Guide to Kitchen Sinks, Faucets & Fixtures

Kitchen sinks might seem like a one-size-fits-all sort of situation, right? Wrong. Small choices can make a big difference—and not always in a good way.
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Plan Your Perfect Kitchen Sink with These Sink Ideas

We know firsthand the consequences of leaving a tiny smidge of counter space beside the sink: It all seems fine until you’re juggling slippery, clean dishes—or a super-hot pan—and have no place to set them down. Ask us about the couple with a small apartment kitchen who had all of their under-sink storage space taken up because of a bulky centerset drain. Or the family who invested in a gorgeous countertop, only to have an extra hole drilled in it because of a last-minute faucet switch.


The sink is the unsung hero of the kitchen: You’ll use it countless times every day and, when chosen with care, it can make your life a lot easier. There are a lot of tiny choices that can make or break how your sink works for you—but don’t worry; we’ll help. And with a Skipp kitchen, you might even like doing the dishes. Just don’t tell anyone.


Where to Put the Kitchen Sink


Diagram of Kitchen Sinks in Kitchen Layouts


To avoid kitchen bottlenecks, the three most important workspaces in your kitchen—the sink, refrigerator, and range—should form a triangle. You don’t want them too far apart from each other or too cramped: The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) says each “side” of the triangle should be no shorter than 4 feet and no longer than 9 feet. You’ll also need to consider where your plumbing hookups are,, in order to minimize lots of rearranging (and cost). (For more on that, see our Kitchen Layouts Guide.)

 

Have a teeny cook space or a single-wall kitchen? You don’t have to follow the triangle thing perfectly to have an efficient space. Just be sure to leave clear stretches of counter space between sink, range, and fridge. The NKBA suggests at least 24 inches on one side of the sink, and at least 18 inches on the other.

 

Once that’s settled, it’s time to choose what type of sink to get and which faucet to go with it. Here are your options.


Kitchen Sink Size

Farmhouse Sink in Kitchen


When it comes to sink size, it’s best to strike a balance between sink size and counter space on either side. Basically, go for the biggest sink you can while still leaving plenty of counter space on either side. Sinks are measured in depth, width, and length, but it’s length you’ll want to pay particular attention to (the distance from the left inside wall of the basin to the right inside wall). The length can range widely, from a prep sink (a petite 12 or even 9 inches) to a single-bowl sink (20 to 33 inches) to a double-bowl sink (which can go up to 48 inches). In most cases, contractor Nauman Shah of Sanz Construction recommends one that’s 30 inches across—not too big, not too tight.


🧰 Pro Tip: Consider sink depth, too. A deep sink is a plus for keeping dirty dishes out of sight, but it can be taxing for tall people who have to bend over to reach the bottom of the sink. And, it might take up too much space beneath the counter.


Types of Kitchen Sinks

Undermount Sinks


Undermount Sink in Kitchen


Undermount sinks are installed—you guessed it—underneath your countertop. The pluses? There’s no lip around the sink, lending an extra streamlined look. On the other hand, most undermount sinks don’t work with tile or laminate counters, if that’s your thing, and they can be on the pricey side. They also need to be specially installed to make sure they can hold a dinner party’s worth of dirty dishes without crashing down.


🧰 Pro Tip: If you have the space, opt for a sink with a built-in drainboard for mess-free drying of clean dishes.


Drop-In Sinks


Drop-In Sink in Kitchen


Drop-in sinks (sometimes called top-mount sinks) fit just the way they sound: They slip down into your countertop and have a small lip around the edge, which can look a little more old-fashioned (and collect mildew and dirt).


💰 Money-Saving Tip: Drop-in sinks are easier to install and often cheaper than their undermount counterparts.


Farmhouse/Apron-Front Sinks


Farmhouse Sink in Kitchen


The farmhouse sink, also called an apron-front, has an exposed front and can be made of just about any material: stone or metal, porcelain or enamel. Because a farmhouse sink is heavy and juts out to the edge of the counter (or a bit beyond), you’ll need to make sure the cabinet beneath is sturdy enough to support it. 


Kitchen Sink Materials

Stainless Steel Sinks


Stainless Steel Sink in Kitchen


There are quite a few kitchen sink materials out there: copper and cement, soapstone and fireclay and solid surface. But the most common is stainless steel, and for good reason: It’s sturdy, hard-wearing, and easy to clean. It’s a little counterintuitive, but you’ll want to go for the lowest gauge you can. The lower the gauge number, the thicker and more durable the steel, which means less noise when you run the water or do the dishes, and more protection against denting. "The minimum recommendation is 18- to 16-gauge,” says Shah. “Any less and you risk structural damage.”


🧰 Pro Tip: You could save a little money by installing a middle-of-the-road thickness and insulating with foam spray for noise reduction, rather than opting for a pricier 14- or 16-gauge option. “But if you could afford it,” says Shah, “it's better to get a lower gauge sink. It will last you much longer and you wouldn't have to worry about repair costs down the line.”


