In the world of kitchen renovation and high-tech appliances, kitchen sinks “get no respect.” But although fancy stoves, towering refrigerators, and gleaming racks full of shiny pots and pans are the elements most people drool over when designing a kitchen, they soon realize they spend way more time at the sink than virtually anyplace else in the kitchen.
The kitchen sink is one of the most multifunctional and least appreciated fixtures in a home. After all, no one likes to face a sink full of dirty dishes at the end of the day (or worse, the morning after). Still, there are ways to make this utilitarian fixture a stylish, functional, and sophisticated addition to your kitchen. Whether you’re looking for contemporary chic or traditional trendy, this guide showcases the best kitchen sinks available in several categories as well as a handy selection of tips and techniques to help you decide on the one for you.
- BEST OVERALL: Ruvati 32-inch Low-Divide Undermount Double Stainless
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Kraus KWF210-33 Kore Workstation Farmhouse Single
- BEST GRANITE COMPOSITE: Kraus KGF1-33 White Bellucci Granite Quartz Composite
- BEST CAST IRON: KOHLER Brookfield Drop-In Cast Iron Double Bowl
- BEST COPPER: SINKOLOGY Adams Farmhouse/Apron-Front Copper Single
- BEST FIRECLAY: BOCCHI 1138-001-0120 Classico Apron Front Fireclay
- BEST FARMHOUSE: VIGO Camden Stainless Steel Undermount Apron Front
- BEST DOUBLE BOWL: Kraus Standard PRO Undermount Stainless Steel
- BEST UNDERMOUNT: Zuhne Modena Undermount Stainless Single Bowl
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Kitchen Sink
Unless you are designing and building a new kitchen from scratch, you are probably going to want to situate your new kitchen sink in the same place as the previous one to avoid costly relocation of plumbing and drains. Even within the same basic space, numerous considerations come into play when replacing a sink, such as how it mounts and the best material, color, and style for your renovated kitchen.
Top-mount vs. Undermount
There are several different mounting styles to consider when replacing your kitchen sink. The two most common are “top-mount” sinks, also known as drop-in sinks, and undermount sinks. Which you choose depends on the type of countertop material you have and the type of sink material you choose.
A top-mount sink is generally the most popular configuration, mainly because it is the easiest to install and can go with virtually any type of countertop material. The name is fairly self-explanatory; the sink drops into a precut hole in the countertop with the edge or rim holding it in place on the counter. These are also known as “self-rimming” sinks. Some top-mount sinks also come with clips or screws for extra stability. Because installation is easier, top-mount sinks are generally less expensive than undermount varieties.
An undermount sink is also a descriptive term, with this type of sink installing from underneath the counter. This eliminates the lip or rim on the top of the sink and is typically used with solid-surface countertops, such as granite. The undermount sinks have a sleeker look and can make cleanup easier, since countertop debris can be brushed easily into the sink.
There are many different styles and configuration combinations of kitchen sinks and each has its own benefits, although there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Some of the most common kitchen sink styles include:
- Double basin/bowl. Many families prefer a sink with two bowls: one for hot sudsy water and the other for rinsing, or one for soaking tough, encrusted pots and pans and the other for doing a regular washup. One of the most interesting new developments in double-basin sinks is the double-bowl, low-divide sink, which offers the benefit of two basins but can also accommodate pots with long handles.
- Single basin/bowl. Single-basin sinks are the most common and least expensive configuration and offer the advantage of accommodating large pots, pans, and platters, all of which might require soaking prior to scrubbing.
- Farmhouse/apron front. An old traditional style has made a comeback in recent years—the farmhouse or apron-front sink. These typically feature a large and deep single bowl and exposed front and are often paired with a wall-mounted faucet. This style is particularly good for soaking and cleaning very large pots, pans, and platters. The size and construction of this sink can lead to higher costs than for other sink types, largely because it requires special cabinetry. The deep basin requires a dedicated special base or modified cabinetry, which can add to the expense.
- Drainboard. Another old-time classic that’s becoming trendy again are sinks with built-in drainboards, which allow you to prep vegetables and let them drain without messing up the counter. The drainboard also provides space to drain pots, pans, and utensils. The only downside is that the drainboard takes up valuable counter space, and therefore what you gain in versatility you lose in real estate.
- Island/bar/prep. A bar, prep, or island sink is typically a small, auxiliary sink that you can use for making cocktails, preparing food, or to prevent cross-contamination of different types of foods. These small accessory sinks are usually made of stainless steel and located in a separate area of the kitchen or sometimes in a different room.
