Powder Coating vs. Galvanizing: Which is Better for Industrial Applications?

Let’s explore the differences between galvanized steel and powder coating to determine which one offers the best protection and durability for its price. If you’re looking to get an estimate on powder coating—anything from industrial pieces to objets d’arte—look no further than AR Powder Coating

Which is Better Powder Coated or Galvanized?

Powder coating and galvanizing are each types of protective coating for industrial materials, but they offer protection in different ways. 

At A Glance:

Powder Coating

Powder coating works by forming a protective barrier over the metal object that prevents destructive materials from penetrating the coating and reaching the surface.


Galvanization provides what is known as sacrificial protection, which means that the coating protects the metal objects by absorbing any corrosive material itself before it hits the underlying metal object.

What Is Galvanizing?

In the galvanization process, a protective layer of zinc is added to a base metal object (steel, iron, others) as a coating to protect the base metal from corrosion.

What Are the Advantages of Galvanizing?

Galvanizing adds a protective layer of zinc to a base metal, such as steel, to reduce its corrodibility. Galvanization has long been considered the most effective way to reduce the  corrosion of base metals. Additionally, galvanization offers:

  • Lowest initial cost than other commonly protective coatings for steel
  • Less maintenance is required
  • Long lifespan, frequently in excess of 50 years
  • Reliability of coating and lifespan
  • It is a tough coating with a unique metallurgical structure and outstanding resistance to damage
  • Gives automatic protection to damaged areas
  • Gives complete protection with every part of a galvanized object being protected
  • Makes inspections easy: the coatings are assessed quite easily by the eye for durability, and with non-destructive thickness testing methods
  • Faster erection time: when galvanized parts arrive on-site, they are ready for immediate use. No prep work, painting, or inspection needed.
  • Applies in minutes: a whole protective coating takes almost no time to apply and is never weather-dependent.

What Are the Disadvantages of Galvanizing?

While it may seem like galvanization offers nothing but advantages it, too, has its downsides:

  • Galvanization is quite costly, especially if it’s going to be used in large projects
  • Though resistant to red rust, it can develop white rust over time -a separate type of corrosion- if exposed to moisture
  • Still subject to chipping, cracking, and similar material damage
  • Environmentally unfriendly: even though it can be reused and recycled, the process itself isn’t green
  • Processing errors may occur, such as cooling too quickly. When this happens, the zinc coating may peel or chip off of the steel base
  • Galvanization can leave rough patches inside pipes, which may result in considerable failures and stoppages that are costly to repair
  • Galvanized steel and copper cannot be joined together because of a chemical reaction that weakens the joint itself
  • Water flowing through galvanized steel pipes often has a high lead content, which can lead to decreased intelligence, behavior problems, and neurological disorders in children.

What Is Powder Coating?

Powder coating is best defined as a durable metal coating popular for use across various commercial, consumer and industrial applications.

What Are the Advantages of Powder Coating?

Powder coating confers a number of advantages to industrial projects:

  • A wide range of applications and finishes can be achieved
  • Provides a layer of protection by installing a physical barrier (the powder coat) to stop corrosion
  • Powder coating is highly economical, extremely durable, and extremely long-lasting
  • Produces color-durable high-quality finishes: unlike pain, the powder coat’s color doesn’t fade over time
  • Giving a consistent color finish across the metal, end-to-end
  • Can produce much thicker coatings than any conventional liquid coatings without running or sagging
  • Less flammable than wet spray finishes
  • Non-toxic
  • Highly resistant to corrosion, flaking, and scratching
  • Has more efficient curing and drying processes

What Are the Disadvantages of Powder Coating?

The cons of powder coating as an industrial finish include:

  • UV light can cause deterioration of the coating depending on the powder chosen
  • Massive start-up cost
  • Difficult to layer thin coats
  • Slow color change vs competitors
  • Can’t mix powders to make different colors
  • Requires specialized equipment
  • Coatings must be baked in an oven
  • Touch-ups are incredibly difficult
  • Only works on a limited range of materials
  • Less control over the powder coating process

Which is Cheaper: Galvanization or Powder Coating?

Generally, the cost of hot-dip galvanization is higher than that of powder coating. However, it is also important to consider that various factors do come into play when considering price, such as the coating thickness, materials being used, the application of pretreatment processes, and the spot price of zinc.

Do You Need to Galvanize Steel Before Powder Coating?

It is not required to galvanize steel before powder coating, but doing so gives a much stronger, sturdier finished object than non-galvanized powder-coated steel.

Which is Better: Powder Coating or Galvanizing?

Like any industrial process, each offers its own advantages. Before powder coating became widely available for industrial applications, galvanized steel was widely thought of as more durable. However, the longevity, durability, and protection it gives to base metals have shown time and time again that powder coating is more durable and longer-lasting than galvanization.

Can Powder Coating Be Applied to Galvanized Steel?

You basically up the ante of that object in terms of durability and corrosion resistance. The galvanization decreases the corrosibility and the powder coating increases the durability. 

Powder Coating for Superior Protection

Any further questions or concerns? Contact AR Powder Coating, your Las Vegas and Henderson area powder coating specialists. Powder coating provides the perfect protection against the harsh high desert sun, wind, and weather conditions.

You won’t believe the timelessness and durability of powder coating for fences, wheels, sculptures, artwork, and any specific industrial applications. Contact us today to get started!