Having already picked out the type of material you wish to shine in the center of your bathroom or kitchen, now it is time to select the style of sink you wish for. Do you want a simple installation like a top mount drop in? Or perhaps you prefer something a bit more elegant like a granite composite? There are multiple factors you should consider before choosing the style that is best for you. The space available, plumbing and water line placement as well as the overall cost of the sink style are large contributing factors to your final purchase, so let me walk you through some basic styles and we’ll figure out which is the right one for you.
Top Mount or ‘Drop in’ Sinks
A drop in sink is a sink that is dropped into a hole that is cut out into your countertop or surface with a built in sink rim or lip resting on the counter top. The faucet mounts directly on the sink ledge along the back edge of the sink.
- Compatible with all kinds of counter-top surfaces
- Easy to install
- Very cost-effective
- Wide variety of materials to choose from
- Depending on material used on your counter top, may clash with aesthetics or look ‘cheap’
- Food particles and grime may build up in the underlying lip between the sink and the countertop surface
Since installation is easy, there is really no need to hire professional help, so the cost of the sink is all you will really have to pay for. Average cost of a drop in sink runs from $90 on the low end up to $200 on the high side.
As one of the most popular option for many bathrooms, you really can’t go wrong with a drop-in sink. For both price and ease of install, a top mount is an excellent choice for those shopping on a budget both for money and time.
Similar in overall design to a top mount sink, undermount sinks are sinks that are installed below the countertop. The rim of the sink is not visible as it attaches from the bottom of the countertop.
- Visually attractive
- Easy to clean, food scraps can go directly into the sink without any exposed rim to catch crumbs or dirt.
- Spatially friendly- you can save up to half a square foot of extra counter space because the rim is underneath your countertop
- More expensive than drop-in or top mounted sinks
- Requires weight-bearing and water-resistant countertop materials, so less flexibility in material choice and compatibility with your bathroom set up.
- Moisture and condensation can build over time, resulting in mold
- Due to the setup, faucets must be attached to the countertop or wall, making installation more difficult than a drop-in.
While it may sound daunting, undermounted sinks can still be installed by yourself. The average cost however, will be higher than a top-mount sink. On the low end, you are looking around $150-200, all the way to $700-800 on the high end.
A small bump up or upgrade from a top mount sink, undermount sinks are visually more appealing and are wholly less intrusive. With the rim tucked underneath, you can merely enjoy the comfort of your sink without any intrusive ridges in the way. Though they can be pricey towards the high end, undermount sinks are wholly inexpensive compared to other options on the market and as such, may be for you if you want something slightly better than a top mount sink.
Farm House or ‘Apron Sink’
A farm house sink or apron sink is a sink typically designed for use in the kitchen. Mounted on three sides of your cabinet and countertop area, they can be quite heavy. But, with the added weight comes larger size, giving you a large area to clean and ideally, collect water similar to a basin.
- Large area for washing and holding water
- Good aesthetics-since Apron sinks are much larger, they can easily be a good focal point of your space
- Under the counter installation means they are very easy to clean
- Wide variety of materials to choose from, all decent material
- Very pricey. Consider very carefully before you choose this type of sink as typically they are not meant for the bathroom and you may look for better priced alternatives. Will require custom cabinets to be installed and a hired professional as well.
- Due to the hardiness of the material used, any dishes or cups that accidentally fall in an Apron sink tend to break easily.
- Due to the large size, children may have difficulty accessing the bottom of the sink
Typical price for a farm house sink starts at $400 up to around $800 on the low end. High end you are looking at $1200-1400 just for the sink alone. Will require a hired specialist to install.
While they are very aesthetically pleasing, a Farm House sink may not be a great fit for your bathroom. They are typically designed for kitchens, and the functionality of simply washing your face may not be worth the hefty investment into one. Though, if you truly want a unique sink for your bathroom, a Farm House style sink is a good fit.
A freestanding sink is a sink that is installed directly on a wall and is often supported by legs or a stand.
- Easy to clean
- Takes up less floor space
- Good for small bathrooms or powder rooms
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Fairly pricey
- Offers little extra storage space
- Requires additional plumbing.
For the materials alone, a free standing sink will run you $145-300 on the low end and $700+ on the high end, not to mention the cost of hiring a plumber to install it for you.
Another popular choice for many bathrooms as it takes up much less space than a designated cabinet top style sink, while also having a more classic approach to your sink aesthetics. A free standing sink is an excellent choice for those who wish to save space but still have a classic feel to their bath space.
Island Bar or “Prep Sink”
An island bar sink is a small sink, typically designed for small kitchens or home bars. Many are no larger than eye-washing stations.
- Great for washing in a shared space as you can have multiple of these if you have a small bathroom
- Clean up is easy
- Installation is simple, only requiring an island or countertop to install
- Overall size. These sinks are very small, and typically only accommodate one person
- Aesthetically may be cheap without additional custom materials such as facets
Average price starts at $50 up to $400+
A prep sink is all about space management. These sinks are for homes or bathrooms that have little space to work with and if that is something that you desperately need, these are wonderful for that. Though aesthetically, you may find them lacking without any custom materials installed
Triple Basin Bowl
Another sink more commonly designed for the kitchen, a triple basin bowl is an undermounted stainless steel sink with three separate compartments.
- Allows you to multitask easily with three separate compartments
- Can accommodate a large area of water for washing
- Easy to Clean
- Very expensive
- Difficult to install
- Designed for kitchen use, many functions will not be utilized in a bath space
- Takes up a large area of space
Average price ranges from $425-1000
Another sink variant designed for the kitchen, with the added benefit of cleaning vegetables and washing dishes at the same time. With bathroom needs being slightly different, the added cost and massive size of this sink is not recommended for your bath space.
