Choosing Your Kitchen Sink

If you use your kitchen much, there's no doubt you'll spend a lot of time at the sink. From food prep to cleanup, the sink plays an important role in your kitchen function. Selecting the right on means finding a sink that looks good while allowing you to use it the way you want. Here's what you need to know to make an informed choice.

Material

It used to be that you didn't have a lot of choice in sink materials, but that's changing. Let's look at some of the more common ones.

  • Stainless steel

    Today's most popular sink material is stainless steel. It is durable, easy to clean, and virtually indestructible. Scratches can be buffed out, and the material can blend into virtually any environment, from traditional to modern.

  • Porcelain (enamel-coated cast iron)

    Colorful and easy to clean, these sinks can chip or crack when a moderately heavy object is dropped on them, leaving the metal underneath susceptible to moisture. Even so, porcelain sinks used to be the standard and are still fairly popular. If you're hard on sinks, though, you may want to look at other options.

  • Solid surface

    If ease of cleanup is important to you, a solid surface sink that's an integral part of a countertop is a good option. However, the material can be prone to chip as well as damage from hot pots and pans.

  • Composite

    Made of crushed stone (usually quartz) mixed with polymers, solid surface sinks resist scratches and chips, and they don't show water spots. They typically come in at a lower price point, but the trade-off may be durability.

Number of bowls

Most traditional kitchen sinks come in a double-bowl configuration. They were originally intended for washing dishes, but dishwashers have significantly reduced that need. Depending how you use your sink, you may opt for one, two, or even three bowls-of uniform or varying size. If you wash a lot of pots and pans, consider a single bowl or an oversized bowl if you want a two- or three-bowl sink.

Bowl depth

Kitchen sinks have been steadily growing in bowl depth, but extra deep sinks have pros and cons. While they may be good for soaking (or hiding) dirty dishes, shorter or taller people sometimes find that they can be hard on their back. Today's average sink is eight to ten inches deep, though you can find some as deep as twelve or as shallow as six inches. Check out a kitchen showroom to see what feels right to you.

Mounting

The most common sink installation methods are known as undermount and drop-in. Undermount sinks attach to the underside of the countertops, offering a sleek, seamless appearance. Drop-in sinks are designed to drop into an appropriately sized opening in the countertop. Another type of sink is the farmhouse or apron sink, which incorporates a large apron that drops down the front of the sink or cabinets. These generally require cabinet modifications because the front of the sink is visible. Finally, integrated sinks are formed as part of the entire countertop. They offer a smooth custom look, but they can't be replaced without replacing the counter.

Number of holes

Number of holes. If you have a particular faucet in mind, you'll want to choose a sink that has the appropriate number of holes to accommodate it.