How to buy a kitchen sink
A kitchen sink buying guide
A great way to liven up a kitchen is with a new kitchen sink. When considering how to buy a kitchen sink, imagine what you would like it to look like, how large it should be and what shape best fits your needs. As you follow along in this kitchen sink buying guide, you will have a better understanding of what options are available for your home and lifestyle.
>> Consider bowl configuration
The bowl configuration plays a part in deciding which kitchen sink to buy. Size, number of bowls, orientation, depth and the number of holes needed, can all influence how to buy a kitchen sink.
Sink size - The average kitchen sink size of 33" x 22" will fill a 36" cabinet. Two-bowl sinks are approximately 48" wide and three-bowls are up to 60" wide. The majority of cabinets are 36" - 42" high and 25 1/4" - 26" wide. When replacing an existing sink, purchase one to fit the current cabinet. Some cabinets may have a bit of expansion room to allow larger sink. For new construction, a kitchen sink comparison may be worth considering while looking at new kitchen cabinets.
Number of bowls - To determine the number of kitchen sink bowls you need, look at how you use a sink and the size of your kitchen. A small kitchen may do well with a single bowl. Kitchens with more than one cook may need a double or more. There are three basic options when it comes to the number of bowls.
- Single bowl sinks: This kitchen sink style uses less room than other bowl configurations. The typical maximum size is 33" wide, which gives plenty of space for large dishes and bulky pots and pans.
- Double bowl sinks: Kitchen double sinks allow for separating tasks like washing in one and rinsing in the other. These kitchen sink designs can be as large as 48" wide.
- Triple bowl sinks: This style features a third, smaller bowl, commonly used for food prep. This type of kitchen sink is usually available up to 60" wide.
Bowl orientation - Consider how you wash dishes, left to right or right to left. When you have two or more bowls, the orientation is affected by a garbage disposal and dishwasher if present. The most effective setup puts the sink with the disposal on the same side as the dishwasher. For sinks of different sizes, the smaller sink used for rinsing is the most efficient when on the same side as the dishwasher.
Bowl depth - For most kitchen sink designs, the average bowl depth is eight to ten inches. Look for a ten inch bowl if you use large pots and pans.
Holes - Kitchen sinks normally have one to five holes on the back edge of the bowls. Kitchen sink accessories, such as soap dispensers, sprayers and faucets, will all have their own hole requirements.
>> Consider types of mounting
While learning how to buy a kitchen sink, consider how it will be mounted. The counter top construction and your kitchen sink design will influence how to mount it.
Counter top requirement
|Drop-In or Top Mount ||Rimmed ||Any ||Hole is pre-cut. Sink edge is slightly recessed into the counter and covered by a metal rim. |
|Self Rimmed ||Any ||Hole is pre-cut. Sink rim sits on top of the counter top. Lighter sinks will require clips and screws to secure. |
|Under Mount ||Solid surface options are best. Not for laminate counters. || Kitchen under mount sinks install under the counter. No rim offers easy clean up. Consider an under mount sink kit to simplify the installation process. Holes for faucets and other accessories will need to be cut into the counter top. |
|Apron Front or Farm House Sinks ||Best with solid surface or tile. ||Available in both under mount and tile-in styles. This is best if completed with both sink and cabinet on hand for the entire install procedure. Faucets and other tools will be mounted into the counter. |
|Tile In ||Tile ||Made with flat straight edges and sharp corners. These sinks are custom fit with the counter top. Sink rim will be flush with the counter top. |
|Wall Mount ||Any ||This style is mounted with a bracket and have a built-in back splash. This sink works well with wall mount faucet styles. |
|Bar Sinks, Kitchen Utility Sinks ||Any ||Best for islands or bars. Work well in areas other than the kitchen. |
>> Consider kitchen sink materials
As some kitchen sink materials are more durable than others, the decision of how to buy a kitchen sink will be influenced by the type of material the sink is made from. There are many different types of kitchen sink materials to help meet your needs.
Stainless steel - Stainless steel kitchen sinks are immensely popular. This is one of the best kitchen sinks to buy because it won't chip, crack, fade or stain. Stainless steel is one of the easiest to keep sanitary and germ free for you and your family as well.
Cast iron - For a heavy, solid sink, take a look at enameled cast iron sinks. Cast iron can be the best sink to buy because it typically lasts much longer than most standard sinks. An advantage to the enamel coating is a wide variety of color is possible. It is recommended for these types of kitchen sinks that a sink rack or matte be used to protect the finish.
Solid surface - Also called engineered stone, this sink material has a solid stone-like feel that looks like granite or marble. It comes in a wide range of colors and is heat and stain resistant. Many under mount sinks are made of this material.
Cast acrylic - This kitchen sink collection is the lightest built. Drop-in sinks of this material will need to be anchored down with screws to secure it. This style of material tends to resist stains and can be ordered in germ-resistant options.
Fire clay and vitreous china - This kitchen sink collection has a ceramic base mixed with porcelain and is then fired to achieve its glossy finish. Often called Country or French Country style sinks, the fire clay or vitreous china sinks are extremely durable and have many color options including hand-painted or sculpted designs.
Copper - The copper kitchen sink designs offer beauty and a special warmth to a kitchen. Created from high grade, heavy-duty gauged copper and hand-hammered into shape, they can last a lifetime. Copper will resist discoloration, stains and fading and bacteria can not grow on the surface.
>> Consider specialty sinks
The specialty kitchen sink collection offers added convenience for larger kitchens as well as other areas in the home. A home bar would benefit from a bar sink, or for a kitchen island, a small kitchen utility sink is a nice addition. Kitchen corner sinks allow for more efficient use of counter space, and large, stand-alone utility sinks can be handy in a laundry room.
Consider this information on how to buy a kitchen sink, along with your personal style preferences, to find the best kitchen sink for you.