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16 Faucet Finishes Explained: Pros, Cons, Suitability

faucet finishes pros and cons
Written by Callum Strempel
Last Update: November 22, 2022

Looks are as important for kitchen and bathroom faucets as their qualities and functionalities.

We mainly pick our finish based on the kitchen or bathroom design and the color of the appliances. But every faucet finish has its own set of advantages and disadvantages that you should be aware of.

Let’s have a better look at them so you can make the best choice next time you plan to buy a bathroom or kitchen faucet.

16 Faucet Finishes: Pros and Cons

1. Oil Rubbed Bronze

Oil Rubbed Bronze

Oil rubbed bronze faucets are chemically darkened to brown shades to look like aged bronze, which gives them an antique yet aesthetic look.

They are often used in kitchens or bathrooms against warmer and lighter colors. This finish goes well with mediterranean or tuscan and traditional settings.


  • Highly durable
  • Beautiful look
  • Easy to clean
  • Doesn’t show fingerprints and water spots
  • Accessories are easy to find


  • The price is higher compared to other finishes like brushed nickel or polished chrome
  • Color may fade away easily if not maintained regularly

2. Brushed/Satin Bronze

Satin Bronze finish

They have a warm golden tone for an attractive and gorgeous look. In fact, they offer all the benefits that an oil-rubbed bronze finish has.

You’ll find them suitable for traditional, mediterranean, and eclectic bathroom or kitchen designs.


  • Highly durable
  • Easy maintenance
  • Nice look
  • Resistant to fingerprint and water spots


  • Color fades away over time
  • Highly priced

3. Matte Black

Matte Black Finish

A dull or satin matte black finish is achieved by applying powder coating on iron, brass or steel. The elegant and fashionable look can complement any kitchen or bathroom interior.

Matte black finishes are quite versatile and can be used against lighter grays and flat whites. They go well with art deco, modern, eclectic and minimalist styles.


  • More resistant to fingerprints than other metallic finishes
  • Little or no water stains
  • Comes in a wide selection of bathroom/kitchen color palettes
  • Aesthetic look
  • Easy to clean and maintain


  • Exposes dirt and dust appearances easily if not maintained regularly
  • Priced higher than chrome or brushed nickel finishes

4. Chrome

Chrome finish faucets

One of the most affordable finishes on the market, they come with a reflective shiny silver look that matches well with almost all decors.

While the PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) plating method is used for most of the other faucet finishes out there, chrome finishes are obtained through the “hexavalent chromium plating” method that makes them more affordable.


  • Budget-friendly
  • Durable
  • Prevents corrosion
  • Can be cleaned easily
  • Widely available


  • Tarnishes easily
  • Catches fingerprints and smudges
  • Shows water spots
  • Needs frequent cleaning
  • Calcium and other minerals in water tend to leave a little ring

5. Brushed Nickel

Brushed Nickel Faucet

These satin silver finishes look like stainless steel but have a warmer tone and they fit almost all kinds of bathroom/kitchen styles.

They are well known for their durability and priced higher than chrome but lower than oil rubbed bronze finishes.


  • Durable
  • Easy to clean
  • No fingerprints or watermarks


  • Blends in coordination with steels

6. Polished Nickel

Polished Nickel Finish

Polished nickel has all the same benefits of brushed nickel except for the texture. These faucets have a smooth and shiny finish like chrome polished faucets but the warmer tone gives them a more luxurious vibe.

They are suitable for traditional, modern, and eclectic style bathrooms or kitchens.


  • Easy to clean
  • Fair alternative to brushed nickels
  • Durable


  • Fingerprint-and watermark-magnet
  • Requires more cleaning

7. Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel Faucets

This finish is also silver-colored like chrome but with a deeper and shiny blue color profile. These faucets are priced higher than their chrome counterparts.

They are meant to blend in with kitchen appliances like stainless steel sinks, dishwashers, and refrigerators.


  • Resistant to corrosion
  • Incredibly durable
  • Easy to clean


  • Can scratch easily
  • Catches watermarks and fingerprints
  • Requires frequent cleaning

8. Black stainless steel

Black stainless steel Faucets

This is basically a stainless steel finish with a black metallic finish. As matte black and matte brass have become so popular these days, the manufacturers are looking to innovate new finishes to increase their market share.

The black stainless finish is often found in very modern kitchens. These faucets are less versatile than matte black finishes.

It has different names such as hard graphite, titanium, and platinum but all refer to the same type of finish.


  • Resistant to fingerprints and water spots
  • Durable
  • Easy to clean


  • Not so versatile

9. Copper

Copper faucets

Copper faucets exert a gorgeous color that gives your bathroom or kitchen a luxury look, especially when mixed with subtler components like marbles on a countertop.

The color may fade away when it makes contact with sulfur and oxide; but the best part is it still holds its aesthetic value.

