Steel vs. Aluminum Livestock Trailers: Which One is Right for Me?

Steel vs. Aluminum Livestock Trailers

The question of steel vs. aluminum livestock trailers is a frequent question among many trailer buyers. Whether it is new or used, there are a few things to consider when purchasing a livestock trailer. Both steel and aluminum have their benefits and drawbacks. Here is a little more information to help you in your decision of steel vs. aluminum livestock trailers.

Steel vs. Aluminum Livestock Trailers


When deciding on a steel or aluminum livestock trailer, weight is an important factor to consider. For some people, steel trailers may seem like the best choice and most affordable. However, if you haul for a living, this is not the case. Compared to aluminum trailers, steel trailers are much heavier in weight. The weight of your trailer counts toward the total weight allowed to tow. Therefore, you will actually be able to haul more on an aluminum trailer.

For example, if you have two 30 ft. trailers, one aluminum and one steel, the steel trailer weighs 10,000 pounds and the aluminum trailer is only 8,500 pounds. Many don’t realize that is 1,500 pounds more that can be hauled with the aluminum trailer. So when you are deciding on the best quality trailer when it comes to weight, consider the aluminum livestock trailer.


Contrary to popular belief, modern aluminum is extremely tough and strong. While it may not match steel’s yield and ultimately strengths, aluminum can certainly hold its own. Additionally, aluminum has a better strength-to-weight ration.

If you are planning to haul your trailer through rugged terrain for a long period of time, consider a steel livestock trailer. Aluminum trailers are strong and can get you where you need to go. However, steel trailers will be a better choice when deciding upon the strength factor. You are less likely to bed and flex when hauling with a steel trailer. This is especially true when going through pastures or other bumpy areas. When selecting a livestock trailer, if you are looking for one with strength, consider the steel livestock trailer.


When driving on icy roads it can be slick, and hauling a trailer can be dangerous. If you will be doing a lot of driving in a winter wonderland, consider an aluminum livestock trailer. Aluminum trailers are able to resist oxidation during the cold weather months. They offer you incredible longevity and corrosion resistance.

Your steel livestock trailer will require a new paint job every so often to keep it from rusting. Conversely, there are some stainless steel options that do offer excellent corrosion. However, they are heavy and absolutely cost prohibitive for use in trailers.

Green Benefits

Another factor to consider between steel vs. aluminum livestock trailers is the green benefits.

According to the Aluminum Association, “One pound of aluminum in place of 1.5 lbs. of steel in a typical bus or truck application reduces greenhouse gas emissions by almost 90 lbs. over the lifetime of the bus or truck.”


The cost of livestock trailers isn’t as clear cut as the issues above. The initial cost, what you pay to have a trailer manufactured, will most likely be higher with aluminum.

Steel does have a number of cost benefits (upkeep, repairs, etc.). However, if you crunch the numbers, the costs associated with aluminum and steel equal out in the end.


When deciding on steel vs. aluminum livestock trailers, it will be ultimately be up to which one best suits your needs. If you are considering a high quality livestock trailer, contact us at Gooseneck Trailers for more information today!

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