Farmhouse Sink vs. Apron Sink: What’s the Difference?

This short article will answer one simple question: What’s the difference between a farmhouse sink and an apron sink?

In most cases, the answer is that there is no difference!

Farmhouse and Apron Sinks are the Same Thing

Farmhouse and apron front sinks come in a wide variety of materials and styles, but there is one unifying design feature. Both types of sink have a large front surface area (the apron) that is completely visible after the sink is installed.

This is different from other types of kitchen sinks, where the body of the sink is covered by the kitchen cabinets or front of the counter.

Farmhouse sink vs apron sink
A modern stainless steel farmhouse/apron front kitchen sink

The name “farmhouse sink” comes from the fact that many sinks of this style were used in older farmhouses.

“Apron sink” seems to be a more modern name for this type of sink. Our favorite theory is that the term “apron sink” was marketed to people who liked this style of sink but weren’t necessarily interested in a farmhouse-themed kitchen.

To add to the confusion, apron sinks are also often called apron front sinks!

Regardless of the origins, many people now use the terms interchangeably.

Interested in a apron front sink for your home? Check out our collection of the eight best farmhouse sinks we could find online.

Splitting Hairs: Possible Differences Between Farmhouse and Apron Sinks

For most people, farmhouse and apron front sinks are basically the same thing. However, there are some who feel there are a couple minor differences between the two types of sinks.

Design differences

Older farmhouse/apron sinks often had a large drainboard (drying area) on one side of the bowl and a big backsplash with holes for the faucet. They were usually made from enameled cast iron and were often massive, heavy pieces of equipment.

Farmhouse kitchen sink with backsplash and drainboards
A farmhouse style sink in a modern kitchen. Photo Credit: Sharon Lovejoy

This version of the farmhouse style sink could function as a standalone workstation. This made the design easier to install and therefore more practical for the kind of small, simple kitchens found in American farmhouses.

Today, nearly all “farmhouse” sinks have no drainboard or backsplash. Instead, they’re just a large single bowl designed to be installed in a pre-existing cabinet/counter setup.

There is an argument to be made that these aren’t true farmhouse sinks since they have modern, minimal designs that really wouldn’t be at home in an actual farmhouse kitchen.

Some people would say that all farmhouse sinks are apron sinks, but not all apron sinks are farmhouse sinks.

Differences in materials

Some people believe that “true” farmhouse sinks must be made from cast iron or fireclay. These materials have a traditional look and feel that is easy to associate with older farmhouse or country style kitchens.

These days, farmhouse sinks are available in a wide range of materials like stainless steel, granite composite, and even copper.

Learn more about farmhouse/apron front sinks

This article was simply intended to be a quick explainer about the differences between these two types of sinks. There’s a lot more to know about this style of sink and the various materials used to make them.

If you’re interested in installing an apron front sink as part of your kitchen design or remodel, we’ve put together a list of the eight best farmhouse sinks we could find. You can also just check out the handy table below!