• Matias Munoz

Aluminum, Silver, and Copper- Free Mirror, what's the difference?

Updated: May 19




Most of us have gone at least once in our lifetime to a home-center, a Bathroom retailer looking to buy a mirror either because we broke ours, or we are moving to a bigger house, or just to change the looks in our baths or even sometimes we just stopped by because the store's Mirrors display has caught our attention among other reasons.


We go inside, we take a look at their products, and then we come to that vital point before taking out our money to COMPARE.


Owners can not blame customers for trying to go for the cheaper options, as uneducated buyers of the product, besides price and design we have very little to look upon.

but there are some points that are pretty much critical when it comes to the duration of the mirror that we are going to buy, we will break down one of the most important on this article: THE MIRROR COATING.


What's a mirror coating?


Mirrors are widely used in decoration among other industries because of its reflective properties, well guess what, the reflective property of mirrors come from coating a layer deposited on the surface of the glass, making it reflective and in some times make better reflections or give a higher reflection on some specific colors.


Are all reflective coatings the same?

No, they change depending on the material used, some of them are more reflective, others can be more durable and resistant to rust.


Mirrors Coatings, from what are they made of?


They are mainly made of Metal plating in most cases, which means deposing metals on the surface of the glass, like Gold, Platinum, Silver, Copper, etc. But hold on, this doesn't mean you can go to a pound store and sell your mirror as per its weight on Gold or Silver.


The most popular household mirrors are just made of Aluminum or Silver coating, and the amount of metal deposition is minimal,so it wont turn out to be of great value incase you plan to become a metal trader.

So, Why Mirror Coatings are important?


For commercial and household use, there are two important factors: Percentage of Reflection and Durability (resistance to rust).


When people buy mirrors for their house, they want it to look good, don't have either black spots, or waves in the reflection neither less dramatic feel, all these issues are highly influenced by the quality of the back coating.

Different percent of metals used on the glass coating result to a variable reflectance, also if less carefully manufactured, it's more likely to see bubbles or waves in the mirror. These problems come directly from the mirror manufacturer most of the time.


Aluminum Mirror, the cheaper contender



Aluminum Mirrors reflect only 90% of the light, which means you get a less vibrant reflection and colors from the mirror itself. Although they are a cheaper option, most of the time these mirrors come with waving issues and their coating is thinner, which makes it easier to scratch.


Aluminum being a more reactive metal compared to Silver oxidizes much faster in the presence of moisture, not the ideal case for a mirror you want to install in your bathroom or the exterior.


Even for some regions where the humidity is higher, these mirrors can oxidize within 3 months, presenting black edges and ruining the aesthetics.

Silver Mirror, competitive and efficient



Silver Mirrors reflect up to 95% of the light spectrum, they are popular among women due to its vivid reflection and much warmer colors. Despite their higher cost, most consumers prefer it, and until a few years ago it was a synonym of quality in Mirrors.


Silver coated layers are also much thicker and rust-resistant, and despite being cleaned with more corrosive chemicals they last longer than aluminum mirrors.


In some cases with a good care Silver Mirrors can last up to three years without getting oxidized.

Most of the home decorations and bathroom mirrors nowadays are silver coated, making it a standard product in most markets.


Copper-free Mirror, the absolute excellence


If we have to compare mirrors then, Copper-free mirrors are the absolute winners in every aspect, they are more resistant to environmental factors. Highly reflective as a silver mirror and also environmentally friendly with lead content of <1 ppm. Their manufacturing process is much advanced which also makes it a higher quality product.


The benefits of a Silver Mirror, but better!


Copper-free mirrors are made out of the silver coating as its main reflective material, which allows them to give that vibrant reflection that women love so much from the Silver Mirror. But at the same time, it has several improvements that make it a higher quality mirror compared to silver.




Highly Durable, the best for long life use.


Copper and lead, present on the regular Aluminum and Silver coated mirrors are highly corrosive and can be easily oxidized.

By taking out the Copper and Lead from the coatings, and also using Silver Nitrate to give the glass its reflection, Copper-free Mirrors become much more resistant to rust.


The mirrors we use in Yoway include an extra Antioxidant layer to protect furthermore the mirror from corrosive chemicals, moist and water.

Due to its composition normal copper free mirrors are expected to last 3 to 4 years without presenting rust. Meanwhile Yoway products made on Copper-Free Mirrors are expected to last up to 6 years without presenting rusty edges.


Modern Process of manufacture, flawless results.


The copper-free coating process is relatively new and it's been constantly improving since it has been introduced to the market, so it's less likely to have waves or bubbles as a final result of the process.


As the manufacturing cost is higher than regular mirrors, so to increase efficiency, better quality glass material is used in addition to the advanced layer coating process, making it an overall better product than Aluminum and Silver Mirror.


The first and only Environment-Friendly Mirror


Being the first mirror to be manufactured without lead and Copper, makes the process more environment friendly and reduces the carbon footprint of the finished products.


By reducing the copper content to a minimum in the layering process, heavy contaminating chemicals like Ammonia need not be used for the treatment of glass surface, instead, the glass is covered with more highly resistant protective paint to enhance its durability.


The manufacturing process of these mirrors allows us to take out the lead from the protective paint also, allowing this mirror to be more compatible with higher grade silicones in the after processing.


Overall Copper-free Mirrors products have less impact on the environment and are much easier to recycle, plus they reduce the need for short-lasting products, therefore reducing the continuous contamination.



On the long run, they are also budget-friendly mirrors


Considering that when people buy mirrors or any other type of bathroom or house furniture, it is meant to last at least 5 to 6 years without issues.Their main purpose is decoration for sustainable amount of time.

But what happens when mirrors get rusted quickly and lose their aesthetics? need to change for a new one!.


But how to notice the difference?

It's very hard at simple sight to notice what type of mirrors are being offered, only after several months or years, we can really find out.


From the back, they might all look the same, and despite some suppliers will tell you their mirrors are Copper-free, when it comes to negotiating the price, they won't hesitate to change to Silver and sometimes even to Aluminum Mirror just to close the deal, without the customer even realizing the reality.


Still you can scratch the back part of the mirror and find out, but that will probably ruin your mirror...



Some manufacturers use distinctive painting on the mirror coatings that can differentiate them (some more greenish, others little gray), although nowadays silver mirrors can come in all back paint colors, as well as Aluminum mirrors do the same.




There are only two ways to certainly noticed if your supplier is offering you Copper-free or other types of mirror: The price and the Supplier's reputation.


Copper-free Mirrors usually range on the high-value products price, their manufacturing cost is much higher than the other coated mirrors, and despite what sellers can say, it's almost impossible to buy Copper-free Mirror at the value of a Silver or Aluminum Mirror, don't get cheated on negotiating prices!


On the other hand, a good supplier will always insist on you to select Copper-free instead of Silver of Aluminum, they will mention and promote it several times, explaining the advantages of choosing those coated layers instead of others, despite the price, they look for longer and stable business relationships, offering long-lasting products is indeed part of the deal.


Even when it comes to making a change in the price, they will clearly point out the use of other materials.



Always choose Copper-free, even if it hurts your pocket at the beginning.

The difference in quality is so much, and the difference in price is more than justified, not to say you will be running fewer risks. In the long-run, Copper-free will always save you more money than the one you spent.

When it comes to selecting a product for your own house or business, choose something reliable and worth yourself, don't settle for less.

Yoway Electric Technology Co. Ltd is a mirror manufacturing company based in Shandong province, China.

We have been manufacturing and supplying mirrors from past 10 years to top distributors and importers worldwide.

For more information on what we do visit our website or drop an email at info@yushuoglass.com.


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