Steel Sheets

Difference Between Hot and Cold Rolled Steel

Basic difference between hot rolled and cold rolled steel is the way these metals are processed. Hot rolled steel involves rolling the steel at high temperatures. Whereas cold rolled steel is processed in cold reduction mills. Where the material is cooled followed by annealing and tempers rolling.

In this article we will discuss the difference between hot rolled and cold rolled steel sheets  considering manufacturing process, cost, properties and applications.

Processing Temperature

Hot Rolled Steel

It involves rolling steel at a temp above re-crystallization temperature. Size and shape of the steel will be less predictable because during cooling process steel shrinks. 

Cold Rolled Steel

It involves rolling of steel in reduced mills at below re-crystallization temperature. This process is done at room temperature. As a result there are very less chances of steel shrinkage.

Manufacturing Cost

Hot rolled steel manufacturing cost is very Less compared to cold rolled steel.


Cold rolled steel yield strength is higher than hot rolled steel sheets. Therefore cold rolled steel is less likely to fail under pressure.

Sheet Quality & Finish

Cold Rolled steel will have closed thickness profile and good surface texture & flatness compared with Hot Rolled Steel.

Cold rolled has a smooth and shiny finish while hot rolled has a grey and scaly finish.

Available Thickness

Hot Rolled steel sheets are available in the range of ” 1.6 mm to 10 mm” thickness. Whereas Cold rolled steel sheets are available from “0.1 mm to 4 mm” thickness.


Hot rolled steel sheets are used in fabrication work where aesthetics and quality are not very important. For example railway track, automotive frames, structural frames, low accuracy sheet metal parts etc.

Whereas cold rolled steel are used for precision and quality fabrication work. For example, consumer electronics and telecom products, Metal furniture, automobile industry etc.


To sum up, hot rolled steel sheets are used to take impact load and for low cost fabrication work. Whereas cold rolled steel sheets are used for very precise and quality work. You can check in detail about sheet metal materials here.

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