How To Choose a Kitchen Sink? (6 Step Guide)

Last Updated On May 26, 2022
How to choose a kitchen sink

Is it time to upgrade your kitchen sink, or are you building a new home? The right kitchen sink can increase the aesthetic appeal of your kitchen, add more counter space, make cleanup easier, and even make the food taste better. However, how do you know which type of kitchen sink is best for you? 

In this PlumbingNav guide, we will cover:

  • What you need to know about how to choose a kitchen sink
  • Resources for how to choose a kitchen sink 
  • How to choose a kitchen sink 

What's In This Guide?

      What You Need To Know About How To Choose A Kitchen Sink

      How Your Kitchen Sink Works

      When you open the kitchen sink faucet, water comes from the supply lines and flows into the sink’s basin (assuming the shut-off valve is open). A mesh screen in the faucet hole, known as the faucet aerator, helps regulate water flow. 

      TIP: If you want to lower your water waste in your kitchen, look for a faucet with a Water Sense logo on it. These products can’t produce water higher than 2.2 gallons per minute (GPM).  

      The water exits down the kitchen sink drain while a strainer collects food waste and other debris, such as soap scum so that they don’t create a kitchen sink clog. Anything that does accidentally get past the strainer, such as a ring, will fall into the P trap, specifically designed to catch items before they get lost forever. Water continues to flow through the main line and to the drain pipe, and away from the household. 

      Many kitchen sinks also have a garbage disposal that grinds up food waste and sends it through your plumbing. (Some people unknowingly put things down their garbage disposal that may damage the disposal or cause clogs, so be aware of this.)

      Kitchen Sink Material Options

      The sink material will determine several factors, including appearance and durability. It can also determine how easy it is to clean. 

      Some of the most common materials are:

      • Cast iron – A cast iron sink is very heavy. Plus, the stain-resistant and porcelain coating, while having multiple color options, may chip but is still extremely strong and long-lasting
      • Stainless steel – Chip-resistant and moderately durable yet lightweight. A stainless steel kitchen sink is also cost-effective but may stain if it comes into contact with bleach or more easily show scratches
      • 100% granite/Granite composite – A granite composite sink or granite sink is extremely attractive, durable, and easy to clean but on the expensive side 
      • Copper – A modern copper sink can resist corrosion and last longer than stainless steel. However, it doesn’t fit most modern design schemes and needs special care when cleaning.  
      • Acrylic – An acrylic sink is inexpensive, even less costly than stainless steel, and you can pick from a large number of colors. However, made from plastic, acrylic doesn’t hold up to heat very well. 
      • Fireclay – For an upscale option, you want a fireclay sink. These are made from nonporous material and skillfully made that will last longer than almost all other options. However, you will pay for the high quality, and the material can stain if not cared for properly. For a great option that is less expensive, see the one we chose on our Kraus review.

      Most people choose composite sinks, stainless steel sinks, or fireclay sinks in the kitchen.

      did you know How to choose a kitchen sink

      Signs You Need a New Kitchen Sink

      Corrosion

      If you have a metal sink, it may experience corrosion as it ages. 

      Corrosion refers to the natural process of metal deterioration as it turns to rust. Not only does this negatively impact the look of the sink, but the rust can also dramatically impact the quality of the fixture’s drinking water. 

      Granite sinks, fireclay sinks, acrylic, and of course stainless sinks don’t succumb to corrosion. 

      Mold and Mildew

      Even more of a concern than corrosion in the kitchen is mold. Mold develops in warm, moist areas, like the kitchen. 

      To prevent mold in your kitchen: 

      • Clean sink regularly with bleach
      • Provide ample ventilation by opening windows
      • Use a dehumidifier
      • Fix plumbing leaks immediately
      • Use a kitchen caddy

      Kitchen Sink Clog

      If you develop a kitchen sink clog, you may notice the sink not producing the same water pressure as before. In most cases, you can resolve a stubborn sink clog yourself with a caustic drain cleaner. 

      If multiple treatments don’t work,  it may be time to get a brand new sink altogether. Once you install your new sink, use a safe and all-natural enzymatic drain cleaner every month as part of your regular plumbing maintenance to prevent a clog from developing again in the future. 

      Types of Different Kitchen Sinks 

      Top mount Sink

      Top mount sinks fit into the hole in your counter using a rim to hold it in place, preventing it from falling. Top mount sinks are easier to install than undermount sinks, but the rim takes up a bit more room than other options. Any kitchen sink material can be installed as a top mount sink.  

      You may also sometimes hear this type of sink referred to as an overmount sink or drop-in sink.

      Undermount Sink 

      Undermount sinks attach to the lining from underneath the counter, requiring mounting and an epoxy sealant. You won’t have a visible lip, but installation is much more difficult. Most undermount sinks cost more, too. 

