Planter Material, Fair Compare: Steel vs. Aluminum

You’re designing your planters, trying to decide between aluminum and steel. How can you determine which one is more suitable for your project? This question is probably the most frequently asked.

Deco Planters

Here’s an outline of the advantages of mild steel and aluminum, each with a powder-coated finish applied.


The Facts:

  • Aluminum is lighter and less dense than steel
  • Steel is stronger and more solid

The Application: To bring aluminum to a comparable level of strength, you need to use a more significant amount of aluminum.

Practically speaking… The choice of metal depends on how much strength is required, based on your plans. Aluminum is an excellent choice for rooftop installation where weight is an issue. Steel is ideal when the planter design includes seating.


The Facts:

  • Steel rusts
  • Aluminum does not

The Application: Steel planters require maintenance.

Practically speaking… If a steel planter gets scratched to the bare metal, it must be corrected right away otherwise, it will rust, unlike aluminum, where it would merely be an aesthetic decision to fix. Also, keep steel away from highly populated areas where it will be especially prone to scratches. Aluminum is excellent for coastal areas.


The Facts:

  • Aluminum is more expensive than steel
  • Steel requires zinc-rich prime

The Application: At the end of the day, the cost is in the same range.

Practically speaking… Though both aluminum and steel have merits, aluminum is the default choice.

In Conclusion:


Some projects are specifically engineered to require the strength that steel provides:

  • SEATING: If seating is incorporated in the planter design
  • BARRIERS: When planters are used as wall barriers
  • LARGE STRUCTURES: Such as pergolas


For planters, it is generally logical to go for aluminum – particularly when avoiding corrosion is a priority, such as:

  • HEAVY TRAFFIC AREAS: Think storefronts, street sides, parks
  • HIGH CORROSION ENVIRONMENT: Like coastal areas
  • EXTREME LONGEVITY IS DESIRED: Then again, stainless steel might also be a good choice
  • INSTALLED AND FORGOTTEN: Because maintenance isn’t mandated