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What Kitchen Sink Material Is Best

Kitchens are considered the center of the home these days. Everything seems to flow through and around them because of all the open floor plans and gourmet kitchens being built. If your building or remodeling a kitchen then you’ll have to choose the perfect sink style and material. What kitchen sink material is best? That’s what we’ll be discussing ahead.

When you design a kitchen there are dozens of choices that have to be made and they’re all extremely important. What type of countertops will you use and what color? What style cabinets, and again, what color? Do you want tile floors, hardwood or ultra modern polished concrete? You’ll have to choose a layout, lighting, and paint colors. And don’t forget about the appliances. All of these decisions are very important, but maybe most of all is your choice of sink. Not only in terms of the color but also the style and material. Sinks are not only a beautiful part of your kitchen design but they’re also a functional aspect that generally gets a lot of use. It’s a decision you’ll need to make carefully based on a number of factors.

Ahead we’ll discuss the most popular sink materials along with pros and cons for each and some builder tips.

Best Kitchen Sink Materials

As you probably know, kitchen sinks are made out of a variety of materials. Ranging from the most popular stainless steel models to the uncommon natural stone, copper and cast iron. All kitchen sinks do basically the same thing however they still have some major difference you should be aware of.

Let’s have a look at the best materials for kitchen sinks in the market today.

Stainless steel kitchen sink with a brushed finish. White granite countertops with a chrome faucet and built in soap dispenser.

Stainless steel kitchen sink with a brushed finish. White granite countertops with a chrome faucet and built in soap dispenser.

Stainless Steel Sinks

Stainless steel kitchen sinks are by far the most popular type on the market. In fact stainless steel sinks are used more in kitchens then all the other sink materials combined.

Stainless steel sinks are heat and stain resistant which is great when dealing with hot pans or liquids. They’re available in a variety of styles, sizes and designs and very durable.

The steel is all the way through and not a surface coating like some other sink materials. This means you can’t chip them. It’s a big advantage for a kitchen sink that gets used a lot. Steel is also a hard material that doesn’t scratch easily. Another great benefit for kitchens that wash knives and other objects with a sharp edge.

I recommend a brushed or satin finish instead of a mirrored finish. With a brushed finish water marks and scratches will be less noticeable. Look for a sink design that has sound absorbing pads on the bottom. Pads are better at reducing the noise commonly associated with stainless steel sinks than sound absorbing spray or a thicker gauge of steel. Although anything is better than a thin stainless steel sink with no sound absorption built in.

Prices for stainless steel sinks vary a great deal, but you can get a good quality stainless steel sink on a tight budget. It’s one of the main reasons they’re so popular in the kitchen.

Cost: $100 to $1000 is the general price range. However prices can go higher depending on the gauge or thickness of the steel, size, style and mounting type.

Advantages Of Stainless Steel Kitchen Sinks

Stainless steel sinks have many advantages which make them the most popular sink material on the market. These include:

  • Cost. Stainless steel kitchen sinks have a wide range of costs. They range from very affordable at around $100 to very expensive at over $1,000.
  • Durability. Stainless steel is generally a very durable material that resists staining, scratches and heat damage. It’s also impossible to chip stainless steel.
  • Variety. Stainless steel sinks come in every size and style you can buy a sink in.
  • Popularity. Because stainless steel kitchen sinks are so popular, if your building a home or flipping a property, you really can’t go wrong by installing one. Their probably the safest sink option on the market.

Disadvantages Of Stainless Steel Kitchen Sinks

Even though stainless steel sinks are by far the most popular and steel is an all around great material, they still have some disadvantages.

  • Color. While there are a few shades of stainless steel on the market they’re all still stainless steel. You can’t get colors and the variety of shades is minimal.
  • Finishes. Just like with color there isn’t a large variety of finishes to choose from.
  • Price. Although price is also an advantage because there’s such a wide variety to choose from with very affordable options, high end stainless steel sinks are very expensive.
  • Scratches. Stainless steel is very durable and scratch resistant but not scratch proof. Because the scratches tend to shine they really stand out and they’re not easily repairable.
  • Denting. Unlike other kitchen sink materials, stainless steel can dent. It’s rare because steel is very durable but it’s still a possibility you should be aware of. Especially if your sink is cheap with thin gauge steel.

Summary

Gauge describes the thickness of the steel material used to make the sink. This is represented as a number that usually ranges between 14 and 22. A lower number means the metal is thicker than a higher number. So a 14 gauge stainless steel sink is thicker than a 22 gauge stainless steel sink. Lower gauge sinks are generally better quality and therefore cost more than higher gauge sinks.