Enamel and Porcelain Sinks


Enamel and Porcelain Sink in Kitchen


Enamel—layered over cast iron (on the high end) or steel (on the low end)—and porcelain sinks look charming and timeless in the kitchen. But keep in mind that white sinks can be tricky to keep sparkling clean, and will be less forgiving if you accidentally drop a wine glass while doing the dishes. (It’ll probably shatter.) They can also chip if you clink a heavy pan against them.


🧰 Pro Tip: “A very important question is if the water will completely drain from all corners of the sink without any assistance from you,” says Jessi Economos, founder and principal designer of JEID Studio. “This unfortunately is a problem for a lot of the hard-lined, contemporary-looking sinks. Be cautious of the basin's slope to make sure it won't irk you every time you go to rinse something.”


Where to Put the Drain

Kitchen Sink Drain Options

You can choose a sink with a centerset, rear, or offset drain—and it matters more than you’d think. Some say a centerset drain minimizes noise because it’s positioned right below the faucet, so running water hits the drain, not the sink basin. Then again, an offset drain allows you to stack pots and pans in the bottom of the sink without blocking the drain—no more sinks full of dirty dish water. And, offset drains can save space under the counter, too: Since plumbing will be tucked to one side, there’s more room for the trash can or cleaning supplies.


Types of Kitchen Faucets

For hard-wearing, long-lasting faucets, Skipp offers only all-metal models, no plastic parts included. That’s one decision made easier. Here are a few types to choose from:


Deck-Mounted Faucets


Deck-Mounted Faucet in Kitchen


A deck-mounted faucet is installed in the counter behind your kitchen sink. Pay attention to a few terms: Some are bridge faucets, which means the tap and handles come off of one raised branch. Others are triple-hole, double-hole, or single-hole, referring to the number of holes that will be drilled into the counter.


🧰 Pro Tip: “Check faucet depth with the placement of the sink and the depth of the sink. Many times the faucet spout can be too short or long,” advises interior designer Larah Moravek, partner at Dutch East Design.


Single-Handle Faucet


Single-Handle Faucet in Kitchen


Single-handle faucets are super streamlined: They often have pull-down sprayer nozzles, just one handle for temperature control, and sometimes hands-free turn-on, all from one petite attachment point in the counter.


Restaurant-Style Faucet


Restaurant-Style Faucet in Kitchen


The increasingly popular restaurant-style, semi-pro faucet falls into the single-handle category, too, with a high-arc spout, powerful pull-out spray nozzle, and industrial look.


Wall-Mounted Faucets


Wall-Mounted Faucet in Kitchen


You’ve probably guessed that wall-mounted faucets are attached to the wall. They extend over the sink, leaving the sliver of counter between the sink and the wall free and clear for a streamlined, open look, also ideal for plumbing hook-ups that run through the wall. But wall-mounted faucets are more expensive than deck-mounted, and if you want to add any accessories, like a sprayer nozzle or hot-water tap, you’ll need to install them in the counter.


Accessories and Add-Ons


Plumbing Under Kitchen Sink



A few more things to consider? A spray nozzle, cold-water tap, deck-mounted soap dispenser, a disposal, or a pot-filler faucet above the range. Consider your lifestyle before choosing which would make your kitchen work harder for you. Constant tea drinker? Go for the hot water tap. Hate cleaning the sink? A sprayer nozzle makes it easier.


Pot-Filler Faucet in Kitchen


Have pasta regularly? A pot-filler faucet like this one fills pots right on the stovetop—no more heavy carrying from sink to stove.


Is a granite sink better than stainless steel?

Granite sinks have become a popular choice in kitchen sink remodels. Not only do they offer a sleek and unique look to a kitchen sink, a granite sink offers various benefits. 


For example, a granite sink can provide the option of creating a seamless look from your granite counter right into the sink. You can also utilize a granite sink for a contrast piece to stand out from your countertops. The beauty of a granite sink is the ability to customize the slab size, shape, and color, to capture the vision you have for your kitchen remodel. 


You may be weighing the pros and cons of a granite sink to a stainless steel sink. While the choice of which is better is dependent on use and preference, there are certainly pros and cons to each sink type. 


For example, a downside to a stainless steel sink is that it tends to be louder than a granite sink. Although, some benefits to stainless steel sinks is that they tend to be much less costly than granite sinks, and have been known to be easier to keep clean. 


This is due to the fact that there is much less customization when it comes to a stainless steel sink. While the lower price is a benefit, it also comes with the caveat that lower price may mean less durability. Choosing a granite sink may offer more long-lasting durability, which may in turn be a better investment up front. Additionally, the flexibility of design customization may be better suited to your remodel needs. 


Which is better: a single or double sink?

Choosing whether or not to go single or double can be tricky. After all, there are benefits to both. Luckily, no one of the two is substantially better, which leaves this decision up to preference. 


Think about what you foresee utilizing your kitchen sink for as you weigh the following pros of each type. Let’s start with a single compartment sink. 


