Chrome and stainless steel kitchen faucets look very alike; without proper guidance, it’s hard to tell the difference. But these two faucet options are among the most beautiful for your home. That’s why I’ve prepared this guide to compare the features of chrome vs. stainless steel faucets.
There are many factors to consider when renovating a kitchen sink or replacing a kitchen faucet. The functionality is crucial, but the faucet finish is also essential because of its aesthetics.
Choosing either stainless steel or a chrome finish for your kitchen faucet is never a bad idea. Any one of these finishes makes kitchen faucets look better and more aesthetically pleasing.
This guide is a comparison of chrome and stainless steel. Here, we will discuss their features, advantages, and disadvantages to help you make the right choice.
- The chrome kitchen faucet is usually shiny and more aesthetic.
- Stainless steel faucets are durable and can last long under very high temperatures.
- Chrome faucets refer only to the faucet’s surface, while stainless steel is the faucet material.
- Stainless steel faucets are more affordable than their chrome counterparts.
Quick Overview – A Comparison Table
|PARAMETER||CHROME FAUCETS||STAINLESS STEEL FAUCETS|
|Durability and Longevity||Lasts for a few years||Lasts for a decade|
|Aesthetics||Bright and shiny aesthetics||Slightly dull aesthetics|
|Cleaning and maintenance||More complex cleaning processes required||Easy to clean and maintain|
|Options and Types||Multiple options available for chrome faucets||Limited options|
|Temperature and Scratch Resistance||Little temperature resistance||Great resistance against temperature changes and scratches.|
|Corrosion resistance||It has good corrosion resistance||It’s equally resistant to corrosion.|
Are Chrome Kitchen Faucets Good?
It may sound surprising, but there’s nothing like chrome faucets. Most times, the faucet is already a steel item that undergoes chrome plating during the electroplating process. This chrome plating process can work on different metals, including stainless steel, brass, and even plastic.
So, calling it a chrome-plated faucet is better than tagging it a chrome kitchen faucet.
The main advantage of a chrome-plated faucet is its aesthetics. The final product has a mirror-like shiny surface that brings out more beauty in your kitchen sink.
You’ll find a chrome-plated faucet for almost every kind of kitchen faucet. However, there are three main forms of the chrome finish, including:
- Polished chrome finish: The polished surface of this chrome kitchen faucet is usually highly shiny and will give better aesthetics. Most shiny chrome fittings with a shiny appearance have this exact design.
- Brushed chrome finish: The chrome kitchen faucet resembles the Satin chrome finish. However, it has a more matte appearance than satin and polished chrome faucets.
- Satin chrome: The satin chrome has a gentler finish with a matte appearance. This gives it a glossy finish instead of a shining surface.
- It has good resistance to corrosion
- It produces a shiny appearance and modern-looking faucets
- It can get easily scratched.
- It retains water stains, showing finger smudges and stains on the slightest contact.
- It requires more maintenance procedures to retain the chrome faucet finish and its other fixtures.
CAUTION: The behavior of your chrome kitchen faucet depends on the base metal and electroplating process.
Are Stainless Steel Kitchen Faucets Good?
When you compare chrome with stainless steel counterparts, the latter has an edge. While chrome faucets have their own advantages, it only beats a stainless steel faucet with aesthetics – and not by far!
A stainless steel kitchen faucet is one of the most ancient faucet finishes, but still very relevant today.
Stainless steel is an alloy with iron as the main component. Chromium is always a part of the alloy, amounting to at least 10.5% of the mix.
The presence of chromium gives the stainless steel kitchen faucet have its shiny appearance. This appearance makes it harder to identify chrome or stainless steel faucets.
The production process of a stainless steel kitchen faucet involves grinding and polishing. Both processes are responsible for the mirror-like appearance of the stainless steel.
While stainless steel may not be as shiny and aesthetic as chrome finishes, it is durable.
According to a report, stainless steel can last more than a decade with proper maintenance. If you use stainless steel faucets without care and under heavy-duty, they will still last a decade.
Let’s check out some pros and cons of stainless steel faucets
- Affordable kitchen faucet option
- Highly durable
- Less maintenance required
- It has great high and low-temperature resistance
- It hides stains better
- It doesn’t have the best aesthetic
Related Read: Kitchen Faucet Vs. Bar Faucet: Know The Differences]
Chrome Or Stainless Steel Kitchen Faucets Better?: Head-to-Head Comparison
Comparing chrome and stainless steel kitchen faucets isn’t exactly hard. The main step is knowing exactly what your kitchen sink needs and choosing based on these needs.
