Polished Stainless vs Chrome Stanchions
The bright, shining look of chrome has long been a favorite for queueing stanchions and is the second most popular stanchion finish after black. However, over the past several years polished stainless steel has steadily replaced chrome as the preferred option for a “shiny” finish. So what is driving the change? First let’s look at the difference between stainless steel and chrome.
Polished Stainless Steel
Many people confuse polished stainless with chrome as they look so similar but there are some key differences between the two. Stainless steel is an alloy (a mixture of two kinds of metal) of steel and chromium. In order for steel to be considered “stainless”, it must have a minimum of 10.5% chromium content by mass. While stainless steel is not fully stain-proof, it is much more resistant to staining, corrosion, and rust than traditional steel. The process to make stainless steel get its flashy luster usually consists of 3 to 7 (or more) unique stages. The polishing wheel, cotton wheel, non-woven wheel, and polishing paste are materials commonly used for polishing. The hard and tough polishing wheel is used in the first stage followed by the softer cotton wheels.
Chrome is a metal, but it is not useful as a solid, pure substance. Things are never made of solid chrome. The bulk of the object is usually steel. When you hear that something is chrome, what it really means is that it is a thin layer of chrome, or chrome plating, has been applied on top of the object. The chrome plating is exceptionally thin, measured in millionths of an inch rather than in thousandths.
Chrome Versus Stainless Steel – Which is Preferable
Stainless steel is more durable than chrome. It is corrosion-resistant, scratch-resistant, and tarnish resistant. It is ideal for use in queuing stanchions because it has high strength, low cost, and it’s resistance to corrosion.
Chrome, because of the polished surface, can scratch easily and shows fingerprints and dirt easily. With the proper care and upkeep, this can be avoided. However, for queuing applications with people constantly touching it chrome can become worn, scratched and dirty more easily than stainless.
Stainless steel is easier to keep clean and very durable. Even with heavy use, it is still scratch resistant and won’t dent easily. So, for queueing applications stainless steel is the better option.