Picking a Sink? Use our Pros & Cons guide to help you narrow down which sink is best for you!
How to choose the right kitchen sink
Kitchen sinks are by far the most used fixture in the kitchen. Consider how many times a day you use your kitchen sink compared to the number of times you use your stove or microwave. Considering the evolution of the kitchen into the multi-functional hub of activity in the home, sinks have had to evolve as well. The result is a wide array of choices including everything from materials to bowl configuration. This means that a lot more thought needs to go into choosing the right kitchen sink, in terms of design and functionality, for your home.
First, you need to be aware of all the choices and options that are now available to you. Sinks have come a long way over the years and they are no longer considered just a wash basin.
Next, you need to have a good understanding of what your needs and preferences are and whether you’re simply replacing an existing sink or doing a complete kitchen remodel.
Combining these two areas of information will help you find matches that will provide a new sink you will be satisfied with.
“By far the most popular material for kitchen sinks, stainless steel sinks are heat and stain resistant and are available in a variety of types, styles and sizes. I recommend going for a brushed or satin finish rather than a mirror finish — water marks and scratches will be less noticeable. Also, look for sinks that have sound-absorbing pads on the bottom. Consumer Reports recently tested stainless steel sinks and found that these pads, rather than sound-absorbing spray or a thicker gauge of steel, performed best in reducing the noise commonly associated with stainless steel sinks.”
Durability – A stainless steel sink should remain attractive for many years. The steel surface will not become marred or chipped from impacts and it does not suffer damage from exposure to heat and cold. Stainless steel should not rust, stain or tarnish.
Affordability – When you compare stainless steel to other materials, it is usually more affordable. While prices will vary depending on the size and configuration of a sink, stainless steel is usually one of the least expensive sink options.
Easily Maintained – The stainless steel surface is easy to clean. In addition, stainless steel does not require special cleaning processes to keep it beautiful. The stainless steel surface does not harbor bacteria.
Versatile – Stainless steel fits the decor and style of virtually any kitchen. In addition, it’s possible to shape stainless steel into a customized space. Stainless steel also comes in a variety of finishes to fit different kitchen styles.
Noisy – Because the stainless steel material is so thin, you may notice increased noise as you use the sink from objects bumping up against the sink surfaces. Higher quality stainless steel may have an additional coating over the stainless steel to eliminate some of the vibrations that can cause noise.
Scratching – With continued use, you may notice fine scratches appear in a stainless steel sink. Although these scratches should not mar the surface in an extreme way, you will probably notice them. Also, if you regularly allow drops of water to sit on the stainless steel surface, these droplets may cause small imperfections in the surface of the steel over time. The simple solution to avoid this is to always dry the stainless steel surface after using the sink.
Color – If you have your heart set on a bold color for your kitchen sink, stainless steel probably won’t deliver. While stainless steel comes in a variety of finishes, the overall appearance will always have a silver finish.
“Composite granite sinks are my go-to sink, both for my clients and my own kitchen. They are good-looking, durable and don’t show water marks or scratches the way stainless steel sinks do. They come in a variety of neutral hues, but I prefer the darker grays, browns and black because they camouflage food filth the best. This is my own sink pictured here, and I must confess, I don’t clean it nearly as often as I probably should because it never looks dirty. Although these sinks are durable, they can crack if mishandled — I’ve heard stories of sinks being damaged during shipping. Always inspect your composite sink thoroughly before installation to make sure it suffered no trauma during transit.”
Durability. Quality composite granite sinks are formed under high pressure, making them nonporous, hygienic, and resistant to heat, stains, scratches, and chips. Plus, unlike natural granite, a composite granite sink surface won’t require sealing.
Variety. You’ll find a wide range of styles, sizes, shapes, finishes, and color options to complement your countertops. White, black, and brown remain the most popular color choices.
Consistency. An authentic granite stone sink features the natural variations of stone throughout the material. A composite granite sink, however, features uniform color throughout the material.
Cost. A composite granite sink generally costs less than a natural granite sink.
