Difference Between Chrome and Stainless Steel

Key Difference – Chrome vs Stainless Steel

Chrome and stainless steel are two of the most extensively used metallic materials in the production of metal appliances or fixtures. Although these two materials look very similar and have similar properties, they are quite different. The differences in their properties and applications arise since these two materials are very different in their composition. Stainless steel is an alloy which mainly contains iron, carbon, and chromium whereas chrome is a chromium plated material, and cannot be considered as an alloy. This is the key difference between Chrome and Stainless Steel.

What is Chrome?

Chrome is the shortened form of chromium, and it usually refers to chromium plating. Chromium plating is the application of a chromium layer onto the surface of a plastic or metal object by electroplating. This technique is used for both decorative and industrial purposes. In decorative applications, it strengthens the object in addition to its aesthetic properties. One of the most common examples is chromium plating on the side of a motorcycle. Piston rods is an example for the industrial application of chromium plating. Chromium is well known for its luster and corrosion resistance.

Key Difference - Chrome vs Stainless Steel

What is Stainless Steel?

Stainless steel is an alloy made of steel and chromium; the minimum quantity of chromium is about 10.5% by mass. Stainless steel has some essential and versatile properties such as relatively low cost, high strength, higher resistant to staining, corrosion and rusting as well as its flashier luster. There are three types of industrial grade stainless steel varieties based on their composition; austenitic, martensitic and ferritic. Austenitic is a chromium-nickel-iron alloy (Cr-16% -26% , Ni -6%-22 and a low carbon content), Martensitic is a chromium-iron alloy (Cr-10.5% -17% with some carbon content) and Ferritic is a chromium-iron alloy (Cr- 17%-27% and a low carbon content). Many cooking utensils are made from ferritic type of stainless steel.Difference Between Chrome and Stainless Steel

What is the difference between Chrome and Stainless Steel?


Chrome: Chrome only contains chromium; it is not an alloy.

Stainless steel: Stainless steel is an alloy which contains at least 10.5% of chromium in addition to iron and carbon. It may or may not contain nickel. The use of nickel is very limited since it is one of the most expensive alloying elements.


Chrome: The high luster of Chrome makes it more aesthetically pleasing.  However, chrome materials are more susceptible to dirt and grime. It is comparatively less expensive than stainless steel, but the durability is low.

Stainless steel: The durability of stainless steel is relatively higher than chrome since it is an alloy. In addition, it is little resistant to corrosion and scratches; therefore, it does not tarnish and is very easy to keep clean. However, it is very expensive and less shiny compared to chrome.


Chrome: Solid chrome (chrome as the only element)  is not used to construct objects. Instead, it is applied as a thin layer on the objects which are made from steel and sometimes aluminum, brass, copper, plastic, or stainless steel.

Stainless steel: Stainless steel is used in kitchen appliances such as cutlery, sinks, saucepans, washing machine drums, microwave oven liners, razor blades. It is also used in civil engineering to produce window fittings, street furniture,   structural sections, reinforcement bar, lighting columns, lintels and masonry supports. In addition, it is used in transportation to manufacture exhaust systems, car trim/grilles, road tankers, ship containers and chemical tankers in ships. Stainless steel is also used in several other areas like oil and gas production equipment,  surgical instruments, catering equipment, brewing, distilling, food processing,
and water and sewage treatment.

“Stainless Steel or Chrome Kitchen Faucet – What’s Better?” doityourself.com. Retrieved from here
“Chrome Plating”. Wikipedia. Retrieved from here
“What is stainless steel used for?” BRITISH STAINLESS STEEL ASSOCIATION Retrieved from here
Image Courtesy:
“Hahn 20cm Stainless Saucepan” by  www.cooksandkitchens.co.uk (CC BY 2.0)
“1303799” (Public Domain) via Pixbay