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Brushed Nickel vs Chrome vs Stainless Steel – Choose the Right Faucet Finish

Setting up your new house or simply in the mood to revamp the previous look? In either case, you are probably in the tread to look for the contrasts and the colors to make the outlook perfect in every sense.

And when talking about the aesthetics you cannot let go of the finish you end up choosing for your floor, the furniture even the faucet! Yes, the finish of the faucet not only determines its utility but plays an essential role in the aesthetic beauty of your home.

So today we will help you out in deciding, what is hot and what is not when it comes to selecting the best finish for your plumbing fixtures. Tag along to know the latest home trends!

Why Do You Need the Finish?

To get started we will first have to get an idea of the need to have the faucets and fixtures coated with a finish. For starter, this layer prevents the faucet from rusting and reacting with the elements in the air. In other words, it prolongs the life of the fixture.

Secondly, it gives the fixture a neat outlook and lastly, you can have it in a variety of colors and textures depending on the theme of your setting.

Now that we know the reason for getting a finish, let us discuss some of the popular finishes you will come across in the market in your search for plumbing fixtures. Stainless steel has been a classic finish you will come across, in addition to this Brushed Nickel is very hip these days along with the elegant chrome finish.

What is Brushed Nickel?

brushednnickel faucet

If you are not looking for a smooth outlook, but rather want some texture added to your kitchen faucets, Brushed Nickel is your best buddy. Compared to simple nickel, this is a bit different as you will feel the surface a bit rough and textured due to the etching of nickel with a wire brush in this case. Additionally, you will find that this finish is not made up of pure nickel, rather it is an alloy. Copper, zinc, and nickel amalgamation or any one of these is used and etched with the brushed wire to give you that fine-textured look.

Apart from faucets and plumbing fixtures, you can have this finish on your doorknobs, cabinet handles, light-ware, and other accessories. So you can easily match or contrast it with the interior of the house.

What is Chrome Finish?

Chrome Finish faucet

Next up is the chrome finish not so new, but pretty widely used finish in the market. Previously, this finish was primarily used in the car parts and mechanic shops as it successfully prevented damage against rusting at low costs. However, it requires regular cleanups, as it gives off a shiny outlook therefore this increases the chances of spots and stains on the fixtures.

What is Stainless Steel?

stainless steel faucet

Pretty similar in texture to the brushed nickel, stainless steel has been used as a finish for quite some time now. The only difference is in the tint of the two finishes. The brushed nickel would give you a golden hue, whereas the stainless steel will carry a moonlight hue to its finish. As stainless steel is known for its resistance to corrosion, it will last you a lifetime if you happen to use this finish.

Brushed Nickel Vs Chrome Vs Stainless Steel – Which One You Should Go for?

The following are a few pointers you will see in each of the above-mentioned finishes. You can compare them and choose the one that fits you best!


Whether you are going for an antique look or want to settle for a modern style will help you narrow down your search for the perfect finish. Due to its golden hue, brushed nickel will serve best for an elegant and handcrafted look on the faucets.

As for the chrome, the shiny surface will definitely give off a modern aura in the atmosphere. However, if sophistication is concerned you cannot have a better contender than the stainless steel. In addition to the look, you will have to keep in mind the use of the faucet too. If it’s a kitchen faucet, which is more prone to stains, brushed nickel will help you out by camouflaging the stains due to its color.

However, if you want the same faucet to be used in a bathroom, meaning it will be in constant contact with the moisture, you want it to be completely corrosion free; stainless steel is the best option you will get.


Secondly, you can also narrow down your choice for the finish based on the application. In other words, depending on whether you will use the finish for faucet, doorknobs, or light-ware you can choose between the options mentioned earlier.

For warmer tones and country style homes, brushed nickel is a good option to go for. However, if it’s an all-white theme choosing chrome will enhance the porcelain aesthetics of the ambiance. And if you are willing to make a hefty investment then stainless steel would do too.


Lastly, you cannot ignore the monetary aspect of these finishes. Depending on your budget you can easily cross out a few of the finishes from your list.

The most pricy finish in our trio is the stainless steel. If you happen to look for the faucets in this finish you will find them over an average price range of $250-300. This is a huge upfront investment. So if you happen to be a bit tight on the budget, you might as well not opt for this one.

Compared to stainless steel, chrome and brushed nickel are not so expensive. You can renovate your kitchen or bathroom in a mid-range budget by using brushed nickel faucets. And if you do not wish to spend even that much, you can go down a step and make use of the shiny chrome finish for your fixtures. This will cost you an average of $40 in case of faucets.

So depending on the budget and your willingness to spend, you can choose between different finishes mentioned above.


Now that you have a decent idea of the hip finishes in the market, you are ready to take action to install the right finishes in your living space. According to our testing, we will rank stainless steel as the best option, both in terms of reliability and durability keeping in view the aesthetic component.

However, if the price is concerned then chrome is a good option, for those on a tight budget. But this will not guarantee the same durability and reliability as steel does over some time. And then again we are neglecting the downside of stains appearing on the stainless steel in our ranking. If you consider that stain coverage is your top priority, you can very well opt for the brushed nickel!


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