What Are the Benefits of Using Polished Steel vs. Chrome Plating?

What Are the Benefits of Using Polished Stainless Steel vs. Chrome Plating?

Many manufacturers trust traditional materials and processes because that’s “what they’ve always used” to get the job done. But as technologies evolve and alternative materials become available to improve production, manufacturers should consider their options. 

If you are choosing chrome plating because “you’ve always done it that way,” it might be time to explore other options. This article will go through some pros and cons of chrome plating vs. stainless steel to help you decide what’s right for your application.

“They listen to us and come up with innovative ideas, then ask what we think. We will look at things together, suggest other ideas, and come to a common solution.”

— Mike Brown, Delta Systems


Chrome Plating

With its mirror-like finish, it’s easy to see why chrome plating is applied to many consumer products and preferred across numerous industries. Plating can increase the surface hardness and durability of softer materials such as copper and brass.

Adversely, chrome plating is expensive. Consumers pay for a product that is simply coating another, essentially paying for two materials instead of one. And like paint, plating can chip or delaminate. Also, chrome plating may look nice, but it’s quite harsh environmentally. Chromium mining and production negatively impacts:

  • - Air quality
  • - Surface water safety
  • - Soil
  • - Aquatic animals’ health

Polished Stainless Steel

Although chrome plating is preferred by many businesses and consumers, polished stainless steel offers an equally attractive look at a lower price. Polished stainless steel cuts cost not only because customers buy one material rather than two, but also because it is a more cost-effective material to purchase than chromium. With only one material, that means that the component can be made in-house, eliminating the need for outside vendors, which reduces costs and lead times.

Because stainless steel offers a wider range of applications than chrome plating, it is an excellent option across many industries, components, and products. Stainless steel can be used in more applications than chromium because it’s a sturdier alloy.

Some manufacturers wonder if polished stainless steel’s name matches its performance.While stainless steel is not completely stain-proof, it offers much better protection than regular steel against:

  • - Staining
  • - Rust
  • - Corrosion

It can also offer the same beautiful sheen as chrome plating but requires a specific and rigorous grinding and polishing process. This ensures that the final product offers that same mirror-like finish consumers and businesses alike have come to associate with chrome plating.

Overall, polished stainless steel delivers:

  • - Similar, beautiful finish as chrome plating
  • - More cost-effective option
  • - Faster production and turnaround time
  • - More environmentally friendly production process 

Learn More About Our Polished Stainless Steel Capabilities

While some manufacturers turn to chrome plating because that’s how it’s been done for years, pivoting to polished stainless steel is better for their bottom line, the environment, the final product, and the consumer.

Want to learn about Metalcraft Solutions’ polished stainless steel capabilities? Reach out to us today to talk about your project with one of our experts. With dozens of materials to choose from, we can help you with each phase of your project and ensure you find the right materials for your needs.