16 Types of Kitchen Sinks: Different Materials and Styles
Identifying the best types of kitchen sinks for your space is one of the most daunting tasks in building or renovating a kitchen. Finding the best types of kitchen sinks are vital because the sink is one of the busiest spots in the kitchen. Kitchen sinks are also an important focal point and set the tone of the kitchen.
Kitchen sink options vary in distinct ways according to mounting style, appearance, basin configuration, and material used in their construction. We will walk through the various options to help you decide which sink will fit your needs the best.
Types of Kitchen Sinks by Mounting Style
The mounting style refers to the way that you install your kitchen sink. You should decide this based on the type of countertops you have, the appearance of the sink, and your style of maintenance.
Undermount Kitchen Sink
An undermount kitchen sink is installed below the level of the countertop. This mounting style minimizes visible distraction and works well for simple and modern kitchen styles. This mounting style requires significant support beneath the counters and works best with strong counters like quartz, solid surface, or natural stone.
- Clean and Sleek – Because there is no visible rim, countertops can create a continuous line.
- Easy Maintenance – It is easier to keep countertops clean as you can wipe debris from the counters straight into the sink.
- Resale Value – This gives your kitchen a custom look that is attractive to homebuyers.
- Installation – Professional installation is required.
- Cost – With the price of installation and cost of the sink, this is one of the highest cost sink installation methods.
- Replacement – The hole in the counter is measured to the exact specification of a particular sink, so to replace it can be difficult.
Drop-in Kitchen Sink
Drop-in kitchen sinks, also called self rimming or top mount sinks, feature a visible rim above the counter. Drop-in sinks are installed by making a rough cut hole in the counter and dropping the sink into this hole. The weight of this kind of sink is supported by the rim that sits on the counter, therefore not as much lower support is needed.
- Installation – This kind of sink is easy for anyone to install.
- Cost – You can keep your costs down by buying and installing this sink yourself.
- Counter Space – The rim along the edge of the sink takes up counter space.
- Continuous Flow – The visible rim interrupts the flow of the counters.
Farmhouse Kitchen Sink
A farmhouse kitchen sink has both a unique appearance and mounting style. This sink, also called an apron front sink, has a wide flat or rounded front side that is visible from the front of the cabinets. These types of sinks are heavy and require extra support under the cabinet. Farmhouse sinks can be undermount or drop-in along the sides and back but will always be exposed in the front. They require custom cabinetry to expose the front side.
- Size – These sinks are large with big basins to accommodate large pots and pans.
- Appearance – Farmhouse kitchen sinks have both an on-trend and timeless style that works well with many kitchen styles.
- Cost – Farmhouse sinks are more expensive than standard kitchen sinks.
- Installation – Farmhouse sinks are harder to install and may require a professional to do it increasing the overall cost.
- Space – These are large sinks that take up valuable counter space and may not work in smaller kitchen styles.
Integrated Kitchen Sink
Integrated kitchen sinks, also called integral sinks, are mounted together with the countertops as they are one piece. Integrated sinks and countertops are crafted from various materials but the most common are stainless steel, quartz, natural stone, acrylic, and solid surfaces like Corian.
- Seamless Appearance – There is no break between the sink and the counter, so it presents a clean style.
- Easy Maintenance – It is easy to clean the sinks and countertops because there is no seam where grime can get trapped.
- Customizable – Often fabricators can create the exact style of sink you want based on your specifications.
- Expensive – This kind of sink is more expensive than standard kitchen sinks.
- Replacement – If the sink or countertop gets damaged you cannot replace just one.
Vessel Kitchen Sink
A vessel sink is one that sits on top of the countertops. Some vessel sinks sit on top of the counter while others are recessed.
- Appearance – This type of sink style gives your kitchen a unique look.
- Installation – This installation requires no cutting of the countertops so the installation is easier.
- Stability – These sinks are secured at just one point, so they are not as stable as other installation types.
- Durability – These sinks feature exposed edges on each side, so they are prone to chipping and breaking.
Types of Kitchen Sink by Basin Configuration
There are different types of sink basin options. Single and double types of sinks are the most popular, though busy kitchens may require more basins.
Single Basin Kitchen Sink
Single basin kitchen sink types have a wide range of sizes and styles. They feature one small or large basin with no separation for other kitchen tasks like drying or food prep.
- Large Tasks – It is easier to wash large dishes, pots, and pans with one large basin.
- Appearance – Single basin sinks have a classic and timeless look that works well for traditional kitchen styles.
- Rinsing – There is no designated area to rinse dishes or to do food prep.
Double Basin Kitchen Sink
Double basin sinks are the most popular of sink types. They can feature two basins separated by a ridge the height of the edges of the sink. They can also feature dividers that are lower, rising just halfway up the basin sides.
- Separate Compartment – Two basins allow the separation of duties like washing, drying, and food prep.
- Single Basin Look – Low divide kitchen sink styles appear to be a single basin but allow the separation between basins.
- Size – Most double basins sinks are large and take up more space in the kitchen.
Multiple Basin Kitchen Sinks
Multiple basin sinks feature three or more basins. These often feature basins of different sizes, the smallest in the middle. These are large sink styles that work best in kitchens with large countertop areas.
- Flexibility – The multiple basins allow for flexibility of tasks.
