Satin Nickel Vs. Brushed Nickel: Which Finish Is Better?

Upgraded Home Team
by Upgraded Home Team
The difference between satin nickel and brushed nickel isn’t immediately obvious, but they both provide a unique finish. Satin nickel gets its unique look from electrolysis and brushed nickel is distinct for its classic plated look. Whether it be the finish, style, or sheen, let’s take a look at the difference between satin nickel and brushed nickel.

There are a lot of options when it comes to metal finishes. Nickel is one of the most popular of these finishes. If you are decorating or redecorating your home, one of the easiest ways to change a room’s feel, like a bathroom, or kitchen, is by changing the hardware and fixtures.

After extensive research, we have concluded that satin nickel is a better finish than brushed nickel. Satin Nickel is less expensive, thicker, more durable, low maintenance, and adds a nice vintage look to your home. On the other hand, Brushed Nickel is significantly more expensive and requires more care. However, it has more options for etched designs and customization.

So which one is better? Well, that might be a matter of preference; however, we intend to examine the pros and cons of each. Providing the pros and cons of each type of nickel will allow you to choose the one that’s best for you.

Satin Or Brushed Nickel: Which Is Better?

Although it may appear to be strictly a matter of personal taste, there are several reasons to choose satin to brushed nickel. It’s excellent for making your space more welcoming and adds a beautiful finishing touch.

The plating on satin nickel is thicker. It may become more durable as a result of this. If you want a glossy stainless steel look but want the shine to be a little duller, satin nickel might be the way to go. Because brushed nickel has a thinner layer of nickel plating, it can scratch and appear damaged over time.

What are the Benefits of a Satin Finish?

We have a few design tips for using satin nickel. In the end, it is ultimately a choice of preference; however, these tips might help give you some ideas.

Tips for choosing satin nickel finishes:

  • Use satin nickel for easy cleaning. If your household or establishment has a lot of hands that use your hardware, you may consider using satin. It’s easier to keep it clean and doesn’t show as many fingerprints.
  • Choose this type for a more vintage look. Satin has a more vintage or traditional look to it. It is excellent for ranch themes or farmhouse themes.

What are the Benefits of Brushed Nickel?

Just like with the satin nickel finish, brushed nickel has its place in the world. Here are some designs tips to give you an idea of how brushed nickel could work for you.

Tips for choosing brushed nickel finishes:

  • Brushed nickel has a unique look to it. It shows a little more craftsmanship than a satin finish. Consider this when you want something to look fancy.
  • Brushed nickel provides a more modern look. If you’re going with a modern theme, then brushed nickel will be the finish of choice. It is used in most modern commercial settings and looks good in new-style homes.

What is the Difference Between Satin and Brushed Nickel?

There are quite a few differences between satin and brushed nickel; besides the obvious of looking different, satin costs a little bit less. However, brushed nickel takes some maintenance to maintain its appearance, while satin requires very little.

To help you understand the differences, we have compiled this comparison chart below.


Satin Nickel Finish

Brushed Nickel Finish


Satin nickel finishes are usually a little less expensive.

Brushed nickel is more expensive.


Satin has a dull finish that does not show as many blemishes.Options for a dark matte or semi-matte finish

Brushed nickel can show things like fingerprints, scratches, and water spots.Brushed brown or gray metallic look- not a uniform type of finish.


Satin finishes require very little maintenance.

Brushed nickel must be wiped down often.


Satin uses an electrolysis process, sometimes with lacquering.More common in residential hardware- doorknobs, sink fixtures, lighting fixtures.

Brushed nickel uses a coating and a wire brush etching process.More common in commercial settings- restaurants and commercial bathrooms.


Satin has a slight rose gold-type tint to it.

The brushed nickel has a nice gray finish.


The satin finish has a dull look that could be considered vintage-looking.

Brushed nickel gives off a more unique, crafted look due to the etchings.

  • Satin nickel is reasonably priced
  • Satin nickel is not overly-shiny.
  • Brushed nickel plating produces a better finish.
  • Brushed nickel plating gives a superior polish.
  • Satin nickel requires less maintenance.
  • Brushed nickel plating produces a smoother finish.

Do Brushed Nickel and Satin Nickel Look the Same?

In terms of look, Satin Nickel is similar to Brushed Nickel. However, the method and maintenance are different. In comparison to Brushed Nickel, which may display abrasions owing to the intricate brushing process, such a finish will generally have a smoother look. Also, its appearance will have no apparent signs of abrasions.

Why Choose a Nickel Finish?

Nickel is a strong, dense metal that gives off a refined appearance similar to stainless steel. You can make other metals and alloys stronger by plating them with nickel. The nickel element can be found in many things in nature, such as:

  • Rock deposits
  • Plants
  • Meteorites

This element is then added to different surfaces to create a nice ‘finish.’ It’s used to make objects more appealing, such as brass and aluminum.

Why Are Nickel Finishes Popular?

Nickel is a classic finish that has remained popular for obvious reasons. The metal itself is corrosion resistant. This makes it a perfect plating for water fixtures. This type of plating is typically used on brass, steel, and aluminum.

Popular uses for nickel finish include:

  • Kitchen faucets
  • Doorknobs
  • Bathroom fixtures
  • Kitchen fixtures
  • Cabinet hardware
  • Lighting fixtures

These are just a few examples of popular items with nickel finishes. They look great in bathrooms and kitchens. They also look great on things like exterior house numbers, machined parts, and metal light switch plates.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to metal finishes. You can upgrade just about anything by adding a nice-looking finish such as nickel.

Mixing Satin and Brushed Nickel

Suppose you love both the satin nickel and the brushed nickel, and you’re torn between both of them. A great idea would be to mix both of them in your rooms.

For instance, you can have a satin nickel coating for your light fixtures while having brushed nickel for doorknobs. This helps make your home or commercial space much more appealing than if you were to choose just one type of finish.

Additional Tips For Mixing Satin And Brushed Nickel

  • Don’t use more than three finishes for a single room. Obviously, if you use just satin and brushed nickel, you don’t need to worry about this. However, if you want to add chrome to the mix, we recommend you don’t add more than that. Mixing more than three finishes can make a room look unappealing.
  • Use the same finish for the same fixtures. Let’s assume you have a double-sink vanity in your bathroom. You won’t want to add a satin nickel to one and brushed nickel to the other. Use the same type of finish to match the other faucet.
  • Choose the satin nickel for the light fixtures in a bright home. If you have a lot of whites or shiny flooring in your home, it’s a good idea to choose satin nickel as the finishing on your light fixtures. Having the reflected light bounce off your walls and floors back onto your light fixtures can be extremely overwhelming.
  • Brushed nickel is excellent for your home’s character. If you decide to mix your finishes, then it’s a good idea to add the brushed nickel to areas you want to stand out. Using your bathroom as an example, brushed nickel would look great on your faucets and doorknobs.

Our Takeaway

When choosing whether satin or brushed nickel is better than the other, you need to assess your preferences and goals. The best choice for you will highly depend on what exactly you’re trying to do with your space. However, overall, most people prefer satin nickel.

If you need a more matte look, then satin nickel would be the best choice for you. However, if you’re looking for more of a crafted, etched look, then the brushed nickel would be best.

When it comes to satin nickel versus brushed nickel, the choice of finish is not a ‘one-size-fits-all.’ The best action you can take in this situation is to take the time to learn and understand your goal at hand. By understanding your goals, you will be able to choose what’s best suitable for your needs.

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Upgraded Home Team
Upgraded Home Team

We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.

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