Arctic Stainless Steel Vs. Brushed Nickel: Which Is Best?

Kitchen and bathroom faucets and fixtures come in various finishes. From the sleek looks of matte black to the bold, shiny surfaces of polished chrome, there’s quite a bit of variety. Whether you prefer traditional looks or a more modern palette, there’s something to meet any aesthetic.

You’ll find arctic stainless steel and brushed nickel among your lengthy list of choices. The two may seem like the same thing, but they’re not quite identical. We’re here to discuss the differences, so continue reading to learn more!

Arctic Stainless Steel

Delta Faucet Cassidy Single-Handle Kitchen Sink Faucet with Pull Out Sprayer and Magnetic Docking Spray Head, Arctic Stainless 4197-AR-DST

Arctic stainless steel is a slightly lesser-known finish option than its highly-popular counterpart – traditional stainless steel. Delta offers a variety of arctic stainless steel faucets, but you can also find similar ones from other manufacturers. 

It boasts a slightly less shiny finish, leaning toward a matte surface instead. It has a cool grayish hue with blue undertones, creating a beautiful, contrasting appearance. 

Stainless steel has become one of the most prevalent materials for kitchen sinks, faucets, and fixtures. It’s highly durable, long-lasting, and matches nearly any aesthetic. Although arctic stainless steel is slightly different than its traditional competitor, it shares many of the same features. 

Manufacturers start with a base metal (usually brass or steel) to make a stainless steel faucet. They coat the base metal with an electroplating process, creating the final product with a smooth, shiny, metallic finish called stainless steel. 

Pros And Cons

As you move through the debate between arctic stainless steel and brushed nickel, it’s essential to consider the pros and cons. Here are a few notable areas to keep in mind.


  • Easy to find matching appliances and fixtures
  • Balance between matte and low shine
  • Easy to clean
  • Blends seamlessly with your kitchen
  • Affordable
  • Available in a range of styles


  • Not the best choice if you want a statement piece
  • Fingerprints, dirt, and grime are easily visible

Brushed Nickel

Delta Faucet Trinsic Widespread Bathroom Faucet Brushed Nickel, Bathroom Faucet 3 Hole, Diamond Seal Technology, Metal Drain Assembly, Stainless 3559-SSMPU-DST

Brushed nickel is another popular finish for various faucets and hardware uses. These fixtures feature a warm, amber undertone, which complements warm color palettes beautifully. Many homeowners like to pair brushed nickel with stark white themes and specific decor choices, like Tuscan and country French. 

The surface of brushed nickel features ridged texture and a semi-satin finish. It isn’t overly shiny nor overly matte and instead falls perfectly between the two, 

Brushed nickel can be one of the pricier finish options out there, as the manufacturing process is more involved. To create the finish, manufacturers use a metal brush to etch the surface, creating a textured, ridged finish. 

Pros And Cons

Like arctic stainless steel, brushed nickel has unique advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few things to consider. 


  • Hides fingerprints and watermarks well
  • Textured surface
  • Durable finish
  • Long-lasting
  • Widely available


  • Can be pricey compared to specific finishes
  • Slightly more delicate than other finishes

What Is The Difference?

Arctic stainless steel and brushed nickel are pretty similar in the grand scheme of things. They both have a shine level that is neither ultra-shiny nor totally matte. The primary difference between the two is the undertones. 

While arctic stainless steel boasts a grey color with bluish undertones, brushed nickel has a warmer, amber undertone. Brushed nickel is somewhat more delicate than arctic stainless steel, but caring for both is straightforward. 

It can be tricky to match brushed nickel with other appliances, as it isn’t widely used for major appliances, like refrigerators, ovens, etc. Arctic stainless steel is slightly different than traditional stainless steel, but it can still be easily matched to larger appliances without much variation between the two.

If you want a statement piece, brushed nickel is probably the better option of the two. It’s trickier to match it with other fixtures and appliances since finding identical fixtures isn’t always easy. So, if you want a fixture that stands out, it’s a solid option. Stainless steel, including arctic stainless steel, tends to blend into its setting, creating a seamless appearance in the space. 

Arctic stainless steel might not be available from every manufacturer, but brushed nickel is widely available. Both finishes are available in a range of styles and designs for various settings, but you might not have as many brand options with arctic stainless steel. 

Which One Is Better?

Delta Faucet Collins Single-Handle Kitchen Sink Faucet with Pull Out Sprayer and Magnetic Docking Spray Head, Arctic Stainless 4140-AR-DST

Arctic stainless steel and brushed nickel are solid choices in the world of finishes. Each has its virtues and downfalls, so one might be better in specific scenarios. 

For example, brushed nickel might be the better option if you prefer a warm color palette and have a few kids running around. It pairs beautifully with warmer colors because of its undertone and hides fingerprints, dirt, and grime well.  

On the other hand, if you prefer a cooler color palette or a smooth finish, arctic stainless steel might be the better choice. It comes down to your design style, scenario, and budget.

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