Brushed Nickel Vs Satin Nickel- Fundamental Differences

When it comes to Brushed Nickel Vs Satin Nickel, many prefer either of the two options based upon their final lustre. This is because while one of the choices offer a smooth and shiny finish, the other has a more dull finish. Similarly there is a remarkable difference between their price and their availability.

Now before we start reading about the nickel types, it is essential to understand that nickel is no metal. It is rather a commonly used plating type which is used on other metals such as brass, copper, zinc, etc. so the whole brushed nickel vs satin nickel is the battle of two plating types and nothing more.

What is Brushed Nickel?

One of the most affordable nickel plating variants, brushed nickel is also by far the most lustrous of all. Achieved by the use of special wire brushes, brushed nickel is generally used for bathroom fixtures, although they also make a great addition to door knobs and taps in the kitchen.

The main reason behind their low prices is their manufacturing. Using wire brushes, small abrasions are made in a single direction all over the metal by professional craftsmen. This in turn brings out a look that is both creative and scientifically adapted to reflect light, giving the lustrous appearance it is popular for.

Additionally, another benefit of opting for brushed nickel is its ability to conceal water spots, dirt and even the most stubborn smudges. No matter how long they are used for, they rarely lose their shine and can always be given a quick run through if they seem to be getting cloudy.

What is Satin Nickel?

Another popular nickel plating type, satin nickel is the more expensive version of the platings. This particular covering is applied through an extensive electrolysis process which requires professional craftsmen with years worth practical experience. This in turn adds on to the overall application process of the plating type.

The second major distinctive feature in the brushed nickel vs satin nickel battle is the final finish. Unlike the former plating type, this one exhibits a dull finish when used without lacquer. This non-reflective surface offers a consistent texture to the fixtures and is therefore highly preferred for plumbing purposes.

Moreover when touched, it has a velvety feel to it, contrary to brushed nickel fixtures. And although they were undermined previously, the popularity of satin nickel has been on the rise these years given their dark matte or semi-matte finish.

Brushed Nickel Vs Satin Nickel- Fundamental Differences


Starting with their very basic difference, brushed nickel has a lustrous shine to it whereas satin nickel exhibits a much more mute appearance. This is mostly due to their separate application process, although a lot also depends upon the metal they are being applied upon. Also, some satin nickel fixtures may show a semi-matte lustre to them if followed by lacquer.

Application Process

Like discussed above, brushed nickel plating is achieved by using special wire brushes. The wire brushes are scrubbed off on the metal that creates small abrasions and a rough appearance. These abrasions upon finish reflect light, giving off the lustrous look brushed nickels are famous for.

On the other hand, satin nickel is implemented over the metals through a specialised process, i.e. electrolysis. This is usually followed by a lacquer treatment, although this depends upon the customer’s requirement. 


When we compare the popularity of brushed nickel and satin nickel, both the plating types enjoy a huge fan base all over the world. While the former is mostly used in commercial hardware projects, satin nickel has been in high demand for residential hardware demands.

To make it easier to understand, here is a detailed differentiation of the two nickel plating types.

AppearanceLustrous appearance with a rugged feel to it because of the many abrasionsFully or partially matte finish and has a velvety touch
Application processThrough the use of unique wire brushesBy electrolysis directly on the metal
FinishShiny finishDull finish
PopularityMostly used in the commercial sectorPreferred for residential plumbing fixture purposes
MaintenanceRegular cleaning is required to prevent extensive formation of water spots, fingerprints or scratchesDoesn’t require regular cleaning as it doesn’t form spots or scratches easily
Used forMachine parts, kitchen cabinets, door knobs, bathroom fittings, etcBathroom fittings, faucets, electronic locks, etc
PriceRelatively less costlyOn the expensive side

Final Thoughts

In the whole situation of brushed nickel vs satin nickel, there is no particular winner. This is because depending upon one’s personal needs, one of the nickel plating types may suit better than the other. This could include the price of the whole process, final finish and durability of the same.

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