Most stainless steel sinks are durable even with a higher gauge because steel is a strong material. Although the thicker the material is, the less likely it is to dent. Which is an issue with stainless steel.

Stainless steel sinks are pretty light, even the thick gauge models. While the weight of your sink may not matter once it’s installed, if your doing the work yourself you’ll appreciate how easy they are to work with.

Another great thing about stainless steel kitchen sinks is that they rarely stain. Especially if you clean them regularly. Although hard water can sometimes leave spots. You can also scratch the surface if you clean it with harsh, abrasive cleaners or tools.

Stainless steel tends to be one of the noisiest options, although a thicker sink or those with noise dampening pads on the bottom can make them a bit quieter.

Overall stainless steel kitchen sinks are a fantastic option.

White fireclay sink with cream cabinets and countertops. Brushed nickel faucet with built in sprayer and soap dispenser.

White fireclay sink with an exposed apron, cream cabinets and countertops. Brushed nickel faucet with built in sprayer and soap dispenser.

Fireclay Sinks

Fireclay sinks are made from mix of clay and minerals fired at high temperatures and coated in a special glaze. This unique mixture forms a strong, durable kitchen sink with an appearance similar to enameled cast iron. They’re very durable sinks that are highly resistant to scratches, staining and chipping. And they’re not metal so denting them isn’t a concern.

Fireclay is a natural material that’s resistant to heat which is a huge benefit when your dealing with hot pots, pans and liquids.

They’re a pretty heavy sink that generally needs some reinforcement to install. Although they’re still light enough to be installed by yourself.

These kitchen sinks resemble old fashioned cast iron enamel sinks but are more resistant to staining and scratching.

One of the advantages to used fireclay is that they can be re-glazed which makes them look brand new. With some other sink materials that’s not an option.

Cleanup is super easy. Regular dish soap on a sponge is generally more than enough. You can also use a mild abrasive cleanser for tougher marks.

Fireclay sinks come in white which is a huge benefit considering how popular the color is in the kitchen these days. We use white sinks with just about any color cabinets and countertops. As far as colors go white is probably the most versatile. I can’t think of any kitchen color scheme that a white sink wouldn’t look great in.

Cost: $350 to $1,000+.

Advantages Of Fireclay Sinks

Fireclay kitchen sinks have a few advantages that make them a very popular choice.

  • Cost. Fireclay sinks come in a range of prices although not at the very low end. Expect to pay at least $350 for a good one unless you find a deal. While not the cheapest sink on the market it’s still quite affordable for most homeowners.
  • Durability. Fireclay is a very durable material that resists staining, scratches and heat damage. It can be chipped but it can’t be dented.
  • Variety. Fireclay sinks come in a variety of colors. Although white is by far the most popular.
  • Popularity. Because fireclay sinks are so popular you can find them in pretty much every size and style sinks come in. That versatility comes in handy when doing a custom kitchen design.
  • Safety. Fireclay is a safe choice if you go with white because it goes with pretty much everything.
  • Longevity. Fireclay sinks can be re-glazed if needed which keeps them looking brand new.

Disadvantages Of Fireclay Sinks

Even though fireclay sinks are by far the most popular and steel is an all around great material, they still have some disadvantages.

  • Color. White is by far the most popular color fireclay sink. If you choose any other color your taking a risk that may or may not pay off.
  • Finishes. Every fireclay sink I’ve ever seen or installed had the same semi gloss finish.
  • Price. Although price is also an advantage because there’s a fairly wide range, high end fireclay sinks are very expensive.
  • Scratches. Fireclay is very durable and scratch resistant but not scratch proof. The good news is that there are repair kits you can use yourself to fix scratches and companies that can do it for you.
  • Cracks. Even though fireclay is a very durable material that’s not easily scratched and can’t dent, it can crack just like any other clay product.

Summary

Fireclay sinks are a fantastic product and a great alternative to stainless steel. White is by far the most popular color choice but there are others if you want to take a chance on a more colorful kitchen design.

You’ll often see fireclay sinks as a single or double basin in a farmhouse style with an exposed apron which is exactly the style shown in the example picture above.

Fireclay resists stains and scratches better than stainless steel. They also resist acids in the kitchen and are great with high heat. Fireclay won’t rust or dent, but it can crack so try not to drop anything heavy on it. Especially around the edges.

These sinks are pretty heavy and need reinforcements to help support the weight.

Traditional enameled cast iron sink with a single basin exposed apron design. White cabinets with a blue center island.

