Chrome vs. Stainless Steel Kitchen Faucets. Which is Better?

Have you ever stood in a kitchen store, wondering if you should choose a chrome or stainless steel kitchen faucet finish?

This decision can be daunting, as there has always been that timeless debate about which kitchen faucet is the best to choose. 

While chrome kitchen faucets offer a shiny finish, easy maintenance, and affordability, stainless steel boasts durability, a matte finish, and a modern look. 

Let’s dive deeper into both faucets to help make your decision easier, and if you are still undecided, you can contact a kitchen remodeling contractor for professional advice.

What are chrome and stainless steel Kitchen faucets?

They're not just elements on the periodic table or words in a home décor magazine.

They're two of the most popular materials for kitchen faucets, and the choice between them has been the subject of debate for homeowners and interior designers alike. 

Let’s plunge into the world of faucets and see which reigns supreme!

stainless steel kitchen faucet in use

Chrome Kitchen Faucets

Have you ever looked at a shiny, reflective faucet and thought, "That’s sleek!"? That’s probably a chrome finish you're admiring.

Chrome is essentially a plated finish applied over another metal, often brass, giving it that super shiny and reflective surface.


  • Eye-catching: Its polished look can be a showstopper in modern kitchens.
  • Cost-effective: Typically, they are less expensive upfront than their stainless-steel counterparts.
  • Resistant to tarnishing: keeps its shine for a long time.


  • Prone to scratching: Those shiny surfaces can get marred over time.
  • Shows water spots: You might find yourself wiping it down more frequently.
new chrome kitchen faucet

Stainless Steel Kitchen Faucets

Stainless steel sounds robust, right? Because it is!

It is an alloy of steel and chromium (and sometimes nickel), which offers a muted, matte finish.


  • Durable: resistant to corrosion and staining.
  • A modern look: offers a sleek and contemporary appearance.
  • Hygienic: Its non-porous nature prevents bacteria buildup.


  • Can be costly: Higher initial investment.
  • Susceptible to water spots: Though less obvious than on chrome
kicthen faucets

Comparing Durability and Maintenance

In the ever-evolving world of kitchen aesthetics, the battle between chrome and stainless steel kitchen faucets goes beyond just their shimmer and sheen. 

The real questions many homeowners ask are, "Which one will last longer?" and "Which one requires less fuss?"

match faucets and cabinets

Durability: A Matter of Strength and Resilience

Chrome Faucets

  • Lifespan: Chrome finishes, being a plated layer, can wear off over extended use, especially if subjected to harsh cleaning agents.

  • Resistance: They resist tarnishing well but can be prone to chipping or peeling, especially if the underlying material corrodes.

Stainless steel faucets

  • Lifespan: Stainless steel, being a solid material throughout, tends to have a longer lifespan, often outlasting chrome finishes.

  • Resistance: Known for its resistance to corrosion, rust, and staining, stainless steel remains robust against most typical kitchen challenges.

chrome and stainless steel

Maintenance: Keeping That Sparkle and Shine

Chrome Kitchen Faucets

  • Daily Care: Due to their highly reflective surface, water spots and fingerprints can be more visible, necessitating frequent wiping.

  • Deep Cleaning: Mild soap and water will do the trick. Avoid abrasive pads or harsh chemicals, as they can scratch or dull the surface.

Stainless Steel Kitchen Faucets

  • Daily Care: While they also show water spots, the muted finish makes them less obvious. A simple wipe-down can restore its look.

  • Deep Cleaning: A gentle cleaner or a mixture of vinegar and water can be used. Always rinse thoroughly and dry with a soft cloth to maintain its appearance.

stainless steel

Aesthetics and Design Flexibility

If your kitchen were a canvas, what would it look like?

  • The appearance of chrome vs. stainless steel: While chrome gives a glossy finish, stainless steel provides a more muted elegance.

  • Versatility in kitchen designs: Stainless steel, with its neutral tone, can be easier to match with various kitchen styles. Chrome, on the other hand, stands out and makes a bold statement.