A scratch in copper will become darker and eventually blend with the patina. This finish goes well with tuscan, steampunk and farmhouse styles.


  • Offers bold and gorgeous look
  • Antibacterial
  • Resistant to oxidation
  • Scratches become darker and blend with patina


  • Difficult to find matching accessories
  • Requires more care than brushed nickel, chrome, and oil-rubbed bronze finishes
  • Expensive
  • Not so durable

10. Polished Brass

Polished Brass Faucet

This is an excellent faucet finish component produced by polishing solid brass and adding lacquer in the last stage to reduce tarnishing.  However, some manufacturers use metal alloys rather than solid brass.

First these alloys are electroplated and then the lacquer is added. Both of the processes help deliver a highly reflective, shiny, and bright finish.

Polished brass faucets look great in traditional, modern and eclectic settings.


  • Super durability
  • Doesn’t tarnish easily
  • Suitable for vintage and traditional designs


  • Highly expensive
  • Shiny surface captures fingerprints and stains
  • The lacquer layer becomes dull eventually

11. Brushed/Satin Brass

Satin Brass Faucet

Satin brass finishes have a smooth matte look instead of the shiny look of polished brass. They go well with modern, contemporary, and traditional bathroom and kitchen styles.


  • Gold-brown color looks elegant
  • Highly durable
  • Requires less cleaning
  • Hides fingerprints and watermarks better


  • Matching accessories are hard to find
  • Expensive

12. Plastic

Plastic finishes Faucets

Plastic finishes may be an affordable and versatile option. They may save you a few bucks, but this may mean a quick trip to the hardware store to find a replacement faucet.


  • Price is very low
  • Comes with a wide range of variety and color
  • Doesn’t show much fingerprints or watermark
  • Resistant to different type of corrosion


  • Less durable
  • Cheap look

13. Powder coating

Powder coating Faucets

Powder coating is perfect for achieving vibrant, versatile, and rich colors. It looks like a trendy and stylish matte finish.

As clear powder coating is applied on metal, the faucets are more durable than the plastic finish.

Remember to use gentle cleaning products on such surfaces as chemicals can attack coated surfaces and cause discoloration.


  • Versatile
  • Stylish
  • More durable than plastic finishes


  • Gets discolored easily

14. Two Tone

two-toned faucet finishes

As the name suggests, two-toned faucet finishes come with two different finishes. There is usually a primary color and a secondary accent finish on different base materials.

They are used in different kitchen environments depending on the specific finish of each faucet. For designing, it is best to use the main finish as the primary reference point.


  • Eye-catching look
  • Versatile


  • The faucet loses its beauty if one color fades away

15. Living Finishes

Living Finishes Faucets

They are a type of finish without a protective layer. New living finishes look clean and polished like a coated finish, but over time they develop a patina and change their color with age.

There is no telling of how the finish might age over time! Living finishes pair well with country kitchen decors as they have a rustic look that is highly desirable for this type of design.


  • Builds a patina naturally that looks good


  • No protective layer

16. Enamel

Enamel finishes

Enamel finishes are not as durable as metal finishes but can be found in different colors, most commonly a white color finish. They are merged with the base material of the faucet through the PVD system.

Their color versatility can complement any bathroom or kitchen interior.


  • Comes in different colors
  • Goes well with any style


  • Not much durable

Which One is the Best Faucet Finish?

It’s actually hard to say which is the best because each has its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. For any particular theme, there are a wide variety of faucet finishes to choose from.

The choice mainly depends on the theme that you want to apply on your kitchen or bathroom and the budget you have because some of them are highly priced.

Considering durability and easy maintenance, you can try the satin nickel finish because it is highly durable and needs less cleaning due to its smooth matte finish.

But one thing to keep in mind is that these faucets are highly priced, which can run up to $600. So, if you are budget-conscious but want something durable then look for brass, bronze, or stainless steel faucets.


1. Which finish is best for bathrooms or kitchen faucets?

Ans: The metal based finishes like nickel, copper, stainless steel, brass are better for bathrooms or kitchens since they are resistant to corrosion.

2. What is the most popular faucet finish?

Ans: Chrome tops the chart due to its shiny silver look. The faucets are very durable but cost much less.

3. What is the best faucet finish for hard water?

Ans: Hard water leaves water spots easily. Faucet materials that have matte, satin or brush finishes are better for hard water.

About the author

Callum Strempel

Licensed Plumber

Hi, I’m Callum, a full time plumber with a plumbing license issued by my state. So far, I’ve spent nearly a decade and a half installing and fixing a wide variety of plumbing components and units. My profession inspires me to talk about the kitchen and bathroom (and the plumbing system) so confidently and knowledgeably that I offer my free consultations to help neighbors and fellow homeowners every now and then. As I enjoy installing faucets, sinks, showers, and fixtures, I love to see people enjoying services from those components for years to come. So, I write every week to inform you and others. Will you mind going through some of my articles on this website?

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