Choosing the Right Kitchen Sink
A sink is the cornerstone of a good kitchen. While style is certainly a consideration, the kitchen sink’s purpose is mostly utilitarian. Nearly every activity in the kitchen requires the sink, from preparing dinner to washing up – the sink is the workhorse of your kitchen. As such, a great sink adds value to your home. So, choosing the right sink is an investment worthy of careful consideration.
Types of Kitchen Sinks
- Prep Sink
- Kitchen Sink & Faucet Combos
- Parts & Accessories for Kitchen Sinks
With careful thought into how you use your kitchen, measurements of your sink base cabinet, and your budget, we can help you find the best kitchen sink for your home. Check out our online room design service.
What’s the Best Kitchen Sink for Me?
There isn’t a standard kitchen sink. Every kitchen is unique. They come in all types of sizes and shapes. By exploring the different types of kitchen sinks, you can better understand the pros and cons, especially as they apply to your kitchen.
Single-Basin Kitchen Sink
A single-basin kitchen sink has one bowl with a drain. Since you only have one drain, single-bowl kitchen sinks have simpler plumbing hookups and are often paired with a garbage disposal.
Single-basin sinks are available in all sizes and shapes. Choosing one depends on how you plan to use your sink. Kitchen islands with sinks are often single-basin prep sinks for washing vegetables, draining pasta, and other food prepping tasks. These prep sinks tend to be deep while single-bowl sinks for wet bar areas tend to be quite shallow, as they aren’t used for cleaning many dishes.
If you don’t use your primary sink for food prep, a large and deep bowl is ideal. It allows you to stack plates, bowls, cups, and silverware after a large meal without having the dishes spill over. These sinks are particularly popular in kitchens where dishwashers are primarily used to wash dishes, as you only need the sink to clear debris before loading the dishwasher.
Double-Basin Kitchen Sink
A double-basin kitchen sink include two bowls with separate drains. Typically, one side has a standard drain while the other side has a garbage disposal. Double-bowl sinks are excellent for kitchens where food prep is a priority. With two bowls, you can prep food on one side and wash dishes on the other. It allows for better multitasking in the kitchen. It’s also popular with people who prefer hand washing dishes – soak dishes in one bowl and rinse in the other. Some double-basin sinks even include worktop areas for draining and drying dishes.
Most double-bowl sinks have a 50/50 basin ratio. Both basins are of equal size, though sometimes one basin might be deeper than the other. However, 60/40 and 40/60 splits are also popular if you want a larger bowl for soaking or piling dirty dishes. Though rarer, you can even consider a 30/70 or 70/30 split. With these uneven splits, look closely at the basin depth of each bowl. Often, the smaller basin has a shallower depth, especially with 70/30 splits.
Some double-basin sinks have low-profile dividers. With standard double-basin sinks, the bowls are separated at the lip of the sink. But with low-profile sinks, the separation is lower in the basin. Some low-profiles are only a few inches high while other can be 3/4 of the sink’s depth. Low-profile double-basin sinks provide the multitasking functionality of a double-basin sink, but have more space for stacking dishes, bowls, pots, and pans.
Drop-In Kitchen Sink
A drop-in kitchen sink, also known as a self-rimming or top-mount sink, is lowered into the sink cutout on your countertop, making it the easiest sink to remove and install. For a proper installation of a drop-in sink, you only need to make sure the bowl fits the cutout and the lip rests flush to the countertop. You also need to use a professional grade sealant.
Drop-in sinks are popular because of the easy installation. The cutout in the countertop just needs to be big enough for the sink to drop in, making these sinks a great option for the DIYer. However, drop-in sinks are not easy to clean compared to other mounting types. Since the lip of the sink rests on the countertop, you must wipe items over a lip. A minor inconvenience, sure. But without regular maintenance and cleaning, dirt and grime can easily build up. And if you use a cheap sealant or adhesive, the build-up causes it to lose its integrity and peel, allowing that moisture and grime to seep in under the sink.
