Affordable and functional, stainless steel kitchen sinks are a tried-and-true favorite for contractors, builders, and homeowners.
Stainless steel sinks are one of the most popular sinks on the market, as they are user friendly and have distinct advantages over other materials.
This short guide will give you an overview stainless steel and help you decide if it’s the right choice for your kitchen.
About Stainless Steel
Stainless steel is simply steel combined with other elements. Stainless steel is durable and highly resistant to heat, rust, and stains. It is also one of the more affordable kitchen sink options on the market.
The gauge of a stainless steel sink refers to the thickness of the stainless steel, and impacts how easily the sink will dent, scratch, or sustain other damages.
Standard sink gauges run from 14 to 23. A lower gauge indicates a thicker material. A gauge of 16-18 is considered optimal.
Some manufacturers claim additional durability including increased resistance to scratching and denting based on production process and specialty finishes.
The popularity of stainless steel makes it easy to find something that matches your design tastes and budget. Stainless also goes well with most kitchen decor and appliances, making it an excellent and affordable option for home builds and remodel projects.
Many people are familiar with the standard overmount style sinks, but may not realize that there are a number of more modern designs.
The undermount style produces a clean, modern look (but is a bit more difficult to install).
Farmhouse (or apron front) stainless steel kitchen sinks blend the modern look of stainless steel with the classic look of a farm-style sink.
Stainless steel sinks are typically available in a highly polished mirror finish and less reflective satin brushed finish.
Brushed finishes are generally considered to be lower-maintenance because scratches, water spots, stains, and fingerprints are less noticeable than on the polished finishes.
Maintenance and Cleaning
Stainless steel sinks are more resistant to chipping and cracking than other kinds of sinks, although they are more prone to visible scratches.
When maintained correctly, stainless steel sinks are antimicrobial (resistant to germs and bacteria), making stainless steel the sink material of choice in commercial kitchens.
With the appropriate and commonplace cleaning supplies, the ease of maintaining a stainless steel sink is one of the reasons they have maintained their popularity in non-commercial and industrial settings.
For some people, sound is an important factor when considering a stainless steel sink. Stainless steel can be considerably louder than cast iron or granite, and the metallic nature of stainless steel means that the impact of items against the sink can produce “tinny” sounds that some people find irritating.
Higher-quality stainless steel sinks are often built using thicker steel and typically make less noise. They may also come equipped with built-in sound-reducing features such as pads or a special coating, as seen on the bottom of the Vigo sink below:
Costs and Price Range
Stainless steel sinks are one of the most affordable sink options available, but there’s still a lot of variation in price.
The cost of most residential stainless steel kitchen sinks ranges from $50 to $500, with most models falling somewhere between $100 and $300.
Cost is largely a function of basin design, steel gauge, and manufacturer. Stylish sinks from high-end brands like Kraus, Franke, and Vigo are going to skew towards the more pricey end of the spectrum.
- Chip resistant
- East to clean
- Prone to scratches
- Can be noisy
- Limited finish styles/colors
- Prone to dents