Buyer's Guide, Resources + FAQs

A Guide to Kitchen Sink Types: Design, Materials + Sizes

If you’re anything like me, you spend an inordinate amount of time over the kitchen sink–it’s an important fixture that sees a lot of traffic day after day. While a sink might seem pretty straightforward, it’s important to find one that’s best for you and your lifestyle so that it serves the everyday use you’ll need it for.

Once you begin your search, you might be surprised to see how many different style of kitchen sinks are out there, and this makes it ever more challenging to find the right one. We’ve rounded up the different types of sinks, along with the pros and cons of different materials and mounting styles that go along with them.

Types of Kitchen Sink Design

The types of kitchen sinks are more varied than you might think. Each style has its own aesthetic that you might love or hate with its own set of unique uses. Take a look below to learn about the four main types of kitchen sink design: undermount, drop-in/self-rimming sinks, farmhouse sinks, and bar/prep sinks.

Undermount Sinks

These sinks are completely recessed beneath the countertop. No lips. No rims. No exposed edges. This makes it easy to wipe crumbs and debris off the counter into the sink. Additionally, they’re easy to clean and offer a clean and contemporary style. The Kubus Single Bowl Undermount Kitchen Sink is one of my favorites because of its seamless look and easy cleaning capabilities.

Drop-In or Self-Rimming Sinks

This kind of sink is installed directly into an opening in the counter with its ridges resting on top of the counter. It is easy to install, affordable and one of the most popular styles. The Modex Above Counter Kitchen Sink is cool because of its modern look and texture, and the side drainboard makes food prep mess-free.

Farmhouse Sinks

Also known as an “apron-front sink,” this sink has an exposed front that features a large, deep basin, which makes it easy to wash large pots and pans. Even though they offer a bit of a vintage, country style, these sinks still have a clean appearance to them for a modern kitchen. The Farmhouse 3018 Kitchen Sink has sturdy, long-lasting construction that perfectly matches its rustic look.

Bar/Prep Sinks

Smaller than your standard kitchen sink, prep sinks are perfect for bar areas where counter space is the more important feature. They are perfect for simple prep work like rinsing fruit for cocktails or cleaning the occasional highball glass. The Luna Bar/Prep Sink features a sweet, crescent moon shape that will give your kitchen some unique flair. You can even fill it with ice and let the drinks chill when you host a party.

Pros + Cons: Kitchen Sink Material Types

Choosing the type of kitchen sink material for your home will involve considering multiple factors that may be in opposition to one another. So, as you consider the pros and cons of these various sink materials, ask yourself these questions:

  • How would you describe the look of your kitchen, i.e. modern, rustic, contemporary?
  • Do you need to have many options, or are you able to customize your kitchen for any type of sink?
  • How much maintenance are you willing to do to keep the sink free of stains and blemishes?

Stainless Steel

Pros:

  • Popular and widely available
  • Great for achieving a sleek modern look
  • Durable material
  • Can last up to 30 years

Cons:

  • Noiser due to their thinner construction
  • More frequent cleaning required to avoid water spots
  • Susceptible to scratches
  • Sitting water can create imperfections if left alone for too long

Granite Composite (Silgranit)

Pros:

  • Nonporous material helps keep sinks cleaner
  • Better durability than granite
  • Resistant to scratches, stains and all household acids and alkali solutions

Cons:

  • Typically more expensive in comparison to other types of sinks
  • Due to being a newer type of material, the options that are available are not as diverse as other types of sinks

Copper

Pros:

  • Made of 100% recycled copper
  • Great for a natural, rustic look
  • Natural anti-microbial properties

Cons:

  • High maintenance material means more care is needed
  • Susceptible to dents and warpings due to copper sinks’ thinner construction

Cast Iron

Pros:

  • A cast iron sink’s porcelain finish provides lots of different color options to include in your kitchen’s design
  • A cast iron’s heavier weight means durability and dent prevention in comparison to lighter sinks such as stainless steel
  • The nonporous polished enamel finish allows for an easily cleanable and stain resistant sink

Cons:

  • Undermount installations require added support due to a cast iron sink’s large weight
  • The porcelain enamel can chip with enough pressure and can be scratched with abrasive cleaning tools
  • If chipping occurs and the interior cast iron is exposed to water, you may encounter rusting

Fireclay

Pros:

  • Great for household with kids
  • Less noise due to its heavier frame
  • Extra durable material can withstand heavy use
  • Resistant to scratches, stains, and chipping
  • Smooth surface is acid and alkali resistant

Cons:

  • More expensive than other materials
  • Due to their weight, fireclay sinks are generally more difficult to install without the help of a professional

NativeStone

Pros:

  • Comprised of natural jute fiber and cement
  • Eco-friendly and heavy duty
  • State-of-the-art nano sealer binds with the molecules in the concrete
  • Durable construction is resistant to stains, scratches, and cracks

Cons:

  • On the higher end of the price scale in comparison to other sinks types

Kitchen Sink Sizes

There are two main kitchen sink sizes: single basin and double basin. Choosing which size will depend largely on the type and complexity of your cooking and the number of people that live in your household.

Single Basin Kitchen Sinks

Single basins have a single basin. Simple to understand. Many people believe that having more sink bowls is better, but this isn’t necessarily true.

Single basin sinks are often available in compact sizes. But it’s important to note that a single bowl sink is going to be bigger than a double bowl that’s designed to fit the same space, making cleaning large dishes easier. Another benefit is they’re easier and faster to clean due to their lack of corners and edges. Also, they’re usually cheaper than multiple bowl varieties.

Double Basin Kitchen Sinks

If space isn’t an issue, a double basin kitchen sink is the way to go. Sinks with two bowls come in two different styles.

The first type is two bowls of differing sizes (a 60/40 offset). Having two different sinks let you perform a variety of tasks: Prep food. Clean dishes. They typically have one sink that is around 18 inches wide and another that is 14 inches wide. The idea is that you can clean dishes in one sink and prep food in the smaller one. They’re also good for washing dishes you don’t want to put in the dishwasher: soap in one basin, rinse water in another.

If, on the other hand, you’re a fan of symmetry, a sink with two bowls of equal size (a 50/50 sink) might be the way to go. You still have the benefits of performing multiple tasks in them, but they add a bit more balance to your kitchen.

Now that you know the basics, the search for the perfect sink will be much easier. Shop the various styles of modern kitchen sinks at YLiving.

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Rhyen Clevenger

Rhyen Clevenger

Rhyen Clevenger is a site merchandiser at YBath. While he is new to the bath team, it does not hinder his enthusiasm for decorative plumbing. On the weekends he enjoys curling up with his fiancé and watching some good science fiction.

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