Galvanized Steel vs. Aluminum: Which Should You Use?

If you want to uncover the difference between galvanized steel and aluminum, you’ve come to the right place and we’ll be comparing the two metals head to head.

But the most significant difference is how the materials are made. Galvanized steel is created during a hot dipped process when carbon steel is dipped into zinc. But, aluminum is a pure metal that is found within the earth’s core.

In this post, I am going to compare galvanized steel vs. aluminum in terms of:

  1. Its uses
  2. The cost
  3. Strength
  4. Corrosion
  5. Weight
  6. Thermal conductivity
  7. Welding properties
  8. Cleanability
  9. Aesthetics

Let’s dive into this article to explore more differences.

Aluminum vs galvanized steel: its uses

Let’s begin looking at the difference between aluminum and galvanized steel by analyzing the features and uses of both materials. Below, we’ve outlined some of the most popular uses of both.

– Aluminum uses

You can use aluminum for a variety of purposes, including transportation, construction, goods, and electrical equipment. This metal is popular as it’s lightweight, strong, deductive, conductive, corrosion-resistant, and odorless.

As aluminum has a low density and is resistant to corrosion, it’s beneficial for electrical purposes. This material can protect cables from harsh weather and environmental conditions. In fact, it’s also highly ductile,—more so than copper—which means it’s easier to merge the aluminum wires together.

Also, you can use aluminum for transportation. This is because of its strength and weight. As it’s lightweight, this makes the vehicle easier to move, which can improve fuel efficiency. A heavier material—such as galvanized steel—would contribute to fuel waste.

Aluminum is also used in buildings due to its high strength to weight ratio. The material also requires minimal maintenance and fewer other materials. This is because it’s a good radiator of heat and has an anodized finish. Furthermore, you can cut, fold, punch, and curve aluminum to the size and shape you need. This allows you to manipulate the material for architectural creations.


  • Lightweight
  • Durable
  • Corrosion-resistant


  • Expensive

– Galvanized steel uses

Galvanized steel is traditionally used for construction work, including steel frame buildings, balconies, ladders, walkways, staircases, fences, roofs, and more.

This material is durable, which makes it reliable for construction projects. And with a coating thickness of 85 microns, this material can protect a structural building for 100+ years.

Galvanized steel offers excellent protection for a variety of projects. Its zinc coating prevents corrosive substances from reaching underneath the steel, helping the material to be more durable and long-lasting. In fact, this zinc protected the base, which allows you to use the material for outdoor use. And thanks to this zinc coating, you can use galvanized steel with computer casing and precision instruments as it’s moisture- and rust-resistant.

Furthermore, this material is also used in cars and aircraft. This includes the hood, fenders, roofing, seating, parking brakes, and various other elements. Overall, galvanized steel is mostly found for outdoor equipment and applications that require its mechanical strength and resistance to weather conditions.


  • Moisture- and rust-resistant
  • Longevity
  • Smooth finish


  • Costly to manufacture

What is the difference between aluminum and galvanized steel?

Galvanized steel and aluminum aren’t compatible materials, so you wouldn’t typically use them together. Let’s dive in further to explore the difference between aluminum and galvanized steel. With these answers, you can best the correct material for your tasks and projects.

–      Cost

Galvanized steel costs significantly more than aluminum to purchase and install.

–      Strength

Galvanized steel is much stronger than aluminum. Steel is more popular for projects that need more strength and durability. This strength isn’t ideal for all consumers and tasks as it’s a heavier much denser quality than aluminum.

So, you can forge aluminum to become just as strong as galvanized steel. But, in its natural form, it’s not as strong to begin with.

–      Corrosion

Aluminum is more corrosion-resistant compared to galvanized steel, which makes it a more popular material to use for outdoor projects where it will encounter the impact from all types of weather—including rain.

–      Weight

One of the biggest benefits of galvanized steel is its excellent strength and durability. But this means that the metal is 250% times denser than aluminum, making it significantly heavier. This means that galvanized steel is less popular for everyday items and is more desirable for static objects. It’s also less likely to bend when under force or heat.

On the other hand, aluminum is less dense and has a lighter weight. This is because the material contains a lower concentration of carbon, and the more carbon a material contains, the heavier it is.

–      Thermal conductivity

Aluminum is more conductive than galvanized steel. In fact, it’s over four times more conductive for transferring heat effectively. In fact, aluminum is one of the best materials for conducting heat, therefore, this makes aluminum popular for transmission lines.

