What Is The Best Kitchen Sink Material?

What Is The Best Kitchen Sink Material

In today’s day and age, kitchen sinks are available in many different materials. They’ve come a long way from the metal- or stone-lined wooden boxes of the 18th century, slowly evolving to the handy, well-designed features they are today. Unlike consumers of previous centuries, today’s customers have the opportunity to choose from nearly a dozen materials for their kitchen sinks. 

Each option has its merits, so some options work better for some homes. In the following sections, we examine seven of the best, most popular kitchen sink materials to help you decide which option will work best for your home. If you plan on purchasing a new kitchen sink in the near future, continue reading for insight on a few of the best options!

What Are The Most Common Kitchen Sink Materials?

Today, kitchen sinks are available in a wide range of materials, allowing consumers to select the best option for their homes. While stainless steel steals the spotlight, other materials are available, including:

  • Copper
  • Fireclay
  • Enameled steel
  • Solid surface
  • Enameled cast iron
  • Natural stone
  • Stone composite (quartz or granite)
  • Acrylic
  • Porcelain

As you browse for the perfect kitchen sink, you’ll have multiple aspects to consider, including sizing, design, brand, pricing, and material. While it’s essential to consider the other components of a perfect kitchen sink, the material you choose will impact how well your sink will hold up over time. So, it’s a vital consideration in the early steps of choosing the perfect sink. 

Stainless Steel

Kraus KHU100-32 Standart PRO 16 Gauge Undermount Single Bowl Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink, 32 Inch

Millions of homes throughout the United States feature stainless steel sinks. These sinks have been homeowners’ go-to choice for decades, as they’re durable, lightweight, and pair well with nearly any kitchen. 

Given their popularity, it’s no surprise that these sinks are widely available as manufacturers rise to meet the demand. Due to this, you can find stainless steel sinks in dozens of sizes, shapes, designs, and gauges (thickness). For instance, if you like the looks of farmhouse-style sinks, you don’t necessarily have to choose a fireclay sink – you can find beautiful farmhouse sinks made of stainless steel. 

Although these sinks commonly come in drop-in configurations, they’re also widely available in other options, including undermount sinks (which offer a seamless appearance). 

If you decide on stainless steel for your kitchen sink, keep a lookout for the gauge of sinks you like. Thinner gauges (higher numbers, usually 22 to 24 gauge) don’t hold up nearly as well as their thicker counterparts (lower numbers, usually 14 to 18), so if you want a better quality sink, look for a lower gauge. 

Pros And Cons

As you consider stainless steel as a potential option, remember to weigh the upsides and downsides. A few benefits of stainless steel sinks include:

  • Long-lasting (thicker gauges)
  • Hygienic, non-porous surface
  • Widely available
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to install
  • Easy to clean
  • Durable
  • Affordable
  • Heat resistant
  • Stain resistant

On the other hand, a few drawbacks of these sinks include:

  • Noisy
  • Susceptible to scratches
  • Thinner gauges may dent
  • Prone to water spots

How Do You Clean A Stainless Steel Sink?

Cleaning a stainless steel sink is simple, as the non-porous surface doesn’t soak up stains easily. However, since stains can happen, simply address them with baking soda and a damp, soft cloth. Gently scrub the stain with baking soda, following the sink’s grain. Rinse the area thoroughly once the stain lifts. For stubborn stains, dampen the area and sprinkle baking soda on it, then let it sit for a while before scrubbing. 

For regular cleaning, stick to mild cleaning detergent and a soft cloth. Avoid using abrasive chemicals or scrubbers on stainless steel, as it can leave scratches on the surface. Simply dampen a soft cloth with warm water, then add a few drops of dish soap. Wipe down the entire sink and rinse away the residue with warm water. Wipe the surface dry with a soft cloth to avoid water spots. 

Natural Stone

When luxury is the name of the game, natural stone is a strong contender. Instead of acrylic resin and stone dust (in composite stone sinks), natural stone sinks are carved out of large blocks of granite or marble to create the finished product. Due to the manufacturing process and the cost of natural stone, these sinks are typically expensive. 

However, the seamless, elegant appearance is well worth the cost, especially if you appreciate a touch of sophistication in your home. The price is a deterrent for many homeowners, but for some, the splurge is worth the appearance and durability of the sink. 