- Corner. If your kitchen can accommodate a corner sink, you might want to consider either an L-shaped or rectangular design. Corner sinks create a more flexible counter configuration and provide more under-sink storage.
- Workstation. The term “workstation sink” often refers to sinks that come with a variety of accessories that allow you to convert the sink area into food preparation and serving space. These accessories can include cutting boards, colanders, drying trays, warming racks, and similar items that enhance the versatility of the sink area without using additional counter space.
The shape and style of a kitchen sink are often determined by the size. If you are renovating the kitchen, you might be limited in the existing footprint. The three dimensions you will need to consider are the length, also known as the side-to-side dimension; the width, also called the front-to-back measurement; and the depth.
Standard kitchen sinks typically range in size from 22 inches long for a single bowl to 48 inches long for a double bowl or farmhouse style. They generally range in width from 24 to 32 inches, depending on the width of the supporting cabinetry. Smaller bar or prep sinks are designed to fit into a corner or on a kitchen island, and usually run anywhere from 10 to 22 inches long and 8 to 10 inches wide.
A standard kitchen sink depth is 8 to 10 inches, although more cavernous sinks, running between 12 and 15 inches deep, are available if you are willing to sacrifice under-sink storage space.
Modern materials have made their mark on kitchen sinks, and shoppers can find a wide variety of choices available at an equally wide range of price points. Choices encompass metals, stone, ceramics, and various man-made materials. Here are some of the most popular materials used in kitchen sinks:
- Stainless steel is the single most popular material used in kitchen sinks. Stainless steel is lightweight, inexpensive, durable, low-maintenance, and can fit into both traditional and contemporary decorating environments. The thickness of stainless steel is known as the gauge; higher gauges are thinner and lower-gauge sinks are thicker and more expensive. There are also different finishes available, including shiny mirror finishes and satin lustrous looks. Steel is easy to clean, although over time the finish might become scratched and dull. Mirror finishes also can show water spots.
- Granite, quartz, and granite composite are extremely popular choices, although natural granite sinks are among some of the most expensive. Granite and quartz are natural stones and feature a pleasing, varied appearance due to the different minerals that make up the stone. Granite and quartz are often found together in nature and are also often combined in kitchen sinks and countertops. The two stones are extremely durable but can chip, crack, or scratch if mistreated. Granite composite combines the beauty of natural stone with a percentage of resin, typically 95 percent stone to 5 percent resin. The added resin makes the sink harder and more durable so it can resist chips, scratches, and cracks. Both granite and granite composite sinks are heavier than many other choices and might require special installation, which adds to the expense.
- Cast iron covered in a thick enamel coating was formerly the de rigueur construction of choice for kitchen sinks, but has slipped a bit in popularity as other materials have become trendy. Cast iron coated with enamel is heavy, durable, easy to clean, and can last a lifetime. The enamel can be tinted in virtually any color to match your personal decor. Lighter colored enamels might stain, but they can typically be cleaned with nonabrasive commercial stain remover.
- Fireclay and vitreous china are both different types of ceramics, made from clay and “fired” at high temperatures. These materials typically have a more rustic appearance. They are durable and easy to clean; however, they can be prone to chipping and also may be fairly heavy. Vitreous china was once used primarily in bathroom sinks but is now being used for kitchen sinks as well.
- Copper is a beautiful metal that can be hammered or molded with a variety of designs, making it a lovely addition to many decorating styles. Copper also is naturally antimicrobial, so it is becoming a popular choice among health-conscious consumers. As copper is a pricey alternative, this metal is more often used for a smaller accessory sink, such as a bar or island location. Copper requires some extra TLC to keep it looking good. The material will oxidize over time, and therefore, it needs special cleansers and waxes to maintain its shine.
- Man-made materials, including acrylic, polyester, and fiberglass, are typically grouped under the term “solid surface.” These sinks are typically made from resins or epoxy to emulate the look of natural stone. Solid-surface sinks are extremely durable and resistant to scratches and chipping; if the surface does become marred, it can often be buffed to remove the scratch. The materials are prone to staining, however, and can be damaged from high heat.
- Concrete is an up-and-coming material for kitchen sinks and combines many of the attributes of granite without the high price tag. Contractors can pour concrete on site, so the sink can be a custom size and shape. Consumers also can find precast varieties. Concrete is very heavy, however, and might require special cabinetry. It is also prone to staining.
