Chrome Plating vs Nickel Plating vs Zinc Plating: The Differences Explained

In industrial design, the electroplating process is used frequently, so firstly let’s understand what electroplating is.

Electroplating is the process of plating a thin layer of other metals or alloys on the surface of some metals using the principle of electrolysis.

It is a process that uses electrolysis to attach a metal film to the surface of metal or other materials to prevent metal oxidation (such as rusting), which improves wear resistance, conductivity, light reflection, corrosion resistance (like copper sulfate etc.) and aesthetics enhance and other functions.


Schematic diagram of the electroplating process

Electroplating is divided into copper, gold, silver, chromium, nickel and zinc plating and other specific processes, in the field of industrial design, especially galvanizing, nickel plating and chromium plating is the most widely used.

And there must be some difference between these three methods, right?

01 Zinc plating


Zinc plating refers to a surface treatment technology that coats a layer of zinc on the surface of the metal, alloy or other materials for aesthetics and rust prevention.

Features: low cost, general corrosion protection, silvery-white color.

Applications: screws, circuit breakers and industrial supplies etc.

Zinc plating

White zinc

Zinc plating

Color zinc

02 Nickel plating


The method of plating a layer of nickel on metal or certain non-metals by electrolysis or chemical methods is called nickel plating.

Features: beautiful, can be used for decoration; high price; slightly complicated craftsmanship; the color is silvery white and yellow.

Application: Energy-saving lamp holder and coins etc.

Nickel plating

Nickel plating

03 Chromium plating


Chromium is a kind of silver-white metal with a blue tint.

The method of plating a layer of chromium on metal or some non-metals by electrolysis or chemical methods is called chromium plating.

Features: There are two types of chrome plating.

The first is for decorative purposes, with a brighter appearance, better abrasion resistance, less rustproof than galvanizing, and better than oxidation.

The second type is to increase the hardness and wear resistance etc. of metal parts, which is the functionality of the part.

Application: Bright decorative parts on home appliances, electronics and other products; faucets etc.

Chromium plating

Chromium plating

Chromium plating

Chromium plating

Chromium plating

Zinc Plating vs Nickel Plating vs Chromium Plating

Chromium plating is mainly to improve surface hardness, beauty and rust prevention.

Chromium coating has good chemical stability. It does not act in alkali, sulfide, nitric acid and most organic acids, but can be dissolved in hydrogen Halic acid (such as hydrochloric acid) and hot sulfuric acid.

Because chromium does not change color, it can maintain its reflection ability for a long time, which is better than silver and nickel. The process is generally electroplating.

Nickel plating is mainly wear-resistant, anti-corrosion and anti rust. It is generally thin. The process is divided into electroplating and chemistry.

Galvanizing is mainly beautiful and rust proof. Zinc is an active metal and can react with acid, so it has poor corrosion resistance and is the cheapest of the three.

In terms of cost, chromium plating is the most expensive, nickel is the second, and zinc is the cheapest. Among them, hanging plating and barrel plating should be distinguished. Hanging plating is expensive and barrel plating is cheap.

After nagging so much, some friends said “no, it’s still the same silly and unclear”. So I can only tell you that I’ll be confused if I nag for a while. In this case, you can distinguish directly by color.

Zinc Plating vs Nickel Plating vs Chromium Plating

Extended Knowledge:

  • Electroplating production is mainly used for heavy metal pollution in sewage and sewage, the state has strict control over the expansion of the electroplating industry, and cut down it year by year.
  • China’s electroplating process is mainly zinc, copper, nickel, chromium plating, with50% of the zinc painting and 30%of copper, chromium and nickel painting, respectively.
  • If the purpose is to prevent rust, zinc or cadmium plating can be used; if the focus is to prevent wear and tear, nickel or chromium plating is the best choice.

Need a price quote? Any questions?

Send us a message to let us know your detailed requirement.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *