Choosing the Perfect Sink for Your Laundry Room
Before the advent of washing machines and dryers, laundry sinks were necessary for handwashing clothes and linens using a washboard. Laundry sinks are currently used for many other reasons besides washing clothing, from pre-soaking clothing to get difficult stains out to washing pets to rinsing off muddy shoes.
These are the types of laundry sinks to use for all the tasks you don’t want to do in your kitchen sink:
Whether you’re looking for a laundry, utility, or mudroom sink, the perfect sink for your home depends on your budget, space, and how you use it.
What is a Laundry Sink?
In the most basic definition, a laundry sink is any sink you put in your laundry room. However, it’s often referred to as a utility sink, garage sink, basement sink, shop sink, slop sink, mud sink, tub sink, wash sink, or mudroom sink. Regardless of what it’s called, most laundry sinks are no different from a large single-basin kitchen sink. In fact, many of these sinks are interchangeable, capable of being installed in both kitchen and laundry rooms.
The most important factor for a laundry sink is size – the best sinks are wide and deep. That said, some laundry sinks are specifically made for laundry, mudrooms, or garages. These types have a very industrial look and are very utilitarian in design.
Types of Laundry Sinks
Just as with most utility tubs, there are many types of sinks. The best type of laundry tub sink for your home depends on your habits and preferences.
Single-Basin Laundry Sink
A single-basin laundry sink is the most common type and simply has one large basin. Single-basin utility sinks are typically very large, between 24” and 38” wide, over 10” deep, and almost always rectangular in shape. Single-Basin laundry sinks are available in any mounting style.
Traditionally, single-basin laundry sinks were large enough to do a full load of laundry, which is why they are often 24” deep in older homes. For handwashing however, the sink only needs to be large enough for a few articles of clothing. Many people use the laundry sink to wash pets or for holding mop water. In these cases, you want as deep a basin as possible to avoid splashing.
Single-basin laundry sinks range between $100 and $500, depending on the size and material. Premium materials like stainless-steel laundry sinks and cast-iron sinks cost more while ceramic and thermoplastics are the most affordable.
Double-Basin Laundry Sink
Double-Basin laundry sinks have two basins. They aren’t common in laundry rooms because you only need one basin for most tasks. However, if you frequently handwash clothing, two basins are handy. You can soak whites in one bowl and colors in the other. For mopping, use one side for the soap and the other for rinsing.
Most double-bowl laundry sinks have a 50/50 basin ratio, which means the bowls are the same size, with the basin split right down the middle. They also come in 60/40 or 40/60 splits and 70/30 or 30/70 splits. The bigger basin is often the same size as a standard single-basin, and the smaller basin usually has a shallower depth.
Double-basin laundry tubs cost between $150 and $700. The main factors in prices are the size and material. If you want a large double-basin sink made from stainless steel, it’s going to cost more than a plastic one.
Drop-In Laundry Sink
A drop-in laundry sink fits into a cutout on a countertop, making it a favorite among the do-it-yourself crowd because it’s easy to install. You simply drop it in and use plumber’s putty and sealant to adhere it to the countertop. You need to make sure you choose a sink base cabinet with your vanity, so you have enough space for the sink and plumbing.
The biggest issue with drop-in utility sinks is they make your countertop more difficult to clean. The lip or rim traps dirt and grime. However, since most laundry rooms have less counter space and fewer messes then a kitchen countertop, it might not be an issue for your home.
The average drop-in utility sinks typically cost around $100. However, a high-quality stainless-steel sink, premium acrylic sink, or enameled cast-iron sink costs as high as $800.
Undermount Laundry Sink
Undermount laundry sinks mount to the underside of a countertop using clips and plumber’s putty. The advantage of an undermount utility sink is it provides a seamless transition from the counter to the sink, which is ideal in the laundry room where wiping dirt from gardening clothes into the sink is useful. As with drop-in sinks, it requires a sink base cabinet.
Some people prefer the sleek look of an undermount sink, but the installation process is more difficult than a drop-in laundry sink. It’s not beyond the capabilities of an experienced DIYer, but we don’t recommend it for a novice.
Undermount utility sinks start at a similar price point to drop-in sinks, costing between $100 and $800 depending on the material and size. However, with the more complicated installation process, you likely end up spending more on an undermount, especially if you hire a professional to install it.