      Undermount sinks require a solid surface material, meaning you won’t find undermount porcelain sinks or undermount acrylic sinks. 

      Pro Tip: Some kitchen sink models come with the option to install them either as an undermount sink or top mount sink if you want the option. 

      Farmhouse Sink (Apron sink)

      Farmhouse sinks, or apron sinks, contain a distinct sink style that goes explicitly with a traditional design. The front apron protrudes out past the counter, giving you more depth, which can help when you need to wash large items. 

      Farmhouse sinks usually consist of one giant, single basin big enough to wash even the largest pots and pans.

      Workstation Sink 

      A workstation sink provides for plenty of workspace in the kitchen by providing perfectly-sized accessories, such as a cutting board or rack, you may need to get the job done at a double bowl sink

      You may cover one basin with the cutting board to work then use the second basin for washing or disposing of food waste. 

      Many workstation sinks also come with a faucet and soap dispenser. 

      Integrated Sink

      An integrated sink is a sink and countertop as one combined unit, adding a cohesive appearance and elegance to the design. While not customizable after the fact and rather expensive, you can’t beat the aesthetic appeal.

      How To Choose A Kitchen Sink (5 Steps)

      Step 1: Clarify Your Goals

      What do you want to get out of your new kitchen sink? 

      Some common goals and generalized best solutions include:

      • Producing less water waste – workstation double sink with Water Sense faucet and kitchen sink stopper.
      • Durability – iron sinks or fireclay sinks
      • Increasing counter space – undermount sink or corner sink 
      • Improving aesthetic appeal – integrated undermont sink made out of granite or fireclay 
      • Reduce corrosion – fireclay, acrylic, or granite composite sinks 
      • Food and water safety – while safe, you may want to consider a different option than stainless steel

      Step 2: Establish Your Budget

      Your new sink will come with a price tag. 

      Establish exactly how much you want to pay for your new sink, including installation. The cost varies greatly depending on your specific needs and wants and whether you plan to do any of the installation yourself. 

      Stainless steel sinks and drop-in single bowl sinks provide good value at a low price tag. 

      Step 3: Determine Size 

      The correct size sink will not take up too much countertop space while still giving you plenty of space to wash large pots and pans. While the amount of space depends on your preferences, most people need at least three feet of workspace.

      You need to ensure that your cabinet underneath the sink has just a bit more room than the length of the sink itself. For example, a 36” cabinet should only support a 33” sink at maximum. 

      Generally speaking, the average size for a double basin kitchen sink is either 30 inches or 33 inches. Smaller sinks with a single bowl are available in multiple sizes. Some people include a smaller bar sink or prep sink somewhere in the kitchen for smaller needs.  

      In order to save space, some people use a corner sink. 

      For the easiest installation possible, you will use the size of the old sink. If you want to make it larger, that will require additional work. However, sometimes, you absolutely need to go bigger. See this post where we go in-depth on how to measure for a new sink.

      Step 4: Pick the Type of Sink You Want

      We introduced you to the different types of sinks as well as their benefits.  

      At this time, you should be able to focus your shopping to your favorite materials and styles, always leaving room for other options in your peripheral. 

      You will also need to determine if you need a faucet and soap dispenser as part of the setup, or if you have your own you want to use. 

      Also, keep in mind how your kitchen design can contribute to your family relationships. The right kitchen design can bring everyone together to create memories richer than granma’s cheesecake recipe. 

      Step 5: Purchase and Schedule Installation

      At this time, you need to shop around to see the various options and how they compare in price. Once you find the sink that provides you with everything you want at the right price, make your purchase. 

      You not only need to shop around in regards to the sink itself but also the cost of installation. Complicated sink installation requires a professional plumbing contractor. Furthermore, many warranties require professional installation. 

      However, homeowners with a significant amount of DIY experience may be able to install the sink themselves. If you do attempt to install the sink yourself, research local regulations and requirements to ensure you adhere to all local ordinances for a useable kitchen

      FAQs For How To Choose A Kitchen Sink

      How do I choose a kitchen sink?

      Follow these simple steps to choose your kitchen sink:

      Step 1: Clarify Your Goals

      Step 2: Establish Your Budget

      Step 3: Determine Size 

      Step 4: Pick the Type of Sink You Want

      Step 5: Purchase and Schedule Installation 

      Which is the best sink for the kitchen?

      The best sink depends on your specific need, but we encourage you to look into fireclay and granite composite kitchen sinks. 

      How do I choose a kitchen sink size?

      To choose a sink size, you need to consider objects you plan to wash in the sink as well as how much counter space you need and the size of the cabinet underneath the sink. 

      What is the most popular kitchen sink size?

      Most kitchen sinks are either 30” or 33”.

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      About Plumbing Navigator

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      We write about “all things plumbing,” helping you navigate common questions, repairs, and the best plumbing products on the market.

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