The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Durable Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink

stainless sinks

Stainless steel kitchen sinks are renowned for their durability. Discover the key features that make them exceptionally long-lasting.

Stainless steel has emerged as the preferred material for kitchen sinks, as stated by the National Kitchen and Bath Association. According to their annual trends survey, a significant 61% of participants voted for stainless steel as the top choice.

So, what makes stainless steel so popular? And why does it remain a coveted option in kitchens?

Well, stainless steel can withstand years of daily use with minimal maintenance. A medium-quality stainless steel sink can last 15 to 20 years. It boasts exceptional durability, heat resistance, and resistance to staining. Furthermore, stainless steel sinks come in a wide range of styles and configurations, allowing you to find the perfect fit for your kitchen. Additionally, they are one of the most affordable options on the market.

While stainless steel is renowned for its longevity, not all stainless steel sinks are created equal. In fact, there is a wide variance in the quality of stainless steel sinks. To ensure you choose a sink that will stand the test of time, here are the essential factors to consider.

Look for These Key Qualities


Consider the following five important factors when selecting a high-quality stainless steel sink:

1. Gauge

The gauge refers to the thickness of the stainless steel. Lower gauges indicate thicker steel, while higher gauges signify thinner steel. Why does this matter? Aren’t all stainless steel sinks the same? Not quite. Sinks with a lower gauge are of superior quality and more resistant to dents. On the other hand, higher-gauge stainless steel can produce an echoing sound and may be less durable, especially when heavy pots and pans are dropped. However, Consumer Reports conducted tests on 18-to-23-gauge sinks and found that gauge had little effect on sound performance.

For a high-quality stainless steel sink, opt for a thickness between 16 to 18 gauges. Here’s a comparison of thicknesses:

  • 16 gauge: 0.0625 inches
  • 18 gauge: 0.055 inches
  • 20 gauge: 0.05 inches
  • 22 gauge: 0.045 inches
  • 23 gauge: 0.043 inches

As you can see, the variation in thickness is minimal but can make a significant difference. Typically, sinks with higher gauge are more affordable, while those with lower gauge are pricier. If you desire a durable sink, it’s worth investing in higher-gauge stainless steel. However, if your budget doesn’t permit the highest grade, opt for a sink in the 18 to 20 range.

2. Grade

Alongside thickness, pay attention to the grade of stainless steel used to construct the sink. The grade refers to the percentage of chromium and nickel present in the steel, which are essential for strength and rust prevention. Numerous stainless steel grades exist, but those designed for kitchenware are most suitable. Here are two exceptional stainless steel grades for sinks:

  • Grade 18/8 (Series 304): Comprised of 18% chromium and 8% nickel. This grade offers high rust resistance and is regarded as the best grade for sinks. It is less expensive than Grade 18/10 but still unlikely to rust.
  • Grade 18/10 (Series 316): Composed of 18% chromium and 10% nickel. This premium grade is rust-proof and retains its polish well. Sinks made with this grade are more expensive due to the higher nickel content. Grade 18/10 is commonly used in stainless steel pots and pans for its excellent heat conductivity.

Both Grade 18/8 and 18/10 are ideal for kitchen sinks. Of the two, 18/8 is typically more affordable. The ideal ratio for chromium to nickel content should fall between 18:8 and 20:10.

3. Depth

Some stainless steel sinks may be made from high-quality steel but have a shallow depth, which limits their functionality in the kitchen. A shallow sink basin can result in water splashing out and may not accommodate many dishes. While opting for a shallower sink basin can save costs for certain households, if you have the budget and aspire to the best, seek a sink deep enough to accommodate a stack of small dishes. Most sink bowls measure 7 to 10 inches in depth, so aim for a kitchen sink with a minimum depth of 10 inches.

4. Finish

The finish of your stainless steel sink is another crucial consideration. While the finish doesn’t necessarily determine quality, certain finishes are better at concealing scratches and imperfections. Shiny finishes are more susceptible to scratching, which are easily visible due to the reflective nature of the steel. Instead, opt for a satin finish. This popular choice for premium stainless steel sinks creates a matte appearance that effectively hides minor scratches. Additionally, a satin finish is less likely to show water spots.

5. Insulation

Without proper insulation, stainless steel kitchen sinks can produce a noisy, almost “tinny” sound. This distinct noise detracts from the sink’s overall quality, even if it is of top-notch construction. While not every high-quality stainless steel sink includes padding or insulation on the bottom, many do. Insulation is less common in lower-quality sinks. It helps reduce noise when the faucet is turned on and when the sink is full of dishes.

