You have many options when choosing a finish for your vehicle, appliance or floor. Two of the most popular finish options are Cerakote and powder coating. Some key differences between these finishes can affect the overall effectiveness of your finish.
This guide provides a detailed comparison of Cerakote and powder coatings. This includes but is not limited to price comparisons, pros and cons that could help you make an informed decision when choosing a refinish.
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Price of Cerakote compared to powder coating
Price is probably the most important factor for someone considering these two types of finishes. The total cost of your coating will depend on where you have it done and what you are coating. Most commonly, a Cerakote finish is more expensive than a powder coat finish.
You can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $275 for a Cerakote finish on a smaller part or piece of equipment, with costs rising to $2400 for larger jobs like complete vehicles. A powder coating can cost around $50-$160 for a smaller part or fixture, rising to around $1800 for larger jobs.
As mentioned above, a lot of the cost you will incur will depend on what you are cerakote or powder coating. The remainder of this guide will break down in detail the many factors that influence these cost differences and explain which coating is best for your particular situation.
Cerakote vs. powder coating for auto parts
Auto parts from some of the more common items that you can add a custom finish to. Automotive components tend to be powder coated for the most part, although advances in Cerakote technology have made it possible to add the coating to a wider range of auto parts.
However, you will find that the number of parts available for Cerakote is limited compared to the parts available for powder coating. Powder coating is more popular for use on automotive components due to the overall price difference and the thickness to which a powder coating is typically applied.
The table below lists some of the more common auto parts that may have a Cerakote or powder coating and their average prices. All costs have been rounded to the nearest dollar.
|vehicle part||Average Cerakote cost||Average cost of powder coating|
Cerakote vs. Motorcycle Powder Coating
If you're interested in adding a custom finish to your bike, your two best options are Cerakote or a powder coat finish.
A powder coating for your motorcycle is significantly cheaper, but also less durable and more prone to blistering due to the high heat generation of the parts. This could make the dust coating unsightly.
A Cerakote is a type of ceramic finish, meaning it has a much higher resistance to the heat your bike puts out. You can expect to pay more for this type of finish, but most agree it's worth it. You should try to use only new Cerakote pieces. This ensures that you get the maximum benefit from your coating task.
The table below lists some of the more common motorcycle parts that people add custom finishes to and their average prices. All prices have been rounded to the nearest dollar.
|part of the motorcycle||Average Cerakote cost||Average cost of powder coating|
Cerakote vs. powder coating for rims
The most popular finish for vehicle wheels is Cerakote. This is due to the increased durability of a Cerakote over a powder coat, and most users agree that they have a more attractive finish. You could still put a layer of dust on your vehicle's tires, but it would likely start chipping and blistering much more quickly.
You can expect to pay anywhere from $75 to $145 for a Cerakote on your tires, depending on size. Powder coating your tires typically costs between $55 and $115. The larger your tire, the more you will incur no matter which coating method you choose.
The table below shows some of the different tire sizes and the cost of applying both types of finishes. All dollar amounts have been rounded to the nearest dollar.
|tire size (inches)||Average Cerakote cost||Average cost of powder coating|
Cerakote vs. powder coating for calipers
When it comes to calipers, most agree that a Cerakote is the best option. You can give the calipers a Cerakote finish for an average of $75.
Most of the time, you'll want to buy new caliper sets, which brings the average total cost for the complete package to around $335.
This can seem quite expensive when compared to the average price of a powder coating, which is around $35 to $55. A powder coating can usually be applied to existing brake calipers without any problems.
The reason Cerakote is the preferred finish for calipers is the increased strength and aesthetics that Cerakote offers. Ultimately, it's up to you to decide if these items are worth the extra cost.
Durability of Cerakote compared to powder coating
In terms of durability, Cerakote has a clear advantage over powder coating.
It is more resistant to scratches and blistering, as well as more resistant to heat. These factors are important to consider when adding a finish to a piece that will be worn frequently.
However, powder coating can sometimes be more practical when adding a finish to an older component or piece of equipment. A dust coat can last for years with proper care, although it is more prone to damage than a Cerakote.
What is the difference between a Cerakote and a powder coating?
Cerakote is a type of ceramic finish that can be added to most metals and some plastics. It is primarily used to increase the oxidation and corrosion resistance of anything it is applied to.
