Satin Nickel Vs Brushed Nickel: 8 Major Difference

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What Is Nickel?

Nickel is a naturally-occurring metallic element with a silvery-white, shiny appearance. It is the fifth-most common element on earth and occurs extensively in the earth’s crust and core. Nickel along with iron is also a common element in meteorites and can even be found in small quantities in plants, animals and seawater.

Nickel is mainly used to make stainless steel and other alloys stronger and better able to withstand extreme temperatures and corrosive environments. Although many nickel alloys including stainless steel do not cause health problems, special precautions must be taken to ensure the safety of those working with certain other nickel compounds and even metallic nickel because some studies have shown that they can cause certain type of cancers.

What Is Satin Nickel?

The satin nickel is nickel plating on brass that has been dulled and lacquer coated. Satin Nickel is sometimes referred to as brushed nickel. It is similar in appearance to brushed stainless steel or brushed aluminum.

Satin nickel is used in many industries and applications such as:

  • Kitchens and bathrooms
  • Automotive
  • Architectural hardware
  • Brewery fittings
  • Electronic locks
  • Door levers
  • Domestic appliances etc

What You Need To Know About Satin Nickel

  1. A satin nickel finish has a smooth or velvety appearance with no visible abrasions.
  2. The most common method of applying satin finish to brass metal is by electrolysis which is then followed by lacquer treatment.  The reason why lacquer treatment is done, is to deliver dull appearance and kill the shine.
  3. Satin nickel has a very slight gold tint.
  4. There are varying degrees of satin nickel such as really dark matt or a semi matt finish.
  5. Satin nickel can be electroplated onto various substrates such as zinc based die-castings, mild steel, brass, stainless steel and aluminium.
  6. Electrophoretic lacquer can also be applied on top of the satin nickel to produce a simulated gold, brass or bronze satin finish.
  7. Satin nickel is less expensive when compared to brushed nickel.
  8. Satin nickel has a relatively dull finish and does not reveal the fingerprints, scratches and water spots on it.
  9. Satin nickel is more common in residential hardware.

What Is Brushed Nickel?

Brushed nickel is a kind of plating that gives out a lustrous finish. The final appearance is achieved by way of an intricate brushing process, using tools or wire brushes to create a soft and consistent look. The brushing gives satin a more handcrafted appearance and the added texture allows more interplay of light and shadow on the part, making it more visually interesting.

Brushed nickel is a popular type of metal finish for:

  • Door knobs
  • House numbers
  • Kitchen faucets
  • Bathroom fittings
  • Cabinet hardware
  • Lighting fixtures
  • Machine parts

What You Need To Know About Brushed Nickel

  1. Brushed nickel is nickel that has been finished by etching it with a wire brush or similar too to give the metal a textured look.
  2. Brushed nickel finish provides a lightly brushed warm-grey metallic look.
  3. Brushed nickel tends to have a golden or brownish tint. It delivers lustrous appearance to the workpiece it is applied.
  4. Brushed nickel is more expensive than a satin nickel.
  5. Brushed nickel can easily show fingerprints, tiny scratches and water spots due to its matte finish.
  6. Brushed nickel is more common in commercial hardware.
  7. Brushed nickel requires regular cleaning to maintain its natural appearance and enhance the life of the product.

Difference Between Satin Nickel And Brushed Nickel In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON SATIN NICKEL BRUSHED NICKEL
Appearance It gives a slightly dull look to the hardware with a vintage appearance. Delivers lustrous appearance to the workpiece it is applied.
Tint Satin nickel has a very slight gold tint.   Brushed nickel tends to have a golden or brownish tint.
Application Process Satin nickel finish is achieved by electrolysis and lacquer treatment. The process of application is etching which is achieved by the use of a wire brush.
Cost Satin nickel is less expensive when compared to brushed nickel.   Brushed nickel is more expensive than a satin nickel.  
Popularity Satin nickel is more common in residential hardware.   Brushed nickel is more common in commercial hardware.  
Finish Satin nickel has a relatively dull finish and does not reveal the fingerprints, scratches and water spots on it.   Brushed nickel can easily show fingerprints, tiny scratches and water spots due to its matte finish.  
Maintenance Regular cleaning not necessary. Brushed nickel requires regular cleaning to maintain its natural appearance and enhance the life of the product.  
Application Satin nickel is best used on zinc or brass faucets, electronic locks, door levers, bathroom fittings etc. Brushed nickel can be used bathroom fittings, kitchen cabinets, door pulls, machine parts etc.