Traditional enameled cast iron sink with a single basin exposed apron design. White cabinets with a blue center island.

Enameled Cast Iron

Enameled cast iron sinks are a traditional design that’s been around for a generation.

Clad in a hard enamel finish. These sinks are super durable, stain resistant, hard to scratch and heavy. These are most commonly found in white but also come in other colors.Enameled cast iron sinks with a single basin design and exposed apron are a classic farmhouse looks that’s been revitalized in modern kitchens. This is the style fireclay sinks are modeled after.

Although they do come in a variety of colors I’d recommend installing white or some other classic color. The idea of using one of these is to reproduce the charm of an old farmhouse kitchen and they’re sinks were traditionally white or cream.

Keep in mind that cast iron sinks are very heavy. So your cabinets need to be strong and for larger sinks you may need two people to install it.

Cast iron is a very strong material, but it rusts when exposed to moisture. Because of this the cast iron is a coated with a thin layer of porcelain enamel. The enamel gives the sink a smooth, glossy finish.

The enamel coating is easy to clean. It also resists fading which maintains a consistent look over time. And it can be re-glazed so it’s possible to keep these sinks looking new for ages.

Even though cast iron won’t dent it can still chip. Be careful not to drop anything heavy on the enamel. The sink won’t chip but it can crack. And when it does cast iron becomes very sharp and jagged so be careful if you even damage anything cast iron because you could easily cut yourself.

Cost: $400 to $1,400+.

Advantages Of Cast Iron Sinks

Enamel coated cast iron kitchen sinks have a few advantages when compared with other sinks.

  • Cost. Cast iron sinks aren’t cheap but do have some mid range options that are more affordable.
  • Durability. Cast iron is a very durable material that resists staining, scratches and heat damage. It can be chipped but it can’t be dented.
  • Variety. Enamel coated cast iron sinks come in a variety of colors. Although white is by far the most popular.
  • Safety. Cast iron is a safe choice if you want white because it goes with pretty much everything.
  • Longevity. Cast iron sinks have been in style for ages so you won’t have to worry about looking dated. And they can be re-glazed so it’s possible to keep them looking like new for a long time.

Disadvantages Of Cast Iron Sinks

Even though cast iron sinks are by far the most popular and steel is an all around great material, they still have some disadvantages.

  • Color. White is by far the most popular color cast iron sink. If you choose any other color your taking a risk that may or may not pay off.
  • Finishes. Every enamel coated cast iron sink I’ve ever seen or installed had the same semi gloss finish.
  • Price. Although price is also an advantage because there are mid range options, most cast iron sinks are pretty expensive.
  • Scratches. Cast iron is very durable but it’s the enamel you have to worry about. Buy a quality product with a touch enamel otherwise these sinks are easier to scratch.
  • Cracks. Even though cast iron is a very durable material that won’t dent, it can crack.
  • Chips. The enamel can chip which exposes the metal and that metal can eventually rust.

Summary

Cast iron kitchen sinks are a classic product and a great alternative to stainless steel. Especially if you want a traditional looking farmhouse kitchen. White is by far the most popular color choice but there are others if you want to take a chance on a more colorful design. Although we recommend sticking with white or cream.

You’ll most often see cast iron sinks as a single basin in a farmhouse style with an exposed apron. This is exactly the style shown in the example picture above. The style is timeless and has been around for generations so there’s no need to worry about your kitchen going out of style.

Cast iron resists stains and scratches extremely well but it’s all about the enamel. Buy a good quality sink with a tough enamel and your sink will stay like new for decades. They also resist acids in the kitchen and are great with high heat.

Cast iron won’t dent but it’ll rust. Be careful not to chip it. Even a tiny chip that exposes metal will eventually rust. Luckily you can re-glaze the chipped area.

These sinks are very heavy and need strong cabinets to help support the weight. Depending on the size you may need two people to handle the install.

Closeup view of a small copper kitchen sink with old fashioned gold faucets.

Closeup view of a small copper kitchen sink with old fashioned gold faucets.

Copper

If your looking for something different than the usual stainless steel or white then copper may be the right material for you.

Copper sinks are naturally rust resistant and antimicrobial which makes them a great choice for the kitchen. Just make sure to buy a high quality copper sink that’s at least 99 percent pure copper with a small amount of zinc or other metals added in for strength. They’re definitely an acquired taste and probably won’t be replacing stainless steel any time soon but for some kitchen designs they work.

We recommend them more as a decorative sink in a prep kitchen or bar area instead of the main sink. However large scale bronze sinks are available in the same designs and sizes as other models so you can use them anywhere you like. They even come with single and double basin designs. Styles range from top mount, under mount or with an exposed apron.

