How to Differentiate Between I-Shaped steel Beams and H-Shaped steel Beams

In the construction materials market, structural steel has become one of the indispensable raw materials in various engineering structures and buildings. Among the common structural steels, such as U-shape, V-shape, I-shape, and H-shape, two of them, I-shape and H-shape, are often easily confused because of their similar shapes. However, the differences between them are not only in appearance but also in several important technical characteristics, which determine their adaptability in use.


How Do I-Shaped Steel Beams and H-Shaped Steel Beams Differ?


Bending Angle

I-shaped and H-shaped steel  beams have a bending angle of 98 degrees.

Length and Thickness

The body length and thickness of these two types of steel may depend on specific models, but generally, they maintain these characteristics.


Leg Length

H-shaped steel beams usually has longer legs compared to  I-shaped steel beams.

Body Thickness

H-shaped steel beams typically has a thicker body part compared to I-shaped steel beams, which helps it better withstand pressure. Conversely, I-shaped steel beams usually has a thinner body, reducing weight but also decreasing its ability to withstand pressure.


Due to the thicker body part of H-shaped steel beams, it is usually heavier, whereas I-shaped steel beams is typically lighter due to its thinner and more compact design.

Engineering Application

When strong lateral load capacity is required,  H-shaped steel beams is usually chosen, whereas  I-shaped steel beams is suitable for projects requiring lightweight structures without heavy load pressure.

Manufacturing and Size

H-shaped steel beams comes in various sizes and shapes, whereas  I-shaped steel beams has certain limitations in production sizes.


H-shaped steel beams has relatively farther apart upper and lower crossbeams, whereas  I-shaped steel beams has comparatively closer upper and lower crossbeams.

These differences not only affect the choice between I-shaped and H-shaped steel beams but also determine the benefits and safety of construction projects.

Applications of I-Shaped and H-Shaped Steel Beams in the Construction Industry

H-shaped steel beams has a significant lateral load-bearing capacity and is often favored in numerous projects from residential and prefabricated structures to high-rise buildings and large bridges. This is because its ability to withstand pressure exceeds that of I-shaped steel beams, making it the preferred choice in situations requiring high load-bearing capacity.

Meanwhile, I-shaped steel beams also has a wide range of applications, similar to H-shaped steel beams, used in various projects from residential and prefabricated structures to high-rise buildings and bridges. However, due to its lightweight design, I-shaped steel beams is typically prioritized in projects that require lightweight structures without heavy load pressure.

Choosing between I-shaped and H-shaped steel usually depends on the specific requirements of each project, thereby determining which type of steel is more suitable to ensure benefits and safety in use.

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