The Ultimate Guide On How To Buy Kitchen Sinks
Kitchen sinks come in various shapes and sizes, and it can be challenging to determine which one suits your lifestyle.
Whether you are replacing your existing sink or remodeling your kitchen, it is essential to take note of the different factors you should consider when purchasing a sink, such as materials, installation, size, and more. This way, you can be sure you are getting the best kitchen sink for your money.
In this kitchen sink buying guide, we will teach you everything you need to know about kitchen sinks so that you can make an informed decision when choosing the perfect sink for your home.
Things to Consider When Buying a Kitchen Sink
Choosing the right sink is not an easy task. Whether you’re remodeling your kitchen or just replacing your sink, there are many things you need to consider before purchasing a new kitchen sink.
You have to check the size of the sink, its shape, the material of the sink, and how it will be installed. Here are some tips to help you find the right sink for your kitchen.
1. Knowing the Installation Style
The first thing you need to remember when shopping for a kitchen sink is to know all the available options in the market. Based on installation style, there are four main types of kitchen sinks. You can choose from drop-in, undermount, apron front, and flat rim sinks, whichever complements your kitchen setup.
Drop-in sinks, also known as top-mount or self-rimming sinks, are the most common type of kitchen sink as they are easy to install. They also work excellently with any countertop material.
Drop-in kitchen sinks have a lip that rests on the countertop and is held in place by silicone sealant or screws. Installing a drop-in sink will require a hole in the countertop to accommodate it. The size of this hole will depend on the dimensions and shape of your kitchen sink.
Opting for a drop-in sink will cost less than other kitchen sink styles. However, these sinks are less durable and can be more challenging to clean, as dirt and grime can accumulate in the lip of the sink.
Here is a video tutorial on how to install a drop-in kitchen sink:
Undermount sinks are installed below the countertop and require a solid surface such as granite or quartz. They are securely attached to the underside of countertops with brackets and clips, then sealed with silicone caulk.
Due to the level of support it needs, this type of kitchen sink works best with thicker countertops. It is unsuitable for counters made of thinner materials, such as laminate or tile, which can flex and cause the sink to disconnect from the brackets.
Undermount sinks are a little more expensive than drop-in kitchen sinks but are worth the investment. They are so easy to keep clean and are more sturdy. Plus, they create a clean, seamless look in the kitchen.
Watch this video tutorial to see how easy installing an undermount kitchen sink is!
- Apron Front
Apron front kitchen sinks, also known as farmhouse sinks, are characterized by deep basins and broad fronts, extending over the countertop edge and hanging down like an apron. They are great for most countertop materials, including laminate, granite, and quartz.
Apron front sinks originally became popular in the early 1900s, and they have made a comeback in recent years. They are a favorite choice for kitchen remodels, as they add style and character to any cooking area. They are also highly functional, as the deep basins allow you to soak large pots and pans.
If you are searching for a sink that will make a statement in your kitchen, an apron front sink can be your best option. Just be prepared to spend a little more money and put in extra effort for its care and maintenance since the exposed front can collect grime, requiring cleaning after every use.
Check out this video for instructions on how to install your apron front or farmhouse sink!
- Flat Rim
Flat rim sinks are a more modern option and are growing in popularity. They have a sleek, minimalist design and come in various colors and styles.
This type of sink is commonly used for tiled-in installations when flush mounting is preferred, making it ideal for kitchen islands or bar areas. However, it is not easy to fit in countertops that are not perfectly level. If you are installing a flat rim sink on an existing countertop, make sure to check it for level before your purchase.
Flat rim sinks are easier to clean than other types of sinks. They are less prone to bacteria build-up, making them a popular choice for busy families.
2. Select the Material Suits Your Needs
Selecting the sink material that will work best in your kitchen is an integral part of the kitchen sink buying process.
When making your decision, consider the overall design of your kitchen, the items you will be washing, and your kitchen habits and practices. With a wide range of sink materials to choose from, it will be worthwhile to check the benefits and drawbacks of each material to guide you in your purchase.
Some things to look for are durability, ease of cleaning, and resistance to heat, scratch, and chemicals.
- Stainless Steel
Stainless steel sinks are a practical choice because they are durable, long-lasting, and cost-effective. Stainless steel is rated by its gauge, with lower numbers indicating a thicker sink.
In terms of price, a 23-gauge stainless steel sink is thinner and more affordable, while a 16- or 18-gauge sink is sturdier and more heavy-duty.