Cost Implications

When outfitting your kitchen, especially with a focus on long-term value and aesthetics, understanding the cost implications of your choices is paramount.

When comparing chrome and stainless steel kitchen faucets, it's essential to look not only at the upfront cost but also at the long-term value and potential replacement or repair costs.

Initial Investment: The Immediate Impact on Your Wallet

Chrome Faucets:

  • Price Point: Generally, chrome faucets come at a more affordable price range than their stainless-steel counterparts. This makes them a popular choice for those working on a tighter budget or not wanting to splurge on a faucet.

  • Variety: While chrome is typically cheaper, high-end models with advanced features can also command a premium price.

Stainless Steel Faucets:

  • Price Point: Stainless steel Faucets tend to be pricier initially. The cost reflects the material's durability, the sophisticated look it offers, and its resistance to corrosion and staining.

  • Variety: Just as with chrome, while standard stainless steel models might be a bit costly, luxury models with added features can have a heftier price tag.

Chrome Vs. Stainless Steel Kitchen Faucets

Long-Term Value: An Investment in Durability

Chrome Kitchen Faucets:

  • Maintenance and Repair: Over time, the chrome finish might wear off, especially in areas of high use or if exposed to abrasive cleaning. The potential for chipping or peeling means you might find yourself replacing the kitchen  faucet sooner than anticipated, incurring additional costs.

  • Replacement: Given its lifespan, you might end up purchasing a new kitchen faucet earlier than if you'd chosen stainless steel, especially if aesthetics are a concern.

Stainless steel Kitchen Faucets:

  • Maintenance and Repair: While the upfront cost is higher, the long-term savings can be realized in reduced maintenance and repair. Stainless steel's inherent strength and resistance to rust mean fewer worries about replacements.

  • Replacement: The durability of stainless steel often translates to a longer faucet life, which means potentially fewer replacements over the years.

Environmental and Health Concerns

How green is your kitchen faucet?

Sustainability of each material: Stainless steel is often praised for being more environmentally friendly as it's recyclable.

Health implications: Both materials are considered safe, but stainless steel’s non-porous nature can be an added advantage in preventing bacterial growth.

The Final Verdict: Which to Choose?

Both materials offer reliable durability, but stainless steel generally takes the lead due to its inherent strength and corrosion resistance.

When it comes to maintenance, it's a toss-up. While chrome might require more frequent cleaning to keep its high shine, stainless steel can be a bit more forgiving day-to-day but benefits from periodic deep cleaning.

Ultimately, the choice depends on your priorities. If you're someone who doesn't mind the occasional polish to keep things sparkling, chrome might be right up your alley.

If you're looking for something that gracefully withstands the tests of time with minimal effort, stainless steel could be your champion.

So trust your gut, visualize them in your kitchen, and pick the one that speaks to you!

FAQs On Chrome vs. Stainless Steel Kitchen Faucets

Are there any health risks associated with using chrome or stainless steel Kitchen faucets?

No, both materials are considered safe for household use.

Which material is better for hard-water areas?

Stainless steel is generally better for hard water areas due to its resistance to corrosion, but they are both good options for hard water.

How long does each of these Kitchen faucets typically last?

With proper care, both can last for 10-20 years. However, stainless steel might have a slight edge in terms of durability.

Can I switch from one material to another without changing the entire sink setup?

Yes, the material of the faucet doesn’t require a change in the sink setup.

Are there any other materials apart from chrome and stainless steel for Kitchen faucets?

Yes, there are other materials like brass, brushed nickel, bronze, and even plastic. However, chrome and stainless steel remain among the most popular.

Video Comparing Chrome and Stainless steel kitchen faucets:

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About the author

Hi my name is Jeremy Maher. My wife, 2 kids and I went through Contractor Nightmares for 3 years straight.

Ben, Mark, and I teamed up to start Phoenix Home Remodeling to help homeowners remodel without the common contractor nightmares.

Learn more about Jeremy's expertise and topics he likes to write about on his author page.