What then makes them different? Why choose one over the other? Understanding the differences between these hardware options, allows you to make an informed choice to suit both your decorative and practical needs.
Chrome is the short form for chromium. Chrome is metal core plated with a thin chromium veneer. Standard chrome hardware has a polished surface that shines like a mirror and reflects light in the same way. As such, surfaces of this nature show fingerprints and scratches more readily. There is also satin or brushed chrome, which gives the appearance of a matte surface. Chrome plating will not rust, however when it is damaged - it can appear dull. The metal core can rust if plating is lost through accidental damage or with natural wear over time.
Nickel is metal core plated with a thin nickel veneer. Nickel hardware options can go from highly polished or satin finishes to having a darker, weathered, antique appearance. Nickel provides a toned down, softer look that often appears in transitional style kitchens. Though nickel is resistant to corrosion and wear, over time it can become dull and start to tarnish. Nickel is often lacquered in an effort to help keep dulling at bay or at least, slow down this process.
Stainless SteelGenuine stainless steel hardware is typically made from a metal alloy that does not need plating. It is not as shiny as chrome plating, which may assist with hiding fingerprints – if that’s what you’re hoping for. Its composition can contain chromium or nickel which increases its durability. Quality stainless steel hardware is tarnish resistant, scratch resistant, and corrosion resistant.
It should be noted that for all 3 types of hardware you should keep in mind that:
- Polished surfaces will require more attention because they easily reveal scratches and fingertips
- Depending on the quality of your hardware and how you care for it, plating peeling or flaking can occur
- Where your kitchen is situated in relation to windows or sun-exposure can cause glare issues, reflecting off one’s hardware