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Hard Chrome vs Decorative Chrome – What’s the Difference

Hard Chrome vs Decorative Chrome

Chrome is one of the most prevalent metal finishes in the industrial and decorative fields. However, not all chromes are created equal. There are two distinct types of chrome coatings: hard chrome and decorative chrome. These two finishes are fundamentally different and are each ideal for different applications. In this blog, we’ll dive deep into the characteristics of each type of chrome finish and help you understand which one is right for your project.

What is Hard Chrome?

Hard chrome is a type of chrome that is used for its durability and resistance to wear. It is often used on surfaces with high friction, such as automotive parts, machine tools, and cutting blades. Hard chrome is also used to protect other metals from corrosion.

What is Decorative Chrome?

Decorative chrome is a type of chrome that is used for its aesthetic appeal. It is often used on visible surfaces, such as car bumpers, kitchen appliances, and door handles. Decorative chrome can also give a metal surface a mirror-like finish.

Difference Between Hard Chrome and Decorative Chrome


The main difference between hard chrome and decorative chrome is their composition. Hard chrome is made up of chromium and carbon. In contrast, decorative chrome comprises chromium and oxygen—the different compositions of these two types of chrome result in different properties and applications.


Hard chrome is harder and more durable than decorative chrome, making it ideal for surfaces with high wear and tear levels. Decorative chrome, conversely, has a higher shine and mirror-like finish, making it ideal for surfaces that need to look good.


Hard chrome is typically more expensive than decorative chrome because it is more difficult to produce. Decorative chrome is less expensive because it does not require the same level of precision and can be produced using lower-quality materials.


In conclusion, hard and decorative chrome differ in purpose, thickness, appearance, application method, and cost. If you need a coating that provides excellent durability, wear resistance, and low friction, then hard chrome is the right choice. However, decorative chrome is the way to go if you want an aesthetically pleasing shiny finish for non-functional applications. Evaluating your project’s requirements and budget is important to make the right decision. Regardless of which type of chrome finish you choose, ensure that you work with a professional and reliable player to ensure the quality of the finish.

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