Whether it’s part of a larger kitchen remodel, a new home purchase, or it’s just time to replace the sink, choosing a new kitchen sink can be difficult. There is a huge variety of kitchen sinks available to suit every lifestyle, budget, and décor. At times it may feel like there are almost too many choices.
How to Choose a New Kitchen Sink
Here are some ways to narrow the field and make sure you choose the correct new kitchen sink for your needs and budget.
Before doing any shopping, take a look at your current sink. Consider the following:
Is it large enough? Do you often wish you had more room for hand washing big items, filling large pots, or washing and rinsing dishes?
Is it deep enough? Do you often have water splashing out of the sink on the floor or countertops?
Is it difficult to clean? Is there a seam at the countertop that collects water or debris and is a challenge to keep clean? Does the surface stain easily?
Are you hard on your sink? Have you chipped or cracked your current sink? Do you often put hot pots and pans directly on the sink surface?
Double-bowl or not? Do you have a double bowl sink, or do you want one?
How about kitchen faucets and extras? Do you need a spray arm? A garbage disposer? A hot water tap?
A thorough evaluation of your current sink will help you with your decision of what you want and need in a replacement sink.
Planning For Your New Sink
The next thing to think about is the available space. Upgrading to a much larger or deeper sink may affect surrounding countertops, plumbing, cabinets and tile making the replacement a more complex and expensive job than initially planned. However, the investment is likely to pay off both in improved functionality for your day to day life and the resale value.
If your sink replacement plan includes cutting countertops, modifying cabinets and possibly modifying your plumbing, it’s not a bad idea to talk with a couple of reputable contractors and get estimates. At the very least, that process will give you a better idea of planning and budgeting for your new sink.
Assuming you want to keep the project simple and replace your old sink with something similar in size, here are some things to look for when shopping:
Sinks are generally made from fireclay, stainless steel, enamel-coated cast iron, solid surfaces, or composites. If you are prone to chipping or staining your sink, lower-gauge stainless steel is a good choice. If noise is a concern in a stainless steel sink, they are available with sound-absorption features.
Cast iron sinks are timeless, beautiful, and durable, but they are extremely heavy and need to be handled and cleaned more gently to avoid chipping or damaging the enamel.
Granite or stone composites are a good choice if you frequently put hot pots and pans directly into the sink.
Kitchen sinks can have a single bowl, a double bowl, or even a triple bowl. Double-bowl sinks can have two large bowls or a large and small one. Having a second smaller basin is nice for quickly rinsing or for washing, peeling, and prepping fruits and vegetables.
However, if your sink needs to easily accommodate large pots, pans, or bowls, make sure that the main basin is big enough to hold them. Remember that upgrading to a double- or triple-bowl sink means that your faucet will also have to be long enough and have a large turning radius to reach all the basins.
The traditional way of mounting a sink is a drop in where the lip of the sink rests above the countertop. These are also the easiest to replace since they are most compatible with standard sinks and faucets, overall saving the cost of installation.
Undermount sinks are increasingly popular because they omit the dirt-catching lip where the sink rests on the counter. Undermount kitchen sinks do require the existing countertop to be modified to accommodate faucets and fixtures. Sinks that are made of heavy materials will need additional structural support to be mounted beneath the counter. Laminate countertops are not suitable for under-mounted sinks.
For an even pricier (but easiest to clean) option, consider a solid surface or integral sink, where the sink is an integrated part of the countertop, leaving no seams at all. This option does involve replacing the entire countertop, not just the sink basin.
Apron-front sinks (also known as farmhouse sinks) are beautiful and very popular with homebuyers who want a traditional or country-style kitchen. However, the installation will require modification of surrounding countertops and base cabinets.
As with sinks themselves, there are a wide variety of faucets available. The most desired faucet is a high faucet that gives ample clearance when filling large stockpots. It’s also most useful to have a single lever in order to prevent fussing the with water temperature. Most people find a spray arm to be extremely handy in the kitchen.
Whether replacing the faucet or keeping the old one, make sure that the faucet is the right size and scale for the new sink.
Finally, consider the little extras that make a sink more functional and save time in the kitchen. Replacing a sink is a great time to add a garbage disposal, a hot water dispenser, or a pot-filling arm. High-end sinks come with a number of built-in and convenient accessories, like cutlery racks, cutting boards, and utensil caddies. Wire racks that live in the bottom of the sink basin are increasingly popular as they protect the surface of the sink, reduce bending over the sink, and are great for washing vegetables and rinsing dishes.