Double Basin Bowl
Another kitchen variant, a double basin bowl is typically an undermounted stainless steel sink with two large compartments.
- Highly versatile as you now have two separate compartments for all your bathroom needs
- May use overall less water and detergent to clean
- Frees up counter space
- Harder to wash larger items
- Designed for kitchen use, less optimal in your bathroom
- Not many material options other than stainless steel
- Hard to fit in a small space
- Fewer faucet installation options
Average cost starting $470-$1000+
Again, another sink variant designed for the kitchen with the sole purpose of having an extra area for washing large dishes and cleaning vegetables or prep work. While you can use it for your bath space, the hefty price tag and large size of a Double bowl sink is not recommended.
Single basin sinks, or more commonly vessel sinks are sinks that sit on top of your vanity and are exposed on all sides. Often sculpted from a large range of materials such as glass,cast bronze, natural stone all the way to more common materials such as vitreous china and fireclay. Single basin sinks have no faucet holes so the fixtures need to be mounted on the wall.
- Visually striking as they are all custom made
- Versatile as they are custom made, meaning they can fit any shape or form you wish for
- Easy to install as they only need a small hole to accommodate the sink drain
- While vitreous china is manageable, all other materials can easily cost up to thousands of dollars
- Due to the nature of the design, exposure on all sides can lead to splashing
- Durability, depending on the material used in the construction, the overall durability of this sink type can be questionable
- Without additional supports, a single basin sink can be relatively unstable
Average price runs around $250, but can easily reach 1900+ based on the material used
The ultimate in luxury, a single basin is a comfortable sink design that invokes an era when only water basins were present. Though for the luxury, comes a steep price tag as the material you choose can be quite a heavy price. Also, while it may be comfortable and unique, keep in mind that replacing such a sink will be a hassle in the long term.
Wall Mounted Sinks
A wall mounted sink is just that, a sink mounted on your wall with additional braces and supports. Typically this setup requires a change in your pipe configuration.
- Decorative-sleek, modern design
- Space efficient, can fit even the smallest bathrooms
- Wheel-chair user friendly
- Easy to clean
- A bit complicated to install
- May require a reorientation of pipes and plumbing which cannot be done by yourself, which if necessary, may end up costing a heavy amount of renovation in your bathroom
- Harder to replace if damaged
- Expensive-due to plumbing as stated before
Average cost on it’s own starts at roughly $280 and up, though no including the cost of additional labor and maintenance upon install.
Another sink designed for a cramped space, a wall mounted sink is a middle ground between a free standing sink and a prep sink. Overall, it is recommended that you check your plumbing situation before you decide on a wall mount as additional renovations may steepen your budget on this kind of sink.
Integrated sinks are sinks that are made from the same material of the countertop they are set into. This creates a sense of uniformity and seamlessness that very few bathrooms have naturally.
- Water resistant
- Easy to clean due to the lack of a seam between the sink and countertop
- Sleek look, minimalist style
- Easy to install
- Less options materially
- Appearance has been noted to be somewhat dated compared to other sink types
- Sink is permanently joined so if any damage is done to either the countertop or sink, both must be replaced which can be a hassle in the long term
Average cost is $400-800, labor installation included in the overall price
A compromise between both a top mount and an undermounted sink, integrated sinks share positives of both, but for a heavy price tag. If you truly like the material of your countertop and wish for it match with the aesthetics of your sink, than you can look into integrated sinks.
A corner sink is a type of cabinet that is used to support a more traditional top mounted sink, typically tucked into a corner and supported by two points. Due to the functional need of supporting the general size of the cabinet, the sink basin is typically trapezoidal or oval in shape.
- Saves space, since it is tucked into the corner, corner sinks are fantastic in making your sparse small bathroom feel vibrant
- Easy to install
- Expensive, cost of the cabinet and sink combined
- Hard to clean as the corners block off access to certain parts of your sink, meaning higher chance of mildew or mold buildup.
- May feel cramped
Average cost of a corner sink starts at $450-800+
If you have spacing issues, corner sinks provide a good solution to your problems while still giving your bathroom a classic feel.
Granite Composite Sinks
Composite granite sinks are made by a mixture of granite stone dust and acrylic resins molded into sink form. Sold commonly in single and double bowl variants, in either under and top mounts, they offer a unique flair in terms of style
- High durability
- Wide variety of styles, shapes and color options
- Uniform throughout due to the nature of the material
- Stylistically unique due to the common sink materials being stainless steel and porcelain
- Hardness, may result in broken glassware if not careful
- More difficult to install
- Expensive, compared to more common sink materials such as stainless steel and porcelain
- While physically durable, harsh chemicals can still damage the sink as well as high heat can cause cracking in the material
Average price starts at $150 up to 1250 for a top mount and $200-1400 for an undermount
While not completely a luxury material, composite granite sinks do add a unique flair to any bathroom, so long as you are willing to pay for it. The material is durable to specific kinds of wear and tear, but overall will not beat out porcelain and stainless steel for cost and ease of replacing.
Between Top mount, undermount, freestanding and wall mounted sinks, there are many options out there for you to choose from. But each comes with their distinct advantages and disadvantages. Consider how much you wish to actually clean your sink or how the plumbing in your bathroom is, look at your budget and consider which is best for you.
Eric is the founder and president of Badeloft USA. He has been the president of Badeloft’s US division for over ten years and oversees all marketing and branding aspects of Badeloftusa.com.
His expertise lies in small business development, sales, and home and bathroom industry trends and information.
Contact us with any business related inquiries.