A single compartment sink may be the preference for someone who does a lot of cooking or baking. The single sink space allows for those large dishes to be rinsed/washed without navigating the pesky barrier in the center. 


On the other hand, that barrier in a double sink may just be your preference if you’re someone who likes the separation for something like a wash side and a rinse side. When deciding between the two, think about what you currently have and what you like (or dislike) about it. 


Which brand is the best for kitchen sinks?

When the time comes for you to purchase a sink, you will want to undoubtedly choose the best brand for the investment you are making. Not only is look and feel a consideration for purchase, but durability is also a crucial point. 


Ensuring you are investing in a long-lasting and sustainable brand is a part of that decision. The brand you ultimately go with may be dependent on the type and style of sink you choose. 


Certain brands may be more tailored to customization of a certain style or type of sink. For overall best brands of sinks, you may want to look toward the brand Kraus. As a top brand in the kitchen sink industry, you will likely find your sink preference at a high quality with this brand. 


Other reputable brands include Ruvati, Blanco, and Miseno. This is just a short list of many reputable brands out there for your sink purchase. A kitchen designer at Skipp will be able to help you identify the brand that works best for your kitchen sink remodel vision.


What is the easiest sink type to keep clean?

Remember those benefits of stainless steel sinks we mentioned? One of them is their undoubtable ability to be easily cleaned. Stainless steel sinks are reputable for being one of the most sterile and easy-to-clean sink options. This is because of their non-porous material. Non-porous means there aren't cracks or divots in material in which food and debris can hide. For this reason, stainless steel is an incredibly common option for food service, medical facilities, and more. 


Which types of sinks are popular now?

Among the array of sink types, there are a few popular choices for those currently in the market for a kitchen or sink remodel. 


Popular sink types include the aforementioned granite sink, stainless steel, and others, including farmhouse sinks, corner sinks, and more.  


Each sink type offers unique qualities for functionality and style in your remodel. A kitchen designer may be able to assist in showcasing the most popular styles based on your kitchen remodel budget and installation limitations. 


Which faucets are the best quality?

An additional consideration in your kitchen sink remodel is the type of faucet you choose to accompany your new kitchen sink. Good quality faucets may be inclusive of detachable or pull-down spray nozzles, single or double handles, and even motion-sensing controls. While a designer or professional may lead you to a certain faucet type to accommodate your remodel necessities, the following faucet features may be among the most commonly-evaluated in faucet purchases:

  1. Faucet Types: inclusive of long and short hoses, detachable or pull-down capabilities, handle quantities and types, and additional technological features. 
  2. Faucet Controls: inclusive of single or double handles, and motionless technology. 


What's the most popular kitchen faucet?

There are a few faucets on the market that have been recognized for being inclusive of multiple benefits. A few kitchen faucets that have been consistently rated highly among consumers include: 

  1. Delta Faucet 9178T-AR-DST: rated highly for its touch activation, sleek look, and various finish options. 
  2. Moen Arbor 7584E: a pull-down faucet popular for its simplistic yet elegant style, motion sensor capabilities, and more. 
  3. Moen Arbor 7294: a space-saving option from a reputable brand offering a space-saving model that does not sacrifice functionality. 
  4. These are just a few popular faucets out right now in the market. Identifying what you are looking for most in your faucet will help steer you to a brand and style best for your kitchen remodel. 



How do I choose a quality kitchen sink faucet?

There are a variety of faucet types with multiple features that may impact your decision. As many decisions with remodels go, the most common or popular type may not overrule your ultimate preference. At the end of the day, what you need functionally and visually should determine the type of faucet you decide on. 


A kitchen designer may be able to guide you to a quality faucet determined by your needs. 


Which faucet brand is best?

While no single brand is tried and true to be “the best,” there are a few brands with higher calibers of reputation that may fit your budget and functionality needs when searching for the right faucet. Some of the most popular brands include:

  1. Moen 
  2. Miseno
  3. Delta 
  4. Kohler 
  5. Peerless 
  6. Fapully 
  7. Brizo 


These brands are just a few among those in the kitchen faucet market that may be worth checking out.  


Which brand of faucet do plumbers and contractors recommend?

When seeking an opinion for faucets, it is no surprise we look to the experts.


For kitchen sinks and faucets, who better to ask than a plumber? 


Just as we all have our own preferences, a plumber’s preference may be solely their personal experience with a brand or opinion. While this is important to keep in mind, there are a few brands that have been notably preferred among professionals in the kitchen design space. 


A plumber may recommend some of the most popular previously mentioned brands in the market, including Moen, Delta, Kohler, and others. A professional opinion should be guided based on best intentions, not those seeking to make the most money off of your decision. Having a kitchen designer like Skipp can ensure you have a liaison with your best interest in mind for making all of your remodel purchasing decisions, especially design decisions that fit within your Skipp kitchen layout and plans. 


Contact Skipp today to start your estimate today!


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