Kitchen Sink Buying Guide

Replacing a kitchen sink with a perfect blend of form and function is easy

Kitchen sinks are available in more shapes and sizes than ever before. This guide explains the mounting options, materials and configurations available so you can be confident you’re selecting the sink that provides the perfect balance of form and function in your kitchen.

Mounting Kitchen Sinks

How your countertop is constructed and the material your sink is made of play a large role in how your sink is installed.

Drop-in (top mount)

  • Drop in sinks are set into a pre-cut hole in the countertop with the edge of the sink resting on the counter
  • Typically the installation method for stainless steel sinks and can be used with virtually any countertop material
  • When placed in same size cutout, can be replaced without disturbing the countertop or relocating plumbing
  • Can be self-rimming (held in place by their weight or fastened with clips and screws) or rimmed (more recessed into the countertop and the joint is covered by a metal rim)


  • Undermount sinks are installed under the counter; ideal for use with solid surface and granite
  • Easy clean up
  • Not recommended for laminate countertops because the edge above the sink is exposed

Farmhouse / Apron Front

  • Apron sinks, also known as farmhouse sinks, feature a wide base and deep basin with an exposed front that drops down in front of the sink instead of stopping at the edge of the counter
  • Allow for easier cleaning of large pots and pans
  • Mostly found in country-style kitchen

Sink Materials

Pick a sink that complements your décor and fixtures while also remaining durable enough to sustain heavy usage.

Stainless steel

  • Excellent balance of cost, durability and ease of cleaning
  • Higher quality stainless steel sinks are made of 18-16 gauge or thicker steel to prevent dents and scratches and reduce noise
  • Look for vibration-damping foam insulation on the underside of the bowls to deaden water drumming
  • Brushed satin finishes tend to hide water spots and scratches

Cast iron

  • Layer of enamel provides a hard, durable surface with a smooth, glass-like finish that makes it easy to clean
  • Guaranteed not to chip, crack or burn
  • Requires two people to install
  • Made with 80 percent recycled materials; can last for generations

Granite/Quartz Composite

  • Made of mixture of materials to provide a sturdy, low-maintenance surface
  • Available in a range of colors and prices
  • Withstands hot cookware
  • Composites with high granite content are especially durable


  • Plastic-like material molded into the shape of the sink and reinforced with fiberglass
  • Cost-effective
  • Available in multiple colors
  • Surface is easy to clean and maintain


  • Highly durable metal that does not rust or tarnish; requires little maintenance
  • Surface takes on an aged patina over time
  • Each sink is individually handcrafted and unique
  • Anti-microbial properties kill bacteria and viruses, including E. coli

Kitchen Sink Configuration

Before you buy, consider the number of sink bowls, how they are oriented, and the depth and number of holes your sink requires for fixtures and accessories.

Tip: The ideal dishwasher location depends on whether you’re right-handed or left-handed. The key is to be able to hold dirty dishes with one hand while rinsing with the other then placing them easily in the dishwasher. For double sinks, having the garbage disposer installed on the same side as the dishwasher increases efficiency.


The interior width of the sink’s cabinet determines the maximum dimensions for your sink.

Most base cabinets are 36 to 42 inches high and 25-1/4 to 26 inches wide. A typical 33-by-22-inch sink will fill a 36-inch base cabinet.

If you are replacing a sink, make sure it fits the existing cutout. If the cabinet allows, you may be able to install a larger sink by expanding the cutout.

Number of Bowls

Deciding how many bowls you need is best determined by the size of your kitchen and your typical activities in it.

Single Bowl - Kitchen Sinks Buying Guide

Single bowl

  • Offers plenty of space for large-diameter dishes and oversized pots
  • Takes up less space than other bowls
  • Can be as wide as 33 inches
Double Bowl - Kitchen Sinks Buying Guide

Double bowl

  • Provides room for separate tasks such as washing and rinsing dishes, food preparation and cleanup
  • Can be as wide as 48 inches
Triple Bowl - Kitchen Sinks Buying Guide

Triple bowl

  • Features a small third bowl for use as a prep sink
  • Can be as wide as 60 inches


Sinks typically have between one and five holes, or tappings, on the deck behind the bowls for accessories like faucets, soap dispensers, spray hoses and hot filtered water.

  • The sink you choose should be able to accommodate the number and configuration of items you want.
  • The standard configuration for most sinks is four holes but you can purchase a sink with five or six holes, depending on the manufacturer.
  • If the sink you want has more holes than are needed, decorative covers are available to conceal them.
Number of Sink Holes