Stainless steel kitchen sinks remain one of the most popular choices for kitchens today. With good reason – stainless steel combines practicality, durability, style, and affordability in a way that few other materials can match. This guide will explore the key benefits of stainless steel sinks, the best types of stainless steel for kitchen sinks, important considerations before buying, and provide an overview of the most popular stainless steel sink options currently on the market.
Why Choose a Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink?
Stainless steel has remained a tried and true kitchen sink material for decades, and for good reason. Here are some of the main benefits that help explain the ongoing popularity of stainless steel kitchen sinks:
Stainless steel kitchen sinks are extremely durable, able to withstand decades of regular use. The rugged material resists dents, scratches, stains, rust, and corrosion. This makes it an ideal choice for busy kitchens that see a lot of wear and tear. Quality stainless steel sinks can last 20-30 years or longer with proper care.
Keeping a stainless steel sink looking great is simple. Stainless steel cleans up nicely with soap and water. For deeper cleaning, gentle abrasives can tackle stuck-on grime and residues. Avoid harsh cleaners or scouring pads, as these can damage the finish over time. Proper care keeps stainless steel sinks looking fresh and hygienic for years of service.
Stylish and Timeless
Stainless steel is a modern, versatile and timeless look that pairs well with nearly any kitchen decor style from traditional to contemporary. The sleek, silvery sheen complements most color schemes from bold brights to neutral tones. Stainless makes for an attractive focal point.
Stainless steel sinks are typically more affordable than sinks made of natural materials like stone. While prices depend on factors like gauge, size and features, stainless steel represents a cost-effective option that combines utility and style. More budget-friendly than exotic sinks, stainless is accessible for most kitchen renovation budgets.
Easy to Clean and Sanitize
The non-porous surface of stainless steel does not absorb stains, bacteria or odors. This makes cleaning and sanitizing easy and effective compared to more porous sink materials. Proper cleaning helps eliminate germs and leave the sink fresh. This hygienic nature makes stainless steel a smart choice for kitchens.
Noise Reduction Options
Metal sinks can sometimes amplify sound from running water and dishwashing. However, many modern stainless steel sinks now include various sound-dampening technologies like extra insulation, padding or spray coatings. There are quiet stainless sink options suitable even for open concept kitchens where noise is a concern.
Wide Range of Styles and Sizes
Stainless steel kitchen sinks come in a vast array of configurations. Single, double and triple bowl options provide versatility. Different depths, ledges, corners and accessories allow custom tailoring the sink space. Stainless can be molded into virtually any size and shape to perfectly fit the kitchen.
Easy to Install
Stainless steel is lightweight compared to materials like cast iron or stone. This makes installation straightforward for kitchen remodelers or DIYers. Stainless sinks come with standard drain holes for attaching plumbing. Many include accessories for a customized look and function.
Matches Stainless Steel Appliances
Stainless steel sinks provide continuity when paired with stainless fridges, ovens, range hoods or other appliances. The coordinated look gives kitchens a sleek, uniform aesthetic. Mixing stainless and white appliances can also look crisp and clean.
With this strong list of benefits, it is easy to see why stainless steel kitchen sinks remain hugely popular. Next, we will look at how to select the best stainless steel for an ideal kitchen sink.
Choosing the Best Stainless Steel for Kitchen Sinks
Not all stainless steel is created equal when it comes to the demanding needs of a kitchen sink. Here are the key factors to look for when choosing stainless steel for an optimal kitchen sink:
Type 304 Stainless Steel
Opt for type 304 stainless steel over cheaper grades like type 201. Type 304 contains more nickel and is more resistant to corrosion. It holds up better over time and provides the best performance. Look for 304 grade stainless steel sinks.
18 Gauge Minimum Thickness
Sink gauge (thickness) ranges from thin 16 gauge to extra-sturdy 10 gauge. Most experts recommend 18 gauge as the minimum for a kitchen sink – offering durability without excessive weight. Heavy-duty 20 gauge works for smaller or secondary sinks.
Brushed or Satin Finish
The finish plays a role in durability and ease of care. Brushed and satin finishes camouflage scratches and are easy to clean. High-gloss mirrors scratches and can show water spots. A brushed or satin finish is ideal.
Many stainless sinks now feature extra insulation or spray-on coatings to reduce noise from running water and dishes. If sound dampening is important, be sure to select an appropriately equipped model.
Established brands like Kraus, Ruvati and Elkay have proven track records for making high-quality stainless sinks that last. While less costly off-brands exist, brand reputation counts when investing in this important kitchen fixture.
Consider warranty coverage when comparing sinks, as better warranties provide peace of mind. Many reputable brands offer limited lifetime warranties. Kraus for example provides limited lifetime coverage on stainless steel kitchen sinks.
With the right type of high-grade stainless steel and features, a steel sink can serve kitchen needs for decades. Now let’s look at important considerations when shopping for the perfect stainless sink.