Undermount Kitchen Sink
An undermount kitchen sink attaches to the underside of a countertop, creating a seamless transition from the counter to the sink. Not only is this a more elegant look than a drop-in, it makes cleaning countertops much easier – you can wipe crumbs and spills straight into the sink. The seamless design also highlights natural countertops like marble, granite, and quartz. However, since the edges of your countertop are more exposed to water, we recommend you don’t install undermount sinks with laminate countertops or weak materials.
While an experienced DIYer can tackle an undermount installation, the process is typically more complicated. The cutout in the countertop needs to be precise because the edges of the countertop must align perfectly with the sink. For this reason, replacing an undermount sink can be difficult, as it can often mean replacing the countertop.
In addition, since the sink attaches to the underside of the countertop using clips and adhesives, if you use the wrong installation techniques, the weight of a full sink can cause it to pull away from the countertop. This causes leaking to occur to the cabinet below. As such, we recommend using a professional when installing an undermount sink.
Farmhouse Apron-Front Kitchen Sink
A farmhouse kitchen sink is big and deep. These sinks got their name for being common in farmhouses where utility is king. Farmhouse apron-front sinks have historically been used to prepare food, wash dishes, wash laundry, and bathe children, all while using water as efficiently as possible. And since most traditional farmhouse sinks have an apron-front design where the front of the sink is exposed, you can access the sink easier.
The farmhouse style is very popular as well. Many people are romanced by the quaint nostalgia of a rustic farmhouse kitchen style, even if they’ve never lived on a farm. And it’s easy to see why. It harkens to a time when eggs were from the hens in the backyard and the milk was from the family cow.
Farmhouse sinks require some thought though. While farmhouse apron-front sinks add value to your home, especially if you choose one with a premium material like copper, cast-iron, granite or fireclay, they are heavy and may require additional reinforcement or professional installation.
Kitchen Sink & Faucet Combos
A sink is not complete without a faucet. However, finding the perfect faucet for your kitchen sink is not as simple as picking one with cool features or a neat finish. You need to make sure the spout height, spout reach, and overall size of the faucet fits the sink proportionally.
If you want to take out the guesswork of pairing a sink with a faucet, shop from our kitchen sink & faucet combos. We’ve specifically paired faucets with matching sinks for a faster shopping experience.
Parts & Accessories for Kitchen Sinks
Check out our kitchen sink parts and accessories. Sinks don’t come with drains, so you need to pick out a sink flange. You may also need to get undermount clips, extension clips, and other installation tools.
Here are some accessories we have to offer:
- Sink Grid: A metal grid to keep dishes off the bottom of the sink
- Sink Strainer: Keeps food from going down the drain
- Garbage Disposal: Grinds food so it’s safe to go down the drain
- Workstations: A compartment for holding or organizing items in the sink
- Storage Baskets: A wire compartment for storing sponges and soap
- Cap Flow: A sleek drain cap that allows water to drain, but keeps silverware from dropping into the drain
- Air Gap: A system to allow water to drain smoothly to prevent backups
- Sink Colander: For rinsing vegetables and fruits
- Compost System: A container for composting food scraps
What to Consider When Choosing the Perfect Kitchen Sink
Kitchen sinks are available in a wide variety of materials, finishes, colors, shapes, sizes, and prices. As such, there are a lot of considerations to make before you find the right kitchen sink. Here are our tips for finding the perfect sink for your kitchen:
As with most items in your home, you want to consider function first. To do this, evaluate how you currently use your kitchen sink or how you wish to use your new kitchen sink. What do you like about your old sink? What do you wish you could do?
If you cook a lot, a large double-basin sink or a large single basin sink with a prep sink installed in an island is a good option. If you like to entertain or you have a large family, you need a large sink capable of handling stacks of dishes and cups without overflowing. By evaluating your kitchen habits, you can narrow down the type of sink that best fits you.
