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Chrome vs Stainless Steel Faucet – Which Finish to Get in 2023!

Chrome vs Stainless Steel Faucet
Written by Jenny Molin
Last Update: November 30, 2022

The type of finish is essential to consider when buying a new kitchen faucet. Chrome and stainless steel are popular options.

Chrome faucets have a bright, durable finish while stainless steel faucets are very low maintenance. Both are available in a variety of styles.

Here we’ll compare stainless steel vs chrome faucets so you know all of their advantages and disadvantages and then make an informed buying decision.

Chrome vs Stainless Steel Faucet

Chrome vs Stainless Steel Faucet

Chrome is a type of metal – a naturally occurring chemical element that can contain valuable properties when layered on top of other metals.

Chrome is more like a mirror that’s bright and creates a reflection-type appearance.

Stainless steel is an alloy with varying amounts of silicon metal and other metals with 10.5% chromium.


Comparing factors  Chrome   Stainless steel 
Material Not alloy (chromium-plated metal) Alloy formed from iron, carbon, silicon, and chromium
Shininess High Low
Weight Lighter Heavier
Dirt collection Collects more easily Collects less
Durability Less durable More durable
Scratch resistance Low High
Rust resistance No Yes
Stain resistance Low High
Tarnishing Tarnishes over time Doesn’t tarnish
Corrosion May occur Doesn’t occur
Fingerprint and dirt Shows up more easily Not easy to show up
Main selling point Look (eye-catching glossy finish) Durability
Maintenance Needs heavy maintenance Needs little maintenance
Replacement requirement More often Less often
Reuse Partially recyclable Fully recyclable
Lifespan Around 10 years when maintained well Around 18 years when maintained well



Chrome is a chromium-plated metal, so it cannot be considered an alloy.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel is an alloy formed from iron, carbon, and chromium.



Chrome is more aesthetically pleasing because of its high luster. Unfortunately, chrome materials tend to collect dirt more easily.

Compared with stainless steel, it’s cheaper but not as durable.

Stainless steel

Compared to chrome, stainless steel is a lot more durable since it’s an alloy. It’s not corrosive or scratchy too, which means it doesn’t tarnish and is easy to clean.

However, stainless steel is really expensive and not as shiny as chrome on the downside.



The only element used in solid chrome construction is chrome.

Solid chrome has no use as an object construct. This material is applied to objects as a thin layer. Steel and sometimes stainless steel, brass, aluminum, or copper.

Stainless steel

Various kitchen appliances are made from stainless steel, including cutlery, sinks, saucepans, drums for washing machines, liners for microwave ovens, and razor blades.

Stainless steel is used to produce window fittings, street furniture reinforcement bars, civil engineering, masonry supports, and lighting columns.



Rusting occurs more often in chrome and once a part is damaged the rust will grow and spread.

There are some harsh chemical cleaners that can also cause rust on chrome.

Stainless steel

In addition to durability and hard-wearing properties, stainless steel is also easy to clean and rust-resistant. It cannot, however, completely resist stains.

Stainless steel is more resistant to rust, corrosion, and staining.



Chrome faucets can only partially be recycled. As a result, chrome faucets could tarnish over time, resulting in them being less attractive.

Stainless steel

Steel is fully recyclable. Old steel faucets go to metal scrap yards and are melted down to create something new.



Corrosion-resistant and durable in dry environments, chrome can last up to 10 years when maintained well.

You are left with raw steel and rust as soon as you penetrate the chrome coating. Chrome will not last as long as stainless steel.

Stainless steel

The good thing about stainless steel is it can handle constant cleaning and heavy use without wearing down its lifespan.

The lifespan of stainless steel when cared for properly is 18 years.



Chrome is less durable than stainless steel. It isn’t recommended to use harsh chemicals as you can wear off the surface coating.

Chrome also doesn’t take too kindly to water spots and hard calcium deposits from the water.

Stainless steel

Steel can resist corrosion, scratches, and tarnishing.

However, there is no guarantee that it will be able to resist every stain or wear and tear no matter where it lives.

This is the first choice when you need low cost, high strength, and corrosion resistance.



Polished chrome faucets easily show scratches or fingerprints due to their polished surfaces.

