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8 Types of Sinks for Your Kitchen

Everything and the kitchen sink — because there’s a wide variety of choices when it comes to the kitchen sink.

Yvonne Harbison
Yvonne Harbison
8 Types of Sinks for Your Kitchen

Like countertops and faucets, sinks are hard-working features that do double duty as a design element in any kitchen. Most television remodeling shows make it clear that farmhouse sinks are all the rage, and it is true. The farmhouse sink has become a timeless style option with real staying power in the realm of kitchen design. However, it isn't the only kitchen sink option. With a little research, you may find that your home's personal aesthetic could fit better with another type of sink for your kitchen.

Homeowners should consider the entire variety, think about what would best meet their preferences, and how they use their sinks every day, before taking the plunge on buying one. When it comes to planning your own kitchen or remodel, you can stick with the trends, or you can give your own personal style a fair shot and take a look around at the other kitchen sink options that are just as functional and stylish.

Drop-In Sinks

Drop-in kitchen sink in a black finish, black modern faucet.

Also known as self-rimming sinks, the drop-in models are installed via a pre-cut hole in the countertop and have a rounded lip where they meet and rest atop the countertop edge. This is by far the most traditional style of sink for the kitchen, though they are quickly being replaced by more modern sink options. The main selling points of drop-in sinks are that they can be mounted to countertops of any material, they are comparatively inexpensive, and they are very easy to install.

Flush-Mount Sinks

Flush-mount drop-in sink in stainless steel finish.

Flush-mount sinks are drop-in sinks that do not have a raised or rounded lip edge where they are attached to the countertop. Instead, they are installed with the rim sitting at the same level as the countertop. This creates a flush seam where the sink material and the countertop material come together. This style of kitchen sink, when made in a complimentary material, can be a distinctive design feature.

Undermount Sinks

Stainless steel under-mount sink, marble countertop, modern kitchen.

Popular after remodeling projects, undermount sinks are the kitchen sink option that many homeowners choose after initially owning a self-rimming style, or drop-in sink. These basins are mounted underneath the countertop, with no “lip” over the top edge. Debris from the countertop can easily be brushed into the sink with no barriers.

When beautiful countertops are on display, undermount sinks make a particularly nice compliment because they don’t interrupt the line of the counter with an unsightly seam. Undermount sinks are attached to the underside of the counter and are as leak-proof as a traditional drop-in sink.

Farmhouse Sinks

White farmhouse sink. Stainless steel double-basin farmhouse sink.

Sometimes called “apron” sinks, the farmhouse style sink involves a large, heavy sink that brings to mind a rustic kitchen or vintage home. The main feature is the front of the sink, which exists in the space usually taken up by cabinetry. Switching from a drop-in style to a farmhouse sink involves cutting away a portion of the cabinet under the sink. These types of sinks are usually chosen for their characteristic look, though they are durable and functional as well, and can be purchased in a variety of configurations.

Integrated Sinks

Integrated kitchen sinks are made from the same material as the countertop. The sink itself is essentially a shallow “divot” in the counter so there are no seams of any kind – and no opportunity for leaks. Kitchens with solid surface countertops are the places most likely to feature an integrated-style sink.

Single-basin Sinks

Single basin under-mount stainless steel sink, marble countertop.

Some gourmet kitchen designers have been showing a preference for the simpler, traditional, single-basin sinks, adding to the popularity of the farmhouse design. Just as it sounds, there is one large basin where all cleaning and food prep tasks are accomplished.

This type of sink is ideal for homeowners who use a lot of large pans or specialty equipment. The advantage is having plenty of room to work. These kitchen sinks are often included in the laundry room or garage for the more heavy-duty tasks.

The downside is the time it takes to fill the sink to soak and wash dishes by hand. Plus, without a second basin, there is no designated place to rinse the dishes.

Double-basin Sinks

Double-basin kitchens sinks.

Unlike the different types of kitchen sinks explained so far, the double-basin sink is more about what’s inside the sink than the design or installation method. Double-basin sinks are a traditional style, built of two basins of the same depth and size. Of course, with the modern-day preference for customization and character, some manufacturers offer two-basin sinks with one large basin and the other smaller and shallower, or they are split by a lower dividing wall.

Bar or Prep Sinks

Black under-mount bar sink. Round white drop-in bar sink.

Bar sinks are often found on a kitchen island, an office or home bar, or closer to the area of the kitchen designed for socializing rather than in an area usually dedicated to food prep or cleaning tasks. They are smaller versions of the standard kitchen sink and can also make a useful appearance in a laundry room or mudroom. There are two traits that distinguish bar sinks from other kinds of sinks.

First is the size: bar sinks are very small because they are not meant to handle the same load of household chores as a regular kitchen sink. Bar sinks are generally used for pouring out liquids, filling glasses, and other small tasks. They are usually designed with smaller, more compact faucet options in mind.

The second trait is the location. Bar sinks aren’t located in the areas where one would expect to see a full-size sink. They are often found in kitchen islands, wet bars, and prep areas. In fact, they are called prep sinks as well, though some prep sinks are a little larger than bar sinks.

Kitchen Sink Materials

Composite apron sink, cast iron farmhouse sink, stainless steel sink.

After functionality and design, another key consideration to choosing a sink is the construction material. With integrated sinks, the sink will obviously be constructed of the same material as the countertop and likely either some form of stone or stainless steel. However, there are many options to choose from with the other types of kitchen sinks.

If you find a sink type that you like, you can probably find that style made from your preferred material as well.

Cast Iron

Covered in a coat of enamel, cast iron sinks are popular and durable but also heavy, which may limit the kinds of mounts that may be used.


Fired at a high temperature, strong ceramic sinks will last for decades. They may become chipped if something heavy or sharp is dropped in them, so a little extra care is advised.


Sometimes used in conjunction with stone countertops, composite sinks mix crushed stone material with an epoxy for a strong material that resists heat, stains, and scratches.

Stainless Steel

One of the more popular choices, stainless steel is inexpensive, lightweight, and can take a beating in the kitchen. Homeowners should be careful about the gauge of steel they select. The higher the steel gauge, the thinner the metal. A lower gauge metal will be more expensive, but much more durable to the usual abuses of a busy kitchen. While cheaper in cost, a thinner gauge sink is not as resistant to damage, and may be louder when water is falling into it.

Match the Type of Sink to Your Kitchen Style

There are a lot of choices out there for replacing the old, reliable, trusty sink. If you look around a bit, keeping in mind how you use the sink, your budget, and the kind of material you want, you’re sure to find the perfect design for your style.  Since sinks are such workhorses, they deserve the proper research of a major purchase. After all, kitchen designs come and go, but a good sink can put in hard work every day and still last for the life of your home.

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