Both faucet options have their respective advantages and disadvantages, as described above. Because of the shining faucet body, chrome faucets tend to take the lead when it comes to aesthetics. However, stainless steel is a more durable faucet material to have in your home.
Appearance and Aesthetics
Chrome and stainless steel faucets look alike because of their shiny appearance. However, you can’t compare the shiny appearance of a chrome faucet to stainless steel.
A chrome-plated faucet, especially the polished one, has a high gloss surface that will give a bright shine the moment you see it. Unlike chrome, stainless steel faucets have a more matte appearance.
Furthermore, stainless steel is a faucet type, while any faucet type can undergo chrome plating to become a chrome faucet. That means you have more styles and aesthetics.
Therefore, chrome faucets are always better in aesthetics.
Verdict: Chrome usually have better aesthetics than stainless steel faucets.
The only time a chrome faucet can be as durable as stainless steel faucets is if the base metal is stainless steel.
Stainless steel is the faucet material, while chrome is only the faucet’s surface. So, it’s easier for chrome faucets to go bad.
As mentioned, stainless steel faucets will effortlessly last a decade with relatively little maintenance.
Verdict: Stainless steel kitchen faucets are more durable than their chrome counterparts.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Cleaning your faucet is crucial to maintain its expected lifespan. Stainless steel kitchen faucets have a slight advantage in terms of cleaning and maintenance.
Already, stainless steel hides water stains and finger smudges because the surface isn’t a light metal. You’ll have to come close to see these scratches.
Chrome faucets, on the other hand, get easily scratched, and because of their bright shine, the dirt will be apparent.
Also Read: Pros and Cons of Wall-Mounted Faucets
Use only a soft cloth to clean both stainless steel and chrome faucets afterward. The more you maintain its dryness, the better it is.
You can also use non-abrasive cleaning products to wash it off for germs. After that, use a soft cloth to ensure its dryness.
Verdict: Stainless steel faucets have the edge over chrome in cleaning and maintenance.
Kitchen faucets usually undergo quick temperature changes depending on the type of kitchen you run.
Apart from having a hot and cold water faucet, you may use an oven that can heat up the place. How your faucet behaves when these temperature changes occur affects its lifespan.
Stainless steel faucets fare better under high and low temperatures due to the presence of nickel and chromium. A stainless steel kitchen faucet can withstand 2000 degrees Fahrenheit.
On the other hand, a chrome faucet can also withstand the high heat of around 1000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Verdict: Stainless steel faucets fare better during high and low-temperature changes.
The functionality of a faucet is crucial, but it doesn’t play down the need for variety. This is another part where chrome faucets edge the stainless steel option.
Almost any material can undergo the electroplating process to become a chrome material. So whether the faucet is a very light metal or even plastic, it can still undergo chrome plating.
That’s why you can find chrome surfaces on almost anything, including cupboard knobs, kitchen taps, magnetic sticks, and other materials.
On the other hand, stainless steel refers to metal, so there are some limitations on the options you get. While some may look great, you may be getting basic designs.
Verdict: Chrome faucets offer you more variety and types than stainless steel faucets.
Cost is important when choosing your faucet for a new one or renovation purposes.
Both stainless steel and chrome faucets are affordable and great options. But stainless steel kitchen faucets usually come cheaper than chrome faucets.
A possible reason is the aesthetic appeal of the chrome faucets. It looks better, but it costs more.
Verdict: Stainless steel faucets are a more affordable faucet option.
Corrosion resistance is vital in determining how long your faucet will last.
Stainless steel and chromium have great corrosion resistance. But according to an educational case study, chromium has a slight edge.
The study proves that chromium forms Cr2O3, a compound that hinders the mixture with oxygen, which causes corrosion.
Verdict: Chrome faucets are winners against corrosion than stainless steel faucets.
Comparing chrome and stainless steel faucets before making your choice is important, but it’s not the first step. You need to first determine what you want in the faucet.
Are you all about aesthetics, and you don’t mind changing the faucet in under five years? Or do you prefer to have a faucet that lasts long but may not be as beautiful?