Stainless steel kitchen sinks are one of the most durable options on the market. Learn what makes them so long-lasting.
Stainless steel is the most popular material for kitchen sinks according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association. Their annual trends survey said that 61% of participants voted stainless steel as the leading material for kitchen sinks.
So, what makes stainless steel so popular? And why does it continue to remain a top choice in kitchens?
Well, stainless steel can take years of daily use without needing much care. A mid-quality stainless steel sink has a lifespan of 15 to 20 years. It’s highly durable, heat-resistant, and unlikely to stain. Stainless steel sinks are made in a wide range of styles and configurations, so you can find the perfect fit for your kitchen. They’re also one of the most affordable kitchen sink materials on the market.
While this metal has a reputation for being long-lasting, not all stainless steel sinks are the same. In fact, there’s a wide range in the quality of stainless steel sinks. Here’s what you need to know to choose a durable stainless steel sink that will last for many years.
Look for These Qualities
Consider these five important factors to ensure you’re purchasing a high-quality stainless steel sink:
The gauge refers to how thick the stainless steel is. Lower gauges are thicker and higher gauges are thinner. So, why does this matter? Aren’t all stainless steel sinks the same? Nope. Low-gauge stainless sinks are of higher quality and more likely to resist dents. High-gauge stainless steel can sound echoey and may not hold up as well, especially if heavy pots and pans are dropped on it. Though, Consumer Reports tested 18-to-23-gauge sinks and found that gauge had little to do with sound performance.
If you’re looking for a high-quality stainless steel sink, the best thickness is between 16 to 18 gauges. Here’s a look at the differences in thickness between 16 to 23 gauges:
- 16 gauge: 0.0625 inches thick
- 18 gauge: 0.055 inches thick
- 20 gauge: 0.05 inches thick
- 22 gauge: 0.045 inches thick
- 23 gauge: 0.043 inches thick
As you can see, the difference between gauges is very minimal, but it can make a big impact. Typically, high-gauge sinks are cheaper, while high-gauge sinks are more expensive. If you’re looking for a kitchen sink that will hold up well, it’s worth investing in high-gauge stainless steel. And if the lowest grade isn’t in your budget, opt for a sink in the 18 to 20 range.
Besides the sink’s thickness, you should also pay attention to the grade of stainless steel it’s made out of. Stainless steel’s grade refers to how much chromium and nickel are contained within the steel. These alloys are what make the steel strong and prevent it from rusting. There are many different grades of stainless steel, but many are designed for kitchenware. These are two of the best stainless steel grades for sinks:
- Grade 18/8 (Series 304): Made up of 18% chromium and 8% nickel. This grade is highly rust-resistant and is the best stainless steel grade for sinks. It’s less expensive than Grade 18/10 but is still unlikely to rust.
- Grade 18/10 (Series 316): Made up of 18% chromium and 10% nickel. This high grade is rust-proof and holds its polish well. These types of kitchen sinks are expensive because of the higher level of nickel. This grade is commonly used in stainless steel pots and pans because it conducts heat well.
Both Grades 18/8 and 18/10 are ideal for kitchen sinks. Of the two, 18/8 will typically be a little more affordable than 18/10. Ideally, the ratio should be between 18:8 and 20:10.
Some stainless steel sinks are made from high-quality steel, but they’re shallow, which is less functional in the kitchen. A lower sink basin can cause water to splash out and won’t hold many dishes. For some households, saving on a shallower sink basin is worth it. But if you have the budget and want the best of the best, look for a sink that’s deep enough to hold a stack of small dishes. Most bowls are 7 to 10 inches deep, but you should look for a kitchen sink that’s at least 10 inches deep.
The finish of your stainless steel sink is another important factor to consider. While the finish doesn’t necessarily quality, some stainless steel finishes hide scratches and imperfections better than others. Shiny finishes are likely to scratch, and the scratches are very noticeable due to the steel’s mirror-like shine. Instead, opt for a satin finish. This is a popular choice for high-end stainless steel sinks because this light texture creates a matte finish that hides small scratches. A satin finish is also less likely to make water spots noticeable.
If not properly insulated, stainless steel kitchen sinks can have a noisy, almost “tinny” sound. And that distinctive noise takes away from even the highest-quality sink. Not every good-quality stainless steel sink will include padding or insulation on the bottom, but many do. Insulation is uncommon to find on low-quality sinks. It helps reduce noise when you turn on the faucet, and when you have a sink full of dishes.
A good stainless steel sink should check all of these boxes. Of course, some of these factors are much more important than others. For example, gauge and quality are probably the two most important areas to focus on when shopping for a stainless steel sink. However, in an ideal world, the highest-quality stainless steel sink would have all of these qualities.
