Practical advice for all your Loading, Hauling & Transport needs

How To: Choose amongst composite, steel, rubber, or aluminum ramps

What options are there when it comes to the material used to make ramp systems?
There are many ramp systems to choose from that are manufactured by many different factories. Since there are so many different manufacturers there is a wide variety of ramp materials to choose from because each factory works with it’s own specialized material. For instance the most popular ramp material is aluminum. Aluminum ramps are the most popular because their aluminum structure allows them to have many benefits. We will cover the many benefits of aluminum ramp systems later in this article. However, there are many other material options besides aluminum as not all factories specialize in aluminum. These other ramp materials include high impact & high strength rubber, lightweight composite, steel, and wood (Discount Ramps.com chooses not to sell wooden ramp systems).
Use the chart of ramps below to see the many pros and cons of each ramp material.

Aluminum Ramps Composite Ramps Rubber Ramps
Pros Cons Pros Cons Pros Cons
Lightweight Thin/Sharper Edges Thick side curbs Non-Repairable Attractive/Stylish Very Heavy
Won’t Rust Easy to damage side curbs Extremely durable Heavier than other ramps Custom fitment Limited Uses
High Strength Scuff-resistant Solid surface style Nearly indestructible Expensive
Multiple surface options Washable Less aggressive traction surfaces High Strength
Washable(w/Vinegar+Water) Not “Self-Cleaning” ¹ Washable
¹ Self-Cleaning – This is referring to the way many ramps allow mud/rain/debris to fall through the ramp surface via holes or slots thus allowing for maximum traction at all times when loading or unloading.

 

Steel Ramps Wooden Ramps
Pros Cons Pros Cons
Affordable Heavy Easy to find supplies Prone to weathering
Readily available Prone to rust Fully customizable High labor costs
High Strength High maintenance Cheap to replace hardware Expensive
High maintenance
Limited uses
Permanent application

 

As you can see from the ramp information listed above, there are many advantages and disadvantages to each ramp material. It is worth noting that although there are so many materials that ramps can be made out of, the majority of ramp users prefer aluminum ramps. Aluminum ramps have been the primary choice for loading and unloading for quite a while due to their many advantages along with their minimal disadvantages in comparison to any other material being used.

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