sink-guide

Kitchen Sink Buying Guide

You probably use your sink more than any other fixture or appliance in your home, so you should have the functionality you need and the style you want. The good news is, sinks come in a variety of styles and materials to suit your style — and your lifestyle — perfectly.

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Learn More about the 6 S's of Sink Selection:

size

Size

shape

Shape

structure

Structure

substance

Substance

strength

Strength

sound

Sound

size

1. Size

 

shape

2. Shape

structure

3. Structure

substance

4. Substance

strength

5. Strength

sound

6. Sound

1. Size

Size

Is a bigger sink better?

The short answer is: it depends on how you use your sink. 

Selecting a sink starts with measuring your sink base cabinet. No matter what sink you choose, you’ll have to make sure it fits into your cabinet. Wider sinks accommodate more dishes — but also impact your usable counter space, which is critical in smaller kitchens. Some sinks extend beyond the edge of the countertop, allowing you to enjoy a bigger sink without sacrificing usable counter space.

Sink depth is another key to how it actually fits your needs.

size

6-inch depths 

A 6-1/2-inch sink bowl holds less but creates more cabinet space below and provides easier accessibility to dishes. For ADA-compliant installations, 6 inches is the max depth for an undermount and 6-1/2 inches is the max depth for a drop-in sink. 

8-inch depths

In the U.S., an increasingly common option is a slightly deeper sink. An 8-inch depth allows for more and bigger items, like large pots, flower vases or baby bathtubs. 

9- or 10-inch depths

A 9- or 10-inch-deep bowl can contain taller pots, bigger piles of dishes and more splashing water, but it reduces cabinet space below. Reaching into a deeper sink can also require you to bend more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Shape

shape

Shape

Which configuration best fits your needs?

Do you wash large baking pans? Deal with a lot of dishes? Use your sink for many things at once, or share it with another person? You’ll want the shape to reflect your personal sink lifestyle.

 

did-you-know

Did you know?

Sinks with tight corners and a flat bottom often provide more usable space in the bowl. They generally hold more than sinks with wide corners, and items like wine glasses are less likely to tip over and break. 

Single bowl

A single bowl sink offers uninterrupted space and will easily hold the most large items in it — like large skillets, serving bowls or sheet pans.

Double bowl

A double bowl sink is a great solution for separating tasks. You can have two bowls of the same size or two bowls of different sizes, based on how you use your sink.

Double bowl with Aqua Divide™

An Aqua Divide is a low center wall that allows the sink to be used as both a double bowl where you use bowls independently, or you can flood the sink with water and use it as a single bowl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

structure

3. Structure

Structure

How does the sink integrate with the countertop?

Discover how countertop material and installation style work together.

 

Undermount sink installation styles

There are three basic options for how an undermount sink edge can align with a countertop edge.

negative-reveal

Negative Reveal

positive-reveal

Positive Reveal

no-reveal

No Reveal

 

 

Drop-in

A drop-in (also known as a top mount) sink is lowered into the countertop; the counter supports the sink.

Drop-in sinks are easy to install, and they’re a simple solution if you’re replacing a sink but not the countertop. They have a lip that makes it harder to sweep crumbs and water straight into the sink, though some manufacturers have minimized the lip, offering a Slim Rim® design. 

Undermount

Undermount sinks are attached to the underside of the countertop with special hardware, creating a seamless transition. 

This allows you to sweep water and food scraps straight into the sink, which is convenient if you do a lot of food prep or dish stacking on the counter. It’s worth noting that certain counter materials can’t sustain the weight of an undermount sink. 

Dual mount

These sinks have a versatile design with a flat rim that allows them to be installed above the counter as a drop-in or below the counter as an undermount. 

Farmhouse

A fourth option is a farmhouse (or apron front) style sink with an exposed front as part of the design, sometimes extending beyond the front edge of the surrounding counter for extra-large bowl space.

Drop-in

A drop-in (also known as a top mount) sink is lowered into the countertop; the counter supports the sink.

Drop-in sinks are easy to install, and they’re a simple solution if you’re replacing a sink but not the countertop. They have a lip that makes it harder to sweep crumbs and water straight into the sink, though some manufacturers have minimized the lip, offering a Slim Rim® design. 

Undermount

Undermount sinks are attached to the underside of the countertop with special hardware, creating a seamless transition. 

