When choosing a finish for your vehicle, appliance, or flooring, you will have many options available to you. Two of the most popular finishing options are cerakote and powder coat. Some key differences between these finishes could affect the overall effectiveness of your finishing job.
This guide will offer a detailed comparison of cerakote and powder coat finishes. This will include price comparisons, pros, and cons, among other various factors that could help you make a wise decision when choosing a finishing job.
Table of Contents
Cerakote Vs Powder Coat Price
The price is likely the most important factor to someone who is considering these two finishing types. The total cost of your coating will vary depending on where you go to get it done and what it is that you are having coated. Most commonly you will find that a cerakote finish is more expensive than a powder coat.
You can expect to pay between $100 – $275 for a cerakote finish on a smaller part or appliance, with upward costs of $2400 for larger jobs like full vehicles. A powder coat can cost around $50 – $160 for a smaller part or appliance, with an upward cost of around $1800 for larger jobs.
As previously mentioned, much of the cost you incur will be determined by what you are adding a cerakote or powder coat finish to. The rest of this guide will break down in detail the many factors that influence these cost differences and what coating is best for your particular situation.
Cerakote Vs Powder Coat For Car Parts
Car parts of some of the most common items that you will have the option to put a custom finish on. For the most part, automotive components are typically powder coated, though advances in cerakote technology have made it possible to add the coating to a wider range of auto parts.
That being said, you will find that amount of parts available for cerakote is limited compared to the parts that are available for powder coating. Powder coating is more popular to use with automotive components due to the overall price difference and the thickness of which a powder coat is usually applied.
The table below lists some of the most common car parts that can have a cerakote or powder coat finish and their average prices. All costs have been rounded to the nearest dollar.
|Vehicle Part||Avg. Cerakote Cost||Avg. Powder Coat Cost|
|Turbo Compressor Housing||$65-$125||$55|
Cerakote vs Powder Coat For Motorcycle
If you are interested in having a custom finish added to your motorcycle, your two best options are cerakote or a powder coat.
A powder coat for your motorcycle will be much cheaper, but also less durable and more prone to bubbling due to the high amounts of heat that are emitted from the parts. These could lead to your powder coat becoming unsightly.
A cerakote is a ceramic type of finish, meaning that it has a much higher resistance to the heat that your motorcycle will emit. You can expect to pay more for this type of finish but most agree that it is worth it. You should try to only cerakote brand new parts. This ensures that you get the most value out of your coating job.
The table below lists some of the most common motorcycle parts that people add custom finishes to and their average prices. All prices have been rounded to the nearest dollar.
|Motorcycle Part||Avg. Cerakote Cost||Avg. Powder Coat Cost|
Cerakote vs Powder Coat For Rims
The most popular finish for vehicle rims is cerakote. This is due to the enhanced durability of a cerakote over powder coat, as well as what most users agree is a more attractive finish. You could still add a powder coat to your vehicle’s rim, but it would likely begin to chip and bubble much faster.
You can expect to pay between $75 – $145 for a cerakote on your rims, depending on the size. A powder coat for your rims will typically cost between $55 – $115. The larger your rim is the most cost you will incur no matter which coating method you choose.
The table below shows some of the different rim sizes and the cost of applying both types of finish. All dollar amounts have been rounded up to the nearest dollar.
|Rim Size (inches)||Avg. Cerakote Cost||Avg. Powder Coat Cost|
Cerakote vs Powder Coat For Brake Calipers
When it comes to brake calipers, most agree that a cerakote is the best choice. You can have a cerakote finish applied to your brake calipers for an average of $75.
Most of the time you will want to apply a cerakote to new sets of brake calipers, bringing the total average cost up to around $335 for the whole package.
Comparing this to the average price of a powder coat, which is around $35 – $55, this might seem quite expensive. A powder coat can typically be applied to existing brake calipers with no issues.
The reason that cerakote is the preferred finish for brake calipers is the added endurance and aesthetic that a cerakote provides. Ultimately it is up to you to decide if those elements are worth the extra cost.
Cerakote Vs Powder Coat Durability
When it comes to durability, a cerakote has a clear advantage over a powder coat.
It is more resistant to scratching and bubbling, as well as more heat resistant. These factors are important to consider if you are adding a finish to a part that is prone to frequent wear and tear.
That being said, a powder coat can sometimes be more practical if you are adding a finish to an older component or appliance. A powder coat can last years if maintained properly, though is more prone to damage than a cerakote.
What Is The Difference Between a Cerakote and Powder Coat?
