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09 14 20

​Brass vs. Zinc: What’s the Difference?

At Buckleguy, most of the hardware we sell is made from solid brass: a strong, high-quality metal that looks beautiful too. Elsewhere, you may see a selection of other metals, including zinc, iron and steel. In this post, we’ll compare the two most common - 'brass and zinc', and we’ll help you understand why it is we favor solid brass.

What is Solid Brass?

As we mentioned at the outset, solid brass is favored here at Buckleguy for its strength, quality, and appearance. Brass is an alloy made from copper and zinc. Depending on the proportions of each component, the product will vary in color and characteristics. There are a variety of different ways that brass can be produced—it can be forged, stamped, cast, wrought, or die-cut. Our brass products are typically sand cast. Finally, solid brass can be finished, most often with polishing, lacquer, or plating.

Brass vs. Zinc

Understanding Brass-plating

Finish or coating aside, solid brass is nothing but brass from its surface to its core. However, some products that are brass on the outside, may not be solid brass. Brass-plated hardware is usually made out of zinc or steel, with a thin layer of brass on the outside and a capped with a lacquer to protect and maintain its color. When new, the product may look like it’s made of solid brass, but the thin layer will break down over time exposing the gray colored zinc.

Think Zinc

So what makes brass so much better than zinc? It comes down to quality and durability. The solid brass we use here at Buckleguy is resistant to corrosion, meaning you can count on your product to last. Zinc, on the other hand, is known to be very corrosive. Lacquer or coating can help some, but a zinc product just won’t last the way that a brass piece will. Additionally, zinc and brass differ in their flexibility. Quite literally, brass is a stretchier, more malleable metal than zinc, making it much more resistant to cracking under pressure and, once again, contributing to its long lasting nature.

Brass excels in look, feel, and value. Want to see for yourself? Head to our online catalog where you can explore pages of solid brass hardware featuring a variety of gorgeous finishes.