Difference Between Chrome and Stainless Steel

There are types of metals used in our daily life for several purposes. These metals are used for a particular purpose that is mostly based on their properties. For example, we use aluminum foil for wrapping food. For this, an iron foil cannot be used as it cannot be made into thin layers of sheets in the first place.

Chrome and Stainless Steel are among the most used metals. A lot of people get confused between both of the metals due to their few same properties and similar appearance. This is not true. Yes, they are similar indeed, but not the same.

Chrome vs Stainless Steel 

The main difference between Chrome and Stainless Steel is that both of them have different compositions and structures, as chrome is a proper metal known as chromium, while stainless steel is an alloy made by mixing more than two metals. This makes their properties different. The disadvantages of chrome can be, it is less durable and difficult to clean, but in comparison, the disadvantages of stainless steel are it is less shiny and more expensive. Except these, they also differ in other properties, such as oxidation potential and types, and the affordability factor, etc.

Chrome vs Stainless Steel

Chrome is a chemical element of chromium. The atomic number of this metal is in 24th of group 6 elements in the periodic table. It was discovered in rare minerals. It is grey in color. It is a durable metal but not more than few other metals. While washing this metal, proper care and measures have to be taken. Otherwise, it will result in chaos. It is mostly used for construction activities.

Stainless steel is an alloy with most parts made up of iron. It resembles the properties of chrome due to the outer layer of chromium. It is said to be one of the best metal used for making utensils as it has the best durability, a lot easier to clean and have more properties and advantage of other metals. Therefore it is used widely in making home appliances.

Comparison Table Between Chrome and Stainless Steel

Parameters of ComparisonChromeStainless Steel
AlloyNot an alloyIt is an alloy
DurabilityLess durableMore durable
ShineShinierLess shiny
Ease to cleanDifficult to cleanEasier to clean
AffordabilityMore affordableExpensive

What is Chrome?

It is a chemical element represented by the symbol Cr. It is lustrous with a high melting point. Its electron configuration is [Ar]3d54s1, and it was used by ancient Chinese. Most chromium goes into the production of alloys.

Following are the properties of Chrome:

  1. It forms the green chromic oxide compound when burned due to heating.
  2. It forms an oxidation layer on the outer covering of the alloy.
  3. This is great for electroplating due to it does not get rusted easily.

Following are the uses:

  1. Electroplating: it is mainly used for the purpose of electroplating; especially the car has shiny caps over the tires. Its other things also it is used for making the shiner appearance and protection from getting oxidized.
  2. Emeralds: a small amount of this metal is also found in gems like emeralds.
  3. New Alloys: it was observed that more than 50 percent of chrome is used for the manufacturing of new alloys to make a more durable and effective metal.
  4. Paint and Dyes: pain and dyes that are used for fabrics and also some makeup (chemicals) have a small amount of Chrome in them.

What is Stainless Steel?

Stainless steel is an alloy with most parts of iron and an outer layer of stainless steel to protect it from oxidization. It is used for various purposes as it has properties of iron, carbon, and chrome. The surface of it is shinier with greyish-steel color. It is used for several purposes, which include the following:

  1. Automotive and transportation: it is mostly used in parts of transportation as it has shinier and is non-corrosive and durable. Other than this, it is also used for automotive purposes that include grills, trims, etc. 
  2. Medical Technology: due to its easy cleaning property, it is used in medical technology and equipment. It is easy to see the body parts of the equipment surface. It is used in surgical and dental instruments as well. Last but not least, it is used in repairing bones as well.
  3. Food and catering industry: it is used for the production of utensils and other kitchen equipment as it has a good appearance with properties of several metals. They can be cleaned with a dishwasher easily apart from them they also used for sinks and refrigerators etc.

Main Differences Between Chrome and Stainless Steel

  1. The main and first difference between Chrome and Stainless Steel is that chrome is not an alloy, whereas Stainless Steel is an alloy. Stainless steel is made up of more than two types of metals that include, including iron, carbon, and chromium.
  2. When compared in terms of durability, stainless steel has an advantage as it is more durable than chrome that is relatively less durable.
  3. Both of them have a shinier outer side, but when compared, chrome is slightly more shiner than stainless steel that is relatively less shiny.
  4. Stainless steel can be cleaned easily at home with less equipment and handwork, whereas cleaning chrome is not as easy as steel.
  5. In terms of affordability, chrome has the advantage of being more affordable or less expensive, whereas not many afford stainless steel due to its expensive nature.
  6. Chrome or chromium is an element that exists in several oxidization states, whereas stainless steel is an alloy that does not have any oxidization state.
  7. When compared to stainless steel and other metals such as iron, chromium has maximum oxidation potential, whereas an outer layer of chromium protects the stainless steel from oxidation.
  8. Both of them are used for different purposes, mainly being chrome is used for plating and making alloys, while stainless steel is used for utility products and construction.


Therefore, all the differences along with the other information have been cleared. Both of the metals have a shinier appearance and similar color along with other properties, this may be due to the presence of chromium in stainless steel, but despite that, they are used for different purposes. It is important to understand their properties and differences so that you can make a better choice according to the purpose you want the metal for. Otherwise, also it is always beneficial to know the pros and cons of metal before making the final choice.

There are other metals as well that is similar to stainless steel, such as aluminum, nickel, etc.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0883540306800951
  2. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/isijinternational/53/1/53_102/_article/-char/ja/
  3. https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/isijinternational/52/10/52_1879/_article/-char/ja/
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