Given the composition of these sinks, they’re incredibly heavy and are often tricky to install. They usually require extra support in the base cabinet, as the countertop cannot handle the sheer weight of the sink. So, natural stone isn’t your best option if you’re looking for an inexpensive, easy-to-install sink.

Pros And Cons

Like any material, natural stone has its fair share of pros and cons. A few benefits of natural stone sinks include:

  • Durable
  • Visually appealing
  • Offers an elegant touch 
  • Long-lasting with proper care
  • Available in varying designs and configurations
  • Unique colors and patterns
  • Solid stone composition

Of course, there are a few drawbacks to consider, including:

  • Susceptible to stains due to porous nature
  • Requires proper sealing and re-sealing 
  • Heavy and tricky to install
  • Expensive 

How Do You Clean A Natural Stone Sink?

Like stainless steel, it’s essential to steer clear of harsh chemicals and cleaners when dealing with a natural stone sink. Since these sinks are porous under the sealed coat, damage to the sealant can allow stains and spots to penetrate the stone. 

So, it’s best to use a mild cleaning detergent designed for stone, especially if you have a granite sink. With marble, you can use mild dish soap, warm water, and a soft cloth for easy cleaning. Avoid using abrasive scrubbers, such as steel wool or pumice stones, to scrub the sink, as it could damage the sealant. 

Copper

Strictly Sinks Undermount Workstation Kitchen Sink– Copper 32 Inch Scratch & Stain Resistant –16 Gauge with Single Bowl Bottom Grid, Wooden Cutting Board – Colander with Single Square Disposal Adapter

A copper kitchen sink might be the perfect fit if you’re looking for an eye-catching feature in your kitchen. Copper sinks offer a warm, beautiful element to your kitchen, creating a cozy environment. 

Many copper sinks are handmade by artisans, as copper has unique features, so they use these features to their advantage to create stunning, unique sinks. You can find copper sinks in varying finishes, but hammered sinks are one of the most popular choices. The small pits on the surface of the copper create a textured look that catches the light beautifully, making the sink stand out in your kitchen. 

On top of their aesthetically stunning appearance, copper sinks are naturally antimicrobial. The material has a natural ability to eliminate 99.9 percent of bacteria, making it a stellar choice for kitchen use, as the kitchen can be the perfect breeding ground for germs (especially the sink). 

If you decide on a copper sink, look for a model featuring a high copper percentage. The best copper sinks contain 99 percent copper and 1 percent zinc, so stick with these models. Additionally, these sinks come in several gauges (like stainless steel), so look for one between 14 and 18 gauge, as that will offer plenty of thickness to hold up under daily use. 

Pros And Cons

Although copper’s warm, amber-rose hue can be a selling point in itself, it’s essential to consider the pros and cons. A few upsides of copper sinks include:

  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Pairs well with warm color palettes
  • Offers an eye-catching centerpiece for your kitchen
  • Durable
  • Long-lasting
  • “Live” finish for ever-changing hue and tone
  • Antimicrobial

On the other hand, a few drawbacks of copper sinks include:

  • Susceptible to nicks, dents, and scratches
  • Live finish might not be suitable for all tastes
  • Pricey
  • Requires more careful maintenance 

How Do You Clean A Copper Sink?

Copper sinks are relatively easy to clean but require more careful maintenance than other materials to avoid issues. Use mild soap, warm water, and a soft cloth or sponge for daily cleaning. Avoid using chemicals or abrasives, as these can damage and discolor the sink’s surface. 

In addition, avoid leaving acidic foods and beverages on the surface of the sink, as they can cause staining and discoloration. If your sink has a dark patina, acidic foods can brighten the surface, leaving random bright spots on your sink. 

Enameled Cast Iron

Kohler K-6427-0 Whitehaven White 36" Double Bowl Under-Mount Large/Medium Apron-Front Self-Trimming Smart Divide Enameled Cast Iron Kitchen Sink with 8 13/16" Tall Integral Apron, 35-1/2" L x 21-9/16" W x 9" Deep

The smooth, white, glossy surface of enameled cast iron is a popular pick in traditional and contemporary kitchens. These sinks are composed of a cast iron core and coated in a glass-based glaze to create the final appearance. 

Due to the cast iron core, these sinks are pretty hefty and usually require additional support to avoid placing excessive stress on the countertop. This can make installation somewhat trickier, so enameled cast iron might not be a suitable option if you’re looking for a lightweight and easy-to-install sink.

