Chrome Plating vs Nickel Plating - What’s the Difference Between Chrome Plating and Nickel Plating

Electroplating is the process of plating a thin layer of metal onto other metals or alloys by hydrolysis mostly to prevent corrosion or for decorative purposes. Electroplating involves using an electrical current to create a layer of metal on the surface of the substrate, to add certain properties. To complete the electroplating process, you need two different metals, an electrolyte solution, two electrodes, and a power source. In this article, we are going to talk about two common types of plating: chrome plating and nickel plating, what’s the difference between them?

What is Nickel Plating?

Nickel plating is a method of plating a layer of nickel on metal or some non-metal by electrolytic or chemical methods. Nickel plating is used to improve corrosion resistance and surface hardness. A thick coating can level the surface and lay the foundation for the next coating. There are two types of nickel plating: conventional electrolytic plating and electroless plating. The former is one of the most affordable processes available now. The nickel plating layer is beautiful and can be used for decoration. The price is high and the process is slightly complex. The color is silver white and yellow. It is mainly used in energy-saving lamp caps, coins, hardware, etc.

What is Chrome Plating?

Chrome is a kind of bright white metal with slight blue. Chrome plating is commonly seen on a lot of automotive parts. The method of plating a layer of chrome on metal or some non-metal by electrolytic or chemical methods is called chrome plating. There are two kinds of Chrome plating. The first one is for decorative purposes. Chrome-plated die casting has a bright appearance, good wear resistance and better rust resistance than zinc plating and better than oxidation. The second type is to increase the hardness and wear resistance of metal parts, which is the functionality of parts. The color of chrome plating should be brighter and close to silver. The friction coefficient of chrome coating is small, especially the dry friction coefficient, which is the lowest among all metals. Therefore, the chrome plating layer has good wear resistance. Chrome coating has good chemical stability. It does not act in alkali, sulfide, nitric acid and most organic acids, but can be dissolved in hydrochloric acid and hot sulfuric acid. Typical applications include bright decorative parts, tools, faucets, household appliances, electronic products, etc.

Chrome Plating vs Nickel Plating - Difference Between Chrome Plating and Nickel Plating

When you consider the best plating process for your die cast parts or machined components, break down their advantages and disadvantages, especially based on your needs. Nickel plating is widely applied for its traditional looks and cheaper price than chrome plating, and chrome plating is usually chosen for its customizable finish and durability. 

1. Chrome does not change color, it can maintain its reflection ability for a long time, which is better than silver and nickel. 

2. The uniformity of chrome plating is slightly better than nickel plating. 

3. Chrome plating won’t corrode easily but are more resistant to abrasion than nickel plating.

4. Chrome plating is the most expensive, and nickel plating is more affordable. Among them, hanging plating and barrel plating are also distinguished. Hanging plating is expensive and barrel plating is cheap.

5. Typically, chrome plating is bright white, nickel plating is a little yellow, there are also many colors have a tiny difference and are difficult to tell.