While often cross-shopped, tungsten and titanium aren’t the same. Sure, they’re fairly similar, and most dudes are going to be fine with either of the two. However, if you’re shooting for more than just fine (and we hope you’re aiming your sights at least a tad above mediocrity), there are a handful of differentiators between tungsten and titanium.
What Is Tungsten?
Well, as you might assume, it’s a rare metal, though completely natural. We’re probably not telling you anything new here, though. Tungsten rings have gained popularity as of late for their heft and look at a reasonable price point. While usually more expensive than titanium rings, the difference isn’t going to be staggering, meaning both ought to be looked at while shopping.
Pros of Tungsten
Alright, let’s get right into it. Tungsten, as you may guess, is super hard. If you want to try punching through walls (though we recommend you don’t), this is probably the ring to be wearing. Just slightly softer than diamond on the Mohs hardness scale, tungsten comes in at a strong 9 (diamond is at the top at 10). It’s about as hard of a metal as you can get without buying a ring completely made of diamond.
Tungsten is incredibly scratch-resistant, meaning those of you who are bad about taking off your rings can breathe easily. While you’ll still want to commit to routine cleanings, tungsten can handle basically anything and everything you try throwing at it. Interestingly enough, tungsten outsells every other men’s ring material in the U.S. right now. If you want a common ring that any jeweler can work on with ease, tungsten is kind of like the Honda of rings.
Tungsten is a hefty material, so if you like the idea of a heavier ring, this is definitely a metal to consider. If you don’t like that idea, however, mark this one down as a con.
Cons of Tungsten
That last bit might be a con for you, depending on how you feel about having the same ring as other guys. If you want to have something really unique, tungsten may not be the right choice for you.
Tungsten is incredibly strong, meaning it’s hard to break off if need be. The likelihood is that you’ll never be in a situation where you need to have a ring break for the safety of your hands. However, if that sounds like it could be an issue for you (or it’ll just make you nervous to wear), tungsten’s strength may not be in its favor.
For some people (though not many), tungsten can cause allergic reactions. Most people will be just fine, but tungsten isn’t actually completely hypoallergenic. If you don’t have reactions to metals or other severe allergies in general, you should be fine. If you do, however, talk to a doctor before purchasing a tungsten ring.
No matter how you slice it, tungsten is just going to be more expensive than titanium. It’s a stronger, heftier metal, and the relative price reflects that. Now, you can still get a perfectly reasonably-priced tungsten option at Manly Bands, but tungsten is still going to cost more than titanium. If you don’t mind the extra investment of capital, feel free to ignore this as a con.
What Is Titanium?
Like tungsten, titanium is found in nature as a combination of other metals. However, when you do some magic chemistry stuff with it (we’ve clearly got a science degree), you can reduce titanium into a beautiful, strong metal with a high shine.
Pros of Titanium
Titanium generally comes in more colors. While titanium and tungsten are similarly colored and can technically both be finished in different colors, titanium is usually offered in a wider array of options. Men’s titanium wedding bands are generally a little more exciting if you’re looking for something lighter (literally and figuratively).
Titanium is lighter than tungsten, though it retains much of tungsten’s durability. Titanium isn’t as durable as tungsten due to the weight difference. However, it’s still a solid six, so you two might have a lot in common. Kidding! Probably. For the average person, though, this difference isn’t a dealbreaker.
If you like a heavier ring, titanium’s light weight may be a con. For those who want to forget their ring is on their finger during the day, a lighter material like tungsten may be the best choice. In fact, titanium is lighter than both gold and silver by a solid margin.
Titanium is in it for the long haul. There’s nothing there to rust or corrode, so you’ll get a good shine on it for years (assuming you clean it properly over its lifespan). Titanium rings tend to be broadly cheaper than tungsten ones if you want to be frugal in your purchase.
Titanium also has a leg up on tungsten because it’s completely hypoallergenic. While most people will be fine wearing tungsten, titanium is going to be good for an even greater range of people. Yes, there’s no material that’s guaranteed to remove all allergic reactions for everyone everywhere. However, if you want to play the odds, go with titanium.
Cons of Titanium
Titanium is scratch-resistant but not scratch-proof. That isn’t the biggest deal in the world, though, because it’s still really tough to scratch titanium. The scratches titanium rings endure tend to be smaller and thinner, meaning they’re going to be less noticeable. Consider it adding character.
Yes, titanium is going to have a shine. No, it’s not going to sparkle in the light if that’s something you care about. If you want something with a little more pizzazz, neither of these metals are really what you want, though.
Titanium isn’t as impossible to resize as tungsten, but it sure isn’t easy. Now, as long as you get your measurements right the first time (or use our return policy), this isn’t a huge deal. You might be able to resize a titanium ring like half a size, but the juice may not be worth the squeeze on that one.
Who Is a Tungsten Ring for?
Tungsten is going to be for the guy who wants to feel like he has a ring on at all times. He likes the heft, likes the slightly darker look and really wants to be one with that band. If you’re someone who’s active throughout the day and may bump into things (it happens), tungsten is one of your best bets. It’s tough as nails, almost impossible to scratch and will look good forever.
Dudes who like a modern look will be really happy with a tungsten ring. The same will be said for dudes who get their ring size right the first time because that bad boy will explode before it gets moved enough to be resized. Honestly, sort of metal (no pun intended).
Who Should Avoid Tungsten?
If you want a light ring, tungsten isn’t the way to go. While it’s incredibly scratch-resistant, it can be prone to cracking. Granted, you’d have to drop it a decent distance (and probably do so repeatedly), but it’s still something to keep in mind when shopping.
Anyone with severe sensitivities to metals or other severe allergies should chat with an allergist before choosing a tungsten ring. The likelihood you’ll have a reaction is pretty low, but definitely not zero.
Who Is a Titanium Ring for?
Titanium rings are for the guy on the go. You can’t be weighed down by your ring. That’s why you chose a ring roughly half the weight of steel but at the same strength. Both literally and in terms of looks, titanium is lighter.
Titanium offers an even greater hypoallergenic nature, meaning more people will be able to wear it, so those with severe sensitivities may well have a better time with titanium. At a more budget-friendly price, titanium is generally the material with the broader appeal overall.
Who Should Avoid Titanium?
If you’ll worry you’ve lost your ring when you can’t feel it, titanium is probably not for you. If hardness and scratch resistance are of the utmost importance, titanium is probably not for you. Titanium is incredibly durable and scratch-resistant, but nothing short of diamond is going to beat tungsten in that category. If you like the look of a darker, moodier ring, consider tungsten over titanium.
Like we said upfront, most guys are going to be perfectly happy either way. Tungsten and titanium should both be on your shortlist of manly rings when the time comes. These are both beautiful metals that hold up to the rigors of life and can stay with you for years. No matter which way you’re leaning, there’s no wrong choice here.
One thing that’s good for everyone, no matter their ring preferences, is paying a reasonable amount for their wedding bands. Whether you’re going with tungsten or titanium (or something else entirely), Manly Bands has you covered with long-lasting rings that won’t put a crater-sized hole in your bank account.