- Size – Triple basins sinks are large and take up ample countertop space.
Types of Kitchen Sink by Material
One of the most important factors in choosing a kitchen sink is the material that fabricators use to manufacture the sink. This will impact the longevity and cost of the sink and the style that it reflects.
Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink
Stainless steel is one of the most popular types of kitchen sinks. This material is practical because it is durable, easy to maintain, and attractive. Practical stainless steel sinks include drainboard sinks that feature an area to dry dishes. Buy a 16-18 gauge stainless steel sink because these will be the most durable over time.
- Durability – Stainless steel can stand up to high levels of abuse and still remain solid.
- Easy Care – Stainless steel cleans up well with just a few basic cleaners.
- Clean – Stainless steel is antibacterial.
- Cost – Stainless steel sinks are the one of the best sink styles for people on a tight budget.
- Loud – Washing dishes on the hard surface of stainless steel is noisy.
- Hard Water Stains – Stainless steel sink styles show hard water stains more than white sinks.
Cast Iron Kitchen Sink
Cast iron kitchen sink styles feature a heavy cast iron base covered with an enamel coating. This is one of the best types of kitchen sink option if you want to create a historic or traditional kitchen design.
- Stain and Dent Resistant – The hard base and enamel covering is resistant to wear.
- Easy Care – Cast iron is one of the easiest sink types to maintain.
- Durable – Cast irons kitchen sinks will last 20-30 years.
- Weight – Cast iron kitchen sinks are some of the heaviest available. Most cabinets will require extra support.
- Expensive – These sinks are some of the most expensive options available.
Quartz Kitchen Sink
Quartz and quartz composite sinks are popular because they are durable, beautiful, and cost-effective. These are a mixture of quartz mixed with resins to bind the particles together.
- Durable – Quartz and quartz composite sinks are some of the most durable kitchen sink options lasting 40-50 years.
- Easy Care – These sinks are easy to keep clean and maintain over time and are resistant to scratching, staining, and denting.
- Sound Absorbing – Quartz is a good sound absorber, so it reduces the noise while washing dishes.
- Breakage – Quartz is a hard material, so glasses and dishes will break when dropped in the sink.
Granite Composite Kitchen Sink
Granite composite sinks give you the quality and durability of granite sinks without the high price tag. Granite composite features ground granite particles mixed with resin to bind them together.
- Durable – Granite composite sinks are some of the most durable kitchen sink options lasting for 40-50 years.
- Easy Care – Granite composite sinks are easy to keep clean and are resistant to scratching, staining, and denting.
- Sound Absorbing – The composite part of granite sinks bring a sound absorbing quality to the granite sink.
- Weight – Granite composite sinks are heavy and may require additional structural support.
Fireclay Kitchen Sink
Fireclay kitchen sinks are made by heating clay to a high degree. This creates a durable and beautiful sink type. These are one of the most popular types of materials available for farmhouse sinks.
- Durable – The high temperatures that are used to create fireclay sinks create a long-lasting sink that can withstand stains, scratches, and heat.
- Handcrafted – Fireclay sinks are handcrafted so each is unique.
- Weight – Fireclay sinks, similar to cast iron, are heavy and require additional structural cabinet support.
- Cost – Fireclay sinks are one of the more expensive types of kitchen sinks.
- Dents – Fireclay sinks are durable, but can chip or dent if you drop heavy objects on them.
Acrylic Kitchen Sink
Acrylic sinks are made from hard plastics that fabricators mold into various designs.
- Cost – Acrylic kitchen sinks are one of the least expensive varieties of kitchen sinks available
- Weight – Acrylic sinks are light and easy for DIY installation.
- Durability – Acrylic sinks are not durable compared to heavier sinks like fireclay and cast iron. They are not resistant to stains, scratches, dents, or heat.
Porcelain Kitchen Sink
Porcelain is one of the oldest types of materials for sinks. These sinks are made by heating elements at a high temperature to create a non-porous and smooth structure. One way to increase the durability of porcelain is to buy a porcelain sink with a vitreous china coating. Manufacturers also use porcelain as an enamel such as on a porcelain coated steel kitchen sink.
- Beauty – Porcelain has a smooth and silky finish that has a classic appearance.
- Durable – Porcelain sinks are durable and resistant to staining, scratching, and heat.
- Easy Care – Porcelain sinks are easy to keep clean with household cleaners.
- Weight – Porcelain sinks are heavy and may require extra structural support.
- Denting – Porcelain sinks may dent and chip if heavy objects are dropped on them.
Natural Stone Kitchen Sink
It is hard to beat the beauty and timeless appeal of a natural stone kitchen sink. These include materials like marble, soapstone, and granite.
- Style – Natural stone kitchen sinks have a one-of-a-kind look that creates a natural focal point for your kitchen.
- Durable – Natural stone sinks have the longest lifespan lasting upwards of 100 years.
- Resistant – Natural stone is resistant to scratching, staining, and heat.
- Variety – There are many different types of sinks made from natural stone, so you can choose a stone that suits your style.
- Cost – Natural stone kitchen sinks are some of the most expensive types of kitchen sinks available.
- Weight – Natural stone sinks are heavy and will require extra structural support.
- Maintenance – Natural stone is porous, so sinks will require sealing on a regular basis to maintain their resistance to water and stains.
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