able to take more of a beating.

Pro Tip: Steel is the way to go if you’re looking for a workhorse that can handle heavy loads.

3. They’re Easier to Repair

Since steel is such a common material, it’s also EASIER to find replacement parts for steel trailers. Steel is also easier to weld, so if you need to make repairs, it’ll be more accessible and less expensive than aluminum.

But of course, with benefits come disadvantages, so let’s look at the downsides of steel trailers.

What Are the Downsides of Steel Trailers?

Nothing is perfect, and while steel trailers have a lot going for them, there is one DISADVANTAGE to keep in mind before you make your choice.

1. They Rust Quickly

The main downside to steel trailers is that they RUST. If you live in an area with lots of moisture or salt (like near the ocean), you’ll have to be extra careful about keeping your steel trailer clean and rust-free.

This is also why you don’t see many older steel trailers, and you’ll see steel trailer companies pushing NEW models regularly. They tend to struggle in more extreme climates.

Pro Tip: If you go with a steel trailer, make sure to invest in a good quality paint job that will help protect against rust.

Now that we know about steel trailers, let’s look at the benefits of aluminum trailers.

What Are the Benefits of Aluminum Trailers?

While steel is the preferred choice for many trailer owners, there are still some GREAT advantages to using an aluminum trailer.

aluminum vs steel trailer

1. They Don’t Rust

The most significant advantage of aluminum trailers is that they don’t RUST [1]. If you live in a wet or salty area, aluminum is the better choice as it won’t rust like steel.

One of the reasons aluminum trailers command such respect is that they will last a LIFETIME. You won’t need a new trailer, and aluminum trailer owners will always be happy to share this information with you.

2. They’re Light

Aluminum is a LIGHTER metal than steel, so aluminum trailers are typically easier to tow than steel trailers.

Pro Tip: Aluminum might be the way to go if you have a smaller vehicle and need a lighter trailer. All aluminum trailer companies will have a range of sizes and weights on offer.

3. They Offer Better Mileage

Since aluminum trailers are lighter, they also offer BETTER mileage. If you’re looking to save money on gas, aluminum could be your best choice.

So, now you might be wondering what the disadvantages of choosing aluminum trailers are; well, keep reading.

What Are the Downsides of Aluminum Trailers?

Just like steel trailers, aluminum ones also have one major flaw that needs to be carefully considered before you choose to invest in one.

1. They Need More Maintenance

Aluminum wears down much FASTER than steel, which means it needs an acid wash once a year to retain its appearance.

READ MORE: How to Clean Aluminum Horse Trailer?

What is Steel Trailers Best for?

To help make things EASIER for you, here are the things that steel trailers are best used for:

  • Strong, full-size trucks and pickups
  • Vehicles with a high maximum load
  • Those with smaller budgets
  • Temperate climates

What Are Aluminum Trailers Best for?

On the other hand, some situations work best with an aluminum trailer. Here are the conditions to consider:

  • Old towing vehicles
  • Vehicles with a low maximum load
  • Extreme climates, such as hot and cold
  • Long-term use


There isn’t a definite answer for whether aluminum trailers are BETTER than steel trailers, but you can see that they each have a series of advantages to using them. It all depends on what you NEED and the situation you find yourself in.

Steel trailers are heavier, better for use with STRONG vehicles, and cheaper, but aluminum trailers are lighter, more DURABLE, and take up less of the total load limit.

I hope you have found this helpful guide, and I’m sure you’ll pick the perfect trailer for whatever projects or work you need to carry out.

aluminum vs steel trailer

So, what will you select between aluminum vs steel trailers? Let us know in the comments section!


  • [1] Xu, J.F. and Li, B., 2012. Stainless steel and Rust steel. In Applied Mechanics and Materials (Vol. 174, pp. 148-151). Trans Tech Publications Ltd.
  • [2] Shi, G., Jin, S., Xue, G. and Li, C., 1995. A conducting polymer film stronger than aluminum. Science, 267(5200), pp.994-996.
Bryanna Tanase
Bryanna Tanase

Bryanna is a 23-year-old Florida-based Grade 1 Para-dressage rider based in Florida and she has been riding for 5 years. Horses are her passion and her ultimate goal is to be selected for the US Para-Equestrian Team and represent the US at the Paralympics. She rides at Quantum Leap Farm and Emerald M Therapeutic Riding Center and her equine partners are Shane, an American Paint Horse, and Cappy a Welsh x Thoroughbred. When she is not helping at the barn, riding, or training, she is learning about horses, writing articles about them, and using her social media platforms to raise awareness for therapeutic riding and para-equestrianism, shares her journey, and advocates for greater inclusion of para-equestrian in the media and equestrian sport at large.
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