Are you thinking about buying a new kitchen sink? You need to consider the type of material you decide on for your new sink. They are have their pros and cons and after reading this you’ll be able to make the best decision.
It can be a challenge figuring out what material best fits your need. These are the most common kinds.
What is the overall best kitchen sink?
After researching 5 different kinds of materials, different bowl styles and drop in or undermount sinks the conclusion is stainless steel single bowl undermount sinks.
Stainless steel is cost efficient and easy to maintain. Just make sure it has a gauge rating or 19 or lower (steel thickness). It’ll stand the test of time. Single bowls provides easier and more comfort while cleaning large pots and pans. Lastly, undermount sinks provide a clean and modern look and are easy to clean.
By going with a stainless steel single bowl undermount kitchen sink with a 19 gauge or lower you will have a timeless, long lasting, and most efficient kitchen sink.
Related Read: Standard Kitchen Sink Size & Dimensions – How to Pick One
Kitchen Sink Materials
Stainless steel sinks are the most popular by a longer run. They look great, they’re practical, and they’re budget friendly. What more can you ask for?
Stain and heat resistance are some of their best qualities. You can put in hot pots without worrying about cracking or damaging it. Almost anything can be washed in them without worrying about stains.
If you’re a tidy freak, brushed or satin finishes will be your best option. They hide water marks and scratches the best. This is opposed to mirror finishes. Mirror finishes have a high end appearance.
They are noisy but the best come with sound absorbing pads. Water isn’t always running so this isn’t a big problem. If your living room and sinks are close by it’s important to consider. Watching TV and conversations can be interrupted by the noise.
You can get budget friendly stainless steel sink but there are costlier options. If you’re on a tight budget they are the best option. You can find a quality one at $100. If you want a deeper sink style such as a farmhouse sink, things will get more expensive.
Also, stainless steel sinks will be classified by gauge. The lower the gauge the heavier the sinks. Higher gauge will mean lighter sink. The ranges you’ll find are from 15 to 24.
Which is the best gauge? 22 gauge is the cheapest but will be easily damaged. You will see them bowl and can dent and ding easier. 22 gauge are good for sinks that aren’t used often like a cabin sink. In the end, don’t buy a 22 gauge sink if you can avoid it.
20 gauge is a better option for you home if you need a light sink. Also avoid this gauge if you want.
19 gauge sinks are a standard size that still isn’t pricey. Avoid 19 gauge as well. If you want better quality in this range go for 18. Most home improvement stores will recommended 16 to 18 gauge sinks. 18 gauge is a good balance between cost and durability. 16 gauge is going on luxury.
Anything lower than 16 gauge is commercial use.
Most popular design for a reason
Stain and heat resistant
Many gauge options for durability and weight
Guaranteed to find a size you want
Wide range in Price options and can be most cost efficient
Mirror finishes will look dirty easier
High gauge (steel thickness) sinks are easily damage
Long lasting low gauge (steel thickness) sinks start getting expensive
Granite Composite Kitchen Sinks
Granite composite kitchen sinks are pricier than stainless steel. They price range will be $300-$600. More expensive luxury items exist. They look good, they’re durable, and they won’t show any water marks or scratches.
With composite granite sinks you’ll have many more color options than other sink materials. Consider darker shades to high food debris best. You may find yourself cleaning this sink less often if you’re coming from a stainless steel one.
These sinks can crack so make sure to thoroughly inspect when delivered and installed. They are damaged during these processes and not in everyday use.
This sink material is made by using a mixture of granite dust and acrylic to be molded into a sink. The process makes them durable, nonporous, hygienic, resistant to heat, stains, and scratches.
What you have to keep in mind with these is the cleaning process. Certain chemical can damage a composite granite sink so be careful when cleaning. Read the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions before using anything. Always opt for the one with the highest resistance rating.
You’re going to have to regularly protect and seal your sinks. The moment you will do this you’re sink is going to let you know. It’ll start looking off and dull. This means the protective layer is wearing away.
The most variety in color and style options. If you have a specific color in mind you’ll find it.
You can have organic stone designs throughout the sink
Less expensive than a granite sink
Darker colors high food debris well
Can be cracked on installation and delivery
Require some upkeep with protective coating
More expensive than some other sink materials
Fireclay Kitchen Sinks
With farmhouse decor everywhere you look you’ll be seeing fireclay sinks as well. As the name suggest, it’s made using high temperatures and clay. They are at risk for chipping but only with excessive weight or force. But, You’ll never see them rust. If they do chip they are repairable.
