Polished Nickel vs Chrome: Suitable Choice for Your Home

Are you refurbishing your home and considering the difference between polished nickel and chrome? It’s a common issue for many homeowners. Generally, both are popular choices for fixtures and accents.

However, they have different benefits and drawbacks. In this article, we will provide an in-depth comparison to help you make a decision.

What is Polished Nickel?

Polished nickel (top lever) has a warm, yellow tone, and also a luxurious glow. It’s made by plating nickel over brass and polishing it to a high shine. Therefore, this process can enhance the strength and durability of this finish but also allows it to gain a smooth, polished surface that is pleasing to the eye.

Absolutely, numerous homeowners are attracted by its ability to adopt the tones of their surroundings. Moreover, if your home’s design aligns with a warm and luxurious aesthetic. So, this nickel is an excellent choice to consider.

Polished nickel has a warm, yellow tone


  • Warm undertones: Unlike many other silver finishes, polished nickel exudes warm undertones and a softer reflective surface due to the underlying brass.
  • Longevity: With appropriate care and regular maintenance, it can retain its original condition for decades. It’s also highly resistant to scratches and cracking. Moreover, even the most stubborn patina can be removed with a simple homemade solution of equal parts water and vinegar.


  • Higher Cost: Generally, these finishes carry a higher price tag compared to chrome ones.
  • Increased Maintenance Needs: While polished nickel is remarkably durable and doesn’t easily show fingerprints or smudges, it does demand consistent care to maintain its shine. Mineral deposits on showerheads and sink faucets are more likely to build up on this finish. However, the good news is these deposits can be removed with common household cleaning supplies. Scratches, although rare, can be polished out with wet sandpaper and a bit of patience.

What is Chrome?

While Chrome (bottom lever) has a bright, blueish, and cooler, so, it looks great in modern style. It is made by plating chromium over another metal like brass. Therefore, this process helps increase its durability, and easy maintenance.

Moreover, chrome is much more forgiving when it comes to upkeep. It’s resistant to water spots and doesn’t tarnish easily. So, this makes it an excellent choice for busy households who don’t have enough time to maintain.


  • Stain resistance: Chrome finishes are an excellent choice for kitchen appliances and hardware due to their resistance to staining. Home cooks can enjoy cooking without the worry of leaving a permanent mark on their chrome-finished appliances or fixtures.
  • Cost-effective: Chrome finishes are typically more affordable.


  • Frequent cleaning: Although chrome is easy to clean, it tends to attract fingerprints and smudges, necessitating regular cleaning. However, maintaining its shine is a breeze with an all-purpose cleaner and a microfiber cloth. For stubborn spots, a soak in warm, soapy water usually does the trick. Moreover, keep in mind that chrome cannot be sanded to remove scratches, so avoid using abrasive cleaning tools.
  • Difficult to repair: While chrome can be sanded to remove scratches, repairing damaged chrome can be challenging.

4 Differences Between Polished Nickel and Chrome

When it comes to the difference between both finishes, several key factors distinguish them:


The most obvious difference between the two finishes lies in their visuals. Polished nickel exudes a warm, luxurious, and slightly golden. So, it looks great in traditional, vintage, or transitional interior styles. Moreover, thanks to its adaption, so it also looks like a chameleon. This means that depending on the lighting and colors around it, this nickel can appear warmer or cooler.

On the other hand, chrome boasts a cool, sleek, and highly reflective finish that imparts a clean and modern aesthetic. Its mirror-like surface, coupled with its crisp, silvery hue, makes it a popular choice for contemporary, minimalists.


When it comes to durability, both finishes stand their ground, but there are subtle differences worth noting.

Polished nickel, while undeniably strong, can endure everyday use with grace. However, it may lose some of its luster over time, especially if not cared for properly. This might necessitate regular polishing to maintain its shiny appeal. Moreover, in settings with high moisture or when exposed to strong cleaning chemicals. So, this nickel may begin to show signs of wear a bit more quickly.

Besides, chrome is the top when it comes to long-lasting durability. Therefore, this makes chrome a superior choice for areas that see a lot of use or are easy to dampen, like bathrooms and kitchens.

Another point in chrome’s favor is its resistance to tarnishing, which is a considerable plus for those who prefer easy-care finishes.


When choosing finishes for your home, the cost factor is crucial to consider. There is a notable difference between the two:

Normally, polished nickel, with its rich and luxurious appeal, tends to be priced higher than chrome. This cost disparity is due to the manufacturing process as well as the market price of nickel itself. On the contrary, chrome is more affordable, so chrome might be the perfect fit for you.

Maintenance and care

When it comes to the upkeep, the two finishes have different requirements that might influence your choice.

Polished nickel, while exuding a beautiful, warm glow, does ask for a bit more care. To maintain its luminous shine and prevent tarnishing, it requires regular polishing. In detail, it’s recommended to quickly wipe off water spots to prevent potential damage over time. If you are so careful and have free time, should find additional maintenance.

On the other hand, chrome stands out as a low-maintenance option. Thanks to its inherent resistance to tarnishing, keeping chrome clean and shiny is quite straightforward. A simple wipe with a damp cloth is typically enough to maintain its mirror-like finish.

Thus, if you’re looking for a finish that’s both durable and easy to maintain, chrome could be your best bet. However, if the warm, classic elegance of polished nickel appeals to you, and you don’t mind putting in some extra care, it could be a compelling choice. Generally, it also depends on your home style or budget, thus it is up to you.

Related Post: Satin Nickel vs Brushed Nickel Which: is Right for Your Home


When it comes to polished nickel vs chrome, the choice ultimately depends on your specific needs and style preferences. It offers a warm, classic appeal that is perfect for traditional or vintage-inspired interiors. Chrome, on the other hand, provides a sleek, modern look with the added benefits of durability and easy maintenance.

Both finishes have their unique charm and can significantly enhance the aesthetics of your space. It’s crucial to consider the overall style, functionality, maintenance, and budget before making a decision. We hope this guide has provided valuable insights to help you make an informed choice.


Can polished nickel and chrome be used together in one room?

Yes, mixing both finishes can create a unique and visually appealing contrast. However, it’s essential to ensure the combination complements the overall design aesthetic of your space.

Which finish is more durable, polished nickel, or chrome?

While both finishes are durable, chrome generally has superior resistance to corrosion and wear. So, making it slightly more durable than polished nickel.

Is polished nickel a suitable choice for a finish?

Because of its impressive durability, not easily reveal fingerprints and scratches. So, polished nickel is an excellent option for households. To maintain its bright color, you need to clean up regularly.

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