Here’s a detailed look at all the different types of kitchen sinks you can get for your kitchen. We discuss styles, sizes and materials.
You must choose a great kitchen sink that is more than just visually appealing. It must work well with your chosen kitchen faucet and also be one that is capable of handling all the general functions you plan on utilizing within its body.
While sinks can be expensive, they’re a fairly low cost item when compared to the overall cost of a kitchen (see our kitchen calculator here).
Kitchen sinks can be designed to support a variety of functions in mind. You can use a sink for washing dishes, preparing food, and much more. You have to choose a sink that is easy to maintain and suitable for the needs you hold.
With this in mind, let us take a look at a few of the different types of kitchen sinks you can get today. These include many sinks made with a variety of formats and materials, drop-in sinks, double bowl sinks, stainless sinks, copper sinks, cast iron sinks, ones with specially designed traps to catch waste food… the list is endless. This guide will throw everything at you—including, obviously, the kitchen sink.
See our diagram illustrating the parts of a kitchen sink here and parts of a kitchen faucet here.
Different Types of Kitchen Sink
An undermount sink is attached underneath your countertop. It uses the base structure of your cabinets to get support. This allows for a consistent look on your countertop.
This is made with solid surface countertops in mind. It can be installed on a marble or composite surface among other similar options but not on other choices.
2. Flush Mount
A flush mount choice is made with a surface that mixes in well with the rest of the countertop. The design allows the sink to come with one of two designs. First of all, it can be made with the same general color tone as what your countertop uses. Secondly, it may entail a body that is different from the rest of the countertop but mixes in well without any rising surfaces in the area.
A grout line should be applied in between the sink and the countertop to create a strong bond between the two while keeping the entire body consistent and smooth in its design. That grout line can be finished in a tone that blends in perfectly with both parts.
The farmhouse style, or apron sink as it is also called, is made with a rounded edge that matches up with what is on the inside of the basin. The sink can be added into the middle of a countertop although some cutting might be required. This creates a rustic appearance when used correctly and is common in rustic kitchen styles and farmhouse kitchens.
A self-rimming model uses a border that fits above the main cabinet countertop. It can be quickly affixed to a surface with a cement material or other adhesive. This is the easiest option for you to work with when getting something installed.
The rim is made to support the weight of the sink. It is a stronger option that is very easy to clean. It also creates a distinctive look in your kitchen. Best of all, it can be utilized on any kind of surface you have. You should check and see that the color matches up well with the rest of the surface and that any fixtures you add blend in just as well.
A quartz sink is typically designed on a much larger countertop. Many manufacturers will make their countertops where the sink is already installed in its body. This is easier to spot on a quartz surface than on anything else you might find.
6. Prep Sink
A prep sink is a much smaller type of sink that is made with smaller needs in mind. A prep sink is typically made with a minimal body that is used for preparing a series of foods. This can especially work when you’ve got to clean off produce or drain pasta among other things. Such a smaller sink can be paired with its own small tap as well.
A prep sink can also be referred to as a bar sink. A bar sink would be better used for things like cleaning off glasses for serving or preparing fancy drinks.
An island sink is made to combine a sink with a kitchen island. It uses a design that fits right in the middle of your kitchen and has a pillar that houses the necessary plumbing fixtures for it. This is made with decorative purposes in mind although it can be rather functional if you have a quality basin setup to work with. See 1,000’s of kitchen islands here.
There are many options to consider when finding quality materials for a kitchen sink no matter where you add it. Here are a few of the more common choices to find:
1. Stainless Steel
A vast majority of sinks on today’s market are made with stainless steel materials. This is thanks to how stainless steel offers an inexpensive option that is sturdy and easy to clean. It will not scratch easily and will fit in well with most countertop surfaces.
Do check when finding stainless steel sinks that you look at the gauge of the steel. The steel is typically measured from 15 to 24 gauge with the higher numbers being thinner. A sink with a lower gauge is stronger but also adds more weight and might cost more for you to get.
2. Cast Iron
Cast iron is made with a porcelain enamel finish for the most part. It is a very tough material that keeps scratches and other common problems from being an issue. This is powerful enough for a variety of needs but it can also be expensive due to its weight. Also, you would require some supports underneath the sink bowl for it to be kept up without being at risk of falling off from that added pressure and weight.
