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Does Black Stainless Steel Scratch? [Video Test]

October 30th, 2017 | 1 min. read

By Steve Sheinkopf


Black Stainless steel is incredibly popular. Its dark hue is a viable alternative to the shinier stainless steel we are used to. In fact, the popular brands like LG, Samsung, Frigidaire, Whirlpool, and KitchenAid report Black Steel is now 30% of their kitchen package sales.

Samsung Black Stainless Steel kitchen, Framingham Showroom.jpg

In 30 years, I have seen "White Ice," "Black Ice," "Slate," "Carbon," "Avocado," "Coffee," "Platinum," and "Harvest Gold" be a fad in finishes then dramatically fall off. 

In my opinion, Black Steel, or at least the finish, can be more of a trend than any of the above colors. However, unlike other finishes, black steel is an oxide applied to stainless steel.

In other words, the finish can be scratched revealing the stainless steel underneath. As you have read on the internet, it looks bad with a black hue and a contrasting, shinier scratch. 

We wanted to know how easy or hard it is to scratch a black stainless steel refrigerator. It became the basis our first scratch test. 

The Black Steel Scratch Test

We wanted to scratch Black Steel refrigerators like you might at home. We tested the most popular French door black steel refrigerators from LG, Samsung, Frigidaire, Whirlpool, and KitchenAid. We used fingernails, keys, a tray, and spatula under normal circumstances. 

Then we tried harder to scratch each surface using a fork. I have a baby at home - put a utensil in her hand and, who knows what could happen! (I probably should have used her for the test.)


The final results of our black stainless steel scratch test.jpg

I think all performed fairly well in the other tests not using a fork. In normal use, they did not scratch very easily. We cut all the tests except for the fork so you would not have to watch a 10-minute video. However, under duress, almost all of them left a shiny scratch from the stainless steel underneath. It reminded me of peeling tape because the black finish is not a part of the metal. 

However, if you look closely at the fork test, Samsung clearly outperformed the others. You can scratch Samsung, but there is more Black Steel underneath. In fact, it looked unscathed after all the tests, unlike all the other brands. 

Without question, if you are worried about scratching Black Steel, then Samsung is your best choice. 

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Steve Sheinkopf

Steve Sheinkopf is the third-generation CEO of Yale Appliance and a lifelong Bostonian. He has over 38 years of experience in the appliance industry, and he is a trusted source of information for consumers on how to buy and repair appliances.

Steve has also been featured in numerous publications, including the New York Times, Consumer Reports, The Boston Globe, Bloomberg Radio, the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and Entrepreneur, for his knowledge of how to buy appliances and appliance repair.

Steve is passionate about helping consumers find the best appliances for their needs, and he is always happy to answer questions and provide advice. He is a valuable resource for consumers who are looking for information on appliance buying, repair, and maintenance.

Despite being the worst goalie in history, Steve is a fan of the Bruins and college hockey, loves to read, and is a Peloton biker. The love of his life is his daughter, Sophie.

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