Best Undermount Kitchen Sinks | Buyers Guide
Choosing a new sink can be a great way to help add an elegant and stylish edge to the overall look and feel of your kitchen.
They are also a great trick to ensure that you are maximizing your space, and of making sure that your essential kitchen elements are working for you.
Need any more persuasion? They are also super easy to clean!
Put simply; an undermount sink is one which sits below the surface of the countertop, allowing the very edge of the counter to drop straight down into the sink. 
Traditional, top-mount sinks will include a lip which extends over the top of the sink cutout, while an undermount sink offers a sharp and clean line which can instantly add a contemporary feel to the room. There are a whole host of material types, from granite to stainless steel, and you can pick a finish which works with your overall decor.
To help save you time, we have a guide to picking the best undermount kitchen sinks – you will be enjoying your new space in no time!
My 6 Best Undermount Kitchen Sinks
Benefits of an Undermount Sink
Whether you are moving into a new house or merely looking to transform your existing kitchen space, an undermount sink may be a feature you are curious to try. There is a huge range of benefits to the style, and they can have a transformative impact on the environment.
A Sleek, Modern Style
The minimalist nature of these sinks means that they instantly update any kitchen space, offering a very modern and contemporary look. This can also help the room to appear cleaner and less cluttered, and the finish can be adapted to match the rest of the design perfectly for a non-invasive, seamless aesthetic.
Undermount sinks can also act as a brilliant centerpiece to build the rest of the kitchen around.
Less Cleaning Required
One of the major advantages of these sinks is that they are super easy to clean, and can seriously cut down on the amount of everyday maintenance which is required – a very welcome fact for those of us with busy and stressful lives, or for whom cleaning is not the number one priority!
Because there is no lip to extend over the counter, undermount sinks lack the crevice which exists between sink and countertop on a top mount sink. This can be a nightmare for catching crumbs, liquids, and dirt, and can quickly become grubby and unpleasant unless cleaned regularly.
Undermount sinks, however, lack this issue, and so any crumbs or debris will fall directly into the sink, where they can be dealt with in a faster and more effective way. This leaves your countertops effortlessly clean and reduces your workload.
This can be further enhanced by a ‘positive reveal’ – an installation technique which makes the cutout a little larger than the sink. This reveals the seam and means that there is nowhere for erroneous waste to hide.
Increase Your Counter Space
Unless you are lucky enough to live in an enormous house with an industry-sized kitchen, counter space is likely a precious commodity. Undercounter sinks have no rim, and this means that the sink takes up far less space.
It may only amount to an inch or so, but this can be a gamechanger when it comes to storing essentials such as hand soap or cleaning products.
Add Value to Your Home
For many homeowners, an undercounter sink is seen as a unique luxury which adds a premium feel to the space, and you may find that this increases the potential value if you decide to sell.
These designs also allow you to show off the counter space to the maximum – and this can be useful if you have a particularly stunning stone or wood material.
Most traditional sinks will come with pre-drilled holes for kitchen faucets, meaning that they can only be placed in a specific location. An undermount sink, however, gives you far more flexibility and creativity.
You can place taps anywhere you choose, and this can be a great way to inject some originality and individuality into your home design.
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Once you have decided to add a new sink to your home, there are a lot of options and choices presented to you. From the material you select to the size you need, it can all be a little overwhelming!
To make life easier, we have put together the ultimate buying guide to cover all the basics when it comes to picking the best undermount kitchen sinks and help connect you with your ideal design and ensure total kitchen harmony.
The first aspect you will need to consider with your purchase is the depth of the sink, and this will depend mainly on the space available, the size of the kitchen, and personal preference.
The size of the sink is not only determined by the physical restrictions but also your own needs or preferences. If you are only planning to use the sink for basic washing up or rinsing before the dishwasher, you may be able to get away with a smaller depth and overall size.
More extensive tasks, such as soaking food or washing larger items, will naturally require more space.
You should also consider the parties who will be using the sink; there is no point in going for the full 12″ if some of your household members can’t reach the bottom!
Any pets also need to be thought of; kittens, in particular, are drawn to running water, and it may be safer to have a shallow bowl.
Once you have determined the size you need, the next choice to make is the material.
Again, this has a lot of factors affecting the final decision, such as taking into account the overall design of your kitchen, the practicality of certain materials, the family or household members who will be affected, and your primary motivations for using the space.
High polish, easy to scratch marble may look stunning, but it might not be the best idea if you have curious pets or small children! Similarly, cast iron can give a fantastic rustic feel, but could be out of your budget.