Much thinner than powder coating, Cerakote typically only requires a pass or two to evenly coat an object. Cerakote is designed for use on components that would no longer function with a layer of dust.
Cerakote can be applied in a range of different colors, allowing users to customize the aesthetics of their components to their liking, similar to powder coating.
The most significant difference between a Cerakote and a powder coating is the heat resistance that a Cerakote offers. Cerakote withstands temperatures that would cause a layer of dust to splinter and blister.
Powder coating, on the other hand, is much more common. This can be important for someone interested in applying a custom finish. Cerakote is not as widely available to purchase, making it difficult to achieve a quality Cerakote finish at home.
The powder coating is much thicker, giving people more texture options than Cerakote. This thickness is also why it cannot be used on some components that rely on tight areas to function.
Benefits of Cerakote
Cerakote has a number of important advantages over powder coating. These benefits include:
- High resistance to corrosion and abrasion
- chemical protection
- high temperature resistance
- Stable under UV light
- Highly resistant to chipping and peeling.
- Very diverse
Disadvantages of Cerakote
- Some of the Cerakote cons to consider are:
- Not so easy to buy
- Difficult to apply yourself
- If it cannot be touched up after the first coat of paint, it must be completely renewed if you do not like it
Benefits of powder coating
There are a few things that powder coatings are better for. Some advantages that a powder coating can have over Cerakote are:
- Easily touched up over time.
- you can apply yourself
- More easily available for purchase
- More finishing options
Disadvantages of powder coating
Some of the main disadvantages of powder coating are:
- The thickness can render some parts inoperable, limiting the components a Power Layer is compatible with
- messy to use
- weak to heat
- Tends to chip or peel
- Colors can be distorted by UV rays
Do I need a Cerakote or powder coating?
Using these two types of surface treatments will help keep your appliances, car components, and other metal surfaces free from rust and corrosion. A Cerakote or powder coating also helps protect your components from the sun and scratches.
These coatings can also be used to change the aesthetics of your vehicle's components, devices, or metal surfaces. This is one of the biggest draws for those who choose to add a custom finish to something.
Should I apply a Cerakote or powder coating myself?
If you're an avid DIY enthusiast, you might be wondering if you can apply a custom coating yourself. If you are interested in powder coating, you should have no problem applying it yourself. All you need is a little background knowledge and the right equipment.
If you are interested in a Cerakote, the process becomes much more difficult. Cerakote is not widely used for standard consumers.
This means that it will be extremely difficult to buy quality Cerakote to apply yourself. You're probably going to have to buy an inferior Cerakote recovery that isn't of the same quality that you're probably expecting.
Cerakote vs Duracoat vs Powder Coating
As a wild card competitor of sorts, this guide covers Duracoat and how it compares to the coating methods listed above. Duracoat is a chemical spray typically applied by the user at home. It is primarily used in firearms, but can be applied to other components as well.
The main advantage of Duracoat is that it is easy to apply yourself. You only need one way to apply your can of Duracoat, like a spray gun, and you have everything you need to start applying a custom finish yourself, without the need for a skilled mechanic.
A can of Duracoat can be purchased for $39.55 and a spray gun is typically around $150-$275 depending on quality. This can be a much cheaper option.
However, Duracoat is not as durable as powder coating or Cerakote. You'll likely run into problems with your coat much sooner if you use Duracoat, but it's still a valid budget option.
How to save money on Cerakote or powder coating
This guide can be a valuable resource when looking for ways to get the best deal on your custom finish. Comparing the prices and the pros and cons of these two designs can help you make a wise decision that can save you money.
You can also consider the DIY method if you have decided to go with powder coating. An inexpensive way to add a custom finish is to use Duracoat. You can buy a can of Duracoat for $39.55, much cheaper than all other methods.
This detailed guide has broken down many of the frequently asked questions about the differences between Cerakote and a powder coating. With the information provided, you can now make an informed decision when choosing between a Cerakote finish and powder coating.
While Cerakote seems to have a distinct advantage, there are situations where powder coating would be more practical. With this guide you can determine for yourself which type of coating is best for you.
If the cost of Cerakote has you wary, you might also consider Budget Duracoat to give your components a custom finish.
