Top, undermount, and farmhouse sinks all have advantages in cost and convenience. Trough sinks, however, proved impractical. Consider functionality before looks; a single tub type sink might work better than a double.
Besides friends, relatives and TV ads, where is the best place to go for finding the best products? Consumer Reports, of course. Their sink guide gets down to the basics.
Consumer Reports’ Sink Guide points out that “sink prices have little to do with performance, and that the manufacturer isn’t as important as the material.” They found that similar materials performed similarly across brands.
Stainless: Gauge doesn’t matter. Consumer reports tested 18-23 gauge sinks; the lower the gauge, the thicker the steel. All gauges resisted dents, stains, scratches and heat and silenced noise about the same.
Enamel: Colorful and easy to clean. These come in two basic types: enamel on cast iron or lighter less expensive enamel on steel. They were the easiest to keep clean. Enamel on cast iron chipped when a sharp, light object similar to a knife was dropped on them. Damaged enamel can cause the metal underneath to rust. Acrylic sinks might look like enamel but they scratch easily. A hot-pot test melted the surface.
Solid surface: Smooth but fragile. These can be installed with counters made of the same material for a sleek seamless look. They scratch easily, but the damage can be sanded away with abrasive products. A heavy-duty scouring pad even removed burns, however some solid surface sinks shattered during the impact tests.
Consumer Reports pointed out that most people tend to fall in love with the look of a sink first, then think about functionality. It would be best to select the material first, then look for a sink you can love.