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The Difference Between Cerakote and Other Firearm & Automotive Coatings

“Can you guys powder coat my ?”

Despite the word “Cerakote” in our business name—West Michigan Cerakote & Laser—you’d be surprised to know how often we get this question. While the question does get old, we never miss an out on the opportunity to educate people on the difference between Cerakote and powder coat, bluing, anodizing, nitride, you name it… and the reason that one outperforms them all.

The Benefits of Cerakote

There are several reasons why Cerakote blows its competitors out of the water, and why we have chosen to solely offer Cerakote services to our customers. As a business that stands behind its work 100%, we simply do not believe in using a product that does not meet our high standards of consistency, durability, and performance. This is how we’re able to offer our customers a Lifetime Guarantee.

Here are just a few benefits of Cerakote:

  • High chemical Resistance

  • Can tolerate heat up to 1,800°F without coloring or distorting

  • UV Stable

  • High impact strength & hardness - won’t flake, chip, or peel

  • Extremely thin - just 1-2 mills thick, meaning it won’t mess with the performance of tight-fitting components

  • Can be applied to nearly any hard surface - including metals, plastics, polymers, and wood

  • Over 100 colors to choose from

You may be thinking, “Okay, well if Cerakote is so great then why doesn’t everyone choose Cerakote over other coating options?” Because our goal is to educate individuals, we’ve fully laid out the differences between Cerakote and other popular coating options, along with their pros and cons.

Cerakote vs. High-Temp Powder Coat

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.

People choose to apply Cerakote to automotive components for improved performance, protection, and aesthetics. The high-emissive coating acts as a thermal barrier to auto parts, allowing heat to be dispersed and slowly released. This boosts the performance of engine components such as headers, manifolds, turbo housings, and more. On the contrary, you would not want to use a powder coat on these components because the thickness of the coating would trap the heat in.

Cerakote also comes in a special low-emissive coating that acts as a thermal barrier but reflects the heat rather than containing it. This is often used on pistons, combustion chambers, valve tops, external turbo housings, etc.

Powder Coat Pros:

  • Thickness: On some applications, the thickness that Powder Coat offers may be desired. Examples include automotive frames or other components that are likely to be continuously scratched or roughed-up.

Powder Coat Cons:

  • Discolors/distorts when high temps are reached

  • Peels, chips, and flakes

  • Thick - you would not want to apply it to tight-fitting components (hence why you would never want to powder coat a firearm)

  • Messy to apply

Cerakote vs. Anodizing

Many firearm manufacturers that we work with have switched from Anodizing to Cerakote because they desired the consistency in color that you simply cannot get with anodizing. Anodizing is notorious for its drastic color inconsistency and minimal protection against corrosion. In addition, Anodizing colors are limited whereas Cerakote offers over 100 unique colors to choose from.

Anodizing Pros:

  • Low-cost

Anodizing Cons:

  • Inconsistent colors

  • Minimal protection

  • Limited color selection

  • Process releases hexavalent chromium into the environment

  • Creates a brittle and porous oxide layer and tensile residual stress

Cerakote vs. Bluing

The most obvious difference between Cerakote and bluing comes down to its protection. Cerakote out-performs bluing in a side-by-side corrosion test by a landslide.

Bluing Pros:

  • Traditional look

Bluing Cons:

  • Mediocre corrosion protection

  • Limited color selection

  • Cannot be applied as a pattern/design (i.e. camo, battle-worn, etc.)

Cerakote vs. Nitride

Nitride Pros:

  • Low-cost

Nitride Cons:

  • Limited color selection

  • Mediocre corrosion protection

  • Cannot be applied as a pattern/design (i.e. camo, battle-worn, etc.)


We could go on and on comparing Cerakote with other coating options such as PVD, Duracoat, etc., but the conclusion would be the same. Cerakote is undoubtedly the best solution for those looking for unparalleled corrosion protection, high-temp tolerance, and an endless list of color and design options. The main reasons why an individual may choose a different coating over Cerakote is cost (but remember, you get what you pay for) and being uneducated or unaware of Cerakote and/or its benefits.

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