The reason for this excellent thermal conductivity is due to the metal particles being held together by strong metallic bonds. The free electronics within the metal can move around freely, allowing aluminum to conduct electricity and heat effectively. On the other hand, galvanized steel is around four times less effective at thermal conductivity with a thermal conductivity rating of 50.2 W/m K compared to aluminum’s 205.0 W/m K.

–      Welding properties

Aluminum offers several features that make the welding process different from other types of steel. This includes an aluminum oxide surface coating, high thermal conductivity, and a low melting temperature. Plus, the material doesn’t change color as the temperature reaches a melting point.

On the other hand, you should be cautious when welding galvanized steel. This is because in order to weld this material safely, you must wear personal protective equipment and follow safety codes to protect you and your surroundings from toxic fumes.

–      Cleanability

Aluminum is a light, yet strong metal, and requires some special care when cleaning it. By regularly cleaning aluminum, it prevents a buildup of aluminum oxide. Fortunately, you can clean aluminum surfaces and equipment by using a touch of washing up liquid or white vinegar and a cloth to remove surface stains.

On the other hand, you can clean galvanized steel with a water-based emulsifier with a pH of 12 or lower. You can then rinse the metal with fresh water, and wipe clean with a soft cloth.

–      Aesthetics

Another popular reason to use aluminum is for its stunning appearance. This material boasts a variety of finishes and colors, including anodizing or coating, that ensures it matches high aesthetic demands. You can use galvanized steel for exterior design purposes, because it possesses a vintage look.

Is aluminum better than galvanized steel?

In order to compare aluminum and galvanized steel, we’ve researched the top benefits and features of both materials and openly discussed these below.

Galvanized steel

In most circumstances, aluminum is a preferred material over galvanized steel, but that doesn’t mean that steel has some additional benefits for construction projects. The most significant benefit of this material is that it offers lasting protection. During the hot-dipping process, every millimeter of the steel is galvanized. This means that every area of the material prevents rust and corrosion.

This coating makes galvanized steel low maintenance. In fact, using hot-dip galvanized steel ensures that the metal doesn’t shrink or crack because the coating bonds to the steel. This also offers superior water- and abrasion-resistance.

Compared to aluminum, galvanized steel has a much cheaper upfront cost, while also offering plenty of durabilities and a protective coating. Furthermore, the material also boasts a low long-term cost. This is because the material lasts a long time and doesn’t require much maintenance.

One of the biggest benefits of galvanized steel is its superior protection. In particular, the zinc coating from the hot dipping process ensures a smooth and imperfection-free surface. This means that the result of galvanized steel is free from rust stains, white deposits, ash, and more. Furthermore, galvanized steel also offers a long lifespan and plenty of reliability.


On the other hand, aluminum has several benefits that outweigh galvanized steel. First, this material is a great heat and electricity conductor and is almost twice as good as copper. Thus, this material is popularly used in major power transmission lines.

Compared to galvanized steel, aluminum is a better reflector of visible light, in addition to heat. This makes aluminum preferable for light fittings and rescue blankets. Plus, with its low weight, you can use aluminum for a variety of construction and other projects. In fact, its low weight and high density mean that you can use this material for reducing internal solar heat within a house.

Furthermore, the metal is non-toxic, meaning that you can use it on kitchen cutlery and utensils. And it’s easy to clean and won’t contaminant any food, making it safe to eat off of. This is an impressive feature that galvanized steel cannot offer.

In addition, aluminum makes a great sound absorber, and you can use it for ceilings. It’s also a popular material to use for car bumpers, thanks to its shock-absorbing benefits.

Final thoughts

It’s difficult to state which material is the best, as it depends on what tasks you’ll need to use the material for.

Aluminum is a more preferred metal, because it’s lighter, has thermal conductivity properties, has a cheaper upfront cost, and is anti-corrosion.

Use aluminum for heating up appliancesquickly. This includes ovens, water heaters, cooking pans, and fireplaces. The material’s thermal conductivity makes it beneficial for these purposes.

Use galvanized steel for construction work. This includes balconies, ladders, walkways, although you should avoid it for outdoor construction projects, as it’s one of the least corrosion-resistant metals.

I hope this guide showed you the difference between aluminium and galvanized steel.

Now I’d like to turn it over to you:

Which one steel from this post that you want to try first in your project?

Or maybe you have a question about something.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now or ping me on LinkedIn.


Liang Eric

Marketing @ Yubisteel. He is one of the Experts for Hard-To-Find Metals.

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