Care is a bit harder with copper than other materials. We suggest a mild soap and water solution with a soft sponge. Avoid harsh chemicals as they could damage or discolor the copper.

Copper is a softer material that stainless steel, fireclay or enamel sinks so be careful with them. They scratch easier than you’d expect. And copper can dent so try not to hit them with anything too hard. They won’t chip though and don’t rust.

Cost: $500 to $1,500+. Copper sinks can get decorative with hand-crafted detailing so prices can really get expensive. These are generally considered a very high end option.

Advantages Of Copper Sinks

Enamel coated cast iron kitchen sinks have a few advantages when compared with other sinks.

  • Cost. Cast iron sinks aren’t cheap but do have some mid range options that are more affordable.
  • Durability. Cast iron is a very durable material that resists staining, scratches and heat damage. It can be chipped but it can’t be dented.
  • Variety. Enamel coated cast iron sinks come in a variety of colors. Although white is by far the most popular.
  • Safety. Cast iron is a safe choice if you want white because it goes with pretty much everything.
  • Longevity. Cast iron sinks have been in style for ages so you won’t have to worry about looking dated. And they can be re-glazed so it’s possible to keep them looking like new for a long time.

Disadvantages Of Copper Sinks

Even though cast iron sinks are by far the most popular and steel is an all around great material, they still have some disadvantages.

  • Color. White is by far the most popular color cast iron sink. If you choose any other color your taking a risk that may or may not pay off.
  • Finishes. Every enamel coated cast iron sink I’ve ever seen or installed had the same semi gloss finish.
  • Price. Although price is also an advantage because there are mid range options, most cast iron sinks are pretty expensive.
  • Scratches. Cast iron is very durable but it’s the enamel you have to worry about. Buy a quality product with a touch enamel otherwise these sinks are easier to scratch.
  • Cracks. Even though cast iron is a very durable material that won’t dent, it can crack.
  • Chips. The enamel can chip which exposes the metal and that metal can eventually rust.

Summary

Copper is on the high end of the kitchen sink price range, but it offers a distinct look and is a material that lasts. It gains a patina naturally over time, which is difficult to avoid, so be sure you like that look. Copper is antimicrobial, which comes in handy for food prep and dish washing. The material also doesn’t rust, which makes it suitable for use in a sink since it’s constantly exposed to moisture.

Like stainless steel sinks, copper sinks come in different gauges, with 14- to 18-gauge sinks offering the best durability but also the highest prices. Thicker sinks with a lower gauge are often more resistant to denting. Cheap copper sinks are often thinner and lower quality, which makes them more likely to show damage and wear. Look for a sink that’s at least 99 percent pure copper. Some sinks include zinc to improve the strength.

Copper can react to acids and cleaners. Those chemicals can damage the patina you’ve developed on the copper sink.

Stone

Natural stone sinks like granite, quartz or composite are a high end option that make an impression in any kitchen they’re installed in.

Stone is a good looking sink material that’s extremely durable. They don’t show water marks or scratches the way stainless steel sinks do and they won’t rust. They also don’t typically chip or crack although it’s possible if you hit them hard enough. Dents are also not an issue with stone. And they do very well with high heat which is a benefit in the kitchen.

Natural stone sinks come in a variety of neutral colors, but I prefer the darker shades. Grays, browns and black are my favorites. They provide a really nice contrast which is nice in a kitchen, especially these days when so much white and gray are being used. Dark colors are also great at hiding a dirty sink which can be a pro and a con.Even though your sink will almost always look clean, it may not be so make sure to clean it regularly.

Although these sinks are durable, they can still crack. Always inspect your stone sink before installation to make sure it doesn’t have any small cracks that can happen during delivery.

Stone sinks bring a wow factor to the kitchen because they’re rarely used. Thanks to natural variations in the veining and coloration, every stone sink is unique. And because they’re carved from a single block, variations in tone and texture are preserved in the finished product.

Real stone, while very durable, is also porous. Proper sealing is required to prevent scratching, staining, and damage from cleaning products and other chemicals. Stone sinks are also very heavy, requiring strong cabinetry.

Prices will vary depending on the stone your using. Quartz, marble, granite, or slate kitchen sinks all have different prices ranging from around $300 to well over $1,000, not including installation.

Cost: $300 to $1,000+.

Advantages Of Stone Sinks

Natural stone kitchen sinks have a few advantages when compared to other sinks.