The most popular material also dictates the most popular color in kitchen sinks: stainless steel. Stainless steel fixtures and appliances continue to reign supreme in kitchen design, although natural stone finishes, such as granite and quartz in darker shades, have been trending upward in recent years.
White, off-white, beige, and sand remain the most popular shades in enamel-coated cast iron and fireclay or china sinks, since these versatile neutrals blend in well with many decorating schemes. In recent years, choices of deeper shades such as black and navy blue are surging.
Choosing a kitchen sink can be a fun but somewhat daunting task, since shoppers must keep in mind some important installation considerations. The first is size. You will need to carefully measure your existing opening if you are replacing the sink in the same location. If you are relocating the sink or designing the kitchen from scratch, you will also need to consider the size, especially as it relates to the cabinetry and countertops you select.
Another installation consideration in a kitchen sink is the type of mounting holes for fixtures. Most kitchen sinks come with four holes for mounting faucets, sprayers, and soap dispensers. Some also have a separate hole for a drinking water faucet. Other sinks have no mounting holes, in which case the faucets must be mounted on the wall.
Our Top Picks
There are kitchen sinks to fit virtually every style and budget, and it can be hard to settle on the best one for your needs. With recommended selections, the following list does some of the work for you. All selections are from well-respected and reputable brands and offer a combination of style, durability, form, and function at a range of price points.
The Ruvati 32-Inch Low-Divide Undermount Double Stainless sink is from the company’s Gravena series and offers the convenience of a single-bowl configuration and the functionality of a double bowl. The 32-inch-wide sink measures 19 inches from front to back and 10 inches deep on its deepest side. Its low-center divide is 4 inches lower than the rim, and therefore will accommodate larger pieces for easy cleanup.
The sink is constructed of a premium 16-gauge stainless steel with a commercial brushed finish that is easy to clean, durable, and resistant to scratches and dents. The 18/10 nickel/chromium construction ensures that the sink completely resists rust. The sink comes with stainless steel rinse grids that protect the bottom surface from scratches and can serve as drying racks. The sink also is constructed with heavy-duty padding and undercoating to minimize noise and provide thermal insulation.
The Kraus KWF210-33 Kore Workstation Farmhouse Single-Bowl sink is a stylish farmhouse workstation. The stainless steel sink comes with a wealth of accessories to maximize versatility and free up valuable countertop real estate. The accessories include a roll-up dish drying rack, bamboo cutting board, dish grid, strainer, and drain cover. This model is 33 inches wide, 20¼ inches from front to back, and 10 inches deep, but it comes in several sizes.
The sink features an attractive apron front design and a spacious single bowl to accommodate large pots, pans, and platters, or an entire dinner party’s worth of dishes. The sturdy sink is made of 16-gauge stainless steel with a rust-resistant finish, and a bottom grid protects the sink surface from scratches. Soundproofing and protective undercoating lessen noise.
This apron-front Kraus KGF1-33 White Bellucci Granite Quartz Composite sink is constructed of CeramTek, an advanced granite-quartz composite that offers superior durability along with extreme heat resistance. The sink is made in Italy using special nanotechnology, and the material is fade-proof and UV resistant. The sink measures 33 inches wide by 20¾ inches front to back and is 9⅜ inches deep.
The natural stone material in this composite sink is extremely durable, easy to clean, and absorbs vibration, thus minimizing noise. The unit is constructed with a rear offset drain and gently sloped bottom in the spacious single bowl to support good drainage.
Kohler’s time-honored classic Brookfield Drop-In Cast Iron Double Bowl sink has been updated with a new slim divider and larger bowls that offer nearly 20 percent more workspace. The two deep, equally-sized basins can accommodate a wide variety of dishes and cookware, and the tough enamel finish resists scratches, chips, burns, and stains. The 33-inch sink is 22 inches from front to back and 9⅝ inches deep.
Constructed of 80 percent recycled content, this sink is also environmentally friendly and features a self-rimming installation. The durable material is easy to clean and designed to last a lifetime. The Kohler Brookfield comes in several colors to match your kitchen renovation style.
The Adams Farmhouse/Apron-Front Copper Single Sink from SINKOLOGY is handmade from textured 16-gauge pure solid copper to create a beautiful focal point in a kitchen. Copper’s natural antimicrobial properties help keep the inside clean, and the hammered copper front has a natural but elegant look. The 33-inch-wide bowl measures 22 inches from front to back and is 9 inches deep.