A superior stainless steel sink should satisfy all these criteria. Of course, some factors hold more importance than others. Gauge and grade are likely the two most crucial areas to focus on when shopping for a stainless steel sink. However, in an ideal scenario, the highest-quality stainless steel sink would encompass all these qualities.

Even High-Quality Stainless Steel Can Be Scratched

Keep in mind that even the finest stainless steel sinks can incur scratches. You are most likely to notice scratches when the sink is brand new. However, scratches are a normal part of having stainless steel in your home. To minimize their appearance, avoid dropping objects into the sink and refrain from placing sharp items, such as knives, in the basin.

Although you cannot remove scratches from a stainless steel sink, you can reduce their visibility. After cleaning your sink, gently buff the surface with a small amount of olive oil on a soft cloth. The oil helps diminish the appearance of scratches and imparts a shiny finish to your sink.

Why You Should Invest in a Stainless Steel Sink

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Durable Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink

Still questioning why stainless steel sinks reign supreme in the world of kitchen sinks? Here are four reasons why you should consider installing one:

They’re Easy to Clean

Stainless steel’s non-porous nature makes cleaning a breeze. For daily maintenance, simply rinse your stainless steel sink with warm water and gentle dish soap. When a more thorough cleaning is needed, lightly scrub the sink with baking soda using a soft sponge. Avoid using abrasive tools like steel wool or Magic Erasers, abrasive cleaners like Comet, and strong acids like bleach, as they can potentially damage your sink’s protective layer.

They’re Highly Durable

Stainless steel sinks are resilient and require minimal upkeep. Feel free to use your sink as frequently as needed, as it can withstand daily use. Unlike other sink materials such as granite or stone, stainless steel sinks do not require yearly maintenance. With proper care, stainless steel sinks can last for 30 years or even longer. Unlike cast iron sinks, the finish of stainless steel sinks will not chip over time.

They Come in Various Styles

Regardless of your kitchen’s size, stainless steel sinks are available in a wide range of styles and configurations. Choose from functional drop-in sinks to seamless undermount models. Stainless steel sinks are manufactured in single and double basin styles, as well as spacious farmhouse and apron-front designs. In addition to the traditional metallic color, stainless steel sinks now come in brass, black, and even copper finishes.

They’re Timeless and Classic

Stainless steel kitchen sinks are not merely a trendy addition. They have been a kitchen staple for many years and will continue to endure. No matter how many times you change the color of your paint, tiles, countertops, or appliances, a stainless steel sink will complement your space. Even interior designers agree that stainless steel sinks add elegance and timelessness to a kitchen. To achieve a sophisticated look, consider an undermount stainless steel sink rather than a drop-in sink.

Invest in a Stainless Steel Sink from CopperSmith

Are you looking for a stunning stainless steel sink for your upcoming kitchen remodel? At CopperSmith, we design high-end stainless steel sinks using sustainable 16-gauge metals, ensuring their longevity. By exclusively using recycled materials, we reduce our carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Our sinks are the perfect choice for a durable finish that complements stainless steel appliances in upscale homes. If you desire a stainless steel sink with a unique texture, check out our highly regarded sinks:

1. Kitchen Farmhouse Sink in Stainless Steel

Envisioning a deep, farmhouse-style sink for your kitchen? Our Kitchen Farmhouse Sink features a rounded apron front and a deep basin. Choose from various sizes in our stainless steel finish. This elegant and luxurious style is sure to become a focal point in your home.

2. Apron Kitchen Sink in Stainless Steel

Our classic Apron Kitchen Sink is an undermount style that boasts two deep sink basins. Select from various bowl proportions, including 50/50, 30/70, 40/60, 60/40, and 70/30. Customize the sink’s size, finish, metal, and texture to perfectly suit your home. Apron sinks are an ideal option for busy households with a significant amount of dishes.

3. Bar Sink in Stainless Steel

If you already have your dream kitchen sink, consider adding a stainless steel Bar Sink to your remodel. These sinks are currently trending in kitchen design due to their functional yet stylish appeal. This square design effortlessly combines durability, luxury, and style.

4. Undermount Metal Kitchen Sink

Our Undermount Metal Kitchen Sink in hammered stainless steel seamlessly integrates with your kitchen’s granite, stone, or quartz countertops. With exceptional craftsmanship and unparalleled design, this sink emanates refinement and flawlessness.

Interested in exploring more high-end sinks from CopperSmith? Browse our collections of copper and brass kitchen sinks. Should you wish to speak to a member of our team and learn more about CopperSmith sinks, please contact us today.

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Durable Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink

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