Chrome faucets need to be maintained properly if you wish to use or clean them in your kitchen or bathroom.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel faucets are easy to clean and more durable than chrome. They don’t dent or scratch so easily, even after frequent use or cleaning.

Bright and shiny


Since chrome is brighter and shinier than stainless steel, it is often used for decorating.

It can, however, show dirt and fingerprints easily because of the polished surface. The right care and maintenance can help prevent this.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel isn’t as bright and shiny as chrome but it has a harder surface and won’t show fingerprints as easily as chrome.

If this is important for you then stick with chrome.



Buying chrome means a cheaper price, to begin with, but it will need to be replaced more often than steel.

This means you will be buying extras and doing more repair work.

You can expect to pay between $20 for a basic and $800 for a more deluxe designer faucet.

Stainless steel

Stainless steel is more expensive but it is also more durable and doesn’t need to be replaced anywhere near as often as chrome does.

You can expect 10 years out of a stainless steel faucet.

The price range starts at $50 but can go over $1200 for a deluxe model.

Pros and cons of chrome faucets

Pros and cons of chrome faucet


  • Nice shiny finish
  • Modern styles
  • Matches well with other colors
  • Easy to clean


  • Scratches easily
  • Easily corrodes
  • Shows dirt and fingerprints
  • Requires more upkeep
  • A bit more expensive than stainless steel

Pros and cons of stainless steel faucets

Pros and cons of stainless steel faucets


  • Extra durable
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Resistance to high and low temps
  • Requires hardly any maintenance
  • Plenty of designs to choose from
  • Comparatively more affordable
  • Easy to clean


  • Water spots can show
  • Fingerprints can be visible


You can avoid many stains from stainless steel by keeping them clean and giving them a dry over once you have used them.

Due to chrome being shiner, you can see stains and spots being more visible and the shine becoming reduced over time.

Do not wipe over stainless steel or chrome with harsh chemicals as it can cause stains and remove the finish.

Which one to choose: Chrome or Steel?

It is ultimately up to you to decide whether to go with chrome or stainless steel. Chrome faucets can be found in a multitude of styles and price ranges.

The modern look and easy matching of chrome fixtures make them an excellent choice for your home.

However, stainless steel requires little maintenance while being highly durable.


1. Is stainless steel easier to clean or chrome?

Ans. Because chrome is brighter and shinier than stainless steel, it is often used in decorating.

The polished surface also makes it easy for dirt and fingerprints to show up. It is simpler to keep stainless steel clean and maintained.

2. Is chrome corrosive?

Ans. Even though chrome is corrosion-resistant and reasonably durable, a number of household cleaners and even tap water can damage it.

Hard water build-up won’t be able to be chipped away with a scouring pad or sharp tools.

It will appear as white spots around the pipes.

3. Do Stainless Steel Faucets Show Water Spots?

Ans. Stainless steel faucets are ideal for high-traffic areas, such as homes with kids, since they conceal water spots and finger smudges.

In addition, keeping them clean and shiny is as easy as wiping them with a soft, dry cloth.

4. Can you use Clorox wipes on chrome faucets?

Ans. You can do that. Disposable and bleach-free, Clorox Disinfecting Wipes kill most germs without leaving streaks on the chrome.

5. Are chrome faucets out of style?

Ans: No, absolutely not. Chrome is highly versatile and fits in both contemporary and modern home designs. It is also considered a classic finish for faucets.

6. How To Tell The Difference Between Chrome And Stainless Steel?

Ans: You can easily differentiate them by using a magnet. Stainless steel is not a magnetic material, so magnets won’t stick to it.

Chrome isn’t magnetic but usually, the metal substrate is. As a result, chrome may stick to the magnet.

About the author

Jenny Molin

Interior Design Artist

Hello, I’m Jenny. I’ve been an interior design artist by profession since my B.S. in Interior Design. I’m a minimalist and prefer to save space when choosing fixtures, sinks and fittings. My style tends to make the most out of the least amount of space. The idea behind every interior design project is unique and it reflects personal style, taste and tradition. I’ve learned more when working than I ever did while I was studying in college. I worked in more than 12 hundred households all across the US and got positive feedback. I’ve been working with FaucetsReviewed as one of the founding members and regularly contributing to the site via testing and reviewing various interior fittings and fixtures.

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