There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to pet gear and hardware. With so many companies and makers offering custom products and hardware options, it can feel overwhelming. Most of the hardware used in the pet industry for clasps and snaps is made from one of the following materials: stainless steel, solid brass, or plated hardware. Each material has different properties that affect its appearance and performance. Here, we discuss each of these options and give you some of the pros and cons of each. We’ll also share about what types of hardware we use on High Tail Hikes products and why. Enjoy!
Solid Brass is just that - brass all the way through to its core. Solid brass is an alloy (a mix of elements) and is typically made from a combination of copper and zinc, although other metals are sometimes added. Brass is known to have more “stretch” than other materials - meaning that it will flex rather than crack or break under pressure. This makes it an ideal choice for weight bearing hardware. Brass is also rust proof and highly resistant to corrosion. It will develop a patina or a tarnish on its surface over time and exposure to the elements, but it can be cleaned and polished to restore its color and shine (see our blog post about how to care for your brass hardware).
Stainless steel is another alloy, typically a mix of iron, carbon, and chromium. Stainless steel is extremely strong, durable, resistant to rust and corrosion, and has a classic, matte silver appearance. Stainless steel can be more costly than other alloys due to the addition of chromium, and it is more difficult to cast or machine, meaning that it can ultimately be harder to source in a variety of sizes and styles.
Plated hardware is the most common type of hardware found in the pet industry. It is a base material, most commonly steel, brass, or a zinc alloy, that is “plated,” or coated, with another material to change its appearance and to make it more resistant to corrosion. Some of the most common platings are nickel, brass, zinc, or chrome (nickel plating is extremely common in the pet industry). Plated hardware can be more lightweight and cost effective than stainless steel or solid brass, and the plating process can yield many different finishes to suit different tastes. Plated hardware can be less durable and more prone to cracking, however, depending on what materials are used. Additionally, over time the plating will wear off, revealing the material underneath and making the base material more susceptible to corrosion.
Carabiners and Locking Carabiners
For added security, some dog owners prefer a locking carabiner hardware style. At High Tail Hikes, we offer an autolocking carabiner option made from aviation grade anodized aluminum, with a load strength of 400 kg. They are extremely lightweight and durable, and have a long lasting matte black finish.
What we use at High Tail Hikes
We currently use either anodized aluminum autolocking carabiners or solid brass hardware on our Leashes, Long Lines and Collars. We choose solid brass because, as described above, it offers superior durability and flex for load bearing, as well as rust and corrosion resistance in a combination that is unmatched by any of the other materials. Solid brass hardware will hold up for a very, very long time! The rivets we use for all of our products are made of either solid brass or steel. We avoid plated hardware because it simply does not hold up well when exposed to the elements.
For our Sport Collars, we have recently started sourcing solid brass D Rings that are plated with a special matte black finish that is highly durable and resistant to scratching (the same finish used on high end watches). The plating process for our black hardware pieces is superior to the standard powder coating process for most pet gear components. We also use a high quality Duraflex quick release curved plastic buckle.
Our goal is to keep offering expanded hardware options, while keeping quality, durability, and strength as our main priorities. Our hope is that our gear will hold up for many years of adventures with your pup, and give you peace of mind so that you can focus on having fun with your best friend.
Any questions? Just contact us, we’d love to help!