Stainless steel is an obvious choice for a kitchen sink because it cleans up quickly and has a great appearance. But once you get past the key design questions—one bowl or two, on top or on the bottom—you want to base your buying decision on other, less obvious factors that affect quality and value. So we canvassed the experts for their tips on buying a stainless-steel kitchen sink. Read on for some ways to see beyond a shiny surface.
The first thing you should consider is the mental gauge. You are supposed to choose gauge carefully. If you select a sink whose gauge isn't suitable, it is likely to be more prone to denting and vibrating, and less able to handle a garbage disposer. Drop-ins of some high-gauges can be especially thin around the edges, making them fail to support the heavier weight of a quality faucet.
In addition, what's of great importance is the depth of the sink. 6-inch-deep basins are cheap to make, but they splash and can't hold much. A 9- or 10-inch sink, on the other hand, holds lots—a big plus when countertop space is limited. In the meantime, shape matters too. You get more volume with square corners, straight sides, and a flat bottom, worthwhile soft angles allow for easy cleaning and good drainage.
Look for rubbery undercoatings and pads, which deaden the sound of running water and clattering silverware, and also reduce condensation in the base cabinet. If the sink sounds like a steel drum, it's either lightweight or naked or both.
Some sinks come with drain assemblies and baskets, and some don't. There are location and design to consider too. Toward the back means more usable space in the base cabinet and better drainage when dishes are piled in the sink. A rear drain to the left or right, as seen here, is better yet.