Cerakote is a type of ceramic finish that can be added to most metals and some plastics. It is primarily used to increase the rust and corrosion resistance of whatever it is being applied to.
Cerakote is much thinner than a powder coat, usually only requiring one or two passes to evenly coat an object. Cerakote is designed to be useable on components that would be rendered unfunctional by a powder coat.
Cerakote can be applied in several different colors, allowing people to customize their components aesthetic to their liking, much like a powder coat.
The most significant difference between a cerakote and a powder coat is the heat resistance that a cerakote offers. Cerakote can withstand temperatures that would cause a powder coat to chip and bubble.
Powder coating, on the other hand, is much more readily available. This can be important to someone interested in applying a custom finish themselves. Cerakote is not as widely available for purchase, making a high-quality cerakote finish difficult to achieve at home.
Powder coating is much thicker, giving people more texture options than cerakote. This thickness is also the reason that it cannot be used on some components that depend on tight areas to function.
Cerakote has some major advantages when compared to a powder coat. These advantages include:
- High corrosion and abrasion resistance
- Chemical protection
- High-heat resistance
- Stable under UV lights
- Highly resistant to flaking and peeling
- Highly versatile
- Some of the disadvantages of Cerakote to consider are:
- Not as readily available for purchase
- Difficult to apply yourself
- Cannot be touched up after the initial coating, must be completely redone if not satisfied
Powder Coat Advantages
There are some things that powder coats are more suited for. Some advantages that a powder coat can have over cerakote are:
- Easy to touch up over time
- Can be applied yourself
- More readily available for purchase
- More finish choices
Powder Coat Disadvantages
Some of the main drawbacks of a powder coat include:
- Thickness can cause some parts to become inoperable, limiting the components that a power coat is compatible with
- Messy to apply
- Weak to heat
- Prone to chipping or peeling
- Colors can become distorted by UV rays
Do I Need A Cerakote or Powder Coating?
Utilizing these two types of finishes will help keep your appliances, auto components, and other metallic surfaces free from rust and corrosion. A cerakote or powder coating will also help protect your components from the sun and scratching.
These coatings can also be used to alter the aesthetics of your vehicle components, appliances, 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 Coat Myself?
If you are an avid DIYer, then you might be wondering if you will be able to apply a custom coating yourself. If you are interested in a powder coat, then you should have no problem applying it yourself. All you need is a little prior knowledge and the right equipment.
If you are interested in a cerakote then the process will be much more difficult. Cerakote is not widely available for purchase by standard consumers.
This means that purchasing any high-quality cerakote to apply yourself will be exceedingly difficult. You will likely have to purchase some low-grade cerakote recreation that will not be the same quality that you are likely expecting.
Cerakote vs Duracoat vs Powder Coat
As a sort of wild card contender, this guide will cover Duracoat and how it measures up to the coating methods listed above. Duracoat is a chemical spray that is typically applied by the user at home. It is primarily used on firearms but can be applied to other components as well.
Duracoat’s main advantage is that it is easy to apply yourself. You will only need a way to apply your can of Duracoat, like a spray gun, and you have everything you need to begin applying a custom finish yourself, without the need of a specialized mechanic.
A can of Duracoat can be purchased for $39.55 and a spray gun can typically be found for around $150 – $275, depending on the quality. This can be a much cheaper option to consider.
That being said, Duracoat is not near as durable as a powder coat or cerakote. You are likely to run into issues with your coat much sooner if you use Duracoat but it is still a valid budget option.
How To Save Money On Cerakote Or Powder Coat
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 both these finishes can help you make a smart choice that can save you money.
You could also consider the DIY method if you have settled on the powder coat finish. A budget way to add a custom finish is to utilize Duracoat. You can purchase a can of Duracoat for $39.55, much cheaper than either of the other methods.
This detailed guide has broken down many of the common questions people have concerning the differences between cerakote and a powder coat finish. Using the information provided you can now make an informed decision when choosing between a cerakote and powder coat finish.
Although cerakote might appear to have a clear advantage, there are situations where a powder coat would be more viable. Using this guide you can determine for yourself what type of coating works best for you.
If the cost of cerakote, has you on the fence, you could also consider the budge Duracoat to add a custom finish to your components.
No matter which method you choose, you now know all you need to know to make a smart choice that can save you money when choosing a custom finish.
I’m William Guzenski, ASE certified master automobile technician & automotive expert. I love to attend race events and car shows throughout the country. I also loves to travel 40-foot motorhome, exploring abandoned mines and ghost towns. I’m currently building another car for Bonneville Salt Flats and will be campaigning a drag car at several events.