Composite materials are often used in sinks with a granite or quartz material involved. Those stone materials are crushed and mixed together with an adhesive to create a consistent body. This can hold up well to hot conditions.
Fireclay uses a ceramic clay material that is molded into a powerful shape. It then dries at a high temperature as a means of making it stronger. It is a great option but it can chip if too much pressure or force is added onto it at a given time.
While wood materials are typically not used in kitchen sinks (as wood is porous and easy to damage), bamboo wood has become a prominent choice in recent time. Bamboo wood is capable of handling water quite well without being at risk of warping or being damaged in some way.
Bamboo wood is thick and non-porous. It can be secured with a series of thick sheets that are secured with adhesives. It is powerful enough to last for a while and will not scratch easily. A water-resistant topcoat finish can always be applied onto its body for added protection and to ensure that its look stays consistent.
Kitchen sinks are made with a variety of configurations in mind. Here are a few of the more popular choices that you can come across when getting such a sink ready in your home:
This is designed with just one bowl and drain.
A double-bowl sink is made with two separate bowls that are of the same size. These come with their own particular separate drains.
This is like a double-bowl sink except that one bowl is made with a slightly larger body. You can use one part of the sink for preparing food while the other part can be used for cleaning off dishes.
The cost to get a kitchen sink is based heavily off of the size of that sink and its body. A basic design will cost about $200 to $500 to be added to your home.
It costs more to get a cast iron or quartz sink. While stainless steel sinks can go for $200 to $500, a cast iron sink can be up to $800 in value. That number will go well past at least $1,000 for a quartz sink.
Don’t forget to watch for any customized features on your sink. You must choose a good sink design that features an open body that is easy to handle.
Your kitchen sink will typically be about 18 to 22 inches in width and around 30 to 35 inches long. The basin should be about 20 to 24 inches deep. This should be enough to fit most kitchens. The individual basins, if you have multiple ones, should be of around the same size or with one that is a little larger than the other.
Added Features to Find
There are a few additional features worth taking a look at when it comes to getting a quality kitchen sink ready in your home:
A cover can be applied onto one of the drains in a sink. This could allow for water to be filtered through while solid waste is kept intact (discover our top 10 picks for under-sink water filters).
A dedicated hot water tap can be added to your sink. This would require a separate pump that is linked to a hot water tank or a material that can heat up the water as it moves through.
A hose can also be applied on the side of your sink. This can be brought out and used separately from the main tap. This should be used if you’re trying to clean off dishes and need a bit of extra help with cleaning something.
You could even get an added button added to trigger a garbage disposal feature (related: how to prevent and remove garbage disposal clogs). This can be added around the edge of the sink but it must also be linked to a separate power unit.
A drying rack area can be applied onto a sink. This should be added to the side part of the sink.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to common questions about kitchen sinks.
What are the standard kitchen sink sizes?
The interior width of the cabinet for the sink is the determinant of the maximum dimension of the kitchen sink. The most common base cabinet sizes for newly constructed structures are typical between 33 to 42 inches high and around 26 inches wide. To illustrate, a 33 by 22 inches sink will fill a base cabinet that measures 36 inches. The sink can come in a single bowl or a double bowl.
How deep are kitchen sinks?
Kitchen sinks can be from 8 to 10 inches in depth, depending on the homeowner’s needs. A ten-inch sink depth makes it a lot easier to prepare larger food items and easier to soak pots and pans. However, deeper sinks may be uncomfortable for those who are vertically challenged. Shallower sinks are much easier to reach and more convenient for prep work.
Can kitchen sinks be refinished?
Kitchen sinks that are dingy, stained, scratched, are showing some ugly cracks and rust can be fixed by a professional to make it look brand, spanking new. They can clean, fix chips and cracks, sand down the repairs, and apply a bonding agent without touching the plumbing. Refinishing is durable and effective enough to extend the life of the sink. Refinishing is even less expensive and less messy than a replacement.
Can kitchen sinks be painted?