Even High-Quality Stainless Steel Can Scratch
No matter how nice your stainless steel sink is, remember, it can still scratch. If your sink is brand new, this is a time when you’re most likely to notice scratches, too. But don’t worry, scratches are a normal part of having stainless steel in your home. To prevent scratches, avoid dropping objects in your sink, and never place sharp objects, like a knife, in the basin of your sink.
While you can’t remove scratches from a stainless steel sink, you can minimize their appearance. After cleaning your sink, buff the surface with a small amount of olive oil on a soft cloth. The oil helps minimize the appearance of scratches and makes your sink shiny.
Why You Should Purchase a Stainless Steel Sink
Still wondering why stainless steel sinks are the go-to choice in the kitchen sink aisle? Here are four reasons why you should install one:
They’re Easy to Clean
Because stainless steel is a non-porous material, cleaning it is very simple. The best way to keep your stainless steel sink looking shiny and new is to rinse it daily with warm water and gentle dish soap. For days when your sink needs a more thorough cleaning, gently rub the baking soda into your sink with a soft sponge. Never use the following materials on your stainless steel sink:
- Abrasive tools like steel wool or Magic Erasers - These tools can cause scratching.
- Abrasive cleaners like Comet - Comet may accidentally scratch your sink.
- Strong acids like bleach - Bleach can attack your sink’s protective layer.
They’re Very Durable
Stainless steel sinks are durable and low-maintenance. Use your sink every day, as often as you need. Unlike other types of kitchen sinks, such as granite or stones, stainless steel sinks don’t need annual care. With proper care, stainless steel sinks can last for 30 years or even longer. The finish won’t chip off over time like cast iron sinks.
They’re Made in a Variety of Styles
No matter the size of your kitchen, stainless steel sinks are made in a variety of styles and configurations. Choose from functional drop-in sinks to seamless undermount models. Stainless steel sinks are made in single and double basin styles, as well as roomy farmhouse and apron-front styles. And while stainless steel is known for its cool, metallic color, stainless steel sinks are now made in brass, black, and even copper.
They’re Classic and Timeless
Stainless steel kitchen sinks aren’t just a trendy addition. They’ve been a kitchen favorite for many years, and they’re here to stay. No matter how many times you change the color of your paint, tile, countertops, or appliances, chances are your stainless steel sink will still complement your space. Even interior designers agree that stainless steel sinks are elegant and classic pieces to have in the kitchen. If you want to give your kitchen a high-end look, opt for an undermount stainless steel sink versus a drop-in.
Invest in a Stainless Steel Sink from CopperSmith
Are you looking for a beautiful stainless kitchen sink for your upcoming remodel? We design high-end stainless steel sinks in 16-gauge, sustainable metals, which are made to last for decades. Landfills are overflowing with products built from unsustainable materials, so we reduce our carbon footprint by only using recycled materials.
Our sinks are the perfect choice for a long-lasting finish that pairs well with stainless appliances in upscale homes. If you’re interested in stainless steel sinks with a unique texture, browse our customer-favorite sinks below:
1. Kitchen Farmhouse Sink in Stainless Steel
Are you envisioning a deep, farmhouse-style sink in your kitchen? Our Kitchen Farmhouse Sink features a rounded apron front and deep basin. Choose from a variety of sizes in our stainless steel finish. Elegant and luxurious, this style is certain to be a conversation piece in your home.
2. Apron Kitchen Sink in Stainless Steel
Our classic Apron Kitchen Sink is an undermount style that features two deep sink basins. Choose from a variety of bowl proportions, including 50/50, 30/70, 40/60, 60/40, and 70,30. You can customize this sink’s size, finish, metal, and texture to make it perfect for your home. Apron sinks are a great choice for busy households with lots of dishes.
3. Bar Sink in Stainless Steel
If you already have the kitchen sink of your dreams, consider adding a stainless steel Bar Sink to your remodel. These sinks are currently trending in kitchen design because they’re a functional, yet stylish addition to any kitchen space. This square design is the perfect blend of durability, luxury, and style.
4. Undermount Metal Kitchen Sink
If you have granite, stone, or quartz countertops in your kitchen, our Undermount Metal Kitchen Sink in hammered stainless steel will effortlessly blend into your kitchen design. With high-quality construction and best-in-class design, this sink looks refined and flawless.
Want to see more high-end sinks from CopperSmith? Browse our collections of copper and brass kitchen sinks. If you’d like to speak to a member of our team and learn more about CopperSmith sinks, please contact us today.