Updated May 2, 2019

Mens Wedding Bands: What You Need to Know

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Looking for a budget-friendly men's wedding band? Alternative metals are eye-catching and cheap. Here are 10 cheap alternatives and their pros and cons.

A wedding band is a symbol of love and unity. It's the most important piece of jewelry a man will ever wear.

Traditionally, a wedding band is made of precious metal like gold or platinum. But what if you don't have the budget for that?

Luckily, today there are a ton of fashionable, unique designs in alternative metals and other materials. You can find a meaningful ring for under $100, or even as low as just $20 or $30.

And another positive? These wedding bands are not only super affordable, they are contemporary and masculine.

Read on for 10 affordable alternatives.

What to Look for in a Wedding Band

Most men are not used to wearing any jewelry. A wedding band may be the first ring you ever wear. So it's important to get a ring that matches your personality and lifestyle. As you read through the list of options below, consider these factors:

  • Durability and scratch resistance: You want a ring that can stand up to everyday wear. The good news is that a lot of alternative metals are harder than gold and platinum. If you play sports or do a lot with your hands, you'd want to pick a very tough material that won't get scratched easily.

  • Weight: This depends on how you feel about having something on your finger. Some men want a lightweight band that they'll barely feel, while some like a substantial heavy feel.

  • Corrosion resistance: You don't want a ring that tarnishes or rusts when exposed to water and other elements. Luckily, most alternative metals are corrosion-resistant.

  • Hypoallergenic level: Sometimes, people get skin irritations from gold because of the nickel in the mix. But alternative materials don't have as high of a nickel content, so they usually don't pose any problems.

  • Level of care: Some metals require more cleaning and polishing to keep their shine. Other metals barely require any care. Think about what you're okay with.

With these in mind, let's go over the pros and cons of each.

1. Titanium

Titanium is all the rage now. It's just about the most lightweight metal you can get, so it's good if you're not used to the feeling of a ring. Titanium is stronger than gold or platinum, but will scratch with everyday wear. It's also hypoallergenic and corrosion resistant. And hey, anything good enough to be used in spacecraft is good enough to go on your finger, right?

Beware: Resizing is difficult. Jewelers may be able to resize it one size up by stretching the band, but resizing down is impossible. Titanium is not as scratch proof as other metals.

Price: $10 - $30

2. Tungsten carbide

Tungsten carbide is one of the strongest materials on Earth. It's virtually scratchproof and bend-proof. This makes it a good option if you're harsh on your hands. Tungsten is also hypoallergenic and will not tarnish. However, tungsten is one of heaviest metals. But some people like the weighty feeling on their finger.

Tungsten and titanium have a similar look. Both naturally have a darker gunmetal gray color or can be made into black. But tungsten can also be made into a light silvery white, making it look more like platinum.

Beware: Because of how tough the material is, tungsten cannot be resized at all. And in emergency situations, it could be difficult to remove.

Price: $10 - $30

3. Stainless steel

Stainless steel is the most affordable metal. For very little money, you can get an elegant look like white gold. It's extremely durable, hypoallergenic, and rustproof. Maintenance is easy - just warm soapy water will keep it clean and shiny.

Beware: Stainless steel cannot be resized. Chlorine may cause corrosion, so this metal is not ideal for swimmers. It's also not as scratch resistant as other metals.

Price: $10 - $20

4. Gold plated

If you'd like a yellow gold ring but don't have the budget, you can get a ring plated in gold for relatively little money. This is the only way to achieve a yellow gold look with alternative metals. Most likely, you'll find gold plating over a titanium or tungsten ring.

Beware: Gold plating will wear down over time, so you'll have to get it re-plated.

Price: $10 - $20

5. Wood

Wood rings are unique and eye-catching. They're great for nature lovers and eco-conscious consumers. Using wood makes a lot less social impact than mining for metal. The natural grain of wood makes each ring completely unique. You can also get a wooden ring inlaid with an alternative metal. The mix of materials makes for a very masculine and contemporary look.

Beware: Wood is not as durable as alternative metals, so it'll be prone to scratches and dents. It also doesn't hold up well to water and chemicals, so you'll have to remove it before showering, cleaning, etc.

