What is the Difference Between Brushed and Polished Stainless Steel

The key difference between brushed and polished stainless steel is that brushed stainless steel has a rough surface, whereas polished stainless steel has a smooth surface.

Brushed stainless steel is a type of metal having a dull polish that is made through friction. Polished stainless steel is a type of finished stainless steel that has a shiny appearance.

CONTENTS

1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Brushed Stainless Steel
3. What is Polished Stainless Steel
4. Brushed vs Polished Stainless Steel in Tabular Form
5. Summary – Brushed vs Polished Stainless Steel 

What is Brushed Stainless Steel?

Brushed stainless steel is a type of metal having a dull polish that is made through friction. In this type of metal, the stainless steel is polished using a fine bristle brush on a belt or wheel that can move in the same direction the whole time. Thereafter, it is softened with a gearless compound or a medium non-woven abrasive belt or pad. The brushing leaves a dull, matte sheen on the stainless steel. Typically, it loses its ability to reflect light during this process of brushing. But the steel tends to retain some of its luster and also gains very fine lines in the direction of brushing. Therefore, it gets a distinctive look that is often chosen for the decoration of some items.

Figure 01: A Brushed Metal Surface

The brushing method can be applied for aluminum surfaces and nickel surfaces as well, in addition to stainless steel. These types of surfaces are popular in small appliances, whiteware, architectural applications, and automotive designs.

Typically, brushed stainless steel is susceptible to damage. Moreover, it typically has a detrimental effect on corrosion resistance. Particularly, the brushed texture can limit the ability of fluid to bead on the material surface.

What is Polished Stainless Steel?

Polished stainless steel is a type of finished stainless steel that has a shiny appearance. This type of stainless steel has better resistance to corrosion compared to a surface that has been roughly or badly polished. Roughly treated surfaces are important to be used in aggressive environments, including offshore or nuclear industries. However, a polished, smooth stainless steel surface is less likely to accumulate deposits; therefore, it can cause less damage to the steel.

Polishing can be done to get either satin or grained polished finish or a brightened and mirror-polished finish. Further, the process of polishing can improve consistency and appearance, which in turn help practically in fabricating and repairing after welding and in masking minor damages. Moreover, polished surfaces can make it easier to clean the surface. The satin polished stainless steel is typically widely available. Moreover, they have relatively a low cost, are practical in use, and are frequently used.

What is the Difference Between Brushed and Polished Stainless Steel?

Stainless steel is a type of steel made highly resistant to corrosion by adding chromium when making the alloy. The surface of the stainless steel can be finished in two forms as brushed surface and polished surface. The key difference between brushed and polished stainless steel is that brushed stainless steel has a rough surface, whereas polished stainless steel has a smooth surface.

The below infographic presents the differences between brushed and polished stainless steel in tabular form for side by side comparison.

Summary – Brushed vs Polished Stainless Steel

Brushed stainless steel is a type of metal having a dull polish that is made through friction. Polished stainless steel is a type of finished stainless steel that has a shiny appearance. The key difference between brushed and polished stainless steel is that brushed stainless steel has a rough surface whereas polished stainless steel has a smooth surface.