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Brushed nickel vs. satin nickel is a long-standing question. There is only one reason you are interested enough to find out about the differences between brushed nickel and satin nickel.

Yeah! We Got You; you are surely either renovating your beautiful house or buying a lovely estate. Either way, you want to know about the best nickel finishing.

Well, here, I will explain to you every aspect of nickel finishing, right from the one that will empty your pockets to one which will give a regal finish. So, without further ado, let us investigate ‘Brushed nickel vs. Satin nickel.’

What is Nickel?

Nickel is one of the most abundant metals on earth. It is rarely found in its pure state in natural conditions. Nickel is famous for its corrosion resistance, and the primary use of nickel is for exploiting the very same property.

Most of the nickel produced is used in the preparation of alloys such as stainless steel (about 68% of nickel production is used in manufacturing stainless steel), alnico, and other nickel-based alloys. Only 4% of nickel is used for plating purposes, yet it serves a vital role in enhancing the regality of one’s home.

What Do Mean by Satin Nickel vs. Brushed Nickel?

Satin nickel and brushed nickel are types of plating of nickel over primarily brass or zinc materials or items. This nickel plating helps to counter corrosion and gives an attractive look both at the same time! Nickel plating in households has mainly been very popular even in these times as they are known to be durable, attractive, and cost-effective at the same time.

Brushed nickel vs. satin nickel exists because both the nickel plating’s have their pros and cons, with neither of them a winner. The choice between them solely depends upon the given conditions and the customer or designer’s choice. Now let us investigate each one of the plating ones by one.

Satin Nickel

Satin Nickel

It is a type of nickel plating achieved via electroplating. Nickel electroplating is a process that allows nickel coating on a solid base through the reduction of nickel cations using an electric current. The part to be coated acts as a cathode (in this case zinc or brass base), and the electrolyte is a solution of a salt of nickel, and the anode used is nickel. Naturally, many manufacturers follow electroplating by lacquering, which gives another layer of protection and gives a smooth appearance.

The term lacquer is used for several challenging and potentially shiny finishes applied to materials such as wood or metal. Lacquer coating takes off the natural shine of nickel due to which satin nickel has a dull appearance.

Satin nickel is arguably considered cheap as compared to brushed nickel. Though the price may vary depending upon the density of nickel used, amount of plating, manufacturers, and other factors. Satin nickel is non-reflective and hence used extensively in automobile interiors.

Satin nickel does not pick up fingerprint stains though not better than brushed nickel, yet it requires less attention on maintenance and cleaning. Satin nickel has a smooth appearance with nearly no visible abrasions. Satin nickel hides water spots and scratches. Thus, it can be maintained for a more extended time before replacing it.

Satin nickel is corrosion resistant and does not deteriorate with use. Satin nickel has a bit of gold tint, which gives it a regal look and makes it even more attractive. Over time, satin nickel develops over a patina layer, which makes it look a bit cloudy yet gives off a soft touch. Satin nickel has a dull finish if lacquered. In some cases, satin nickel is not lacquered and hence may retain its shine.

Brushed Nickel

Brushed Nickel

For a brushed nickel, plating is achieved by an intricate brushing process. In the brushing process, small abrasions are made on the metal, all going in the same direction. Brushing is done right after the polishing process of the base material. This takes the natural shine off the metal but not as much as the lacquer coating as on satin nickel.

Brush tools or even wire brushes are used to create a smooth and consistent look. This brushing gives an attractive appearance, and the added texture allows more interplay of light and shadow, which makes it visually attractive. Brushed nickel is arguably considered a bit costly as compared to brushed nickel.

Though the price may vary depending upon the detailing and intricate brushing process, manufacturers, and many other factors, the added texture in brushed nickel allows more interplay of light and shadow, which makes it reflective and shiny. Brushed nickel does not pick up fingerprint stains and is better than a satin nickel in this property. It requires less attention to maintenance and cleaning.

Brushed nickel has a soft finish with small abrasions purposely made in the same direction. Brushed nickel may or may not hide water spots and scratches as it depends upon the matte finishing. Though it can be maintained for a more extended time before replacing it, satin nickel is better than a brushed nickel in this property.

Like satin nickel, even brushed nickel is corrosion resistant and does not deteriorate with use. Brushed nickel gives a grey metallic look with a bit of brownish tint. Brushed nickel has a lustrous finish and may require regular cleaning for maintenance of its shine. It is a bit like stainless steel in appearance. Hence, if looking for a standout amongst stainless steel objects, then brushed nickel is a no-no.


  • The price difference between satin nickel and brushed nickel depends upon various factors, so anyone of them may be costlier than others.
  • Scratch resistance, water spots, and fingerprints mainly depend upon matte finish. In general, brushed nickel is better than satin nickel.
  • Brushed nickel is generally satin nickel with surface brushed either before or after plating.
  • Even a bare coating can be added to brushed nickel for a softer finish.
  • Nickel plating is not synonymous or like a painting of any kind.

Tips and Suggestions

  • Satin nickel looks good with darker hues of objects around.
  • Satin nickel gives off an antique and traditional look.
  • Satin nickel is best for kitchen, automobile, and bathroom remodeling.
  • Brushed nickel looks good with lighter hues of objects around.
  • Brushed nickel gives off a modern and sleek look.
  • Brushed nickel is best for doorknobs, kitchen faucets, and bathroom fittings.


Both types of nickel plating are excellent options. In the case of durability and ease of maintenance, both are very much comparable. The difference comes down to a choice of appearance.

For more shiny and brighter features, you may be more inclined to go towards brushed nickel. Though if you want more a regal look, a touch of gold tint in satin nickel makes it a better alternative.

Brushed nickel vs. satin nickel can be concluded as a tiebreaker. Sense your conditions, think about your interests, and choose wisely.



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