Regardless of which method you choose, now you know everything you need to know to make an intelligent decision that can save you money when choosing a custom finish.
I'm William Guzenski, an ASE certified master mechanic and automotive expert. I love attending racing events and car shows across the country. I also love traveling in 40ft RVs and exploring abandoned mines and ghost towns. I am currently building another car for the Bonneville Salt Flats and will be promoting a drag car at various events.
Traditionally, Powder Coat has been known as the go-to coating solution for automotive components, however, as of recent, many fab shops and individuals have discovered and transitioned to Cerakote. Cerakote is compatible with more automotive components thanks to its ultra-thin finish and high-temp tolerance.How durable is Cerakote? ›
Cerakote is the hardest coating substance because it contains ceramic content. It can endure or withstand a lot before cracking or breaking. These custom gun coatings will increase physical performance and properties like abrasion, chemical resistance, and corrosion resistance.How long does Cerakote coating last? ›
Cerakote Trim Coat is a CERAMIC coating that will last 2 years or your money back, no questions asked!What is more durable than powder coating? ›
STEEL-IT® stainless steel based industrial coating – a top alternative to powder coating – is tougher, lasts longer, and offers superior protection against corrosion and abrasion.Does Cerakote scratch easily? ›
Can Cerakote Scratch? The short answer is yes you can scratch Cerakote but it is extremely scratch and abrasion resistant. Scratch (abrasion), Adhesion, and Hardness testing using ASTM standard testing and rating.Does Cerakote fade in the sun? ›
Cerakote™ is highly resistant to chemicals and corrosion, and is also unmatched in hardness and UV-resistance. Cerakote's UV-resistance means that you don't have to worry about it fading under direct sunlight.Does Cerakote chip easily? ›
Is Cerakote really durable? Absolutely. It won't chip, flake or scratch off. Tests have shown it more durable than traditional bluing, parkerizing or other finishes.What is the most durable gun coating? ›
Cerakote. Cerakote is becoming extremely popular in today's gun market and for good reason. It can be produced in a myriad of colors, applied to a variety of surfaces, and is one of the most durable finishes available today.Does Cerakote crack? ›
The finish can shave ounces off a frame compared to powder coat or wet paint. Cerakote also is excellent for parts that flex or bend, like spokes, he said. "You can bend a part in half and it won't crack," he said. Unlike powder coat, Cerakote will cover sharp-edged details like frame lugs.Can Cerakote wear off? ›
Will Cerakote Wear Off? As with all finishes, Cerakote will wear over time if it is subjected to regular use.
Cerakote and DuraCoat can withstand temperatures as high has 500-600 degrees F (anything over 300d degrees the riflings are damaged). With "normal" shooting, your barrel will never get close to being that hot.Do Cerakote guns rust? ›
Cerakote is an oven cured; thin film ceramic firearm coating that is rust-proof, self-lubricating, scratch-resistant, and solvent resistant.What is the most durable coating for metal? ›
Epoxy Steel Coatings:
Epoxy coatings are one of the most widely used steel coatings in industrial and marine markets. Epoxies are known for having excellent adhesion to steel and provide good chemical resistance.
Powder coating finishes can last up to 20 years, but due to the consistent use, exposure to UV light, and outdoor environment may break it down faster. Different coatings also have varying lifespans. For instance, coatings that have fluoropolymers and urethanes can last longer.What are the disadvantages of powder coating? ›
- Can deteriorate from UV light – Depending on the powder chosen. ...
- Huge start-up cost. ...
- Difficult to do thin coats. ...
- Slow color change vs Competitors. ...
- Powders can't be mixed to make different colors. ...
- Specialized equipment needed to apply powder coating. ...
- All coating needs to be baked in an oven. ...
- Difficult touch-ups to execute.
GunKote is the biggest competition for Cerakote; each have their own following for being “the best” firearm coating, and both are comparable when tested against corrosion, chemicals, and durability. KG Gunkote also has two series, the 2400 Series (Oven Cure), and the 1200 Air Cure Series.Is Cerakote worth the money? ›
Cerakote is a great option because not only is it water-proof and able to fully protect a firearm, it is also available in a myriad of finishes to create anything from a bold to subtle look.