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Extruded Profiles: Aluminum vs. Stainless Steel

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When needing an extruded metal product, it normally gets down to two moves: the stainless steel or the aluminum profile. Even with the choice of two, it's still a puzzle to figure out the right profile to choose. There are lots of factors to consider. This normally revolves around the benefits, the weight, and, most importantly, your budget. 

Both aluminum and stainless steel can be used to manufacture extruded profiles and panels. Aluminum is more affordable, but it's not as durable as stainless steel. In addition, it has a lower yield strength and point load carrying capacity than stainless steel.

Stainless steel is more expensive than aluminum, but it's also more durable, stronger, and resistant to corrosion. Stainless steel has excellent yield strength and point load carrying capacity, which make it ideal for extrusion applications requiring high-tensile loads.

Stainless steels have the edge over aluminum because they're more resistant to corrosion than most metals, including copper, which can form an oxide layer on the surface of stainless-steel during use (this layer prevents further corrosion).

Does the Environment Matter When Choosing Extruded Steel or Aluminum Profiles?


Aluminum and stainless steel are two of the most popular materials used in extruded profiles. Aluminum is lightweight and inexpensive to produce, while stainless steel has a higher strength-to-weight ratio.

In addition to their cost, the environment also plays a role when choosing between aluminum or stainless steel. Extruded profiles made of aluminum use more energy than those made of stainless steel, both in raw material extraction and processing. Also, aluminum has a higher carbon footprint over its lifetime than stainless steel.

How Much Will Your Stainless Steel or Extruded Aluminum Profile Weigh?


The weight of your profile is determined by many factors, which are listed below.

Aluminum alloy composition: 


The material you choose for your aluminum profile will determine the overall weight of your material. For example, an extruded aluminum profile can be made from various alloys like 6061-T6, 6061-T651, AA2024, and AA6061. The type of alloy used will determine the weight of the finished product.

Stainless steel


If you choose stainless steel as your aluminum profile, then two types of stainless steel can be used: 304 and 316. These alloys are both heavier than 6061 alloys, making for heavier profiles. However, their corrosion resistance properties are still commonly used in applications where corrosion resistance is important, such as marine hardware or plumbing fixtures.


What's Your Budget for Your Stainless Steel or Aluminum Extrusion Project?


You have many options when choosing a material for your stainless steel or aluminum extrusion project. The most common choices are stainless steel and aluminum, and they both have their benefits.

Stainless steel is a durable material that can be used in numerous applications, but it also has drawbacks. Stainless steel may be the best choice for your project if you're looking for a material that will last a long time. However, aluminum might be a better choice if you want something with a lower cost of production and fewer maintenance requirements.

Aluminum has many advantages over stainless steel when it comes to extrusion projects. Aluminum is relatively cheap compared to other metals such as copper and titanium, so it can be used in applications where budgets are tight.

Aluminum also tends to be lightweight compared to similar materials like copper and titanium, which makes it an ideal option for projects where speed and efficiency are important factors.

What tolerances does your project require?


Aluminum and stainless steel are great options for extrusion profiles, but they have different tolerances. Aluminum has a lower maximum yield strength than stainless steel, so it's important to consider this when designing a part with high manufacturing tolerances.

If you're looking for aluminum extrusions that are easy to machine and weld, consider using 6061-T6 aluminum. It's also an excellent choice for projects that require high-strength components, such as bookcase bases or trash compactor casters.

Stainless steel is an excellent choice for projects requiring a more complex finish and more complex shapes. It offers superior corrosion resistance compared to aluminum and can be easily welded or machined into complex shapes.



The first thing to consider is the look you want. If you want the sleek look of aluminum, then you should choose aluminum. It is also lighter than stainless steel, which may be more portable for your needs.

If you want the durability of stainless steel, then it's the material for you. It will last longer and will be able to withstand more abuse. It will also be more resistant to rust and corrosion than aluminum.

Contact us to get professional advice for your custom project!