Choosing the right kitchen sink these days probably takes more thought than at any time in homeowning history. The kitchen sink is arguably the most used item in the house, and, aside from the appliances, the most visible piece of equipment in the room so making the right choice is critical.

The good news for buyers is that there have never been so many styles, colors, materials and configurations to look at, but having that many choices can also be overwhelming. Making some design decisions before shopping can help cut through the noise to get the right kitchen sink.

Basin basics

Having just one, large basin versus two or even three is a choice that really comes down to use and how the primary user feels about space.

Single basin sinks can accommodate large dishes like pans but can make clean-up and rinsing – normally two very distinct tasks – a challenge. Buyers should consider how they feel about this and whether or not they will enjoy using accessories like rinse baskets to help keep jobs separate.

Double basins can be had in 60/40 split sizes or with an even 50/50 configuration to make it easier to keep clean-up and prep work apart. Bigger jobs like soaking pans might not fit, but for buyers who grew up with a two-sided sink and/or appreciate symmetry, the double basin will fit the bill.

What could be better than a two-sided sink? For some users, having three basins is the way to go for prep, clean-up and the garbage disposal. A triple-basin sink does eat up more counter space so planning for that loss is crucial.

The perfect shape

Sharper angles or rounded edges create very different looks. For the more modern look, squared corners are the way to go, but for a kitchen that’s a little softer, having rounded corners will work.

There are sinks with square corners up top where the edge meets the countertop but the bowl itself has a gentle slope for easier cleaning.

A farmhouse sink is also an option as both a shape and a style because it is such a bold style statement available with both round and sharper edges in a variety of materials.

Material matters

Sink shopping must take into account the material used to fabricate the sink. While there are more material choices than listed here, buyers choose from these five options most often:

Stainless steel – Classic, easy-to-clean, and long-lasting, the stainless steel sink is a top go-to for a reason.

Porcelain – Popular because of an almost unlimited list of color options, porcelain can also chip and certain dishes like pans can scratch the surface.

Cast iron – This kitchen stalwart endures for a reason; because it lasts forever and its enamel coating requires little maintenance. Of course cast iron is also really heavy so buyers should plan on a two-person install.

Granite composite – Though gaining in popularity because it stands up well to nicks and scratches, granite composite can also require special maintenance.

Natural stone – Using natural stone for a sink can really bring a kitchen together because it can match countertops exactly for a seamless look. Buyers should be aware that natural stone is pricey and takes some special care to make it last.

Last notes …

The last two pieces of the sink puzzle have to do with mounting and faucet choice.

Most basins, shapes and materials are available in both undermount and drop-in styles so picking the right one really comes down to the overall design and/or theme of the kitchen.

Homeowners must remember to pick the sink with faucet holes that matches the kitchen faucet. Will there be a widespread faucet or a single handle? Is there a sprayer and/or a soap dispenser? These questions should be answered before it’s time to shop for a sink.