I have seen a number of products made of brass with a silver-looking coating covering the brass on the outside. These products are all quite cheap (for example a small watering can or clothes hooks). What is the cheapest silver-looking material to coat brass with and what process would be used to perform the coating operation for mass production (500,000+ per year) of these products? I'd imagine chrome plating or electro plating would be too costly for these sorts of products so I wonder how things like these are made.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Is it possible I am thinking of electroplating as being more expensive than it actually is? I'd imagine once you've bought the machine the ongoing cost could be quite low. $\endgroup$ Oct 29, 2018 at 15:03
  • $\begingroup$ This is the sort of thing that is often outsourced. Even though you are paying another company, the results can be cheaper since they are experts and are amortizing the cost of the equipment over many customers. $\endgroup$
    – Eric S
    Dec 23, 2019 at 22:51
  • $\begingroup$ could be zinc or electroless nickel... tin mentioned below would be a cheap choice for electrical parts $\endgroup$
    – Pete W
    Feb 12, 2022 at 3:12

2 Answers 2


a silver coating on brass is usually nickel electroplate. does your part have to be brass? if it can be made of plastic instead, a shiny coating of metal can be quickly and cheaply applied to it in mass production by either sputtering or metal evaporation.

  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your response. The parts I'm looking at specifically are brass. Is electroplating the most economical production method in that case? $\endgroup$ Oct 29, 2018 at 20:08
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ yes, but please note if you are in the USA or EU, plating processes are strictly regulated because of the toxicity of the waste that plating factories produce in quantity. this makes plating expensive and plating shops hard to find. in practical terms, the world is moving away from what is called "plated brightwork" and towards bright-polished stainless steel or anodized aluminum. What is your application? $\endgroup$ Oct 29, 2018 at 23:38

Tin electro plate would be easy to do ,so likely cheaper than nickel despite the high price of tin. .

Or, avoid plating and use German Silver; brass with about 10 to 20 % Nickle that gives it silver color.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.