Satin Nickel Vs Brushed Nickel

When it comes to decorating a home, property owners are faced with a huge number of options concerning the proper fixtures that best fit the style and design of a room. There are several types of fixtures to choose from, with the satin nickel and brushed nickel being the most popular options available today. Nickel is the most preferred choice because of its structural stability and aesthetical beauty.

With proper upkeep, nickel can stay intact for many eons after initial installation. Many homeowners often use the terms satin nickel and brushed nickel interchangeably, but these nickel-plated finishes are not the same. Let’s take a look at satin nickel vs. brushed nickel in detail.

Satin Nickel Vs Brushed Nickel

What is satin nickel?

Technically speaking, satin nickel finish is not a metal itself but the effect of nickel coating on brass or zinc. It is amalgamated with brass or zinc through the process of electrolysis and treated with a lacquer to give out a dull appearance and conceal the nickel’s usually shiny surface. This type of finish is relatively expensive and is suitable for use on shower arms, shower heads, shower mixers and knobs.

What is brushed nickel?

Brush nickel is a form of plating that provides a lustrous finish. It is achieved by forging the nickel into the desired shape and brushing it using tools or wire brushes. Often, the metal will have small grooves facing the same direction due to an intricate brushing process. Although it can take off some of the metal’s natural shine, it results in a soft and consistent finish in a single direction. A brushed nickel finish is less expensive compared to buying pure nickel.

Satin nickel vs. brushed nickel: The Differences

One of the differences between satin nickel and brushed nickel is the method of producing the two types of finish. Whereas satin nickel is created through the process of electrolysis, brushed nickel is simply achieved through an elaborate brushing process.

Satin nickel is a form of plating applied on brass or zinc then processed using an electrolysis method. On the other hand, brushed nickel finish can be created using a wire brush or a related accessory, where the resulting product gets a soft and consistent finish in one direction.

Another major difference lies in their appearance. While satin nickel is typically dull in appearance, brushed nickel highlights a more lustrous look. The process of creating a brushed nickel is significantly less expensive compared to other popular forms of plating.

Fixtures with satin nickel finish are costlier than the ones with brushed nickel finish largely because of the expensive electrolysis process or electroplating the nickel metal onto zinc or brass by hydrolysis.  While satin or velvety finishes are smooth with no visible abrasions, brushed nickel finishes are meant to portray a more handcrafted appearance that facilitates enhanced interplay of shadow and light due to the rises within the surface.

Final Verdict

Both satin nickel and brushed nickel are two of the most common finishes used in most modern homes. The key difference between satin nickel vs. brushed nickel actually boils down to their appearance or finishing. In contrast to the satin nickel plating that gives out a dull appearance, the brushed metal plating showcases a lustrous appearance with a soft, consistent and unidirectional finish.  

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