Get our perspective on what each of the best metals for men’s wedding bands means for maintenance and durability, and which metal makes sense for your day-to-day.
There are just a few wedding-related decisions that actually matter after the party ends. Your tux—the look you’ll be eternally rocking in wedding photos, your forever-resentful third cousin who didn’t make the guest list (way too into taxidermy to invite), and your wedding band—the shiny memento you’ll wear every day.
You may be tempted to skip directly to ring designs, but wedding band selection must begin at the elemental level: metal. That’s because the best metals for men’s wedding bands depend on your lifestyle and preferences. Choosing the right metal will have a bigger impact on wearability than a very rad (but highly arbitrary) snake motif ever could.
Read on for our full men’s wedding band metals comparison, and get the information you need to make the best choice.
Yellow Gold Men’s Wedding Bands
Yellow gold is the traditional metal for men’s wedding bands—a classic symbol of wealth, prosperity, and being extremely married. If yellow gold’s your jam, start by choosing a purity level, an important decision to make for daily wearability.
The most common gold purities used in men’s wedding bands are 10K gold, 14K gold, and 18K gold. (FYI: Gold bands with a purity higher than 18K gold are too soft for daily wear.) For an in-depth comparison of gold purity levels, check out this breakdown from the wedding band experts at Marke New York.
Let’s put this purity thing into context. If you work with your hands, 10K and 14K gold bands are more scratch resistant than 18K gold bands. On the other hand (but on the same finger), 18K gold wedding bands have an enduring shine and luster that would make even the burliest electrician’s eyes twinkle.
You should also consider maintenance. Gold wedding bands can easily be engraved or resized if your ring size changes over time (and it probably will). But gold’s malleability means that scratches will eventually dull its luster, so this metal will need the occasional professional polish. A little upkeep for a lot of flexibility? Gold’s a winner for a reason.
White Gold Wedding Bands
White gold is a modern metal—an alloy of yellow gold mixed with some other whitish metals, often silver or palladium. While it looks a lot like platinum, the lower price-point of white gold makes it one of the best metals for men’s wedding bands. In terms of purity and durability, the same rules apply to white gold that we covered above. This is also a wedding band metal that can easily be resized or reshaped, and it’s hypoallergenic.
White gold requires more maintenance than its pricier peer, platinum, which may sway you to spend more up front. Its rhodium finish gives white gold its signature shine and luster, but this tends to flake off or wear away over time. (Hey, nothing lasts forever except love). This is normal, and like the Star Wars franchise or botox, your white gold wedding band may require periodic restoration by a professional.
Rose Gold Men’s Wedding Bands
Rose gold has a delicate, subtly warm appearance—not an obvious or common metal choice for wedding bands, which will no doubt make the fellas envious as you compare rings (as men stereotypically do). Due to this under-the-radar rep, you may find it more difficult to find rose gold men’s wedding band options than the other precious metals. Luckily, we know a guy.
When it comes to durability, rose gold is a bit stronger than the other gold wedding band metals due to the copper content that creates its unique color. That means rose gold wedding bands are not hypoallergenic—something to consider if you have skin sensitivities. And some jewelers are hesitant to resize rose gold wedding bands, though an experienced, reputable shop should be up to the task.
Platinum Wedding Bands
In unsurprising news, the most valuable precious metal used to craft men’s wedding bands is also the most expensive. It’s also one of the most popular wedding band metals, and it’s easy to see why. Platinum is low-maintenance, has a modern look, and it’s both durable and hypoallergenic, making it one of the best wedding band metals for sensitive skin.
These wedding bands are relatively easy to resize or engrave, though reshaping platinum requires a little more labor (and time is money). As far as maintenance, a platinum wedding band will develop a patina (not necessarily a bad thing), but if you need that shine, the luster can be restored by a professional in minutes. The only real downside is how spendy a platinum band can get up front, but with some open and honest communication, some love and devotion, it will see years (even decades) of use.
Tungsten Men’s Wedding Bands
Tungsten goes hard, literally. This contemporary wedding band metal is incredibly scratch resistant, with a hardness rating just one level below a diamond. Tungsten wedding bands also come in a variety of colors (we like black and white—no surprise). It’s affordable, lustrous, and durable—all good qualities for an integral part of your daily uniform. Sounds great, right? For the most part, it is.
However, there are a few notable drawbacks you should know about. For one, tungsten very literally is heavy—it means “heavy stone” in Swedish. If you do a lot of precision work with your fingers, any gold or platinum band will make for a noticeably lighter wedding ring. Additionally, while tungsten’s scratch resistance and hardness will keep it looking new, it’s also a very brittle metal. That means engraving or resizing a tungsten band is off the table.
That said, because it is more affordable, a tungsten ring could make a great second band if you’re nervous about your primary gold wedding band being too delicate for weekend camping trips or aggressive high-fives.
What’s the best metal for men’s wedding bands?
Here’s the deal. We trust the experts—namely, Marke New York—and experts recommend wedding band metals that will last a lifetime. Gold, platinum, and tungsten meet those criteria.
So what is the best metal for men’s wedding bands? There is no fits-all answer, because we each have our own priorities. As for us, we’re suckers for timeless, accessible luxury, and 14k gold wedding bands fit that description.
No matter the metal, you should buy your wedding band from someone with a track record of quality and craftsmanship. Marke New York has generations of experience, and a collection of modern and classic wedding bands crafted in their New York City factory with the finest, ethically-sourced metals.
Ready to check wedding bands off the to-do list? Shop Marke’s collection online, or stop by our Santa Monica or Brooklyn showrooms to find your (and your partner’s) wedding bands in person.