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Undermount vs Drop In Sink – Which to Choose in 2024

When choosing the right sink for your home, you have to balance style, cost, and resale value. There are many different sink options available and not all of them are appropriate for every style of home. So today, we will be discussing the principal differences between an under-mount sink and a drop-in sink, so that you can easily decide which is the best fit for your home. 

The Key Differences Between an Undermount vs a Drop-in Sink. 

The primary difference between an under-mount sink and a drop-in sink is the presence of a rim. An under-mount sink is installed below the sink, so the rim is hidden from view. This increases the counter space available in addition to making it much easier to clean the counter. A drop-in sink is installed above the counter and has a visible rim. This installation method is much easier to DIY install and since the majority of the sink is plainly visible, a drop-in sink is much easier to clean than an under-mount sink. 

Undermount SinkDrop In Sink
Easier to clean countersEasy to clean and recaulk
Hidden rim under the counterVisible lip
Good resale valueLess expensive models
Complicated for DIY installationEasier for DIY installation

Before deciding between an undermount vs. drop in sink, it’s a good idea to have answers to these questions, as they will give you a better idea which of these two sink types is better for your household: 

  • Are you looking for budget-friendly sinks or have a flexible budget?
  • Will you install the sink or you own or will you hire someone? 
  • Are you looking for an easy-to-clean sink or you don’t mind cleaning and maintaining your sink frequently?

What Is an Under Mount Sink?

An under-mount sink is a sink that sits under the counter with its edge below the level of the countertop. This installation creates a seamless counter, making it easier to clean your counter and hide your sink from view. 

The Pros and Cons of an Undermount Sink

An under-mount sink is a sink that is installed below the countertop. This installation method hides the rim of the sink and provides a more seamless countertop for use. Because of the installation method, under-mount sinks require high-quality material that is not too heavy while still being durable-so not all materials are compatible with this installation method. Undermount sinks are available in stainless steel, cast iron, solid surface materials, and copper. 

Easy to cleanDifficult to clean
Modern stylesDifficult to install
Better resale valueExpensive
undermount sink.

Pros of an Undermount Sink 

Undermount sinks provide great aesthetic value to any home. Their installation method hides them from view and thus, makes the rest of your home appear more attractive. Below are some of the benefits that an under-mount sink can bring. 

  • Easier to Clean Counter Top: Because the sink is installed underneath the countertop, cleaning the countertop is much easier. Compared to a drop-in sink where the sink obscures part of the counter, you can easily clean the entire length of the countertop with ease with an under-mount install. Since the countertop is seamless, you can simply wipe or push any dirt or filth into the sink and dispose of it.
  • More Popular Style: As mentioned previously, under-mount sinks are much more attractive aesthetically. This is because their installation method allows your counter or vanity to stand out more compared to a drop-in sink. As a result, this style is considered to be much more modern and more popular than its counterparts. 
  • Better Resale Value: As stated previously, under-mount sinks are much more popular than drop-in sinks. This translates to a better resale value down the road as most home buyers are looking for an under-mount sink rather than a drop-in sink. 

Cons of an Undermount Sink

For the positives that an under-mount sink can bring, there are a few negatives that come with it as well. Perhaps the biggest drawback to an under-mount sink is the installation method. Compared to a drop-in sink, it is much more difficult to install and as a result, its installation method limits the material that this style can be available in as well. 

  • Hard to Clean: With the majority of the sink installed below the countertop, it becomes a greater hassle to clean the edges and sides of the actual sink. Also, since some areas are not openly visible, they can collect dirt and other debris in the space between the countertop and the sink which can be difficult to reach and clean.  
  • Difficult to Install- An under-mount sink is installed underneath the countertop. This installation method requires a deeper knowledge of how heavy the sink is and the necessary bonding agent to hold it to the countertop and secure it. Compared to a drop-in sink that is simply dropped into a recess and secured, an under-mount sink is a much greater ordeal and might require professional help to install. This installation method also limits what materials an under-mount sink can be constructed from as some materials are not compatible with all counter-tops.
  • More expensive: Undermount sinks tend to be more expensive than drop-in sinks. This is because the material that they are constructed from cannot be too heavy. The material that an under-mount sink is made from requires a great deal of quality and durability, which ultimately provides a high-quality sink that is both durable and aesthetically-pleasing, although you may have to pay for it upfront.  