Wall-Mount Laundry Sink
Wall-mounted laundry sinks hearken back to the classic era of laundry sinks. These are typically mid-sized single-basin laundry sinks in a very utilitarian square or rectangular shape and have very deep basins. Many even include two front legs for added support. Wall-mount laundry sinks are great for laundry rooms with limited space. Since they don’t need a cabinet, you can fit them in tighter areas. And you can still store cleaning materials below.
The price point for wall-mount utility sinks is the widest, ranging between $50 and $1900. The more affordable models are made of a high-density thermoplastic while the high-end laundry sinks are made from enameled cast-iron. The latter, of course, lasts an exceptionally long time.
Farmhouse Laundry Sink
A farmhouse laundry sink is interpreted in several different ways – the freestanding utility sink, the sink-cabinet combination, and the standard apron-front farmhouse sink.
The freestanding farmhouse laundry sink is a sink with four legs. Typically made of cast-iron or steel, this is a true farmhouse sink made for whatever chore was required. It was historically kept in a utility room, mudroom, or garage for cleaning large amounts of clothing, bathing children, washing pets, and cleaning tools and other household items. These freestanding utility sinks are very industrial looking. They aren’t meant to be stylish or even evoke the “farmhouse” style, despite being very common on farms.
The sink-cabinet combination is all about style. This is the sort of laundry sink you choose because you want your laundry room to have a farmhouse style. This type of farmhouse sink is usually also freestanding, because they don’t attach to the wall, but the sink is mounted to a farmhouse style base cabinet (usually white with Shaker doors). These combos are plug-and-play – the entire component is pre-assembled and includes the cabinet, sink, and faucet. You just need to move it into place and connect plumbing.
The standard apron-front farmhouse sink is no different from the same sinks used in a kitchen. Traditionally, these apron-front kitchen sinks were used for laundry as well as food prep and dishes. It’s popular to install one in a laundry room as well as the kitchen.
Farmhouse utility sinks start at around $150 and can cost over $2,000, depending on the size, type, and material. For example, an affordable freestanding farmhouse sink costs around $200 while a sink-cabinet combo usually starts around $700-$800. However, a high-end hand-hammered copper farmhouse sink costs well over $2,000.
Laundry Sink Parts & Accessories
Since sinks don’t usually come with drains, flanges, or strainers, check out our laundry sink parts and accessories to complete your sink.
Here are some accessories Vevano offers:
- Sink Strainer: Keeps large items from going down the drain
- Workstations: A sink-top surface for holding or organizing items
- Storage Baskets: A wire compartment for storing sponges and soap
- Cap Flow: A sleek drain cap that allows water to drain, but keeps other items from dropping into the drain
- Air Gap: A system that allows water to drain smoothly and prevents backups
Ready to pick out the perfect laundry sink? Get a virtual room design from our expert designers to see how your new sink looks in your space.
Choosing the Perfect Laundry Sink
According to expert testing at ConsumerReports.org, the most important factor in choosing the best sink is material. The material determines how long the sink lasts, and how resistant it is to scratches, stains, chips, and cracks. However, before you focus on material, decide how you plan on using the sink, as this determines the type and size to look for.
The first decision in finding the best utility sink for your laundry room is to determine how you plan to use. Here are some things to consider:
- Handwashing: Think about how much handwashing you do. You may want to look for a large sink if many of your clothes are handwash only.
- Pre-washing & Stain Treatment: If you only plan to use the sink to soak delicate clothing or pre-treat stains, you probably don’t need a large basin. A mid-size or even a small sink is big enough.
- Home Cleaning & Mopping: If you have a lot of floors to mop, a utility sink is great for rinsing mops. Double-basin utility sinks can hold soap on one side and rinsing water on the other side.
- Cleaning Pets: A large sink is great for giving dogs a good washing. Just make sure to include a sink strainer to collect as much hair and fur as possible so it doesn’t clog the drain.
- Cleaning tools: An industrial utility sink is often used to clean yard tools and other items. Usually, these sinks are installed in the garage.
Laundry sinks range in size, from small enough to soak a few delicate items to large enough for a chihuahua to swim laps in. The size largely depends on how you plan to use it, but most laundry sinks have a depth of at least 10”, and farmhouse sinks have depths over 24”.
Choosing a Material
Material is the most important factor in the quality of a utility sink. It determines whether the sink lasts for 5 years of scrubbing or 50 years of scrubbing.
Enameled Cast Iron
Cast-iron utility sinks are popular because they mimic the era when laundry sinks were common in most homes. They have an enameled glossy surface, typically in white. The coating gives the sink an exceptionally durable, scratch-resistant surface capable of handling the day-to-day scrubbing of hand washing linens. However, the enamel is prone to chipping if you drop heavy items into the sink. That said, while the enamel can chip, these utility sinks don’t crack, so cast-iron sinks are among the most expensive, but they last a very long time.
