When it comes to choosing a kitchen sink, the options are endless. Kitchen sinks come in varying sink materials, colors, shapes, sizes, designs, number of bowls, price ranges, brands, etc. With the sheer number of options, picking the best sink for your kitchen can be quite the process.
If durability and longevity are the names of the game, you may be considering granite or stainless steel sinks. Which is better? Well, that’s what we’re here to address, so stick around to find out!
In This Article
Granite Composite Sinks
Before we get too far in this article, let’s take a quick look at the two options and what they bring to the table. Let’s start with granite composite sinks. As the name implies, these sinks are composed of various materials.
Usually, there are two main components: stone and acrylic resins. Since it’s granite composite we’re talking about, it’s usually pulverized mineral content (granite) and acrylic resins. The ratio of the two depends on the particular sink, but usually, the ratio is somewhere around 80 percent granite and 20 percent acrylic resin.
Sometimes, you’ll hear these sinks referred to as ‘granite’ sinks, but this technically isn’t totally accurate. Why? Well, it’s not exactly easy to create a kitchen sink out of slabs of granite. Instead, most of these sinks are made by combining granite and quartz powder with acrylic resins, molded into a sink shape.
However, with that said, you can buy solid granite sinks. These sinks cost considerably more than composite sinks due to the difficulty of obtaining materials and the manufacturing process it requires to make one.
The overall appearance of composite granite sinks doesn’t precisely mimic the look of natural stone. If you look at a raw granite slab, like a countertop slab, you’ll notice varying inconsistencies and color patterns. Granite composite sinks have a uniform appearance that doesn’t look like natural stone.
Pros And Cons
Granite composite sinks have a few advantages and disadvantages that potential buyers should consider. A few of the benefits of a granite composite sink include:
- These sinks are a strong choice if you prefer a modern aesthetic and color scheme in your kitchen. The blend of materials creates a uniform appearance, in turn making it easier to find a color that matches your kitchen.
- Composite sinks offer exceptional durability. They’re very hard, which translates to chip, dent, and scratch resistance.
- These sinks are heat resistant, allowing you to safely place warm to hot pots and pans in the sink without damaging them.
- Composite sinks are considerably less expensive than real, solid granite options.
- Cleaning a composite sink is easy; you just need hot water, mild dish soap, and a non-abrasive sponge. Bonus: everyday maintenance is minor.
Although the benefits are plentiful, let’s consider a few of the granite composite sink problems.
- Despite the lower price tag than a solid granite sink, these sinks can be considerably more expensive than a stainless steel sink in a similar configuration.
- Like natural, solid stone, composite sinks are hefty. This can make installation tricky, especially in comparison to stainless steel sinks.
- Although granite composite sinks are heat-resistant, they aren’t always heat-proof. So, make sure you take note of the manufacturer’s specs surrounding heat resistance and durability when you’re comparing brands.
- If you prefer the looks of real granite, a composite granite sink may not be your best bet. If you’re trying to match your natural granite countertops exactly to your sink, or vice versa, you may have a tough time.
- While maintenance is straightforward on a granite composite sink, you need to be careful with what you use on the sink’s surface. Caustic chemicals and abrasive scrub pads can damage the overall look of the sink.
Stainless Steel Sinks
Stainless steel is a go-to material for many different things, including kitchen sinks. Many homeowners opt for stainless steel appliances, like ovens, fridges, and microwaves. Stainless steel sinks are popular for a few reasons, namely for their durability and inexpensive pricing.
These sinks come in varying grades and gauges. The grade of the stainless steel sink tells you about the quality of the steel. The higher the number, the better the quality. The 304 stainless steel sinks are the highest grade you can buy. If the sink is an 18/8 stainless steel, it contains 18 percent chromium and 8 percent nickel.
The gauge tells you the thickness of the steel. Although it seems counterintuitive, the lower the gauge, the thicker the steel. Usually, stainless steel sinks range in gauge from 14 to 22. Generally, 14 gauge stainless steel sinks appear in commercial settings since heavy use requires durable steel.
Higher gauges, like 16 and 18 gauge stainless steel, are standard in residential settings. You can also find sinks with even higher gauges, up to 22 gauge, but these sinks tend to be cheaper and less durable due to the thin material.
Although the color palette of stainless steel sinks is highly restrictive, and they’re usually only available in silver, you can find varying finishes. The mirror and satin finishes offer a reflective, glossy finish. If you prefer a matte appearance, brushed and matte finishes are also available. A textured finish is also available if you want to hide scratches and damage.
Pros And Cons
Like granite composite sinks, stainless steel sinks have several benefits and drawbacks. A few of the pros of stainless steel sinks include:
- Stainless steel is relatively inexpensive compared to most other kitchen sink options, especially granite composite sinks.
- You can find stainless steel sinks in varying gauges (representing the sink’s thickness). A heavier gauge is usually your best bet, as it offers better durability. A 16 gauge stainless steel sink is a popular pick for most residential settings.
- Scratches and mars on the sink’s surface can “heal” themselves due to the reaction between the composition of the sink and oxygen. Of course, deep scratches and dents won’t magically disappear, but minor, superficial marks may “heal.”
- These sinks are easy to install due to their lightweight nature. If you hire a contractor to install the sink, this can translate to a better price due to the simplicity of installation.
- Stainless steel sinks are more widely and readily available than granite composite sinks.
- They’re available at varying price points based on the sink gauge, brand, size, etc.
On the other hand, there are a few drawbacks to keep in mind.
- Stainless steel sinks can be noisy, particularly when you drop dishes or move things around in the sink. Some sinks come with noise dampening additions, but the noise level can be pretty high.
- These sinks are available in a single color: silver. While silver coordinates with most things, it may not meet the aesthetics of certain individuals. If you’re going for a specific theme or look, stainless steel may not be your best bet.
- Thin stainless steel sinks (higher gauge) may dent easily from abuse.
- If you leave metal scrub pads in the sink, they may damage the finish and leave behind bits of metal that rust on the sink.
- Despite the name, stainless steel isn’t completely stain-proof. Although it is stain-resistant, items that rust the sink can leave behind spots. Usually, spots left behind by vibrant-colored food will wash away and are temporary. Water spots are on full display with these sinks.
Are Granite Sinks Better Than Stainless Steel Sinks?
Choosing a winner between these two sinks is tricky. Really, the best sink between granite composite and stainless steel sinks hinges on your personal preferences and what you’re looking for.
For example, a stainless steel sink is an excellent choice if you want a budget-friendly, durable, easy-to-install sink. However, if you prefer the looks of granite composite and its durability, then go for a granite composite sink.
Ultimately, the decision falls to you, your preferences, and your budget. So, while it would probably be easier if we just gave a catch-all “this one is better” answer, it’s a bit more complicated than that. Each option has its pros and cons, so use these to your advantage!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do Granite Composite Sinks Scratch Easily?
No, granite composite sinks don’t scratch easily. The acrylic resin and stone powder combination creates a solid, sturdy sink.
Do Granite Composite Sinks Chip?
Similar to our answer to the last question, no, composite granite sinks don’t chip easily. The materials in its composition make it exceptionally durable. However, although it is unlikely to chip, scratch or dent, it is possible.
Do Granite Sinks Stain Easily?
Granite sinks don’t stain easily, providing they’re sealed properly. When the natural stone isn’t sealed correctly, it may be prone to deep-set stains.
Similarly, do composite sinks stain easily? No, they don’t stain as easily as other materials. Since the surface is nonporous, you shouldn’t have significant issues with stains.