16 Gauge vs. 18 Gauge Stainless Steel Sink: Which Should You Pick?

When buying a new stainless steel sink for the kitchen, many people don’t realize the number of options. Aside from the designs, configurations, brands, price ranges, and so on, you need to consider the gauge of your stainless steel sink. 

Quick Answer:

16 gauge is thicker and typically more durable than 18 gauge. Therefore, a 16 gauge sink is generally more resistant to dents and noise, but it’s also more expensive. Conversely, 18 gauge sinks are slightly thinner and less expensive, but they can serve well in most household applications.

For some individuals, this makes absolutely no sense. What is the gauge number? Is it important? Well, actually, yes, it is. So, if you’re in the dark on this topic, continue reading to learn more!

What Is A Sink Gauge On A Stainless Steel Sink?

Hykolity 32-inch Kitchen Sink, 16 Gauge Undermount Single Bowl Stainless Steel Sink with Strainer & Bottom Grid

As you browse for stainless steel sinks, you’ll probably notice each sink features a different gauge. This number tells us several things, one of which is the percentage of its contents. For example, 18/10 stainless contains 18% chromium and 10% nickel. 

The chromium in the steel bonds oxygen to the surface of the sink, helping to prevent the iron content in the steel from oxidizing (rusting). Nickel helps bolster the corrosion resistance as well. 

In addition, the gauge number tells you the thickness of the stainless steel. The lower the number, the thicker the steel. The higher the number, the thinner the sheet of metal used to make the sink. 

Although this seems counterintuitive, it’s how it works. For the most part, stainless steel sinks range from 14 gauge to 22 gauge. A 14 gauge stainless steel sink is the thickness most commercial kitchen uses, while thinner gauges are usually suitable for residential settings. 

Sinks with the lowest gauges are typically found in commercial buildings, like hospitals, kitchens, cafeterias, etc. These sinks tend to be large and take up a considerable amount of space, which leaves plenty of room for numerous heavy pots and pans to sit. The weight of the dishes demands heavier gauge steel. 

Does A Thicker (Lower Gauge) Steel Mean A Better Quality Kitchen Sink?

Stainless Steel

Yes, thicker stainless steel sinks tend to be the better option. Higher gauge kitchen sinks, like those around 22 or 23 gauge, tend to be on the inexpensive end of the spectrum. Like most things, you get what you pay for. They don’t hold up as well as their thicker counterparts. 

Thicker stainless steel kitchen sinks offer various benefits, including:

  • Better noise dampening capabilities
  • Less susceptible to bowing and denting
  • Strong and durable

Thicker gauges can withstand everyday wear and tear easily without denting or scratching. They’re considerably more durable than higher gauge sinks. 

Additionally, these sinks offer better noise dampening than thinner sinks. You’ll notice the difference if you drop a dish or utensil in the sink: the thicker sink will produce lower, quieter noise, while the thinner sink will make a louder, more prominent noise. 

On the flip side, thinner gauge sinks come with several pros and cons. Higher gauge sinks tend to be less expensive than thicker gauges, but the thinner material leads to various disadvantages. 

A few of the drawbacks include:

  • Less durable than thicker gauges
  • More vulnerable to damage
  • Too thin for garbage disposals
  • Aren’t practical for larger sink spaces

What Gauge Stainless Steel Sink Is Best?

Sinber 33" Drop in Single Bowl 304 Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink

In residential settings, 16 gauge and 18 gauge sinks are popular choices. These sinks aren’t too thick, yet offer many of the benefits of lower gauge sinks. They’re more durable and provide more strength than their thinner comrades. Bonus: they’re not as noisy as a thinner sink, either. 

So, between the two, which is better? To answer this question, let’s take a look at each option.

16 Gauge18 Gauge
Thicker stainless steelThinner composition
More durableLess durable
More costlyLess expensive

What’s Better: A 16 or 18 Gauge Sink?

Ultimately, the differences between these two thicknesses are minor. Yes, 18 gauge steel is thinner than 16 gauge. However, the difference is minimal: a 16-gauge stainless steel sink is approximately 0.0625 inches thick, while an 18 gauge sink is 0.05 inches thick. That’s roughly a 20 percent difference. 

18 gauge sinks are plenty thick enough to hold up well in most homes. Thicker gauges, like 16 gauge sinks, also do completely fine in residential settings. Unless you’re planning on installing a massive kitchen sink and piling loads of dishes in the sink on a regular basis, 16 to 18 gauge sinks are perfectly fine. 

Obviously, since you’re getting a thicker metal, the 16 gauge sink will be pricier than the other. Additionally, it offers slightly better durability as well. Given the minimal differences between the two, we’d say there’s no use losing sleep over comparing these two. 

On top of that, most home improvement stores recommend 16 gauge to 18 gauge stainless steel sinks for residential settings. So, regardless of which option you choose, you should end up with a solid sink. 

With that said, 16 gauge stainless steel sinks tend to be the more popular choice of the two. If a solid, sturdy, durable sink is what you’re looking for, go with a 16 gauge stainless steel kitchen sink. However, these options can be pricey, so 18 gauge sinks are a great alternative if that’s a major defining factor. 

Popular 16 Gauge Kitchen Sinks

Kitchen sinks come in various configurations, brands, styles, colors, and finishes. Stainless steel sinks restrict the pool of choices to silver sinks in various configurations and brands. You can find these sinks in various mounting styles, including undermount and drop-in configurations. 

A few highly rated 16 gauge kitchen sinks include:

  • Kraus 16 Gauge Undermount Bowl Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink
  • Ruvati Nesta 30-inch Undermount 50/50 Double Bowl Zero Radius 16 Gauge Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink
  • Kraus PRO 33” Undermount 16 Gauge Stainless Steel 50/50 Double Bowl Kitchen Sink
  • ZUNHE Genoa 32-inch Stainless Steel Undermount Kitchen Sink Double Bowl 16 Gauge
Kraus KHU100-32 Standart PRO 16 Gauge Undermount Single Bowl Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink, 32 Inch
  • Made of stainless steel | Corrosion and rust-resistant, will not fade over time | Set includes Sink,...
  • Product dimensions | Overall – 32” L x 19” W x 10” D | Min cabinet size – 36” | Bowl –...
  • A best-selling stainless steel sink paired with a commercial kitchen faucet for an in-demand...
  • Resilient and easy to clean commercial-grade satin finish resists corrosion and rust & matches most...

Popular 18 Gauge Kitchen Sinks

For the most part, 16 gauge stainless steel kitchen sinks seem to be the more appealing of these two options. However, there are multiple 18 gauge stainless steel kitchen sinks with outstanding reviews. 

A few popular sinks in this category include:

  • Kraus Premier Kitchen 33” Drop-In 18 Gauge Stainless Steel 60/40 Double Bowl Kitchen Sink
  • HausinLuck Drop-In Single Bowl 33” Kitchen Sink 
  • MR Direct 18 Gauge Undermount Bowl Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink
Hausinluck 33 x 22 inch Drop-in Kitchen Sink, Stainless Steel Drop-in Workstation Kitchen Sink 18...
  • High quality stainless steel: this 33 inch drop-in kitchen sink is constructed with premium 18 gauge...
  • Workstation design: this topmount kitchen sink is designed with ledges on the front and back provide...
  • Multiple functional: this drop-in workstation sink is designed with X water guide line on bottom...
  • Product size: exterior dimensions: 33" (wide) x 22" (front-to-back) . Bowl depth: 9". interior...

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