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Faucets are an essential part of your kitchen or bathroom. They’re the one thing you touch every day, and it’s important to get a good quality faucet that will last for years. You want something that looks great in your space but functions well and is easy to clean.
The two popular finishes are brushed nickel vs chrome faucet finish. These two finishes are durable, affordable, and work in various designs, but what is the difference between them and which is best for your bathroom or kitchen?
If you’re planning a bathroom remodel, make sure to check our in-depth buyer’s guide about the best bathroom faucets.
There are 12 different fixture finishes to pick from.
Brushed Nickel vs Chrome Faucet Finish: The Basics
A brushed nickel finish is made by brushing the metal with a wire brush to give it a rough texture. The high-end look of this surface is due to the edge being finished with this metal brush. This type of hardware can be best suited for traditional, country farmhouse kitchens or other vintage kitchen designs.
On the other hand, chrome fittings are smooth and shiny without any additional finishing process. Chrome fixtures suit modern or contemporary bathroom or kitchen designs because they stand out against the cool colors typically found in these home décor styles.
If you’re looking for a modern look, be sure to check out the best modern kitchen faucets.
Pros for Brushed Nickel Faucets
Brushed nickel faucets have a matte finish which gives them a rustic, high-end look. This finish is achieved by brushing the surface of the metal with a wire brush to add texture, dull shine and bring out its best color.
The small ridges add an artistic element to these fixtures, making them popular in a country farmhouse or vintage kitchen decorating styles.
Hides fingerprints and water spots easily
Nickel fixtures hide specks of dirt, fingerprints, and water spots so you can keep your fixtures clean without having to polish them frequently.
Traditional and antique look
These fixtures suit traditional or antique kitchen and bathroom styles because of their warm colors. They complement the woody tones of farmhouse kitchens by giving you a warmer, more traditional vibe.
Complements warmer tones
Brushed nickel faucets and handles have a high-end appearance due to the complex finishing process as the surface is edged with a metal brush. These finishes complement warmer tones and bring out their best color, so brushed nickel is better for you if you want your space filled with these earthy colors.
Brushed nickel fixtures are long-lasting and require minimal upkeep. This rust-resistant finish can last a lifetime with little to no damage, keeping your fixtures looking great for years.
Easier to maintain
Brushed nickel fixtures are easier to maintain than chrome fixtures. They require less polishing and maintenance, hiding fingerprints and water spots easily, requiring little upkeep. Cleaning brushed nickel faucets is super easy.
Available in a wider range of finishes
They are available in a wider range of finishes, including matte, bright chrome, brushed bronze, polished nickel, and satin nickel.
Cons for Brushed Nickel Faucets
Although there isn’t a huge difference, brushed nickel faucets and handles are often more expensive than chrome fixtures. These fixtures can come at a higher cost due to the intricate finishing process and detailed brushwork that goes into making them.
Tends to tarnish over time
While these finishes are rust-resistant, they tend to tarnish over time. Nickel plating tends to wear off, allowing tarnish to go deeper and leave behind dark spots on the surface of the fixtures that are not maintained correctly.
Here’s a guide on how to keep brushed nickel faucets from spotting.
Pros for Chrome Faucets
Chrome fixtures have a shiny finish that makes them stand out against warmer tones. These fixtures suit modern or contemporary bathroom and kitchen designs because they work well with the cooler tones.
Modern & striking look
Chrome fittings have a striking look that adds brightness to your space by reflecting light around the room. These fittings look modern, especially with shiny finishes, and make a bold statement in your kitchen or bathroom design.
Complements cooler tones
Chrome fixtures have a shiny finish that complements cooler tones and stands out against warmer tones, making them an excellent choice for your space.
They are affordable and available at a lower price point. Chrome fixtures do not require as much time or work to finish, making them more economical than brushed nickel finishes.
Cons for Chrome Faucets
Easily shows fingerprints and water spots
Due to extra shine, they show water spots, dirt, and fingerprints easily. As such, they require continuous polishing to keep them looking clean and shiny.
If you are messy or have kids around, chrome finished faucet might not be the best choice.
Requires higher maintenance
Chrome finished faucets and handles are prone to scratches and damages (from cleaning improperly, in most cases.)
Once chrome is cracked or damaged, the fixtures will lose their protection and will be susceptible to rust and corrosion easily.
It can rust
Chrome fixtures can rust over time if they are not properly maintained. The finish will look worn away, and the fixture might discolor, making them a poor choice for areas with high humidity or dampness.
If you want to go with chrome, but you’re worried about some of these cons, check out our guide on polished nickel vs chrome finishes.
Which is better: chrome or brushed Nickel?
Both finishes are ideal for kitchen and bathroom fixtures, but there is no correct answer to this question. The finish you choose depends on the design of your space and how it complements your desired aesthetic.
Brushed nickel is more practical when it comes to cleaning because it doesn’t show dirt or fingerprints as easily as the chrome finish does. It’s also suitable if you want a classical or vintage look for your kitchen.
On the other hand, chrome is more suitable if you want a sleek, shiny finish that stands out against darker tones in modern kitchen design. This type of faucet works well with cool colors like blues and greens.
Chrome has a shinier surface than brushed nickel, which brings an elegant appearance to your bathroom or kitchen design. It also doesn’t need as much polishing as the brushed nickel finish.
It’s due to the extra finishing process that goes into creating a quality brushed nickel faucet. It involves polishing, buffing, and edging, which take much longer than the simple chrome plating process.
They also require additional finishing work for the brushed surface before they can be used in a fixture. As a result, brushed nickel faucets are usually more expensive than chrome-finished faucets.
No. Although gold finishes might be trending for kitchens right now, brushed nickel remains one of the most popular hardware options for bathroom and kitchen faucets.
It’s a timeless finish we will continue to love for years to come while other trends come and go.
Final Words: Brushed Nickel vs Chrome Faucet Finish
To sum up, as long as you know the design that best fits your space, either finish will be an excellent choice for your bathroom or kitchen faucet.
Chrome might be a better choice if you want a shiny finish that will complement dark colors in contemporary designs. However, brushed nickel is the way to go if you’re going for a more traditional aesthetic and require durability.
If you are unsure of which nickel would be best for you, have a look at our satin nickel vs brushed nickel finish guide. We’ve also put together a resource comparing brushed nickel vs stainless steel.