The large, single-bowl design accommodates large cookware and serving dishes. The apron wraps 2½ inches on each side, which allows for an undermount, built-up, or flush installation. The hand-applied finish is easy to maintain with soap and water and will not oxidize under normal use.
The BOCCHI 1138-001-0120 Classico Apron Front Fireclay single-bowl kitchen sink is made using environmentally friendly methods and materials. The company aims to use 100 percent organic and ethically sourced materials. The large, single bowl accommodates large items and busy kitchens, and the bottom grid protects the surface.
BOCCHI’s glazing technology creates a durable, smooth, and nonporous surface to prevent staining from food or mineral deposits. This apron-front sink measures 30 inches wide, 18 inches from front to back, and 10 inches deep. The fireclay material resists scratches, cracking, chipping, or discoloration and is heat safe up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Cleaning is easier with the smooth and long-lasting fireclay surface.
The VIGO Camden Stainless Steel Undermount Apron-Front farmhouse sink features a sleek, minimalist design aesthetic in a large single bowl. The 30-inch by 22¼-inch sink is constructed of high-quality stainless steel for maximum durability and scratch resistance. The unit also has VIGO’s soundproof technology to lessen noise.
The Camden comes with an Edison pull-down spray kitchen faucet made from solid brass with a seven-layer plated stainless steel finish, enabling it to resist rust, corrosion, and tarnish. The faucet features 30 inches of retractable extension and 360 degrees of full rotation to help you clean in and around the large sink. Also included are a protective bottom grid with vinyl feet, a solid brass sink drain strainer, and a 12-ounce soap dispenser.
This Kraus Standard Pro Undermount Stainless Steel double-bowl sink is a sturdy multitasker in the kitchen. It gives users plenty of room to soak and clean large cookware and serving pieces. The 32¾-inch-wide sink measures 19 inches from front to back and 10 inches deep and is constructed of dent-resistant, 16-gauge stainless steel, offering superior strength and durability. A commercial-grade satin finish resists rust and corrosion and is easy to clean.
The sink comes with several useful accessories, including multifunctional dish grids to protect the bottom, a three-piece basket strainer set, a drain assembly, and a premium Kraus kitchen towel. The sink is constructed with a nontoxic undercoating and utilizes soundproofing technology, with extra-thick pads covering more than 80 percent of the sink to minimize noise and vibration while in use.
Zuhne’s Modena Undermount Stainless Steel Single Bowl sink is designed to blend with today’s popular kitchen styling, featuring a silky matte finish on heavy-duty stainless steel. The 16-gauge, 18/10 stainless steel construction features 40 percent more steel than average stainless steel sinks, so you won’t have to worry about dents, dings, rust, or corrosion. The single basin and tight radius curved corners provide maximum space for large cleaning jobs. The sink also comes with special noise and thermal insulation.
This sink is 18 inches front to back, 10 inches deep, and comes in several widths. A sloped base ensures water drains quickly when the job is done. The sink comes with a variety of food-safe accessories, including a two-piece colander set, sponge caddy, scratch protector grate, and drain strainer.
FAQs About Kitchen Sinks
Whether you are planning an entire gut rehab project, building new from scratch, or simply looking to spruce up your existing kitchen a bit, one small change—a new kitchen sink—can make a big difference. The best kitchen sinks typically are easy and affordable fixtures to replace, especially when you keep these facts in mind.
Q. What are the best materials for kitchen sinks?
Kitchen sinks typically come in stainless steel, granite, cast iron coated with enamel, fireclay, or man-made composites. Stainless steel is the most popular material due to its contemporary look and durability, but the best material for your kitchen depends on style, budget, and personal preferences.
Q. How do I choose a kitchen sink?
The first place to start is with the location and careful measurements. Next, address the configuration (double-bowl or single-bowl), style, material, and color to best fit your personal tastes.
Q. What is the easiest kitchen sink to keep clean?
Stainless steel is by far the easiest to clean and the most durable material. Stainless steel resists staining, chips, rust, and mineral deposits and can be wiped down with a damp cloth or cleaned with a commercial stainless steel cleanser.
Q. What is the most durable kitchen sink material?
Stainless steel is probably the most durable material, followed by natural granite, quartz, and cast iron.
Q. Do granite sinks scratch easily?
Natural stones, such as granite and quartz, are extremely hard and durable; therefore, they do not scratch easily.
Q. How long does a kitchen sink last?
With today’s modern materials and construction methods, most kitchen sinks will last roughly 20 to 30 years under normal use and care.