If you’re shopping for some sparkle and shine for your home, you’ll probably find yourself browsing in the chrome and stainless steel aisle. From kitchenware to auto parts, these two materials are the go-to for strength and polish. They are subtly different, however. Here’s how to tell them apart, use them correctly and take care of them for years.
Chrome vs. Stainless Steel Showdown
Stainless steel is a metal alloy of steel and at least 10.5 percent of the element chromium. The presence of chromium gives it anti-corrosive properties throughout, protecting it from rust, tarnishing and scratches. It’s shiny but not excessively so, and it hides fingerprints well. That makes it popular in cookware. Chrome steel, on the other hand, has an outside layer of electroplating. This gives it a brilliant surface shine. As long as this outside layer is intact, chrome steel won’t rust and is easy to polish. Of the two options, chrome steel is typically lighter and cheaper. There’s an easy way to tell them apart, too: Chrome is usually magnetic, but stainless steel isn’t.
Both Are Popular in Kitchenware
Stainless steel can take some rough treatment and still look relatively new — one of the reasons that it’s up to the job in this cocktail shaker set. Chrome-plated steel is also tough, but it’s better for showing off some shine as a standing item — even as a dish drainer. Used in cutlery, both metals can go in the dishwasher. Avoid leaving them too long before drying, however, or salts can accumulate and facilitate corrosion.
In the Bathroom
Look around any modern bathroom and there’s a good chance that the faucets and shower fittings use chrome steel for that distinctive sparkle. Not that stainless steel doesn’t feature in faucets too, but chrome really does “steel” the show. Both are exceptionally hygienic, as bacteria have nowhere to hide. That’s one of the reasons why stainless steel is often used for dentist tools.
A Popular Choice for Jewelry
While it wouldn’t be the first choice for an engagement ring, steel is commonly used in everyday jewelry. It’s tough, rust-proof and won’t react to grime and sweat. You’ll find stainless steel in rings and pendants that look great but cost a fraction of the price of precious metals. This wallet chain in chrome steel won’t tarnish, but it’s the shine that matters with chrome, as in this eye-catching jewelry holder for rings and necklaces.
Heading Outdoors: Auto and Tools
Left your BBQ grill or gardening tools out in the rain? It shouldn’t matter, providing you can dry them off and give them a restorative polish. Stainless steel’s rust-resistant nature, as well as its toughness, ensures it has widespread use in tools. Chrome, on the other hand, comes into its own in the garage. If you’ve heard the word chrome used with enthusiasm, it’s almost certainly in the context of cars or bikes. For a shine to be proud of, it’s the most coveted finish for rims and lug nuts, as well as tools. Take this chrome-plated socket set, for example.
How to Clean Stainless Steel or Chrome
Stainless steel and chrome will not corrode in water, but they are vulnerable to pitting and crevice corrosion in salty environments. Just clean them off with a microfiber cloth and hot water with dish soap for stubborn stains. Avoid using a scouring pad. Shine up chrome with a chrome polish. For faucets and shower heads that accumulate deposits, sluice with a diluted vinegar solution to loosen limescale.
Take your pick of our tools, kitchenware, jewelry and utensils made from chrome and stainless steel.
Shop chrome and stainless steel:
- 2 Pc Stainless Steel Cooking Utensils
- 12 Pc Cocktail Shaker Set
- Dish drainer
- Chrome faucet
- Adjustable shower head
- LED Bathroom Kitchen Faucet
- 5 Pc Dentist Tool Set
- Stainless Steel Rings
- Stainless Steel Pendant
- Wallet chain
- Jewelry holder
- Barbecue grill
- Gardening tool set
- Socket set
- Microfiber cloth
- Chrome polish
Prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.