Advantages: Heat-resistant, easy to clean & maintain
Disadvantages: Not immune to corrosion, noisy, need more care
Composite sinks are a mixture of materials, usually granite, quartz, or recycled glass. They are highly durable, scratch-proof, and heat-resistant. Composite sinks tend to be more expensive than others, but they offer a unique and stylish look. Also, note that these sinks are not as easy to repair as other kitchen sink materials.
Advantages: Durable, prevent bacterial growth.
Disadvantages: Expensive than other sink materials, not easy to maintain, and may show water spots.
- Cast Iron
If you are aiming for a classic, timeless look for your kitchen and you have the budget to afford a more expensive sink, cast iron sinks can be an excellent choice for you. They are made from molded iron and coated with enamel to ensure exceptional durability.
These enameled cast iron sinks are resistant to chips, cracks, and scratches. They can also withstand high temperatures. With proper care, cast iron sinks can last for many years. However, they are pretty heavy and may require more support than other kitchen sink materials. They can also be challenging to move around or install.
Advantages: Highly durable, heat-resistant, and classic look
Disadvantages: Costly, susceptible to rust, need regular cleaning and maintenance.
Fireclay is a type of clay fired in a kiln at very high temperatures. Covered with a glaze coating, it is resistant to chips, cracks, and scratches. It also gives it a beautiful finish that will not fade over time.
Fireclay sinks are often handcrafted and come in a wide range of colors and styles. One of the most durable materials used in kitchen sinks, they withstand heavy use and can last for many years with proper care.
Although lighter than cast iron sinks, fireclay sinks still need a well-built countertop and cabinetry for solid support. They are also easier to install, making them a more economical alternative. Plus, they require less maintenance and care than other sink materials.
Advantages: Highly durable, resist high temperatures, easy to maintain
Disadvantages: Expensive, heavy, and need reinforcement
Copper sinks are beautiful and unique. They come in an array of finishes, from hammered to polished, so you can find the perfect one to match your kitchen style.
Copper sinks are antibacterial and resist common kitchen stains. They are also heat-resistant and highly durable. They are also some of the most expensive sinks on the market. But with proper care and maintenance, you don't need to replace your sink for a very long time.
Advantages: Antibacterial, heat-resistant, attractive finish
Using a porcelain sink is a great way to add style and elegance to your kitchen. Not only are they tough, but they come in a variety of colors and designs that can match any kitchen décor. However, they are not as resistant to scratch as other kitchen sink materials.
Disadvantages: Costly, prone to chipping
- Solid Surface
Solid surface sinks are mainly acrylic, quartz, or a blend of natural and synthetic materials. An excellent alternative to natural stones, solid surface is highly durable, versatile, and reparable.
These sinks are non-porous and resist bacteria, scratches, and stains. However, they are not as heat-resistant as other sink materials. So, if you like to cook on the stovetop, you may want to use caution when placing hot pots and pans in the sink.
Advantages: Durable, easy to clean, and require little maintenance
Acrylic sinks are a popular choice because they are affordable and durable. They vary in colors and designs to match most kitchen styles. Acrylic is a hard plastic molded into shape and then reinforced with fiberglass. It may scratch or stain more quickly than other sink materials, but as it is solid and made of a single component, you can polish out minor scratches.
Acrylic sinks are non-porous, so they resist bacteria. They are also resilient and do not break easily. Lightweight and easy to install, acrylic kitchen sinks are suitable for do-it-yourself projects.
One drawback of using acrylic sinks is that high temperatures can cause them to warp. As such, you should use a kitchen sink grid or hot pad before putting down hot pots in the sink. However, some kitchen sink manufacturers have addressed this issue by creating heat-resistant acrylic sinks.
Advantages: Lightweight, durable, and easy to clean
Disadvantages: Sensitive to extreme heat
As the name suggests, enamel sinks are usually made of cast iron, steel, or porcelain, then coated with a layer of enamel. The thicker the enamel coating, the more resilient it is to scratches and chips.
Using enamel in sinks is not a new concept. It has been used for centuries to produce kitchenware and other household items. When it comes to sinks, the enamel is a good material as it is durable and long-lasting.
Advantages: Stylish, easy to clean and maintain, long-lasting
Disadvantages: Heavy and may chip or scratch overtime
Ideal for those who want an elegant look for their kitchen, stone kitchen sinks are usually made of natural stones, such as granite or soapstone. While durable, these natural stones are porous and require proper sealing to help them withstand damage.