Although the enamel coating is usually white, there are numerous colors available on the market today, so consumers can find something to meet their kitchen’s aesthetics. Alternative colors, such as cashmere or black, tend to be pricier than white, so expect to pay more for your sink if you decide to go this route. 

Pros And Cons

As you browse, consider these pros and cons. A few pros of enameled cast iron sinks include:

  • Multiple colors available
  • Durable
  • Long-lasting
  • Pairs beautifully with traditional and contemporary themes
  • Standard white enamel pairs well with almost every color palette
  • Features an eye-catching gloss or semi-gloss finish
  • Chips are easily fixable with a repair kit
  • Easy to clean

On the flip side, a few drawbacks include:

  • Susceptible to cracks, scratches, and chips
  • Chips can expose the iron core, making the sink susceptible to rust
  • Can be pricey
  • Heavy and can be hard to install

How Do You Clean An Enameled Cast Iron Sink?

Cleaning an enameled cast iron sink is simple, as you’ll only need mild dish detergent, warm water, and a soft sponge. You won’t need fancy cleaners or chemicals for cleaning, as they can damage the sink’s surface. 

Simply wipe down the sink with a warm, soapy solution each day to avoid stains and other issues. If stains take hold, use a baking soda and water paste to remove them. Let the paste sit on the stain, then gently scrub the area with a soft cloth before rinsing away the residue. 

Stone Composite

Ruvati 32 x 19 inch Undermount Granite Composite Single Bowl Kitchen Sink - Midnight Black - RVG2033BK

Natural stone sinks aren’t a feasible choice for everyone, so some folks may opt for a composite sink. Instead of carving the sink from a solid block of stone, manufacturers grind the rock into a fine dust. Then, they mix the dust with acrylic resin and pour it into the mold to shape the sink. 

Composite is a solid alternative to natural stone, as it’s less expensive, offers a more uniform appearance, and shares many of the same benefits. However, unlike natural stone, composite stone sinks are widely available in several shapes, colors, sizes, and styles. 

Given the composition of these sinks, no additional sealing is necessary, as the acrylic resin mixture creates a non-porous surface. Stains aren’t a common issue with these sinks, although they can happen with lighter-colored sinks. 

Pros And Cons

Here are a few pros and cons to consider. First, let’s start with the benefits of composite stone sinks:

  • Durable
  • Consistent coloring
  • Widely available
  • Doesn’t require sealing
  • Long-lasting with proper care
  • Holds up well under regular residential use
  • Not prone to stains
  • Offers the benefits of natural stone without the cost
  • Easy to clean

Of course, there are a few downsides you should consider, including:

  • May crack under heavy use
  • Susceptible to damage due to extreme heat
  • Can be heavy, which makes installation tricky
  • Limited range of colors

How Do You Clean A Stone Composite Sink?

General care and maintenance for a stone composite sink are relatively straightforward. For the most part, cleaning is as simple as using a mild, non-abrasive cleaner, such as mild dish soap or Bar Keeper’s Friend. A soft sponge and warm water, combined with the cleaner of your choice, will keep your stone composite sink nice and clean. 

If your sink has stains or hard water deposits, use a 50-50 mixture of white vinegar and water to lift the issue. Stubborn stains might require a baking soda paste to lift the mess. 

Fireclay 

Sinkology K808-B60 Turner Farmhouse/Apron-Front 30 in. Single Bowl Fireclay Kitchen Sink with Strainer Drain, 30 inch, Crisp White

As a popular material for farmhouse sinks, fireclay is a trending option in the realm of kitchen sinks. Fireclay is made of white clay coated in glaze and fired at extremely high temperatures in a kiln. The result is a hard, solid ceramic material that holds up well under regular use and is resistant to scratching and staining. 

Although fireclay is a durable sink material and will last for many years with proper care, it may require re-glazing after years of use, which can be inconvenient. In addition, these sinks can be pretty pricey, as the manufacturing process is more involved than other sink materials.

The clay is usually white or cream, but alternative colors, like deep black or blue, are available on the market today. The surface is somewhat similar to enameled cast iron sinks, although fireclay is more resistant to scratches, chips, and staining. 