Stainless steel is popular for a variety of sinks because it’s very durable, scratch-resistant, antimicrobial, and it looks great in modern and contemporary settings. It’s also why a high grade stainless steel is used most often with commercial sinks and hand sinks.
While it’s a premium material, the ability to choose sinks in varying gauges makes some stainless-steel laundry sinks affordable. High gauges (which are thinner) for stainless-steel utility sinks are prone to denting. Therefore, the lower gauge sinks are more expensive, comparable to enameled cast-iron sinks.
Copper is a premium material with a high price tag. Usually, they are reserved for the kitchen where the style and patina of a copper sink is on full display, but you can use a copper farmhouse laundry sink. Like stainless steel, choose a copper sink with a low gauge, so it isn’t prone to denting.
In addition to developing a patina that can increase the sinks’ value over time, copper is even more antimicrobial than stainless steel. This is a welcome feature if you want to avoid mildew developing after leaving clothing in the sink.
Fireclay & Ceramic
A ceramic laundry sink is made of clay that’s fired at high temperatures with a glaze to harden the material. The glaze makes the surface exceptionally smooth, so it’s scratch-resistant and stain-resistant. Fireclay laundry sinks include porcelain and vitreous china varieties.
Ceramic laundry sinks look like enameled cast-iron sinks. However, they are typically more affordable because they are prone to cracking. Without a cast-iron core, a ceramic sink can crack all the way through, making it unrepairable.
Acrylic, also known as solid surface, is a type of plastic often used for laundry sinks because it’s easy to mold, durable, lightweight, and affordable. However, solid surface sinks don’t have the lifespan of other materials and don’t handle heat very well. They also scratch and stain easily.
Frequently Asked Questions About Laundry Sinks
What size is a laundry sink?
Laundry sinks vary in size. At the smallest, they are around 6” deep and 20” wide. The biggest laundry sinks are over 24” deep and up 42” wide. The size you choose depends on how you use it and how much room you have.
Do you really need a laundry sink?
You don’t need a laundry sink unless you handwash clothing frequently. In fact, many homes don’t have laundry sinks, since most people use washing machines and dryers. Many design experts recommend forgoing the sink in your laundry room in favor of counterspace for folding laundry.
How do you clean your laundry sink?
Fill the sink with warm water and a few capfuls of peroxide or ammonia. These chemicals kill any mildew causing bacteria. Then drain the sink, wash with soap, and rinse.
How much does it cost to install a laundry sink?
If all you need to do is connect the plumbing, then you can easily install a laundry sink yourself. If you hire a professional, basic installations cost around $200, with the plumbing already set up and without complications. If the plumbing needs modifications, like for heavy duty pipes to drain dirt and mud, it can cost between $500 and $1,000. When you consider the cost of installing a utility sink faucet, add another $150 to $200 to the bill.
Can you wash your hands in a utility sink?
Yes. Utility sinks are ideal for garages so you can wash grease and grime from cars, housework, and hobbies off your hands before you enter your house. Depending on where you install your utility sink, you may need a soap holder if your counter space doesn’t have enough room to store a soap dispenser near your sink. Also consider adding a high-quality sink faucet for superior handwashing abilities.
What do you call a sink in the laundry room?
Laundry sinks have several names – utility sink, utility tub, mud room sink, mud sink, vintage tub, mudroom sink, garage sinks, and more. Regardless of how they’re named, they all generally have the same purpose – to clean things you wouldn’t use a kitchen sink for.
What utility sink styles do you have to choose from?
For laundry rooms, the laundry tubs typically come in traditional or modern styles to match a specific interior design. However, if you’re getting a utility sink for your garage, it’s typically a freestanding utility tub with a very basic industrial style – four legs supporting a rectangular tub with an industrial utility faucet.
Have Dirty Laundry? Get a Laundry Sink
Choosing the right laundry sink is all about finding the best material, the right size, and the best mounting style for your laundry room. Once you have your sink, you can turn your attention to other plumbing fixtures, like pull-out faucets and other plumbing supplies.
At Vevano Home, we have a wide selection of the best utility sinks, from simple stainless-steel utility sinks to enameled cast-iron freestanding utility sinks. We can help you select the right sink for your home. Consult with our remote interior design experts by calling 855.483.2629 or email us your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.