Advantages: Heat-resistant, durable, and come in various colors and styles
Disadvantages: Heavy and need additional reinforcement, expensive
3. Choose Your Desired Sink Configuration
Kitchen sinks are available in single and multiple bowl configurations. The number of bowls you need will depend on your kitchen setup and how you use your sink.
- Single Bowl
Single bowl sinks are the most popular type of kitchen sink, as they are simple to use and install. They are typically rectangular and have a drain located in the center.
Most homeowners prefer single bowl sinks over multiple bowl sinks as they offer ample space for washing bigger pots and pans. Also, cleaning is a breeze, as there is no divider between the basins.
If you have a small kitchen or prefer to use your kitchen sink for only one task at a time, then a single bowl sink is the best option for you.
- Multiple Bowl
Consider using a multiple bowl configuration if you want more flexibility when using your kitchen sink. This sink has two, three, or more bowls separated by dividers, making them ideal for kitchen setups that require additional prep space.
The most common type of multiple bowl sink is the double bowl sink. It is an excellent option if you have a lot of dishes to wash or you like multi-tasking. If you choose a double bowl sink, make sure that one basin is significantly larger than the other so that you can comfortably wash bulky cooking pots.
Triple bowl sinks are an excellent choice for large families or those who often entertain guests, as they offer plenty of room to wash dishes. However, they can be more challenging to use than single or double bowl sinks.
4. Decide On the Size and Shape
As you know, kitchen sinks come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, which can be overwhelming for you. This part of our kitchen sink buying guide will help you tackle this challenge head-on.
The size and shape of your kitchen sink will depend on your kitchen layout, the area available on your countertop, as well as the number of people who will use the sink. You may opt for a compact kitchen sink if you have a small kitchen. Conversely, if you have a large kitchen, you may choose a more spacious sink.
When it comes to the size of your sink, there are three main categories: small, medium, and large. Small sinks typically have a single bowl and measure around 16 inches wide. Medium sinks are about 20 inches wide and have two basins. Finally, large kitchen sinks are 24 inches or wider and come with three or more bowls.
As for the shape of kitchen sinks, the most common ones are rectangular, oval, and square. If you have a small kitchen, you may want to opt for a square or oval-shaped sink as they take up less counter space than rectangular sinks.
5. Choose Which Sink Will Suit Your Cleaning Style
Keeping the sink clean is another thing you need to consider when hunting for the best sink for your kitchen. Some kitchen sink materials are easier to clean than others.
Porcelain kitchen sinks, for example, can be easily wiped with a cloth, while stainless steel sinks may need more effort to keep them looking new. If you do not like scrubbing your sink frequently, then you may want to steer clear of materials such as stainless steel.
Choose a kitchen sink that is easy to clean and does not require too much effort or time to maintain. You may check reviews of different sinks to guide you in your decisions. Also, before making your purchase, be sure to read the maintenance and care instructions carefully.
6. Determine if the Sink is Compatible With Plumbing and Drainage
Another significant factor to consider when buying a kitchen sink is plumbing. Make sure to select a sink compatible with the drainage systems installed in your kitchen. Sinks come in different drain positions to accommodate various plumbing needs.
- Centered Drain
Sinks with center drains are the most commonly used kitchen sink. The drain is in the center of the kitchen sink, directly under the faucet, allowing for easy and faster water drainage.
This type of kitchen sink is compatible with most drainage systems. It also provides optimum access to the plumbing for easy maintenance and repairs. Center drain sinks are a good choice if you have a dishwasher or if you want to install a garbage disposal unit.
Sinks with center drains are ideal bar sinks and work well for island installations. They are suitable for kitchens with multiple users since the water flows directly towards the center.
- Offset Drain
Offset drain kitchen sinks have their drains located on one side of the sink instead of in the center. This sink type is ideal for kitchens with limited cabinet space as it allows corner installation.
Sinks with offset drains offer more usable space in the sink bowl, accommodating larger pots and pans without blocking the drainage. However, they are more challenging to install and are incompatible with some garbage disposal systems.
If you have a dishwasher, check the clearance of the drain hole to ensure that the sink will be able to accommodate the drainage hose of the dishwasher.
Whether you are planning to replace your existing kitchen sink or aiming for kitchen remodeling, it is crucial to choose the one that best suits your needs and preferences. By considering various factors such as installation, sink material, and size, you can never go wrong in finding the perfect sink for your kitchen.
Please let us know in the comment if this kitchen sink buying guide has been helpful to you. And if you enjoyed reading it, don't forget to share it with your friends and family—they may need a new kitchen sink too!