This allows you to sweep water and food scraps straight into the sink, which is convenient if you do a lot of food prep or dish stacking on the counter. It’s worth noting that certain counter materials can’t sustain the weight of an undermount sink. 

Dual mount

These sinks have a versatile design with a flat rim that allows them to be installed above the counter as a drop-in or below the counter as an undermount. 

Farmhouse

A fourth option is a farmhouse (or apron front) style sink with an exposed front as part of the design, sometimes extending beyond the front edge of the surrounding counter for extra-large bowl space.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Substance

Substance

What should your sink be made of?

The material and finish of your sink are personal choices based on your unique style. But there are important functional differences too.

substance

 

 

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a timeless classic that can also feel ultramodern. It’s durable, easy to clean and disinfect — and can even be recycled. Some stainless steel sink finishes offer scratch forgiveness, where scratches blend into the finish with time.

Quartz

Quartz composite is a very hard material that offers strong durability, plus an organic look and feel. It’s heat resistant, naturally quieter and comes in an extraordinary range of hues to complement granite countertops or add a pop of color to your kitchen.

Fireclay

Stain-resistant fireclay can add a traditional farmhouse look to your kitchen with either a matte or glossy surface. Sinks are baked at high temperatures for a nonporous and extremely durable finish.

did-you-know

Did you know?

Copper and cast iron are unique sink materials, both easy to clean. Copper carries extra antimicrobial properties that help with clean food prep, and cast iron is resistant to water streaking.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a timeless classic that can also feel ultramodern. It’s durable, easy to clean and disinfect — and can even be recycled. Some stainless steel sink finishes offer scratch forgiveness, where scratches blend into the finish with time.

Quartz

Quartz composite is a very hard material that offers strong durability, plus an organic look and feel. It’s heat resistant, naturally quieter and comes in an extraordinary range of hues to complement granite countertops or add a pop of color to your kitchen.

Fireclay

Stain-resistant fireclay can add a traditional farmhouse look to your kitchen with either a matte or glossy surface. Sinks are baked at high temperatures for a nonporous and extremely durable finish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

did-you-know

Did you know?

Copper and cast iron are unique sink materials, both easy to clean. Copper carries extra antimicrobial properties that help with clean food prep, and cast iron is resistant to water streaking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Strength

strength

Strength

How sturdy should your sink be?

A sink needs to be strong enough for how you plan to use it. Its sturdiness depends on what it’s made of, as well as the quality of the material. The thickness of a stainless steel sink is measured in gauges. 

 

The lower the gauge, the thicker the metal. Fireclay and quartz sinks are very strong. Fireclay is fired at high temperatures for long-lasting durability, while quartz sinks are molded from natural quartz sand, the hardest component of granite. 

 

 

 

16 gauge: thicker 

A lower gauge sink is a smart choice for minimum noise and denting; meaning your sink is going to stay strong, smooth and silent for years to come. Chefs and foodies often prefer a sturdier sink because it’s going to see a lot of action. 

18 gauge: the standard

The standard thickness for most American metal sinks is 18 gauge. It’s durable and easily supports garbage disposals. It’s also quieter than thinner sinks, which you’ll appreciate when dropping other metal things into it. 

 

When it comes to stainless sinks and undermount installation consider going with a sink that’s 18 gauge or lower for durability.

20-22 gauge: thinner

Higher gauge sinks are a cost-saving option but are more susceptible to dings and dents and are louder when pots hit them. Thinner sinks can also vibrate a lot and, consequently, struggle to support garbage disposals.

 

 If you like the clean look of an undermount sink, consider upgrading to a 16- or 18-gauge sink, as undermount sinks are very hard to replace, if you can find someone to replace them at all. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Sound

Sound

Your sink has volume, but does it have to be loud?

The sound of a kitchen sink is not the first thing buyers think about, but if you’re going to spend a lot of time at or near the sink, you should. There are some key choices that will make it clear that a sink doesn’t have to be loud at all. 

 

Material matters

Materials like quartz and fireclay are naturally less noisy, and with stainless steel or other metal sinks, a thicker gauge generally means a quieter time at the sink.

 

… so does insulation

Many sink manufacturers don’t include this, but sound-deadening pads on a stainless steel sink will greatly help muffle the sound of running water and clattering silverware. 

sound
did-you-know

Did you know?

Garbage disposals can be noisy. Selecting a thicker gauge sink with sound-deadening pads can help to muffle noise when the disposal is in use.