What is Difference Between Galvanized, Nickel Plating and Chrome Plating? The Complete Answers

Electroplating is the process of using electrolysis to coat the surface of certain metals with a thin layer of other metals or alloys. It is the process of using electrolysis to attach a metal film to the surface of metals or other materials to prevent metal oxidation (such as rust), improve wear resistance, electrical conductivity, reflectivity, corrosion resistance (copper sulfate, etc.) and enhance aesthetics.

Electroplating is divided into copper, gold, silver, chromium, nickel and zinc plating and other specific processes, especially in the manufacturing industry, galvanizing, nickel and chromium plating are the most widely used. So what is the difference between these three?

Plating process diagram

Plating process diagram

Galvanized, Nickel Plating and Chrome Plating

Galvanizing is a surface treatment technique that plating a layer of zinc on the surface of metal, alloy or other materials for aesthetic and rust prevention purposes.

Features: low cost, general corrosion resistance, silvery white color.

Applications: screws, circuit breakers, industrial supplies, etc.

White Zinc

White Zinc

Color Zinc

Nickel Plating

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

Features: beautiful, can be decorative, high price, slightly complicated process, color is silver white showing yellow.

Applications: energy-saving lamp heads, coins, hardware, etc.

Chromium Plating

Chromium is a bright white metal with a slight blue tint. The method of plating a layer of chromium on metal or certain non-metals by electrolytic or chemical methods is called chromium plating.

Features: There are two types of chrome plating, the first is for decorative purposes, bright appearance, better abrasion resistance, rust resistance is not as good as galvanization, better than oxidation; the second is to increase the hardness of metal parts, wear resistance, etc., which is the functionality of the parts.

Applications: bright decorative parts on home appliances, electronics and other products, tools, faucets, etc.

Chrome Plating

The most basic difference between the three types of plating

The most basic difference between the three types of plating

Chrome plating is mainly to improve surface hardness, aesthetics and rust prevention. Chromium plating has good chemical stability and does not act in alkali, sulfide, nitric acid and most organic acids, but can dissolve in hydrohalic acid (such as hydrochloric acid) and hot sulfuric acid. It is superior to silver and nickel because chromium does not change color and retains its reflectivity for a long time when used. The process is generally electroplating.

Nickel plating is mainly wear-resistant, anti-corrosion, anti-rust, the general thickness is thin, the process is divided into electroplating and chemical two types.

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

The difference in cost is that chromium plating is the most expensive, followed by nickel, and zinc is the cheapest, which also distinguishes hanging plating, barrel plating, etc. Hanging plating is expensive and barrel plating is cheap.

Also we could distinguish it by color.


Chrome plated bright white, nickel plated with a little yellow, galvanized silver white

Extended knowledge

1. Electroplating production is mainly based on heavy metal pollution in sewage and effluent, and the country has strictly controlled the expansion of electroplating industry and cut down year by year.

2. Electroplating processing in China is mainly galvanizing, copper plating, nickel plating and chromium plating, of which galvanizing accounts for 50% and copper, chromium and nickel plating accounts for 30%.

3. If the purpose is to prevent rusting, galvanizing or cadmium plating can be used; if the focus is to prevent wear, nickel or chrome plating is the best choice.


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Electroplating is applying a thin layer of other metals or alloys to the surface of certain metals using the principle of electrolysis. It is a

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