Remarkable quality - technical details illustrated
My wife and I run a small rental, renovation, and resale property business in the Pittsburgh area. The crew of guys I usually work with has seen a lot of sinks in their time, and we’ve all been impressed by the Anzzi Vanguard line. I’ve reviewed the 30-inch Vanguard single-basin sink already, and in looking at this 32-inch model, most of the same information is true. The short version of this review: this is a large, very impressive handmade rectangular handmade sink.
To begin with, what is a
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“handmade” sink? All stainless steel sinks begin life as a flat sheet of stainless steel, which is stamped into a sink by a large, powerful press. The result is then polished, coated, and packaged for sale. In the case of these sinks, there’s an intermediate step. The sinks are made in rectangular form to maximize bowl volume per counter square footage utilized, and stamping them as-is would lead to very weak forms. So what happens in the intermediate step is that the initial stamped sink is heavily reinforced with additional steel at all the corners and edges. Essentially, a reinforcing steel cage is built around the stamped-out bowl. This makes the form of a rectangular handmade sink extremely strong and unlikely to bend or warp under a heavy load or vigorous washing, especially when it is made of thicker-gauge steel than the 20-gauge (usual quality) or 18-gauge (premium quality) stainless steel sheets that are most often used for residential sinks.
This sink is made of 16 gauge steel, which makes sinks both more expensive and more difficult to manufacture. 16-gauge steel is usually reserved for commercial-quality food service sinks. Moreover, this sink is made of 304 stainless steel, which is the most corrosion resistant stainless steel used in sink manufacture. The easiest way to tell if a quality sink is made of 304 stainless is to hold a refrigerator magnet to it. This kind of stainless steel is only very weakly magnetic -- a magnet simply won’t stick to it.
The biggest benefits of an ultrapremium handmade undermount sink like this is that the basin is rock solid when you wash things in it and the epoxy bond between the sink and the bottom of your counter material is far less subject to epoxy/aged silicone stress cracks or countertop material stress cracks over time. You most definitely want something like this under a high-quality natural or engineered stone countertop. And if you choose a marble countertop, which is softer and more prone to cracking than a granite or quartz countertop, the choice of one of these becomes even more important. Finally, the bigger the undermount sink, the more understandably important putting in a thicker steel sink becomes. I would never advise anyone picking anything 27 inches wide or wider to go with any 20-gauge undermount stamped-steel sink on marble, although I’ve occasionally seen it done (never particularly well). No, if you want a smart long-term investment decision in upgrading your kitchen, a 16-gauge ultrapremium handmade sink is most definitely the wisest choice, and it’s very hard to see how the single-bowls like these will go out of style in the foreseeable future. This is the one that will help sells your house most easily.
There are typically three negatives involved in buying handmade rectangular sinks of this design. The earliest models were almost exclusively used in commercial food prep and the floors didn’t always slope evenly to the drain, which led to excessive water spotting on the floors of the basins. The corners on many of the those older sinks, again, usually in commercial kitchens, were at a sharp 90-degree bend and food residue tended to accumulate in them. Lastly, flat surfaces reverberate more than curved surfaces and so these sinks used to make lots of noise as you washed in them. Over time manufacturing techniques have improved and these negatives have been generally minimized.
The work Anzzi has done with the Vanguard series represents the best of these techniques. The four drainage lines on the bottom of the bowl are accurately marked and sloped by laser technology (Figure 1). The corners of the sink are rounded gently and consistently (Figure 2), and the entire sink exterior, bottom and sides, is coated in sound insulation, with large 2mm rubber pads on the sides and a 3 mm rubber pad on the bottom, all to control noise. These pads are easily visible in the product photo provided.
You really can’t do better for money or love when it comes to a sink of this design as an investment choice than this Anzzi sink. The value of the sink’s price point outstrips the competition in the ultrapremium stainless range. It’s a very, very good sink. It’s true, lasting value for your investment dollars.
So with that, my two complaints about this sink are a bit trivial, but here goes.
My one main complaint is the white inner gasket that is included with the drain assembly (Figure 3). My advice to the installers of this sink is to throw it away and use plumber’s putty to make the seal. These inner gaskets seem to be included in this sort of thing more and more, but no professional plumber would use them. Nine times out of ten, they work fine, but to blow the installation of a sink like this with a faulty inner gasket would be a crying shame.
I wish more information about the sink was available from my local Home Depot kitchen design people. It doesn’t make sense to offer this side by side with other sinks of similar size but inferior quality without having people who are able to explain the benefits of something like this, which all boil down to making the wisest long-term investment choice for your kitchen renovation. I suppose that’s what reviews are for, and I’ve done my best here. Something of this quality being offered in a throwaway society deserves a fair technical explanation of its benefits.
I have three more things to say about this sink:
Figure 4 shows the heavy rubber feet on the bottom of the sink grate provided with this sink. The importance of these oversized rubber bumpers will make more sense five or ten years from now, when after lots of rubbing against the bottom, these are still going strong while their competitors’ similar-but-not-equal grates begin to fail and leave heavy scratches on the bottom of sinks like these.
Figure 5 shows the white gloves that are packaged along with the sink. It’s a nice touch for installers to put in these sinks without leave greasy fingerprints all over them.
Figure 6 shows the template provided with the sink. I’ve never seen templates cut as exactingly as these. Since there’s necessary variation with every handmade sink, most templates included for installers are a bit off. Not here! It shows impressive attention to an important installation detail.
I can't really finish this review without a warning for buyers and installers: when you deal with an undermount sink this big, in most residential counter situations that require you to make faucet connections under the sink and against a wall, you’re very probably going to want to put the faucet in before the sink goes in. If you choose not to do that, make absolutely sure you understand exactly how you’re going to get the faucet in before the clamps on the sink are tightened. Think and plan it out very carefully, or at least make sure the people you’re paying to do it have experience with connecting faucets behind rectangular undermount sinks this large. The instructions say as much but I thought I should emphasize it here.
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