Is there any difference in performance or endurance of nickel vs chrome plated screwdrivers? Some companies offer both and the former (nickel) is cheaper for the same blade (& handle).


Nickel is softer than chrome but chrome is brittle.

Many high-carbon tools have a chrome plating, but many times there are other softer metals flash coated first to allow the other metals to "stick" together better. On steel bumpers, a flash coat of copper allows the chrome to stick. Electroplating with CVD chemical vapor deposition similar layers are deposited.

My opinion is it depends on the base metals used. Mild steel is soft but can be made to last longer with chrome coatings. Both nickel and chrome prevent rusting. Jump to high-end tools and the metals are different.

So to really tell, even the craftsman screwdrivers had 2 levels the old clear and red and then the black handles. Check them out - it was the base metal that was the difference not the outside coating.

  • For the company/products I was looking at all blades were CrVMo. They offered various handles and two blade finishes. – Fizz Nov 15 '18 at 2:33
  • If you give the model numbers it would be helpfully things like laser etching on the blades can make a huge difference. – Ed Beal Nov 15 '18 at 2:46

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