Brushed Nickel Vs. Chrome: Which Is The Better Faucet?

Choosing the right metal finish for your hardware can be important. One of the most important types of metal hardware is your faucet, both in the bathroom and in the kitchen. This is such an eye-catching piece!

What Is Brushed Nickel

Two of the most popular types of metal finishes for faucets are brushed nickel and chrome. Both of these options are great but finding which one is better for you can be difficult. Read on for tips on doing so!

What Is Brushed Nickel?

Brushed nickel is a soft metal finish. It looks brushed, meaning it has a semi-satin finish and isn’t super shiny nor matte. It looks similar to stainless steel only has a foggier look. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t glimmer.

Brushed nickel is a very popular type of finish that is still popular with DIYers and professional interior designers alike. Though it isn’t necessarily flashy it can be quite calming and goes well with most styles. 

What Is Chrome?

Chrome is an edgier metal that is very popular and extremely shiny. Most “chrome” items aren’t actually made of chromium because real chromium is a health hazard and considered carcinogenic. 

So, most chrome is really just plated in metal to make it look chrome. This gives it a very shiny appearance that reflects a lot of light. Chrome is considered high-end and very popular for appliances and hardware. 

Chrome Vs. Brushed Nickel 

Chrome Vs. Brushed Nickel 

Chrome and brushed nickel are often compared. This isn’t necessarily fair when saying that one is better than the other because it simply isn’t true. They are both wonderful. But there is a good reason to compare them. 

If you are trying to find out which finish is better for you and your needs, then, by all means, compare them. There’s nothing wrong with this at all! Not to say which is better in general but which one is better for you. 

The Shine

Let’s face it. Chrome is much, much shinier than brushed nickel. This isn’t always a good thing because not everyone wants a shiny look for their hardware and definitely not their faucet. But the fact of the matter remains the same.

Chrome is shiny, brushed nickel is only a little shiny. You can get other types of nickel that are shiny. If it has a satin finish or is buffed to look shiny it can be almost as shiny as chrome, but this is chrome’s primary purpose. 

Warm Or Cool?

Warm and cool colors! This is an important lesson for anyone interested in interior design. So if you don’t know anything about it, then it’s a good idea to learn. Warm colors are colors like red and orange while cool colors are colors like blue and green.

Chrome goes better with cool colors while brushed nickel goes better with warm colors. However, brushed nickel can actually go with both warm and cool colors, which is convenient when you don’t know which direction you will take. 


Now let’s talk pricing. When it comes down to it, the price difference between brushed nickel and chrome isn’t significant. After all, they are sometimes made of the same materials! It depends primarily on brand and style.

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Certain brands are cheaper than other brands. When you find a brand you can afford, then you start looking at styles that they have. There will be a range but the style affects the price of the hardware or faucet.


This can be a toss-up. Because brushed nickel tarnishes easier but it is more difficult to see the imperfects in it. So I guess you could say that although chrome may naturally last longer, you can see every stage of decay it goes through.

However, this again depends on the brand. You may get what you pay for because some brands that are more expensive will last ten times longer than cheaper brands. For best results, read reviews before buying. 

Easier To Keep Clean

This one is clear. Brushed nickel is easier to keep clean because you can’t see the smudges and fingerprints. But brushed nickel tends to hide these smudged. They both need to be cleaned at least once a week though. 

If you use the right substances and tools, chrome should wipe right off. But if you let it go or use the incorrect materials, then it can be nearly impossible to keep clean. Brushed nickel is fairly predictable. 

Other Metal Finishes

Although brushed nickel and chrome are two very popular options, they aren’t the only options for metal finishes. It is said that each person has a metal finish to match their personality. It isn’t hard to tell which one is yours. 

Although you can ask friends and family members, the easiest way to tell is to find which one speaks directly to you. Here are some other great metal finish options that may work even better for your needs.


Copper is a modern-day favorite that has been around for a very long time. It was popular in the industrial age and that design style has aged like a fine wine. Copper is gorgeous and works well with warm rooms.

You can also match it to copper pipes for a full-on copper experience. This looks great and has an amazing ambiance. I wouldn’t say that you can’t go wrong with copper but it sure can be a perfect choice.


Brass is another great choice if you want a warmer color. This special metal is actually a mixture of copper and zinc, traditionally. It isn’t a natural metal itself but a perfect combination of warm and cool metals.

However, it still favors warm colors because the warm tones are much more sensitive than the cool tones. Warm tones, especially gold and copper, stand out much more than cool tones which blend in.


Bronze is a deep and aged color. Many older statues and figures are made of bronze, so it has not just an antique look, but an ancient look. This can be a wonderful thing if this is your design style for your room.

Bronze can be more expensive than other types of hardware, but you can find the right brand and get it for around the same price. Certain bronze options also look much more modern than the standard bronze. 

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We couldn’t forget to mention gold. Gold can be difficult to work with simply because it is a powerful metal finish. Whenever there is gold in a room, it’s nearly impossible to notice anything else. So you have to work with it.

This can be a blessing because people who use gold usually want the gold to stand out. A good compromise on standing out and fitting in is to get brushed gold, which is a unique look that doesn’t get the appreciation it deserves. 


Pewter is a rare and wonderful metal finish that is dark yet cool in color. It is one of the darkest cool metal finishes you can get and deserves much praise for its uniqueness. Beware that you may become biased if you try it out!

The thing about pewter is that it isn’t so dark that it overcomes other decor nor so dark that it fades to the background. It stands its ground while balancing out nearly any design style that is based on cool colors. 


Onyx is the darkest metal finish that you can find. While onyx is actually a gem, it can be used to create all sorts of objects. However, most onyx hardware isn’t real onyx but it is inspired by the gorgeous natural onyx.

Onyx can be considered black but it has that fabulous glimmer to it that makes you want more. The color is truly captivating and cannot be replaced with anything else if you fall in love with the onyx magic.

Colored Metal Finish

The rarest type of metal finish is a dyed finish. It is very rare because it is difficult to finish a metal item in a colored finish. Metals don’t naturally come in bright colors so the color has to be faked.

So if you find something like this then snatch it if it is in your color. If you can’t but now want to find a colorful metal finish, you can get metal paint in nearly any color that will look just as shiny as stainless steel!

Choosing The Right Finish For You

Even if you find a completely different metal finish for your bathroom or kitchen, you’ve still made a solid choice. This is a preference-based decision that only you can make. That said, there are a few more things to think about.

For one, matching warm and cool colors can be important. It can also be important to think about the resale value if you plan on ever selling your home in the future. Money now is even more money later. 

Finally, think about your general design style. It can be risky to mix and match metal finishes and takes a lot of experience to get it right. So try to stick with your favorite for each room and work from there. 



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