Steel vs. Aluminum – A Quick Analysis

Steel vs. Aluminum – A Quick Analysis

When it’s time to choose a light pole, you have two choices of material: steel or aluminum. Think about the needs of your project. Which is better for your budget? Is aesthetics important? Are there harsh weather conditions to consider?

To help you make your decision, here’s a quick analysis of the pros and cons of each material.

Steel Poles

The main benefit of using steel poles is their strength. Since they’re sturdier, they can easily hold heavier loads from fixtures, flags, banners, brackets, and accessories. And it’s more easily modified to fit existing anchorage.

While they’re stronger, steel eventually rusts over time, which means you may experience higher maintenance costs to keep the finish presentable. That said, there are several ways to ensure that you get the longevity of the finish you desire on a steel structure. We also offer multiple warranty options to help keep your poles looking brand new while saving you the cost of buying new poles.

Aluminum Poles

Aluminum poles are corrosion-resistant, so their finish lasts longer than steel poles. That means they cost less to maintain. Since they’re made of a lighter material, they’re also easier to unload at the job site. And when aluminum poles have reached the end of their service life, they can be recycled.

While aluminum poles tend to last longer, they aren’t as strong as steel, so they can’t hold as much Effective Projected Area (EPA). That’s the area of the pole that is “loaded” by the wind. They’re ideal for use in areas of lower wind speeds. It’s also more challenging to match aluminum poles to the existing anchorage since their bases are “cast” bases, or a one-size-fits-most approach, so you’d be limited to the bolt circles you can choose.

So, whether you think the job needs a sturdy pole that matches the existing anchorage or a lighter pole that will last a little longer, United Lighting Standards can find the best light pole for your project.

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About Us

United Lighting Standards has been committed to designing, fabricating, finishing, and packaging high-quality steel and aluminum poles since 1971. We adhere to standards set forth by AASHTO, ASTM International, and NEMA. All of our products are built using fabricating and welding procedures outlined in the American Welding Society (AWS) manual for steel and aluminum to eliminate welding defects and ensure structural integrity.

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