What Is The Difference Between A Sink And A Basin?

Basins, sinks, what’s the difference? They both hold water, have a faucet nearby, and a drain at the bottom of the fixture. Plus, people use the terms interchangeably all the time. So, they’re essentially the same thing, right? While it’s true that sinks and basins share more similarities than differences, there are a couple of marked differences that set the two apart.

For example, sinks are usually deep, bowl-shaped fixtures, while basins are shallow dishes that can’t hold more than a gallon of water. There’s more to this picture than this, so continue reading to learn more!

What Is A Sink?

According to its dictionary definition, a sink is a stationary basin featuring a drain and water supply. It’s designed to supply water for washing with a built-in drain for easy draining through a connected drainage pipe. Generally, sinks feature their own taps for an easily accessible water supply.

Sinks are usually around nine or ten inches deep, although models are available with deeper bowls. There are dozens of varieties on the market, with multiple materials, designs, mounting styles, and finishes.

Where Do You Install A Sink?

Sinks are typically installed in kitchens and laundry rooms, as they’re usually deeper than basins. They can feature up to three bowls in an integrated design, allowing users to use each bowl for a different purpose (washing, rinsing, drying, etc.).

Most kitchen or laundry room sinks are between 22 and 36 inches wide, although there are smaller models available on the market today. As mentioned, they’re usually 9-10 inches deep, so they can hold several gallons of water. This offers plenty of space for washing larger dishes, rinsing produce, and cleaning.

What Is A Basin?

As defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary, a basin is an open vessel with sloped or curved sides often used to hold wash water. According to the definition, basins usually feature a circular shape.

Although basins can be installed with a faucet nearby, they’re usually separate from the faucet setup. However, they typically feature a built-in water stopper or drain to trap or drain water.

For example, consider a vessel sink, which is popular in bathroom settings. These particular models feature a basin-like design, with many exhibiting a circular, bowl-shaped design resting atop the counter. They have a built-in drain but rarely feature their own faucet.

Where Do You Install A Basin?

Generally, basins are featured in bathroom settings. They tend to be shallower than sinks, so they’re not ideal for use in the kitchen or laundry room. Given their design, they’re perfect for the bathroom.

Since you don’t need an overly deep sink to wash your hands, brush your teeth, or wash your face, basins are perfect for these settings. Basins usually can’t hold more than a gallon or two of water, as they have a shallow design.

Are Basins And Sinks The Same Thing?

Basins and sinks aren’t technically the same thing – one is a shallow dish or bowl, while the other usually refers to a deeper, bowl-shaped fixture. However, in modern times, the two words are used interchangeably. While they aren’t the same, most consider them close enough.

That said, most folks don’t call kitchen sinks basins. They might call the bowl of the sink a basin, but they usually refer to the whole fixture as a sink. On the flip side, many folks refer to basin-style bathroom fixtures as sinks, which can raise some confusion.

The table below offers a quick look at the similarities and differences between the two.

Factor to CompareSinkBasin
DefinitionStationery basin with a drain and water supply (faucet)Open vessel with sloped or curved sides; a shallow vessel or dish
CompositionThey’re available in a wide range of materials, including fireclay, porcelain, composite, stainless steel, copper, granite, quartz, glass, and more.They are often made of ceramic, steel, or acrylic, although they can be found in various materials.
ShapeAvailable in various shapes and configurations, including corner sinks, double-basin sinks, etc.Generally, circular or feature-sloped curves
Water stopper/drainYes, water stopper/drainYes, water stopper
FaucetMany sinks feature pre-drilled holes in the sink deck designed for the faucet and other accessories.There is usually no integrated faucet compatibility.

Why Is A Sink Called A Basin?

In some cases, you might hear sinks called basins or vice versa. The word “basin” is derived from the French word “baçon,” which means shallow vessel or dish. The term “sink” stems from the old English word, ‘sincan,’ which means to go under, submerge, or subside.

So, the term ‘sink’ referred to where the contents of the basin would sink. The two words, while similar, technically mean different things, but this is a classic exhibit of the adaptations throughout time.

Can You Use Basins In Kitchens Or Vice Versa?

Bathroom Basin

Given the shallow design of basins, they’re not cut out for use in the kitchen. Of course, there might be some exceptions here and there, but generally, they’re best suited to other settings (like the bathroom).

You need plenty of space in the kitchen for washing dishes, rinsing fresh produce, and more. Because of this, you need a deeper, wider sink that can hold a considerable amount of water. Otherwise, you’ll make a mess when you try washing dishes or rinsing fresh vegetables.

On the flip side, what about using a kitchen sink in settings where basins are common? Like the basin-in-the-kitchen scenario, sinks are best suited to the place they’re designed for. While you could use a bathroom sink in the bathroom, a kitchen or utility sink wouldn’t work as well in the bathroom.

First, there’s the issue of space, as these sinks are large and would take up too much space. Second, you usually don’t need a massive sink in the bathroom, as tasks are typically restricted to washing your hands, brushing your teeth, or similar things.

So, while you technically could switch the two, it’s best to use them in the areas they’re designed for.

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