Choosing fixtures of the same brand and style give a unique look to your kitchen and bathroom. But differences in the finish can be unpleasant to the eyes. If you have chosen nickel for your fixtures then you are probably confused. There is more than one type. The most popular are Satin nickel vs brushed nickel. Each can give harmony to your bathroom and kitchen faucets, doorknobs, and lights. So, let’s discuss which nickel finish you should choose to get better feel and aesthetic appearance. Keep reading our Satin nickel vs brushed nickel comparison.

What is Brushed Nickel?

Facet in Kitchen- Satin Nickel vs Brushed Nickel
Facet in Kitchen

In the showdown of satin nickel vs brushed nickel, the brushed nickel choice is one of most popular and innovative finishes available on the market. It is the choice for home design for many people. It is type of nickel plating that gives a classy look to your fixture.

It can be available on everything from hardware to appliances. This type of finish can be applied on metal surfaces such as cabinet knobs and plumbing fixtures. Brushed nickel finish gives it subtle and textured look which is perfect for all who want an aesthetic and classic look. Keep in mind that this particular finish is affordable when you compare it to pure metal. So, it is suitable for designing all fixtures of your home and door knobs especially.

It consists of nickel plating, which features light abrasions of single direction, it gives it brushed appearance. This brush appearance of design gives it a more original and handcrafted feel, which most people like.

Its brushed finish gives the surface a unique aesthetic appeal by reflecting light and shadows in different ways. In addition, brushed Nickel is more suitable for hiding water spots, smudges and dirt. Therefore, it is good choice for your home fixtures and highly recommended for bathroom ones like showers.

This particular finish is on metal surfaces which they achieve by brushing it with an abrasive agent. It has a resemblance to chrome but comes with different undertones and materials. You can easily achieve brushed nickel because it needs less work than other finishes. In addition to preparation like sanding, cleaning, and de-greasing metal, you can apply only one coat to achieve it. The manufacturers just spray painted the substrate in one coat.

What is Satin Nickel?

Satin Nickel vs Brushed Nickel Faucet in Kitchen
Stainless Steel Faucet in Kitchen

In the showdown of satin nickel vs brushed nickel, satin Nickel has a more glossy look compared to brushed nickel. You achieve this finish by buffing and polishing the surface of metal until you get smooth sheen that resembles polished chrome or silver. It looks great in modern homes and offices where sleek lines are prominent in design. Satin nickel is versatile and timeless and perfect choice for you. You should pick this if you are looking for a modern and shiny look design for your home.

How To Create Brushed Nickel Finish

Brushed nickel is easy to create by Nickel plating over zinc or brass. It has been treated with an abrasive. Its specialty is that you can apply it in one direction and that gives it a brush like appearance. Brushed nickel is a particular finish which you can create by brushing surface with wire brush. It provides an aesthetic and subtle texture to your home design. You can do this process by hand or with machine. The final result is a matte like appearance with a classy texture.

The first step to create a brushed nickel finish is to clean the metal. Polish it to remove grease, oxides and dirt. Then you have to brush the base metal in one direction with a wire brush. The process of brushing removes some of the nickel plating and provides a textured finish.

How To Create a Satin Nickel Finish

The first step to creating satin nickel finish is to clean and polish base of metal and remove dirt, grease and oxides. After that you have to immerse base metal in nickel plating solution. After this, you have to pass electric current through the solution so that nickel ions deposit onto base metal’s surface.

Then after this process, you may create Satin nickel metal finish by buffing nickel plating with fine abrasive. You will feel a smooth, low sheen finish because process removes some of nickel plating.

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Satin Nickel Vs Brushed Nickel

Both finishes are good to use and bring beauty to your home fixtures but choosing carefully is what wise people do.  

Satin Nickel Vs Brushed Nickel: Appearance:

When it comes to satin nickel vs brushed nickel, appearance is most noticed. Brushed nickel is somewhat roughly textured and dull that doesn’t reflect light. You can usually see lines where wire brush runs across the surface while brushing. It gives vintage style rustic, industrial look and you can choose this if you are looking for it. While satin nickel has smooth, matte and a bright look. If you are looking for a modern and soothing look, Satin look might be better and your ultimate choice.

Most of the people think brushed nickel and satin nickel are the same but both have different finishes specifically in the appearance.

Differences in Appearance

The major difference between brushed nickel and Satin nickel is their appearance. Brushed nickel offers flat finish with brush strokes. While on the other hand Satin nickel is softer and bright and has less visible brushing.

Brushed Nickel coating is semi satin and that makes them rusty and vintage with non reflective texture and dull appearance. Its classic finish looks suitable on metal products such as appliances, pulls and door handles. Muted shine mixed with its neutral tones make it one of most popular choices for both commercial and personal space.

