How to choose the perfect kitchen sink
We explain everything you need to consider when picking a new kitchen sink, including the difference between over-mounted and under-mounted sinks
The sink is a key element of any kitchen and it’s important to choose the right one in terms of both design and practicality. Here we explain the key points to consider when choosing a sink.
Before you start researching, here are a few practical tips to bear in mind when choosing your new kitchen sink:
- Measure carefully beneath the sink to check the dimensions. It's easiest to choose a sink which has a similar shape and dimensions as your current one, although you can opt for a larger design if you have the space above and below your worktop to create a larger opening.
- Be realistic about how much you use the sink. If you're not a keen cook, a standard size sink (about 56-84cm long) should suffice, although it's usually best to go bigger rather than smaller if you have the worktop space to accommodate it.
- Fitting will also be easier if you choose a bowl with the same depth as your existing sink so you don’t have to make any major changes to the pipework.
- If you're replacing your kitchen sink, you will usually be able to use your existing waste outlet and water supply pipes. To make fitting a lot easier, try to choose a waste that’s similar in size to the one you’re taking out - it will make fitting it much simpler.
- You might need to extend the hot and cold water supply pipes if the tap positions alter. For ease, use flexible hoses to connect them to the inlet pipes of the new taps.
Types of kitchen sink
A new kitchen sink can dramatically change the look and functionality of your kitchen. But there are a number of things to consider before you buy to ensure you get the right one for your needs. There are many materials to choose from - porcelain, stainless steel, resin and cast iron, to name a few. Think about how much use the sink will get and how frequently you plan to clean it. Porcelain sinks are susceptible to stains and scuff marks and need a little elbow grease to keep them clean. Stainless steel sinks are easier to clean and look more modern.
There are a few questions you need to ask yourself when choosing a sink size. If you have a small kitchen, a huge butler sink could overwhelm the room. Plus, consider if the existing base units that your new sink will rest on can accommodate its depth and weight.
If you have the space and the budget, consider a double-bowl or one and half-bowl sink. It helps you separate dirty dishes from useable sink space and makes washing up and food prep much easier. Alternatively, consider buying a large single bowl sink if you want one big useable space without a divider in the middle. This is ideal for busy cooks who tend to wash a lot of large pans or big serving dishes.
Under-mounted vs over-mounted sinks
Sinks come in two main varieties - over-mounted (sometimes called drop-in or inset) and under-mounted. As the name suggests, a drop-in sink drops into the worktop so there is a visible lip which rests on the surface of the worktop. An under-mounted sink attaches beneath the worktop, creating a seamless look.
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Under-mounted sinks are typically used with stone or granite worktops because the edges are exposed and need to be able to withstand rough treatment and moisture over time – less-expensive worktop choices such as laminate and timber tend not to be suitable for this style. If you love a clean kitchen, this sink is for you, because there's no lip, dirt and grime can't get stuck between the sink and the edge of the worktop.
Under-mounted sinks are also considered to be a desirable, high-end option, so it could even boost your home's resale value, but they require professional fitting to ensure good results On the other hand, drop-in sinks are more budget-friendly, but it will require some care to clean. But if you need to install the sink yourself, it's your best option.
One you've decided on the right sink for your kitchen, check out our step-by-step tutorial on installing a new sink.
Anna-Lisa De’Ath is a freelance magazine editor and journalist specialising in homes & interiors, gardening and crafts