While the most common sizes are 27” to 32”, the size of your sink really depends on the size of the sink base cabinet. To find the right size, start by measuring the top surface area of the cabinet, subtracting 3” to find the maximum size sink. This 3” space provides a buffer for the sink’s lip and provides a proportional size for the cabinet. This applies to both drop-in and undermount sinks. For farmhouse apron front sinks, you need to subtract 1.5” from the sink base cabinet.
Deciding On Material
After you’ve determined how you want the sink to function and the size, turn your mind towards material. What your sink is made of affects functionality, from how it handles silverware and hot pans to how easy it is to clean.
Stainless Steel is the most common sink material because it’s affordable, versatile, and can be easily shaped.
Stainless Steel kitchen sinks come in a variety of gauges to indicate thickness. Lower gauges are thicker (and more expensive), helping to resist denting. That said, stainless steel is generally very easy to maintain, lasts a long time, handles heat very well, and doesn’t chip, crack, or stain. Stainless steel also has antibacterial properties and can be disinfected easily. And you can recycle it or buy a sink made of recycled materials.
Unfortunately, since steel resonates very well, these kitchen sinks tend to be noisier than other sink materials. While some manufacturers spray the sink with a coating designed to dampen the sound of water and clanking silverware, we recommend installing sound-absorbing pads to the exterior’s bottom and sides.
Stainless steel sinks are limited by color, however. They only come in the natural steel color. Though high-end stainless-steel sinks have a darker hue than budget friendly ones, if you want a white kitchen sink or a colorful sink, stainless steel is not going to do. That said, stainless steel also matches nearly all types of kitchen designs, making it the most versatile color.
Stainless steel sinks are made either through stamping or folding. A stamped sink utilizes a high amount of heat and pressure to form the sink. During this process, the corners are typically rounded and there aren’t any creases to weld. However, the thickness of the steel varies because the material being stretched over a mold. A folded sink is cut from a flat piece of steel and folded to create the shape. The creases are then fused. Folded sinks have sharper corners, which makes the most of the space you have, but may be more difficult to clean than a rounded edge. These sinks are considered better quality because the steel has a uniform thickness.
Copper kitchen sinks are very stylish and very costly. This is a premium sink material, primarily because of its striking patina color and because they are most commonly available in farmhouse apron sinks. They are often handmade, and some include hammered variations for a truly unique sink. Since copper sinks are rare and desirable, they can increase the value of your home too.
Besides style, copper has some excellent features. Much like stainless steel, copper comes in various gauges, and lower gauges are better. It’s also easy to maintain and clean, antibacterial, durable, recyclable, and resistant to stains. Copper sinks have been known to last over 50 years, developing a patina that increases the value of the sink over time. That said, if you’re looking for a copper sink to maintain a uniformly polished color, it’s probably not for you. Copper naturally changes colors over time and in unique ways, creating an antique look some people highly value.
Copper can also be sensitive to some types of acids and harsh cleaning agents. To clean a copper sink, use warm water and mild dish soap regularly. You can also use cleaners and waxes designed specifically for copper. Like stainless steel, it’s prone to denting and scratching.
Fireclay & Ceramics
Fireclay sinks, also known as ceramics, are typically handcrafted from clay and fired with a glaze fired at very high temperatures to create a glossy, non-porous material. As such, this is a premium material. Though heavy and expensive, this type of material is very hard and extremely durable. Fireclay is most often used in farmhouse style sinks. And since the color is from the glaze, these sinks are available in a variety of colors (though white kitchen sinks are the most common), making it an easy fit into a variety of kitchen styles.
Since fireclay sinks are non-porous, they are resistant to acids, alkalis and scratching. It’s also very heat resistant, so putting hot pans won’t damage the surface. However, the surface is prone to chipping if items, such as cast-iron pans, are dropped in it. And the sink can crack, requiring a replacement. We don’t recommend abrasive cleaners, as this wears down the glaze and gives stains a place to live.
