Steel vs. Aluminum Patio Furniture

3 piece metal bistro set

Aluminum vs. Steel

Patio decor is an important investment, especially if you’re looking to buy outdoor furniture that will offer flexible design options. Steel and aluminum patio furniture are popular picks for people who want sleek and stylish pieces for their deck, porch or terrace. But how do you know which one is best for your unique setup?

Overview

If you’re wondering whether to choose steel or aluminum furniture for your patio, this post can help you:

  • Understand the key differences between steel vs. aluminum patio furniture
  • Learn some of the benefits of choosing each material
  • Select aluminum or steel furnishings depending on your needs
Metal sectional sofa with matching tables

Discover whether steel or aluminum is best for your sturdy and stylish outdoor design.

Aluminum vs. Steel Patio Furniture: What’s the Difference?

Although steel and aluminum are both metals, they each have their own unique composition. Most aluminum outdoor furniture features chemically-treated metal that’s gone through a machine to get its round, hollow or square shape. Steel, on the other hand, is a metal alloy featuring natural iron and carbon materials.

Taupe Rectangle Dining Set

A base of solid, natural materials makes steel roughly three times denser than aluminum.

Is Aluminum or Steel Better for Outdoor Furniture?

Both steel and aluminum make excellent additions to any patio layout. Still, there are several factors you’ll need to consider before you can determine which is the better option for your deck or balcony. Check out this list of comparisons to learn about some of the pros and cons of choosing between these outdoor furniture materials:

  • Weight: The high density of steel also makes it heavier than aluminum, so it’s a perfect option if you’re looking to establish an accessible, unchanging patio design. Lightweight aluminum is better if you plan to rearrange your backyard layout from time to time or need to put your patio furniture in storage at the end of the summer season.
  • Temperature: If you live in a place that experiences high temperatures, the choice between aluminum vs. steel patio furniture may be a safety concern. Steel holds heat longer than aluminum, so it becomes hot to the touch after sitting in the sun for long periods. Aluminum cools down more quickly, so it may be a better option for those with sensitive skin or children.
  • Design: Aluminum is a malleable metal that’s perfect for furnishings with traditional-style curves and contemporary swirling patterns. Since steel is harder to bend and manipulate, it works well for straightforward modern or industrial designs.
  • Price: For many people, price is the most important factor when choosing patio furniture materials. Steel patio pieces are generally more expensive, so aluminum furnishings may be a better fit for your budget. Shopping for second-hand, recycled or donated furnishings is a smart way to find affordable steel furniture.
4 piece metal seating set

Your safety, style and budget are all important concerns when choosing between steel and aluminum patio furnishings.

How to Choose Between Steel and Aluminum Patio Furniture

Still on the fence about which of these outdoor furniture materials is better? Taking your living situation, outdoor activity plans and style preferences into account can help you decide. Answer the following questions to determine whether steel or aluminum patio furniture would suit your needs.

Where Do You Live?

Steel benches and porch swings may be a worthwhile investment for homeowners looking to bring lasting style to their back deck or breezeway. If you’re outfitting an Airbnb, you might consider steel chairs and tables for their classic look and heavier construction. A lightweight aluminum bench, on the other hand, would work better for renters who plan to pack up and move once their leases are up.

5 piece metal bar height dining set

Aluminum furniture sets are usually easier to pick up and stow away than heavy steel items.

How Will You Use Your Patio?

Want to establish a breezy, alfresco brunch spot on your balcony? Set up a sleek aluminum bar table or bistro set. Planning to host large, fun-filled get-togethers for the whole family? A steel seating arrangement provides plenty of sofas, sectionals and side chairs to keep your visitors comfortable.

What are Your Style Preferences?

Both these furniture types can complement almost any aesthetic. However, aluminum accents are usually the more versatile option between the two. Choose sloped aluminum glider chairs for your classic, vintage or farmhouse-style setup. Or, keep it simple by adding a steel fire pit to your modern or rustic design.

Metal 5 piece fire pit set

Accenting your steel furniture collection with aluminum planters, wall art and other accents gives you the best of both worlds.

Now that you understand the differences between these two metals and have a few style suggestions to refer to, you can make an informed decision about whether steel or aluminum patio furniture is right for you. Whichever option you prefer, these metal outdoor arrangements are sure to bring comfort and timeless style to your space.