Generally, you’ll find fireclay sinks shaped into classic farmhouse-style sinks, but they are available in other configurations for kitchen and bathroom use. 

Pros And Cons

Like every other sink material on our list, fireclay has its share of pros and cons. A few upsides to fireclay sinks include:

  • Highly durable
  • Resistant to scratches, stains, and heat
  • Available in a few colors, styles, and designs
  • Long-lasting with proper maintenance
  • Hygienic, non-porous surface
  • Holds up well under regular use
  • Classic white or cream-colored sinks pair well with almost any color palette
  • Easy to clean

A few potential downsides to fireclay kitchen sinks include:

  • Can be pricey
  • May chip or crack
  • Primarily available in white and off-white hues

How Do You Clean A Fireclay Sink?

Cleaning a fireclay kitchen sink is a quick and easy process, as you don’t need any special cleaners. For daily cleaning, use gentle dish soap, warm water, and a soft cloth or sponge. Soak your cloth or sponge in the sudsy solution and wipe the surface of the sink. Rinse away the residue with warm water and dry the surface with a soft cloth. 

Avoid using abrasive cleaners or chemicals to tackle maintenance on this sink, as they can damage the glaze protecting the clay. 

Solid Surface

Gourmetier GKTA362119 Arcticstone 36 in. Solid Surface Farmhouse Kitchen Sink with Backsplash, Matte White

As an affordable option on the market today, we couldn’t skip solid surface sinks on our list. While these sinks aren’t quite as durable as some of the other options on our list, they’re customizable and affordable, making them an excellent choice for homeowners on a budget.

Although they’re not as durable as other materials, these sinks are decently durable. This material features artificial acrylic resin, which you might hear referred to as specific brand names, including Corian or Formica (commonly used for inexpensive countertops).

 Since these sinks are less expensive and durable than other materials, they don’t last as long, so they usually require replacement within a few years of heavy use. In addition, they’re prone to scratches, discoloration, and heat damage, so users need to be careful while using them. 

If you decide on a solid surface sink for your kitchen, look for a good-quality option. Cheaper options on the market are often made with a calcium powder filler to cut costs, which makes the sink appear yellow and dingy within about a year. 

Pros And Cons

These sinks have a few ups and downs to consider. A few notable benefits of these sinks include:

  • Affordable
  • Decently durable
  • Widely available
  • Customizable
  • Available in numerous colors, designs, and styles
  • Budget-friendly
  • Easy to clean

On the other hand, a few drawbacks of solid surface sinks include:

  • Shorter lifespan
  • Prone to scratches and discoloration
  • Sensitive to high heat

How Do You Clean A Solid Surface Sink?

Although cleaning a solid surface sink is fairly simple, you’ll need to clean it more frequently to avoid deep-set stains that can discolor your sink. For general cleaning, you can wipe down the surface with a soapy solution and a soft sponge. 

However, if your sink is stained, you’ll need to enlist the help of a more robust cleaner. Use a 50-50 mixture of bleach and water for lighter-colored sinks. Or, use a product with bleach, such as Comet Cleaner with Bleach or Soft Scrub with Bleach. Alternatively, use hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to create a paste and apply it to the stained areas (it works as a great alternative to bleach).

Which Option Is The Best?

Kitchen sinks

Choosing the best material for your new kitchen sink is a significant decision, as it will determine how often you need to clean, how long it’ll last, and other essential factors. Unfortunately, we can’t offer a “this one is always best” answer, as the perfect sink material varies for every home.

For example, if you want a touch of eye-catching elegance and don’t have a specific budget, you could consider copper or natural stone for your new sink. Although pricey, both materials offer a unique, sophisticated touch to the space. 

On the other hand, if you have a tighter budget but still want something durable, consider stainless steel or composite stone sink. While these sink materials tend to be about the middle ground for pricing, they are exceptionally durable and will last for decades with proper care. 

Or, if you’re working with a limited budget or need something temporary until your new sink arrives, consider solid surface. These sinks are budget-friendly and decently durable but won’t last very long, so expect to replace them after a few years. 

Ultimately, the choice is yours. Select the material that best showcases your aesthetic preferences and works well with your budget and needs. Everybody’s situations are different, so what works best for someone else might not be the best fit for you. That said, there are hundreds of sink options on the market, so you shouldn’t have any issues finding the perfect sink to complement your kitchen!