ute bed slide tray and drawer system

Ute Slide Tray or Drawers? What should you choose for your ute?

Ute slide trays and drawers are a great way to increase the practicality and security of your ute, but you may be wondering whether to opt for a simple slide out tray OR DECKED's integrated lockable ute tray drawers. Both methods have their pros and cons, and in this blog post DECKED Australia will be weigh up the pros and cons of ute slide out tray vs. DECKED drawers.

What is the difference between ute slide trays and drawers?

While both slide trays and drawers enable easy access to your cargo, there are a few key differences between the two. A slide tray is just that – a tray which slides out when you drop the tailgate, bringing all your gear within easy reach. Usually made from multi-layered veneer or aluminium, slide trays are lightweight but not as durable as drawer systems. Slide trays can be optioned with aluminium side walls and containers, and many individuals also choose to carpet the surface to limit the potential for their loads to slide around. The key thing to be aware of is that ute slide trays do not offer any additional security as they are not enclosed. 

Lockable ute drawers on the other hand offer a few additional benefits. The first may seem obvious, and that is that they are secure and fully enclosed – simply lock your drawers and your tailgate and you’ve got dual-layer security. Drawers also make life easier for those who carry a large assortment of cargo, as there is no limit of customisation options ranging from locks through to dividers, drain plugs and toolboxes to help you stay organised. Drawers can also be weatherproof, helping to keep your gear dry and out of the elements. You might think that ute drawers would cut down on your payload, but DECKED drawer systems have a true 1 tonne payload and 100kg carrying capacity per drawer, so you can load up without restriction. Finally, DECKED ute drawers are made from a combination of HDPE and steel for exceptional durability and protection.

Prices for each system can vary substantially depending on the materials used, whether you opt for an off the shelf or custom-made system and the options you choose. A slide tray will generally end up cheaper, but you lose the practicality which comes with high-quality ute drawers.

Pros and cons - ute slide trays vs. DECKED drawer system

Below we have developed a comparison table highlighting the benefits and considerations for each system in an easy-to-digest format.

Sliding Ute Trays

+ Generally More Affordable

+ Practical and Effective

+ Lightweight

-        May need to be custom built for your ute and may reduce the amount of useable space within your ute bed

-        No Security

-        Less Organised

-        Limited Ability to Accessorise

-        Depending on the brand you opt for, warranty periods are generally shorter


Decked Ute Drawers

+ Waterproof

+ Secure

+ Easy DIY Install

+ Retain Your 1-Tonne Payload Capacity

+ Built to Last – Made in USA from HDPE and steel, designed for Australian conditions.

+ 3 Year Warranty

+ Designed to suit the following utes (and more): Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi Triton, Holden Colorado, ISUZU D-Max, Mazda BT-50, Nissan Navara, VW Amarok

+ Endless customisation – D-Box tool boxes, dividers, drain plugs, locks, core trax and more

-        Slightly more expensive

-        Some people may not require enclosed storage


Can I have the best of both worlds?

The short answer is YES! If the idea of installing a DECKED sliding drawer system AND a sliding tray appeals to you, rest assured it can be done – but you may have to make some sacrifices. Our DECKHEADS come up with some great ideas, and we’ve seen plenty of folks install additional accessories on top of their DECKED systems.

While it may mean you lose out on some waterproofing as the mounting points could need to be drilled through the subframe for a secure anchor, it can be done. The DECKED system has also been designed to allow straightforward installation of other accessories such as bike racks and shelving, and this generally doesn’t affect the drawer compartment at all as mounting hardware can be fitted to the top side of the steel tubes which run laterally beneath the deck.

By opting for a drawer system, you can build upon it to create your ideal setup. This makes the system perfect for people who might use their ute for work purposes throughout the week, but then want to use it for a camping trip on the weekend.

Why DECKED Sliding Drawers are superior

DECKED ute drawer system open

Everyone has different expectations and usage cases, and for some a sliding ute tray will be a perfectly serviceable option – but we believe sliding drawers are the superior choice for most people due to their additional practicality and versatility. There are plenty of ute drawer systems on the market, but if you do some research, you’ll probably find they are either more costly, heavier, lacking in features or maybe even all of the above. The most critical considerations when selecting ute drawers are:

  1. They should be lockable
  2. Be fixed to a smooth-sliding rail system made of steel for smooth use and durability
  3. They have a safety mechanism to stop them from sliding out when parked on an incline
  4. They’re made from weatherproof material to keep your gear protected without the need for a canopy

DECKED systems offer all of the above, in addition to all the benefits which we’ve highlighted throughout this article. It all comes down to this: If your someone who needs more than just easy access to your cargo, use your ute for work AND play, values quality design and loves to stay organised, a sliding drawer system makes a whole lot more sense.

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