Another consideration is the garbage disposal. Since fireclay sinks are thicker than most materials, you need a fireclay compatible garbage disposal to fit.
A granite composite sink is made from a mixture of granite stone and acrylic resins. While they are most commonly available in grey and charcoal, you can also find granite composite sinks in black and brown. The matte finish of granite composite sinks is unique and appealing for some, but there is a lack of finishes compared to fireclay.
Granite composite sinks are made for heat and they are very resistant to chipping, cracking, and scratching. The color doesn’t fade over time. And you don’t need chemicals to clean these sinks. These features, combined with the mid-range price, is what makes granite composite sinks a standout choice for some.
Most commonly used for countertops, solid-surface materials are made of acrylic, epoxy, and polymer resins, making them incredibly versatile and durable. Known by a variety of names, such as Formica and Corian, solid-surface materials can be shaped and made to look like fireclay, porcelain, natural stone, and enameled cast-iron. The material can also take virtually any color and texture.
Since the material takes shapes easily, it’s most often used with integrated sinks – a sink and countertop combo. Though more common in bathrooms than kitchens, integrated sinks provide a seamless look from the counter to the sink.
Solid-surface is durable, but not as much as other materials. It can’t handle hot pans, scratches easily, and dents with hard impacts. It’s also prone to staining. However, solid-surface is an affordable option.
Enameled Cast Iron
Cast iron sinks feature the eclectic vintage style many people look for in a traditional farmhouse sink. Coated in a glossy enamel with a surface like fireclay, cast-iron sinks are strong and durable, and are available in nearly any color.
Cast-Iron kitchen sinks are extremely strong, but the enamel is brittle. While the non-porous surface is very scratch resistant, the enamel is prone to chipping from dropped pans. Also, it can’t be cleaned with abrasive cleaners or harsh chemicals, as this wears down the enamel. It’s also prone to stains if you don’t clean it regularly.
Since cast-iron sinks are extremely heavy, it may also require additional support. Cast-iron farmhouse sinks typically sit on a cabinet rather than attach to a countertop, but the weight may require the cabinet to be reinforced. We recommend consulting with a professional when installing a cast-iron sink.
Choosing an Installation Method
If you want an easy installation, a drop-in sink is best for DIYers. You can use drop-in sinks with your current countertops. Many farmhouse sinks are also easy for a DIYer, so long as the sink base cabinet is built to accommodate farmhouse sinks. That said, heavy materials may require the cabinet to be reinforced.
Choosing an undermount sink requires more precision than drop-in styles. Undermounting a sink provides a sleeker look and makes cleaning countertops much easier. We recommend hiring a professional since an improper installation of an undermount sink is a nightmare.
The next installation consideration is the faucet holes. Most sinks include faucet holes, but some don’t. If it has one faucet hole, you can only install a single-hole faucet. That said, you can install a single-hole faucet to a three-hole sink, so long as you use a cover plate to hide the other holes. Farmhouse sinks and some undermount sinks don’t have holes. This means you go through the faucet holes through the countertop or wall.
Choosing a Shape
The standard shape for a sink is rectangle. And for good reason. A rectangle makes the most efficient use of space on a counter. It’s longer left to right than it is front to back. However, you can get sinks in a variety of shapes to fit all kinds of kitchens.
Square sinks are excellent for small kitchens with limited space or paired with a hot water dispenser.
Circular and oval sinks are stylish options in bars and prep areas.
A D-Shape sink utilizes a curved back. These are excellent for getting more space in a similarly sized and priced rectangle sink. That said, a slightly larger rectangle sink still uses space more efficiently. Some double-basin sinks feature one rectangular sink with a second D-shape basin.
