Choosing the right kitchen sink is absolutely vital, after all, it’s not something that you replace every year like you might a towel or the pillows on your bed. If you get the wrong sink, it can be a costly and time-consuming mistake to put right. But with such a wide variety of kitchen sink materials out there, and an even wider range of prices, how do you know which one is right for your kitchen? In this guide we’ll be looking at the different types of kitchen sinks and discussing their pros and cons, as well as recommending a few of our favourites.
Stainless Steel Sinks
Stainless steel kitchen sinks are still the most popular sinks in the UK, and with a huge variety of sizes, shapes and even finishes available, there is more often than not a stainless steel sink to suit everyone’s needs. Stainless steel sinks are very low maintenance; they are corrosion and rust resistant, and as long as they are cared for properly and wiped down after every use, they should not stain.
Rangemaster Glendale 1 Bowl Brushed Stainless Steel Sink & Waste Kit with Reversible Drainer - 950 x 508mm
Vellamo Edge 1 Bowl Undermount Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink & Waste Kit - 530 x 430mm
Rangemaster Arlington 1.5 Bowl Brushed Stainless Steel Sink & Waste Kit with Right Hand Drainer - 985 x 508mm
Stainless steel sinks are generally the cheapest option, so if you’re on a tight budget or you’re just looking for a replacement sink to put in a rental property, they are the best choice. Most stainless steel sinks come with lengthy guarantees and as stainless steel sinks are lighter than other options, the way that they can be fitted is also more flexible.
One drawback of budget stainless steel sinks is that they are usually made from thinner stainless steel. This not only makes them more prone to dents and scratches, but it also makes them noisier as well. The thicker the stainless steel, the quieter the sink, but also the more expensive. Some of the more expensive sinks also have special sound absorbing pads under the sink to further reduce the noise. As we’ve discussed, stainless steel is generally the cheapest of the materials, but if you’re looking for a top of the range stainless steel sink, you can expect to pay upwards of £400, compared to around £50-100 for a budget one.
- Very durable - corrosion and rust resistant and normally come with lengthy guarantees
- Usually the cheapest of all the materials
- Top mount, flush mount and undermount options available
- Low maintenance
- Noisy - the thinner the steel the noisier the sink
- Sinks with thin stainless steel are more likely to scratch
- Can get dented easily if something heavy is dropped in it
- The best stainless sinks can cost more than other materials
Granite Composite Sinks
Granite composite kitchen sinks are perhaps the trendiest sinks around. With a huge variety of styles and finishes available, with colours ranging from a classic black to a light cream, and even pink and green, there really is a finish that will suit every kitchen décor. Granite composite sinks, like stainless steel sinks, can be mounted in numerous ways, whether top mount or undermount.
Reginox Harlem 1.5 Bowl Black Silvery Granite Composite Kitchen Sink & Waste Kit - 1000 x 500mm
Vellamo Terra 1.5 Bowl Granite Composite Inset/Undermount Kitchen Sink & Waste Kit - 555 x 460mm
Reginox Amsterdam 1.5 Bowl Grey Silvery Granite Composite Kitchen Sink & Waste Kit with Reversible Drainer - 1000 x 500mm
Granite sinks are incredibly strong; so much so that German manufacturer Schock fired a gun at one of their sinks and it caused no damage at all! With a granite sink, you can quite safely take hot pans and trays straight from the oven and place them on the sink.
They’re tough enough that if you accidentally drop something on the sink, you’re more likely going to break what you’ve dropped than the sink itself (although if you’re clumsy, this could result in you having to buy copious amounts of glassware).
They are also scratch resistant and stain resistant, although this doesn’t mean that you can just leave your sink covered in dirt and grime and expect to be able to wipe it off in a few days with no marks left. We highly recommend cleaning it after every use - even if it’s just with a damp cloth - and then giving it a proper clean once a week.
Granite sinks are in general more expensive than stainless steel sinks, but even so they are available from around the £150 mark. Expect to pay slightly more for delivery as well because they are heavier and more fragile in transit. Whilst they are more expensive than stainless steel sinks, the difference in quality between a cheaper and more expensive granite sink isn’t as much as the difference in quality between cheap and expensive stainless steel sinks.
- Extremely durable - most granite sinks are heat, stain and scratch resistant
- Prices are coming down all the time
- Anti-bacterial surface which is also easy to clean
- Lengthy guarantees
- Huge range of colours, sizes and styles available
- Very hard surface that can damage things that are dropped on it
- Require careful maintenance
- Heavier than stainless steel so need a more sturdy worktop
Fireclay Ceramic Sinks
Ceramic kitchen sinks are still the traditionalists choice. Go into almost any traditional-style kitchen and you’ll find a ceramic sink, and thanks to their durability, there’s a chance that it’s been there for as long as the kitchen. A well maintained ceramic sink can last a lifetime, and thanks to them being easy to clean as well as heat resistant, it can look just as good as the day you bought it.
We have a ceramic kitchen sink in the Tap Warehouse office, and even if tea bags are left in it overnight, it simply takes a wipe of a damp cloth the next morning to have it sparkling clean again. Even if they’re left in over the weekend, on Monday morning it can still be wiped clean - although it may require a little more elbow grease. Of course, we don’t actually recommend doing this; we suggest that you wipe your sink clean after every use as things like red wine can cause more lasting stains.
Butler & Rose Ceramic Fireclay Belfast Traditional Kitchen Sink with Basket Strainer Waste - 595 x 455mm
Reginox Mataro 1 Bowl Undermount White Glaze Ceramic Sink & Waste - 545 x 440mm
Ceramic kitchen sinks are the most expensive option, but you still don’t have to break the bank to buy one. Like granite kitchen sinks, they are available from around the £150 mark, but again like granite, you will pay slightly more for delivery due to their fragile nature when in transit. Ceramic kitchen sinks aren’t suitable for everyone though; because of their weight, you must first make sure that your worktop can handle one. This is important if you are planning on top mounting your sink, and it is even more necessary if you are planning on buying a ceramic undermount sink or a Belfast sink.
- Easiest to maintain and keep clean
- Extremely durable - heat and stain resistant
- Effortlessly stylish
- Withstands most household chemicals
- A more expensive option
- Can chip (although can be repaired)
- Very heavy and less choice available
So, there we have it, a look at the pros and cons of the different kitchen sink materials. There are no bad materials, it all just depends on what your requirements are and what your style preferences are. Even the cheapest stainless steel sink can be right for you, and as long as it’s looked after properly, it can last just as long as any other sink.