Key Considerations When Choosing a Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink
Selecting the ideal stainless steel kitchen sink involves more than just materials and gauge. Here are key factors to keep in mind when shopping around:
Type of Sink Basin
The most common sink basin options include:
- Single bowl – classic and versatile, optimal for smaller kitchens
- Double bowl – provides extra workspace and multitasking options
- Triple bowl – maximum versatility for handling lots of dishes
- Farmhouse/apron front – exposed front for a charming, country sink style
- Undermount – installed below counter for easy cleaning
Consider your space, workflow and preferences when deciding on single, double or triple bowl configurations.
Consider the existing sink cutout size or available space when choosing sink dimensions. Standard single bowl sizes range from 25″ to 30″ wide and 18″-22″ front-to-back. Measure to ensure the sink will fit the cutout or cabinet.
Standard sink depths are 7″ to 10″. Deep 9″ and 10″ sinks allow filling pots and stacking dishes. Shallower 7″ depths can help reduce splashing. Pick based on kitchen tasks and needs.
Bowl shape impacts useable space. Square and rectangular sinks maximize capacity. Tight corners can collect debris. Round or oval bowls offer sweeping curves that make cleaning easy.
Does the existing drain line up with potential new sink drain holes? Misaligned drains can lead to plumbing headaches. Check that your preferred sink drain configuration matches up.
Verify that the number and placement of any faucet holes match your cooking setup. For example, sinks with no holes suit wall-mounted faucets, while multiple holes allow for various accessory combinations.
Colanders, cutting boards, drying trays and other accessories can customize the utility of the sink. If desired, select a sink equipped with compatible accessories.
Stainless steel sinks range widely in price from value models under $200 to designer sinks over $1000. Set a budget and find the best sink possible within that parameter. Quality does matter when investing in a sink.
Matching Kitchen Faucet
For a coordinated look, select a faucet finish that matches the sink. Many companies sell sink plus faucet packages for a complete upgrade.
By carefully considering these factors, you can zero in on the perfect stainless steel sink for your kitchen’s needs and style. Now let’s look at some of today’s most popular stainless steel kitchen sink options.
Popular Stainless Steel Kitchen Sinks
Here is an overview of some of the best stainless steel kitchen sinks available today based on reviews, ratings, popularity and overall value:
Top Mount Stainless Steel Kitchen Sinks
Top mount, or drop-in, sinks sit atop the counter. Most popular stainless steel kitchen sinks fall into this simple and versatile category.
- Best seller with excellent value
- 36″ wide double bowl
- Tough TRU16 16 gauge construction
- NoiseDefend soundproofing
- Fully accessorized package available
- Workstation design with cutting boards
- Tight-radius corners for easy cleaning
- Includes bottom rinse grids
- Great reviews for quality and value
- Affordable 32″ option
- Deep 10″ bowls hold piles of dishes
- Great quality for the price
- Easy to install
- Budget-friendly pick under $150
- Sleek satin finish
- 33″ wide single bowl
- Easy top mount installation
Undermount Stainless Steel Kitchen Sinks
Undermount sinks install below the counter for seamless installation. They create a refined, contemporary look.
- Standout undermount design
- Heavy-duty 16 gauge stainless
- NoiseDefend soundproofing
- Matches modern kitchen aesthetics
Elkay Dayton ELUHAD311810
- Deep 10″ bowl
- 18 gauge stainless steel construction
- Stylish petite apron front
- Complements modern or traditional kitchens
- Budget undermount pick
- Tight-radius for easy cleaning
- Sleek satin finish
- Easy install
Farmhouse / Apron-Front Stainless Kitchen Sinks
Farmhouse sinks feature an exposed front for a timeless, vintage-inspired look.
- Best-selling farmhouse sink
- Elegant flared apron front
- Offset drain increases capacity
- Heavy-duty 16 gauge stainless
- StoneTime shield finish
- Affordable apron-front option
- Deep 9″ bowl
- Easy top mount installation
Elkay Dayton ELUHAD311810
- Premium 18 gauge stainless steel
- Stylish petite apron front
- Single bowl simplicity
- Matches modern or traditional decor
Additional Top Options
- Kraus KGD-433B – 33″ Dual Mount 50/50 Double Bowl Black Onyx Granite Kitchen Sink
- Ruvati RVH8001 – Workstation Ledge Topmount Kitchen Sink
- Lordear Sink002 – 32” X 19” CL0.75m Super Large Kitchen Sink
- MR Direct 3322C – Triple Bowl Stainless Steel Sink
- Kraus KBU14 – 31 Inch Undermount 60/40 Double Bowl Black Granite Kitchen Sink
This covers some of the most popular and highest-rated stainless steel kitchen sinks across a range of styles, configurations and budgets. Be sure to carefully measure your existing space and consider your kitchen workflow when selecting the perfect sink.