It may come as a surprise to learn that despite its reputation, granite is actually far more durable and less prone to damage than stainless steel.
They are designed to be super hardwearing, and so are a great choice if you are planning to keep your kitchen for a long time. The material can also be very resistant to stains, heat, and scratches, and has the added bonus of providing a genuine authenticity – every single piece is totally unique, and this can be a real talking point!
As well as the pros, there are of course some downsides to picking granite; it tends to be on the expensive side, and prices can vary depending on the stone you choose. It is also extremely heavy, and this can mean that extra costs are incurred during the installation to ensure that there is adequate and safe support.
A granite sink must also be sealed annually to keep it in good condition, though this is a fast and straightforward process.
This is often one of the most popular choices when it comes to picking a material for your sink, and for good reason.
Stainless steel manages to find a great balance between durability, cleanliness, and affordability, and so can be perfect for busy family kitchens. Those at the higher end of the spectrum tend to be constructed from 18-16 gauge steel, if not thicker, and this really helps to minimize and prevent and dents and scratches.
In addition, many models are made with a brushed satin finish, and this is a perfect way to hide any water spots or scratches which often occur as a natural part of use.
On the downside, stainless steel often looks less fancy and more ‘budget’ than some of the alternatives, and this can be off-putting to some homeowners, especially if it is not in keeping with the rest of the space.
If you are looking for long-lasting durability, quartz is pretty hard to beat! The material is known for being super heat resistant, and it can withstand most of the dents, scrapes, and scratches which come with a busy kitchen.
It can also be resistant to stains if you pick a quartz composite; unlike natural stones, it will not absorb the stain, and this makes it far easier to remove.
Even better, this is an excellent choice for eco-fans; using an engineered stone means that your sink is made from waste byproducts, which occur as a result of other quarrying activities – no rock was harvested specifically to make the sink!
One of the main negatives to quartz is – ironically – the strength. It is a very hard material, and extremely unforgiving if you drop a glass or plate into the sink.
It also tends to age quite quickly and can show wear and tear unless maintained properly.
Another popular choice is porcelain, and this can help to create a timeless, elegant feel to your kitchen.
It is also long-lasting and designed to stand the test of time – perfect if you are planning on designing and creating a kitchen to see out the rest of your days in the house.
Many also include a limited lifetime warranty as an added bonus! The high gloss finish means that this is a material which tends to fit with any color scheme, and it has the added advantage of incorporating recycled material in some models so that you can do your bit for the planet.
All of these benefits come at a price, however, and porcelain tends to be one of the more expensive options.
It can also be tricky to keep clean, and more prone to chips and scratches which can leave the overall finish looking tired quite quickly. This is probably not the top choice for those with families, or who are looking for a low-effort option.
A cast iron sink can be a dramatic talking-point to add to your kitchen and a fantastic alternative to more traditional materials.
This is probably the most durable material you can pick for your sink, and can truly last a lifetime with the right care and attention!
Most cast iron sinks are coated in enamel, and this means it is easy to find the right color for your environment and surroundings.
On the downside, the durability of these designs tends to come from their weight, and this will require extra supports and assistance to be safely installed. This can be very expensive, especially if you have already paid a premium for the sink itself.
Cast iron sinks also tend to be a little more vulnerable to staining without proper care, and there is a risk that the enamel will become chipped and damaged quite easily.
Once you have determined the size and material you desire, there is only one more aspect to consider when it comes to choosing your sink: the price you are willing to pay.
This can vary hugely depending on the material you decide to choose, and the size of the sink you require. Remember that for heavier materials, you will also need to budget for extra installation costs and additional support to counteract the weight of the sink.
As a general rule, stainless steel options are the cheapest, and the fastest to install. This makes them a popular choice for those just looking to freshen up their kitchen, or who need a practical and affordable material which is built to last.
A basic stainless steel undermount will generally begin at around $200, and this is a great budget option.
At the other end of the scale sit cast iron sinks, which can fetch prices of $500 to $1000 and above with little trouble. These are a good fit for homeowners looking for something to stand the test of time, or for whom price is no object.
In addition to the sink itself, you will need to budget for installation from a professional, and this can be anything from $250 to $300 depending on your area, the weight of the sink, and how many team members are required to complete the job.
When purchasing the sink, some companies may also charge an extra fee to include a lifetime warranty.
Ease of Installation
Undermount sinks offer a few more challenges when it comes to installation, mainly due to their location.