The second key difference between both finishes is aesthetics. Brushed nickel gives a matte look that some people prefer due to its quality of not showing fingerprints easily. While Satin finish gives shinier look that some people prefer for easy cleaning and good looks.

Satin Nickel Vs Brushed Nickel: Cost

Another thing that differentiates both is the price. Satin Nickel is an expensive option than the other finish. The reason is simple: former needs more labor to get smooth and best matte finish. When it comes to brushed nickel, you will find it an affordable option also with classy and elegant appearance.

Remember that you have to handle satin nickel more cautiously because it is harder to tackle. Moreover, as it is difficult to match with sheen of nickel cost also increases due to it. The price also depends upon your need, and how much you require for specific tasks.

Keep in mind that price is important to consider but what is more crucial is your choice and your home needs.

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Satin Nickel Vs Brushed Nickel: Durability

When it comes to durability, between satin nickel vs brushed nickel you will be lucky whatever finish you choose. In terms of durability, both finishes have longer lifespans and can withstand regular use.

However, Brushed Nickel is good option as you will find it less prone to fingerprints and scratches. Moreover the signs of wear and tear are also less visible. While satin nickel has smooth and shiny appearance thus they are more prone to damage and scratches.

But if your definition of durability is material’s ability to greatly tackle corrosion and deformation after extended exposure to specific elements, then choose satin nickel. Because in satin nickel vs brushed nickel, satin is more reliable and can easily tackle such situations. Thus prove it to be a better option than brushed nickel.

But in terms of bathroom fixtures, you will find brushed nickel more advantageous than others. Water cause corrosion and as nickel is already resistant to it, choosing brushed one is more better option. 

Satin Nickel Vs Brushed Nickel: Maintenance:

Satin and brushed nickel require regular cleaning and maintenance. However, satin finish requires more maintenance and care to look best. The reason is it shows smudge and dirt more easily than brushed nickel. White tarnish forms on brushed nickel over time especially where there is a lot of humidity like often in bathroom. You should clean the brush nickel plating in that case. While on the other hand satin nickel slows down this tarnishing effect so you won’t have to clean it again and again.

  • Satin nickel shows more scratches and fingerprints due to its smooth and shiny look.
  • You have to clean Brushed nickel fixtures with soft rag daily as they have rusty appearance and need daily cleanliness.
  • Satin nickel needs soft cloth for cleaning. You can use it either dry or dampened. Sometimes you have to polish it again because it shows big smudges or spots.

Both finishes need maintenance but brushed nickel requires more and its cleaning is hard to handle as it has brushed finish. In case of satin finish, you only require damp cloth and mild soap for cleaning it properly. It needs polishing in some cases.

Satin Nickel Vs Brushed Nickel: Making Process

Satin nickel’s base material is also the same as brushed nickel. It involves a copper and nickel plating on steel. It is thin layer of metal that you have to electroplate on surface of other metals such as copper. In order to give it smooth and shiny appearance, you have to dip metal in chemicals such as copper and nickel. This process creates micro thin layer of metal on base metal that gives it a polished or satin chrome look. Satin nickel gives a smooth and shiny appearance, mirror like texture and fine quality.

The making process of brushed nickel is somewhat different because you make it from an alloy of nickel and copper. This makes its color different from other finishes.

Electroplating process is used brushed nickel finish. You have to start process by applying nickel to surface of metal object through a soluble salt solution. After that, you have to heat the solution until it reaches boiling point. Then pour molten salt on object’s surface that is being plated.

Once you complete application process, the next step is to cool it and solidify it. Tiny particles of pure nickel are left which after distribution all over the surface of object leaving molten salt. These tiny particles are so fine that they easily merge together into smooth even layer that has nickel coating. In brushed nickel, you can give final touch by using wire brush. It will give rougher and textured look to your nickel. The treatment of m metal with abrasive chemicals gives a more rough and rugged look to the finish.

Satin Nickel Vs Brushed Nickel: Range Of Colors

You will get wide variety of colors in Brushed nickel finish. Gold, silver, and copper are most common hues that frequently come in use and people mostly demand them. For a special touch, you can choose a different color for each product as it comes with flexibility. It also has a mirror-like finish and it is often available in black and white.

Satin Nickel has a warm grey color with slightly golden tint that has visible brush marks on its surface. It is popular among designers and architects because of its less harsh features than satin chrome.


the Satin Nickel Vs Brushed Nickel game is not new. Everyone who chooses a nickel material for their bathroom or kitchen fixtures always wishes to get wise advice. We have compared both finishes in terms of price, durability, and appearance. We hope that you find it worth reading.

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