  • Cost. Stone sinks have a wide range of pricing so there are mid priced options however for premium sinks expect to pay a lot.
  • Durability. Stone is a very durable material that typically won’t scratch or stain. It won’t dent or rust like metal but it can crack or chip.
  • Variety. Stone sinks come in a wide variety of size, shapes and styles. While not as versatile as stainless steel you can still get pretty much all the most popular sink designs.
  • Charm. Real stone sinks are a lot rarer than stainless steel or enamel so installing one creates a nice conversation piece.
  • Unique. Because these sinks are made out of natural stone the colors and veining make them all one of a kind.

Disadvantages Of Stone Sinks

Even though stone sinks are a great product they still have some disadvantages.

  • Maintenance. Stone sinks are one of the only type of sink that needs maintenance. Because stone is porous it needs sealing just like stone countertops do.
  • Finishes. Just like with color there isn’t a large variety of finishes to choose from.
  • Price. Although price is also an advantage because there are mid range options to choose from, high end stone sinks are very expensive.
  • Cracks. Although rare, stress cracks can occur, especially during delivery.
  • Unique. While being unique is an advantage for some, it could also turn so buyers off. If you designing a kitchen for a flip or spec house then we’d recommend a safer choice with more of a mass market appeal.

Summary

Solid stone sinks are typically priced at the high end of the market but there are mid range options. They make a beautiful impression in the kitchen but are not main stream enough to be considered a super safe choice if your building a spec house or remodeling a flip.

Choosing the same type of stone as your countertops creates a seamless look that’s not possible with other sink materials. While stone is durable, it requires regular sealing since it’s a porous material. When sealed, these sinks hold up well against scratches and stains. You should treat them just like you would your stone countertops.

Most stone sinks are very heavy and need strong reinforced cabinetry and countertops for proper installation.

Darker color stone can show scratches or other damage more than lighter colors.

Kitchen Sink Gallery

The following is a gallery filled with some of our favorite kitchen sinks. We’ll be updating this as we collect more great sink pics so check back every now and then or join our site and we’ll notify you whenever new posts are added or older ones get updated

White porcelain enamel kitchen sink with marble countertops and chrome faucet.

White porcelain enamel kitchen sink with marble countertops and chrome faucet.

Large farmhouse style single basin white enamel kitchen sink with exposed apron.

Large farmhouse style single basin white enamel kitchen sink with exposed apron.

Single basin stainless steel rectangular sink in a center island.

Single basin stainless steel rectangular sink in a center island.

Large farmhouse style white enamel sink with exposed apron.

Large farmhouse style white enamel sink with exposed apron.

Stainless steel sink in a marble island.

Stainless steel sink in a marble island.

White farmhouse style sink with exposed apron.

White farmhouse style sink with exposed apron.

White enamel double basin sink with brushed aluminum faucet.

White enamel double basin sink with brushed aluminum faucet.

Black stone composite sinks with white quartz countertops.

Black stone composite sinks with white quartz countertops.

Stainless steel double basin island sink.

Stainless steel double basin island sink.

Modern design stainless steel rectangular island sink.

Modern design stainless steel rectangular island sink.

White enamel farmhouse style island sink with exposed basin.

White enamel farmhouse style island sink with exposed basin.

White enamel farmhouse styles kitchen sink with exposed apron.

White enamel farmhouse styles kitchen sink with exposed apron.

Double basin stainless steel kitchen sink with granite countertops.

Double basin stainless steel kitchen sink with granite countertops.

Modern metal sink with a dark black finish. black metal kitchen sink design. Modern sinks.

Modern metal sink with a dark black finish.

Summary: What Kitchen Sink Material Is Best

Kitchens are considered the center of most homes these days. Everything in the home seems to flow through and around them because of all the open floor plans and gourmet kitchens being built. If your building or remodeling a kitchen then you’ll have to choose the perfect sink style and material.

When you design a kitchen there are dozens of choices that have to be made and they’re all very important. What type of countertops will you use and what color? What style cabinets, and again, what color? Do you want tile floors, hardwood or ultra modern polished concrete? You’ll have to choose a layout, lighting, and paint colors. And don’t forget about the appliances. All of these decisions are very important, but maybe most of all is your choice of sink. Not only in terms of the color but also the style and material. Sinks are not only a beautiful part of your kitchen design but they’re also a functional aspect that generally gets a lot of use. It’s a decision you’ll need to make carefully based on a number of factors.

I hope some of the information throughout this page helps you choose the perfect sink for your next kitchen design.

If you have any questions or comments e-mail us any time. We’d love to hear from you.

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