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Stainless Steel vs Extruded Aluminum Handrail System: Which Is Better?

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An aluminum extruded handrail system is a better option because it requires minor care and provides the best performance. Weiye can fashion stainless steel and aluminum into stylish, contemporary railings. They have numerous similarities and distinctions, both good and bad.

However, consider other factors besides the handrail material when choosing. Besides the paint or sealant used, the installation method, and the safety measures provided, are vital considerations. Where do you even begin to narrow down these options for your handrail system? Here are some helpful considerations.


Stainless Steel vs. Extruded Aluminum Handrail System


Visual Appeal


Visually, the two kinds of material are highly similar and concerning aesthetics, choosing between stainless steel and aluminum is a matter of personal taste. Some people believe that extruded aluminum handrail systems can lose some of their shine with time; however, this depends on the quality of maintenance you provide and the type of aluminum used to make the rails.

 Naturally, being metals, they're both quite sleek and contemporary. You can achieve any number of surface finishes with either substance. Though they'll appear about the same once installed, stainless steel tends to win out in a head-to-head comparison.

To the naked eye, steel appears more refined and robust. However, once your railing is set up, you won't see how they compare, and many individuals find that aluminum suits their aesthetic needs.

Maintenance Requirements


Powder-coated aluminum may require touch-ups in the future, while high-quality stainless-steel railings are typically less difficult to clean and maintain; however, they do need regular upkeep. Handrails installed under harsh elements will require more frequent and extensive upkeep. Fortunately, stainless steel does very well in freshwater. In most cases, a wipe-down will do the trick.

Strength and Durability


When deciding on the best cable handrail system, this is one of the most crucial considerations because of its impact on long-term safety, dependability, and building value. Compared to aluminum, stainless steel can withstand and resist greater force (wear and tear) from impacts. 

On the other hand, it can't compete with the strength of extruded aluminum handrails. Selecting a material for your handrail system is essential, but you must also consider the installation environment. If you live in coastal areas or where intense heat and snow are typical, you should use stainless steel handrail systems for their durability.



In terms of density, stainless steel is towards the top, which means it will be able to handle greater weights with the same amount of material and be significantly heavier. There are situations where this additional strength may be helpful, but in most cases, it would be excessive for everyday uses such as domestic or business railings.

The weight of aluminum is significantly less than that of stainless steel. Aluminum handrails typically have more extensive walls than stainless steel ones to compensate for the weight difference. It means that while aluminum handrails have a thicker wall than stainless steel ones, they are nevertheless significantly lighter in weight.



In most cases, aluminum will save you money compared to stainless steel. Aluminum would typically win out if we only considered price, but the value is another story entirely. Prices for both options can vary substantially depending on the manufacturer.

Several factors will affect the final price, and the most expensive option is not always the best. Value relates to customer needs, installation conditions, visual preferences, and budget.

Which Is Better?


Regarding handrails, aluminum is often the most cost-effective material, both at home and in commercial projects in areas with no exposure to salt water. However stainless-steel railings may cost more initially, but they will last far longer in coastal areas or places where extra strength is required.

Assuming your handrails don't need special protection from saltwater or chemicals, aluminum could be a fantastic investment. Ensure the designs and color schemes suit your tastes.

Corrosion Resistance


Unlike steel, aluminum's corrosion resistance is drastically reduced in marine conditions. Robust coatings won't be able to prevent the severe corrosion it will endure. Those coatings make aluminum corrosion-resistant in environments unexposed to salt water, so it would be better to consider using high-quality stainless steel and adding a powder coating.

Take Away


A handrail system is an absolute must when it comes to the visual appeal and security of your property. Contact a reputable professional from a metals manufacturing company if you need assistance deciding which handrail system is suitable for your house or business.