If you need a garbage disposal, don’t get a fireclay sinks. The vibrations can cause cracking. Consider an alternative sink material.
You’ll be looking at a price range of $300 +. Most common are $400+. You’ll see many of these designed for a farmhouse kitchen. Farmhouse kitchen sinks are larger and deeper than regular sinks to expect to pay more.
The look is undoubtedly gorgeous. There’s nothing like an apron front white fireclay sink. It’s a farmhouse kitchen staple. If it’s the look you’re going after they’re truly worth it.
Since fireclay sinks are so heavy it is highly recommended you use a professional to install. They need to be supported correctly. They are heavy and only get heavier when filled with water.
Essential farmhouse style sink if your a fan of the look
Solid all the way through so if they chip it’s not too noticeable
Are repairable if they chip or dent (rare for this to happen)
Non-porous and resistant to acid
Traditional but timeless style
Shouldn’t use a garbage disposal
They are much heavier than some other materials
Come in fewer shapes and sizes
Copper Kitchen Sinks
Another statement piece like fireclay kitchen sinks. Copper sinks aren’t common and will draw attention in the kitchen. They’re a bold and beautiful addition to any kitchen. They do have some characteristics to be considered before purchasing.
They are measured in the same way as stainless steels using gauge. Gauge refers to the thickness of the metal. A higher gauge is thinner and a lower gauge is thicker. Thicker or lower gauge is more sought out after for durability.
They are rust resistant and have antimicrobial properties. When shopping look for 99% pure copper. Zinc is blended in for strength. You will need to avoid harsh chemical when cleaning to avoid damaging the appearance.
These are going to run at least $600 or more. If you love the look they are worth it. They tend to come in large farmhouse style sizes.
Another great thing is that they develop their own patina over time. This is great for character in the kitchen. Much like a leather bag or case growing more beautiful with every use. Copper is highly reactive which causes this. You’re going to have to embrace this.
Upkeep is generally the same as a stainless steel sink. If you want to avoid the natural patina there are ways to slow it down. It’s not possible to completely avoid it.
Unique bold appearance
Natural patina over time adds character
Not high maintenance
Studies show that bacteria don’t survive long on copper
There’s no way to stop the natural patina only slow it down (if you’re not a fan)
Unique look may date a kitchen in the future
Cast Iron Kitchen Sinks
Cast iron sinks are some of the most durable sinks. It was one of the first types of material used to create kitchen sinks. They’re still popular. They have a bright white enamel finish and other colors as well. If you plan on keeping your new sink for a while go with a traditional color. This will keep it from looking dated.
Cast iron is associated with rusting but the enamel finish will prevent this. The finish is tough and will resist stains and scratches. It’s created using melted glass being fused to the iron.
You can expect to pay between $300-$900 for a quality cast iron sink. They’re heavy and require a lot of material which adds to the price.
On a positive note, the glass finish of these sinks is easy to clean. It’s smooth so stains won’t stick to it. It has good resistance to light and any type of fading.
There are some negatives to cast iron kitchen sinks. They’re heavy. This is several more times than a stainless steel sink. You should have a professional install it to ensure it is properly support. If not the cabinet can buckle under its weight. You also have to consider how much it will weigh if filled with water.
Be wary of any chipping. Under the protective coating is the cast iron. If the cast iron is exposed it will begin to rust and change in color. However, the porcelain is extremely durable so this isn’t a big concern. Just be wary and take care of it on the off chance this it does happen.
The protecting enamel coating is durable
It comes in various color options
Traditional style that won’t fall out of trend
They’ll last a long time
They’re heavy and should be installed by a professional to prevent cabinet damage
More expensive than other kitchen sink styles like stainless steel
Other Materials for Kitchen Sinks
These are not the only kitchen sinks materials used, but they are the most common. You’ll find kitchen sinks made of natural stone, cement, quartz, and other materials. Make sure you do your research before buying. They all have a unique and desirable look but typically have more drawbacks than traditional kitchen sink materials.
Which Kitchen Sink Material Should you Go With?
Unless you are after a specific style, stainless steel kitchen sinks are the best option. There is a reason they are the most common. You can find a quality stainless steel sink at a good price. Make sure the gauge is at least 19 or lower (steel thickness). This will make it durable and long lasting. Avoid mirror finishes as they show water and debris easier.