Sinks come in different materials from acrylic, stainless steel, ceramic, and porcelain. If a homeowner wants a new sink color because he/she is bored, it can be done. These are the things to take care of. Porcelain and ceramic sinks can only be refinished professionally. Stainless steel and acrylic can be painted and repaired with proper painting preparation and the right painting materials like using epoxy paint, paint wax, paint powder etc. That being said, painting stainless steel can be difficult because the surface is smooth, making the cohesion process more difficult. But it can still be done, it just needs proper preparatory work and right set of tools and materials.
Can kitchen sinks be re-glazed?
Something as simple as baking soda can actually slowly begin to damage the surface of the sink. Reglazing services can stop the damage and make the sink look new once again. Professionals can reglaze the sink by adding a top coating for a seamless and gleaming surface.
Can kitchen sinks be resurfaced?
All old sinks can be resurfaced with ease thanks to modern technologies. With the advent of DIY kits in many home and hardware stores, just about anyone who can read instructions can do it on their own. If homeowners want to dispel from the Resurfacing a sink is so much cheaper than replacing the whole set. It is less of a hassle, too, because construction workers do not have to stay longer, create a mess, and disrupt the flow in the house. Resurfacing or re-enameling can breathe life into an old sink, making it much easier to clean because its surface is now smooth and new.
What kitchen sinks are popular?
Two types are very popular. First, large, stainless steel double sinks that are deep and wide to accommodate larger dishes.
Second, white, large farmhouse sinks are popular these days in any house with a historic decor such as rustic, farmhouse, colonial and the like.
How long does a kitchen sink last?
A kitchen sink can last for 15 to 30 years depending on how it is used. If homeowners work hard in maintaining their kitchen sinks, then do not have to worry about replacement all too soon.
Can kitchen sinks be recycled? If so, how?
Kitchen sinks can be recycled in many different ways from giving them away to those in need or repurposing them for different uses in your house. Discarded sinks can be used in the laundry room, can be used in the laundry room, fixed to place in the patio, used for a portable garden cart for washing veggies with your hose, utilized for your kids’ play area as a part of the cooking set, and can be refashioned for your bathroom.
Are kitchen sinks made of aluminum?
Aluminum sinks, though they resist corrosion and are resilient, are hardly found in the market when compared to the more popular stainless steel. The latter provides gets the same job done for cheaper.
What materials are kitchen sinks made of?
Kitchen sinks are actually made of many different materials, whose design and purpose vary to suit the needs of families who shall be using them. These are the 7 most popular materials for kitchen sinks:
- Stainless steel is the number one choice of most homeowners because of their durability, longevity, and affordability.
- Porcelain-enameled cast-iron skins are also a good kitchen staple because the durable material and glossy finish. This also comes in a wide variety of colors. However, it requires a little bit more gentle care and maintenance.
- Fire clay sinks are also used, and these are made of clay and minerals that have been fired and superheated at extreme temperatures. The upside is there is no risk of rusting.
- Acrylic is made of fiberglass, plastic, and resin, which a cost-efficient and attractive material, coming in a large variety of colors and designs. These are lightweight and resistant to staining. Should they scratch, it can be easily polished. Since acrylic sinks have a slight “give”, dropping glassware will not make them break easily. The only drawback is acrylic sinks do not have good heat resistance, but modern technology is slowly addressing that.
- Copper sinks are one of the most expensive choices out there for a kitchen sink material because it will not rust and exhibits anti-microbial properties.
- Solid surface sinks made of resin and mineral can be utilized for kitchen sinks because they are easy to clean and maintain. They can withstand super high temperatures, making this material a good choice for the kitchen.
- Stones sinks are another option, and they come in granite, composite or marble. These sinks are on the expensive side, a lot more heavy, and require special cabinets to support the weight.
Are kitchen sinks vented?
A sink vent is necessary for a plumbing fixture like the sink, so it can work properly. If a sink vent is not installed, draining will not be at its optimum level and sewer gases can enter the home.
Why can kitchen sinks smell or stink?
The primary reason why the kitchen sink can smell like crap is the accumulation of grease and other yucky debris in the drain. There could also be a problem with the kitchen trap which emits the smell.
Home Stratosphere is an award-winning home and garden online publication that’s a result of our talented researchers and writers who work directly with hundreds of professional interior designers, furniture designers, landscape designers and architects from around the world to create helpful, informative, entertaining and inspiring articles and design galleries.