They need to be placed on a solid countertop, made from a sturdy material such as composite, stone, or wood. These materials offer a strength that tile and laminate lack, and reduce the risk of weak spots developing over time.
The sink will be hanging, so strength throughout is essential. An undermount model will also need support from within the counter itself; relying solely on an adhesive could lead to the sink dropping into the counter.
The finish is another important factor; the edge of the sink cutout will be on show here, so additional work may be required to ensure that the edges are smooth and suitable for display.
You will also need to find a space for the kitchen faucets; unlike a traditional sink, most undermount models will not have a pre-cut hole or space.
Instead, you will need to pay for the holes to be placed in the countertop.
How To Measure For Installation
Most bowls are 6-12 inches deep, and the width will be determined by the interior width of the cabinet where the sink will be mounted.
As a general rule, most base cabinets will be between 36 and 42 inches high, and 25-26 inches wide.
Unless you are having a totally new, custom-built kitchen, it is important to double-check that your new sink will fit the dimensions. Some cabinets may allow you to expand the cutout, allowing a larger sink to be placed, but it is important to check this before purchase!
Single Bowls vs. Double Bowl
Once you have decided upon crucial elements such as the material, size, and location of your sink, there is another factor to bear in mind: whether to go for a single or a double bowl.
There are pros and cons to each, and the decision will ultimately be determined by your household, lifestyle, needs, and preferences.
As the name suggests, a single bowl sink consists of just one basin set into the counter. This can be perfect if you have a smaller kitchen, or want a larger percentage of counter space for preparation and display.
A single basin can wash oversized pots, dishes, and bowls, and will often come in widths of up to 33 inches. If space is an issue or you have an extra washing solution such as a dishwasher in the kitchen, a single bowl will likely be more than adequate.
A double bowl also comes with a whole host of advantages, the first of which is offering far more space and convenience.
Rather than being restricted to washing, rinsing and drying in a single location, a double bowl provides more freedom and flexibility; you can use one for rinsing and one for washing, for example, or have vegetables soaking in one while you use another for a different task.
A double bowl also tends to be a little wider – usually up to 44 inches.
The obvious downside to a double bowl is that it takes up far more counter room, and this could be an issue in smaller kitchens where space is at a premium.
Difference Between Drop In Vs Undermount
As discussed, there is a range of benefits to undermount sinks, and a wide variety of options when it comes to size, material, style and whether you favor a double bowl or a single.
But how do these models differ from their drop-in relatives?
A drop-in sink is the model you are most likely to be familiar with, and they remain the most popular choice on the market. They are also known top-mount or self-rimming sinks and feature a visible lip which sits flat on the countertop.
The sink itself falls down into a cutout in the counter, and it is held in place by this lip and by metal supports which clip the sink onto the counter.
Undermount sinks, on the other hand, have an invisible rim which is hidden below the counter, and this is where it attaches.
They are installed from below, and this means that the countertop appears to fall seamlessly into the bowl. They can offer cleaner, smoother lines, and reduce the awkward edge of the sink breaking up a clean countertop finish.
As have mentioned, they also provide benefits when it comes to cleanliness and maintenance.
Though there is a range of benefits which come with choosing an undermount sink, they do also require some basic maintenance to help keep them in great shape.
The best undermount sinks will come with some sort of lifetime warranty from the manufacturer, but this usually depends on you carrying out basic maintenance tasks for the policy to remain valid.
One of the most important maintenance tasks to carry out is sealing your sink to prevent leaks.
This should be 100% silicone and is an important step in preserving the longevity of your unit. Also known as ‘caulking’ this is a simple process. Firstly, scrape away any existing caulk or sealant which sits in the joint between countertop and sink, and clean the surface thoroughly using denatured alcohol.
Once the area is clean and dry, you must apply the silicone sealant around the top edge of the sink to seal the gap, smooth out the material, and allow it to dry completely.
This is an easy process, but one which can allow your sink to last for longer.
In addition to caulking, it is also important to treat and maintain the material used for the sink.
This varies depending on the choice you have selected, but may include regular polishing to remove scuffs and stains, using the correct cleaning product – no hard chemicals on natural stones! – and making sure everything is sealed and protected as required by the properties of the material.
Picking an undermount sink seems like a big undertaking, but it is a decision which could transform the appearance of your kitchen, as well as the way you use and interact with the space.
It is a great way to add a fresh, modern elegance to any environment, and can be an easy fix to bring your kitchen up to date, creating a calm, seamless space.
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