Price: $10 - $30

6. Ceramic

Black rings are masculine and just downright awesome looking. If this is the look you're going for, black ceramic is a top option.

Ceramic is a very durable material for wedding rings - in fact, it's second only to tungsten. This makes it scratchproof and suitable for those who are active. And it's extremely lightweight for how strong it is. One of the biggest advantages is that black is its natural color, so it will never fade or tarnish. This is unlike black tungsten, which is only a black plating and can wear off.

Beware: Your ring can shatter if dropped on a hard floor. And a ceramic ring cannot be resized.

Price: $10 - $30

7. Cobalt chrome

Cobalt chrome is naturally bright silvery white. It's another great alternative if you want an expensive platinum look for less. It'll keep its color and shine and requires almost no maintenance. It's among the toughest of the metals - even more so than titanium in terms of durability and scratch resistance. Cobalt rings will not rust or tarnish and are hypoallergenic. They're also easier to resize than other alternative metals.

Beware: You may not find as many unique styles available, because it's such a hard material to work with. In case of an emergency, it'll most likely need to be sawed off.

Price: $20 - $50

8. Sterling silver

Silver is the cheapest of the precious metals and costs just a fraction of gold. It looks virtually identical to white gold. Look for 925 sterling silver, which means 92.5% pure silver.

Beware: Silver will scratch easily and tarnish. It requires a lot of care. One option to prevent tarnishing is to get a silver ring with rhodium plating.

Price: $10 - $30

9. Carbon fiber

Carbon fiber rings are another good option if you're going for a black ring. It has a really cool, high-tech finish that will stand out. Carbon fiber is used in spacecraft and luxury cars, so it'll make a special ring for a car aficionado. It's super lightweight and extremely durable. The material is very strong, but it could still be scratched.

Beware: Pure carbon fiber rings are pricier and hard to find. Most likely, you'll find it inlaid with another material, like tungsten. And it cannot be resized.

Price: $20 - $100

10. Silicon

If you do a lot with your hands (e.g., play sports, work out at the gym, do manual labor), consider a silicon wedding band. Unlike metal rings, a silicon band is super lightweight and flexible. It'll conform to whatever activity you're doing without getting in the way. Silicon can be made in all sorts of colors and patterns, so you can pick the style you like best. It can even have a shinier finish to look more like a real ring.

Beware: It could make your finger sweat by having rubber against the skin.

Price: $10 - $30

Personalize a Cheap Wedding Band

The wedding band should suit your personal style. A small budget doesn't mean you're limited to just a boring, plain band. The options for customization are endless. Just some ideas are:

  • Go for a different finish. Many of the alternative metals can be made in a matte, satin, textured, or brushed finish.
  • An engraved or laser etch pattern will make the band more unique.
  • Mix and match metals and materials. For example, you can get a titanium ring with a strip of wood inlay.
  • If you want something with a little sparkle, you can get cubic zirconia or gemstones inlaid in the metal.

Where to Buy Cheap Men's Wedding Bands

Here are some places to look for cheap men's wedding rings.

Walmart: Walmart has a decent selection of titanium, tungsten, stainless steel, and gold-plated rings for under $50. If you're not happy with the ring, it can be returned to a Walmart store with a receipt within 90 days.

Amazon: Being the largest marketplace, you can find just about any kind of ring possible at all price points. The return policy depends on that of the individual seller's.

Overstock: Overstock is another huge online marketplace. It actually does very well in jewelry sales. For a lower budget, you'll find all sorts of men's wedding bands in all different materials, colors, finishes, and designs. Overstock's jewelry return policy is 30 days in new and unworn condition.

Etsy: Etsy has a ton of small, independent jewelers with unique ring designs that you won't find in traditional jewelry stores. But because the rings are handcrafted, the pricing is usually a bit more than the large online marketplaces and Walmart. The return policy depends on that of the seller's.

Bottom Line

Nowadays, there are tons of options for affordable and fashionable men's wedding rings. Really, you men are luckier than the ladies! Alternative materials cost less, are more durable, and make a unique statement. Most importantly, these alternative rings allow you to express your personal style and find a way to match your lifestyle.

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