How to Clean a Kitchen Sink
Most sinks a very easy to clean regardless of the materials. This doesn’t mean sinks don’t stain or drains don’t get smelly. Assuming you’ve emptied the entire sink and cleared out all food scraps, you can follow these easy tips for cleaning most kitchen sinks:
1. Use a gentle sponge with a little soap and scrub all surfaces of the sink. Don’t use steel brushes or abrasive sponges. A simple kitchen sponge is good enough. It’s not abrasive enough to damage all types of sink materials and a mild dish soap removes the easy stains. Some people use baking soda as a gentle abrasive to help scrub surface stains. Baking soda is also used to absorb odors from the drain or garbage disposal.
2. To disinfect the sink, fill it with warm water a capful of bleach. After letting it soak for ten minutes, let the sink drain and rinse thoroughly.
3. To remove stains, try using half a lemon with a half cup of powdered borax. Mix them together and use a sponge to rub out the stain. Rinse off immediately after.
4. For lime build-up around drains and on faucet spouts, use vinegar. You just need to soak the area for 10 minutes, rinse, and buffer. Don’t use this method on brass fixtures or colored finishes, as it does discolor them.
Frequently Asked Questions About Kitchen Sink
How Much Is A Kitchen Sink?
Kitchen sinks vary in price. Budget friendly kitchen sinks cost between $90 and $300. However, size and materials affect the cost significantly. Granite, ceramic, and fireclay sinks cost more than stainless steel. And thicker gauge stainless steel costs more than thinner gauges. For example, the more affordable farmhouse sinks, made of stainless steel, start at around $500, but the cost is usually over $1,000 for a fireclay or granite style and can reach over $3,000 for a handmade copper sink.
What is the Most Durable Kitchen Sink?
Sinks come in a variety of materials and each is made to handle the day-to-day wear of silverware, plates, pots, and pans. Stainless steel often gets the nod for durability because steel is resistant to heat and staining, and strong enough to hold lots of dishes. However, stainless steel can dent, especially if the gauge is thin, and it’s prone to scratching, though some manufacturers have premium scratch-resistant finishes. For a durable stainless-steel sink, look for a lower gauge like 16.
How Do You Measure a Kitchen Sink to Replace It?
For a drop-in sink, start by measuring the sink cutout from left to right and front to back. This tells you the maximum size the basins can be for the drop-in sink. You want to make sure the lip is at least 1” to 2” for resting on countertop. The overall depth of the sink is measured from the top rim of the sink to the underside. This accounts for thickness and allows you to see if the sink base cabinet is big enough to accommodate the sink.
To measure the inside depth, lay anything that’s straight and stiff over the top of the sink and use a yardstick or ruler to measure from the deepest part of the sink, using the item you laid over the top of the sink as the guide.
What Kind of Kitchen Sinks Are in Style?
You could say farmhouse sinks have never really gone out of style, but they have grown in popularity in recent years. Even in kitchens without a farmhouse or cottage style, farmhouse sinks are sought after because they can add value to the house. Contemporary farmhouse apron-front sinks are made of stainless steel with minimalist straight lines. Regardless, large, deep single-basin sinks are always a popular choice.
Do You Need A Plumber to Install A Sink?
It depends on the type of sink and your comfort level. The plumbing from the drain and installing a garbage disposal is not complicated. And installing a drop-in sink is realistic for the DIYer. That said, the precision required to install undermount sinks may be too much for most people. If the installation isn’t done correctly, it can result in the sink separating from the countertop, causing leaks. Farmhouse sinks are simpler to install, as they rest on the sink base cabinet, but you may need to reinforce the cabinet to hold the weight.
Hiring a plumber to install a sink typically costs between $200 and $500.
…And the Kitchen Sink
Choosing the right kitchen sink is all about finding the right size to fit your kitchen, finding the right style for how you use your sink, and deciding on the most durable and stylish material that fits into your budget.
At Vevano Home, we offer all the best kitchen sinks, from affordable stainless-steel sinks to hand-hammered copper farmhouse sinks. Consult with our interior design experts by calling 855.483.2629 or email us your questions at email@example.com.