Common Under-mount Sink Sizes

Undermount sinks are available in a variety of different sizes. Here are common under-mount sink sizes with common depth sizes ranging from 4-7 inches:

  • 16 inchesx16 inches
  • 16.5 inches
  • 18.25 inches x13 inches
  • 19.5 inches
  • 20.75 inches x14 inches

What Is a Drop-in Sink?

A drop-in sink is a sink that is placed into an opening that is slightly wider than the sink itself. The sink’s rim rests on top of the counter, creating a lip that forms a barrier between your sink and your counter.

The Pros and Cons of a Drop-In Sink

Drop-in sinks are sinks that are dropped into a recess and then secured. This installation method is simple and easy to install, allowing them to be constructed from just about any material available. Common sink materials include Fireclay, Stainless Steel, Composite Granite, Cast Iron, Quartz, Natural Stone, Porcelain, and Copper. 

AffordablePretty common
Easy to installDifficult to clean
Material flexibilityLess counter space
undermount vs drop in sinks.

Pros of a Drop-in Sink:

Drop-in sinks accrue many benefits but the primary one is accessibility. Drop-in sinks are easy to install and can be constructed from just about any material, making them ideal for just about any entry point homeowner. 

  • Cost-Drop-in sinks are perhaps the most affordable on the market. Since they are available in so many different materials, this sink type is affordable at every price point. Also, since installation is simple, many homeowners DIY it, which saves a great deal of money as well compared to hiring professional assistance.  
  • Installation-As stated previously, installation for a drop-in sink is simple and straightforward. It can be installed on any countertop, making it compatible with every home. And, as the installation is simple, it can be DIY very easily, lowering the total cost of the sink and installation.   
  • Variety of Materials-The flexibility of materials is another strong point about drop-in sinks. Drop-in sinks are easy to install and are available in a large variety of materials which allow a homeowner to spend as little or as much as they want on their sink.  

Cons of a Drop-in 

For the flexibility and positives of a drop-in sink, there are a few attached negatives as well. 

  • Decreased Popularity-Although they may be simplistic and easy to install, their accessibility makes them less unique. Most homebuyers prefer an under-mount sink over a drop-in sink and are willing to pay for it. This has led to a decrease in its overall popularity as a drop-in sink is seen as a more outdated style in comparison. 
  • Harder to clean-Since the rim of the sink obtrudes out from the countertop, this can make cleaning around the edges or the rim quite difficult as food can get stuck or wedged in between the space from the sink to the countertop. This can result in bacteria or mold build-up over time if left unanswered.   
  • Take up More Counter Space-When the rim of the sink protrudes out, this limits the overall counter space available. Although it is a small amount of space, the biggest drawback is that the countertop isn’t seamless and you will often hit up against the rim of the sink when cleaning, leading to food or other materials likely getting stuck in the cracks.

Common Drop-in Sink Sizes

Drop-in sinks come in many different sizes with a variable depth of 4-7 inches. Here are the common sink sizes:

  • 16 inches
  • 17 inches
  • 18 inches
  • 20 inches
  • 22 inches
  • 24 inches

Overall, Which Is Better: Undermount or Drop-in Sinks?

In general, which sink type is best for you will come down to preference. Drop-in sinks represent a sink type that is affordable, flexible, and easy to install. But drop-in sinks do not have much in the way of resale value and are aesthetically outdated. Undermount sinks require more of an initial investment in comparison, but are much more popular, aesthetically pleasing and have a large deal of resale value. 

Other Factors to Consider When Choosing a Bathroom Sink:

When choosing the right bathroom sink, there are many other factors to consider. The most pertinent of which are your budget, your style, and your resale value. 

  • Budget-Budget is an important factor to consider as it can be very easy to exceed your budget when renovating your bathroom. When choosing the right sink for your home, you need to balance the cost of the sink with the rest of your bathroom. While a sink is of great importance, there are other amenities to consider such as your bathtub and toilet, so consider your budget carefully before choosing a sink. 
  • Style- Which style appeals to you will depend largely on each individual. Remember that regardless of style guides and what other people inform you of, this is your bathroom and you should choose a style and sink size that suits you. Ultimately, you want to balance your budget with what style you want for your bathroom.
  • Resale value-If you are looking to renovate your home, it is important to consider resale value for your additions to the house. As stated previously, an under-mount sink has a much greater resale value than a drop-in sink. So, if you are renovating your home, you should consider what is best for increasing the value of your home. 

Both under-mount and drop-in sinks provide great additions to any home. But which is appropriate for you will depend on your budget and needs. So as always, do the proper research to find the right sink for your bathroom. For additional inspiration, view additional sink ideas.

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