Kitchen Sink Styles
Now that you’ve decided on your sink material, you’ll have to think about the style you need.
Undermount Vs Drop-In, Self Rimming Sink,
Top mount and drop in sinks are the most common types of kitchen sinks.
Top Mount Sinks
Top mount sinks are the easiest kind of kitchen sink to install. As long as they’re made from the lighter kitchen sink materials they are DIY-able. There aren’t any special skills required for installation. You typically don’t have to cut your countertops to install these.
Drop-in sinks come in standard sizes and if you had one before it’s as easy as taking out the old one and dropping the new one in. It will get complicated if the sinks are different sizes. You will have to cut the counter top.
If you have laminate countertops it’s possible to cut them on your own. If you have any kind of stone countertops it will be very difficult to cut on your own. A professional will be required in this situation.
After dropping in the new sink the edges are caulked. Because the sink edge creates a rim some refer to them as self rimming sinks.
Will save money if you DIY it
They are self rimming and will prevent things from sliding in
Fits all countertop styles
Can’t sweep in debris straight into the sink from the counter top.
Food debris can get caught on rim and requires extra care
H3 Undermount Sinks
Undermount sinks are a modern alternative to top mount sinks. The sink is attached to the bottom of the counter. This creates a flush appearing. The counter top ends and falls into the sink. There is no rim.
This style of sink is great for cleaning. You can sweep food and debris straight into the sink. They also don’t have rims or crevices where food and debris can build up. They’re easy to clean.
They provide a clean and modern look to your kitchen.
While they look great there are some drawbacks. They are not as easy to install as drop in sinks. You have to attach the sink from the bottom and cut out holes for the faucet. Lighter sinks such as stainless steel are easier to install but heavy sinks require special brackets and support.
Clean and modern look
Easiest sink style to clean
You can sweep anything directly into it from countertops
Not as easy to install as drop in sinks
You also have to cut out a whole in the countertop for the faucet
Should you get a undermount or drop in kitchen sink?
While drop in kitchen sinks are the cheaper option, the value of under mount makes them the better choice. They offer a clean and modern appearance and are easier to clean. The kitchen will also be easier to clean as you can sweep debris directly into it. Spend the extra money and go for undermount.
Single Bowl Vs Double Dowl
Now you’re going to have to decide if a single bowl sink or double bowl sink is best for you. They are also referred to as a single basin kitchen sink or double basin kitchen sink.
A single bowl kitchen sink or single basin kitchen sink, as the name implies, has one bowl. More bowls isn’t always better and a single bowl sink has many benefits. They come in compact and large sizes.
If you’re limited in space a single bowl sink is a good option. An example are apartments with small kitchens or a in a kitchenette.
For bigger spaces large single bowl sinks are available. A big benefit is the ease of washing large pots and pans. This is great for cleaning large kitchen items such as a slow cooker or washing a small pet or child.
It’s going to be easy and simple to clean with the reduced number of edges and lack of a rim.
Since they only have one bowl you will have to find a place to put your dishes to dry. A drying rack next to the sink will work.
Easier to click with less edges
Better for washing large pots and pans
Can be used for washing small pets and children
Comes in compact sizes for smaller spaces
No place to put dishes to dry
Only one bowl to use instead of two
Double bowl kitchen sinks are more common that a single bowl. They offer more flexibility than a single bowl sink.
Having to bowls gives you more option in how to arrange your kitchen sink and kitchen counters. The second bowl can be used for drying dishes or temporarily discarding excess food and debris.
You’ll also have options in the configuration of the bowl sizes. Some come with equally sized bowls. Some have a smaller bowl and a larger bowl. They can also vary in depth. The right choice will be based on how you use your kitchen.
If you cook using large dishes then a double bowl may not be ideal for you. The double separation for double bowls doesn’t allow some pots and pans to fit. Also, washing pets and childrens in it isn’t an option.
More flexibility and configuration options
Can have one side of temporary food scraps and to dry dishes
Not as easy to wash large dishes
Can’t wash kids and pets in it
Should you get a single or double bowl kitchen sink?
The benefits of a single bowl single outweigh that of a double bowl sink. If you cook often, have kids, have pets, and prefer clean and modern look it’s the winner. They’re also easier to clean. Double bowl does have it’s uses so make sure you understand each one before buying.