Many of the top stainless steel sink brands such as Kraus, Ruvati and Elkay offer extensive selections to browse through. You can also filter search results on retailer sites by size, bowl configuration, installation type and other specs to zero in on options that best suit your needs. With some expert advice and carefully comparison shopping, you can find the ideal stainless steel kitchen sink for creating your dream culinary space.
What to Consider When Installing a New Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink
Installing a quality stainless steel kitchen sink can upgrade your culinary space both functionally and aesthetically. Here is a quick overview of key considerations for installing a new stainless steel kitchen sink:
Gather Tools and Materials
- Tape measure
- Putty knife
- Plumber’s putty or silicone adhesive
- Mounting clips and hardware (usually included)
Shut Off Water Supply
Turn off hot and cold water supply lines before beginning. This prevents unwanted water leaks throughout the process.
Remove Old Sink
Using a putty knife, carefully separate the old sink from around the edge and then lift it out. Also remove any existing sink strainer in the drain opening.
Clear Drain Lines
Make sure drain lines are cleared of any clogs or obstructions. Use a plumber’s snake if needed to ensure proper drainage.
Prepare Mounting Area
Clean the sink mounting area thoroughly and make any needed adjustments to the existing cutout opening to accommodate the new sink.
Install New Sink
For top mount sinks, set the sink in place and seal the perimeter with plumber’s putty or silicone. Attach sink clips underneath the counter and tighten into place.
For undermount sinks, adhesive is used below the counter’s overhang to bond the sink into position.
Connect Drain and Water Supply
Connect the new garbage disposal and drain assembly. Also hook up the hot and cold water supply lines to the faucet. Leak check all connections.
Caulk and Seal
Apply a bead of waterproof silicone caulk around the sink’s rim for a watertight seal. Give the caulk ample time to fully cure before using the sink.
With good planning and proper technique, you can achieve a smooth, hassle-free installation of your shiny new stainless steel kitchen sink. Take time to make all mechanical and plumbing connections secure to prevent leaks. Follow any detailed manufacturer instructions provided for your specific model. Soon you will be enjoying added function and classic style with a high-quality stainless steel sink that should serve you well for years to come.
Frequently Asked Questions About Popular Stainless Steel Kitchen Sinks
What are the main benefits of a stainless steel kitchen sink?
Stainless steel sinks offer unmatched durability, easy maintenance, style, affordability, sound dampening options, wide selection, and easy installation. Stainless is ideal for busy kitchens.
What thickness stainless steel is best for kitchen sinks?
The majority of high-quality stainless steel kitchen sinks are made using 18 gauge steel, which provides the right balance of durability and practical weight for installation.
Are stainless steel or porcelain sinks better?
Stainless and porcelain sinks each have pros and cons. Stainless is more durable while porcelain can resist heat better. Stainless offers more versatility while porcelain provides a classic look. Personal preference in look and budget ultimately determine which material is “better” for each user.
How long do stainless steel sinks last?
With proper care, a good quality stainless steel kitchen sink should provide 20-30 years of reliable service. Avoid abrasive cleaners and harsh scouring to maximize longevity.
How do you keep a stainless steel sink looking new?
Use a mild detergent and soft sponge or rag to regularly clean. For stuck-on gunk, baking soda or a gentle cleaner like Bar Keepers Friend can be used. Avoid harsh chemicals and scrubbing pads. Promptly dry sinks to prevent water spots.
Should stainless steel sinks be undermounted or top mounted?
Undermounting creates a seamless countertop look but is trickier to install. Top mounted sinks are simpler to install but leave an exposed rim gap. Either mounting method works fine as long as the sink is properly installed. Undermounting has a more refined, contemporary look.
What is the most popular style of stainless steel kitchen sink?
In today’s kitchens, the most commonly chosen styles of stainless steel kitchen sinks include top mount double bowl or single bowl sinks, and undermount single bowl sinks.
What are the quietest stainless steel kitchen sinks?
Look for sinks made with extra sound-dampening materials like stone guard coating, extra padding or rubber insulation. Brands like Kraus offer super quiet stainless kitchen sinks perfect even for open floor plans.
How do I choose what size kitchen sink to buy?
Consider the size of your existing sink base cabinet and sink cutout. Standard single bowl sink widths range from 25” to 30”. Measure to ensure proper fit. Allow at least 2” clearance between sink bowls and walls.
What is the standard kitchen sink depth?
Kitchen sinks are commonly available in standard depths of 7”, 8”, 9”, and 10”. Ten inch deep sinks handle large stacks of dishes. Seven inch models may help reduce splashing. Select based on kitchen needs.
I hope this comprehensive guide provides helpful insights into why stainless steel remains one of the most popular choices when selecting a durable, high-functioning and stylish kitchen sink. Please let me know if you have any other questions!