Durability. Harsh chemicals can damage a composite granite sink, so follow the manufacturer’s suggestions for cleaning the surface as well as products to avoid pouring into the sink. Some composite granite sinks can be damaged by heat, resulting in blemishes from melting resins, and the material does scratch. Check the manufacturer warranty and select a product designed for high heat-resistance.
Color uniformity. If you want the authentic look of granite, a composite granite sink is uniform in pattern and color and doesn’t feature variations like natural granite.
Costs. Quality composite granite sinks are more costly than sink materials such as stainless steel and porcelain.
“Manufactured from clay fired at an extremely high temperature, fireclay sinks are highly resistant to scratches, staining and chipping. Cleanup is easy — just dish soap on a sponge, or use a mild abrasive cleanser for tougher marks. These are the sinks I recommend for anyone who wants a white kitchen sink.”
Durable, glossy finish
Limited sizes and colors
The sink can chip.
Hard on dishes
An imported item that’s not standard can slow down your job while you’re waiting for it to come in from overseas.
“Clad in a tough enamel finish, this is another highly durable sink I recommend for white sink fans. It comes in other colors, too, but I’d suggest avoiding faddish colors for items that you want to keep around for a long time, such as your kitchen sink. Keep in mind that cast iron sinks are heavy, so make sure your cabinets are structurally sound and you provide adequate support for the sink.”
Has a substantial, traditional look
comes in many colors and styles
retains heat – good for hand-washing dishes
white is affordable.
Durable, but prone to chipping,
Very heavy – make sure your counter top can support it.
Do-it-yourselfers should get help buying, transporting and installing this type of sink.
Unforgiving for dishes
Colors and contoured shapes can be pricey
“In the market for something different? Copper sinks are big on charm and also happen to be rust-resistant and antimicrobial, making them a great choice for the kitchen. Just be sure to select a high-quality copper sink that is at least 99 percent pure copper — a small amount of zinc may be added for strength. Avoid harsh chemicals with these beauties and instead clean up with a mild soap and water, according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.”
Copper sinks are the most popular for their aesthetic beauty. They exude a distinctive style that is sure to make your kitchen or bathroom appear more upbeat and fresh. Often, a copper sink is created from a single sheet, hammered and exposed to water and air to form patina. This gives a deep and enriched hue to the copper, which is fancied by hordes of customers. In case you prefer the original copper color, you can simply get it coated to preserve that color
Copper metal has a bevy of essential antimicrobial properties, which makes it an enviable choice for kitchen sinks. In traditional sink materials, harmful bacteria can survive for weeks, causing significant hazards to human health. However, in copper sinks, bacteria tend to die within a couple of hours. They are particularly for people who soak vegetables or wash dishes regularly in their sink, which is pretty much everyone.
One of the best features about copper sinks is that they are available in a variety of styles, offering ample choice for people to pick one they like. As per your taste, you can choose copper sinks with a smooth finish or a hammered out one. And if you prefer uniqueness, there are copper sinks with artistic designs. However, sinks with an array of different copper tones are also available
Another advantage of copper sinks is that they do not corrode or rust over extensive usage or with time. The anti-rusting property of copper makes it an ideal choice for any sink.
One of the major problems with copper sinks is that their reactivity is very high which causes the metal to darken over time. Copper sinks easily stain as well. Furthermore, the patina of the copper sink can become damaged due to acidic liquids such as orange or lemon juice, and even toothpaste. A hot utensil or abrasive cleaners can also cause damage to the smooth or hammered finish of copper sinks.
The lower-gauge models can easily warp and dent, needing a repair or replacement in a short time span, which can be expensive.
Maintaining copper sinks is also laborious and time-consuming. After every use, you have to dry the sink with a towel to prevent water spots from developing. Frequent cleaning with water and basic or gentle soap is also essential to keep the finish intact. You have to periodically wax and shower the copper sink to retain its shine and appeal.
Copper sinks are more expensive than traditional sinks such as stainless steel, porcelain, or ceramic ones.