Stainless Steel Kitchen Sinks – More Than Just A Budget Bargain

Stainless steel kitchen sinks have long been considered a bargain option – a less expensive, highly durable, and relatively utilitarian choice, but not, ultimately, a very desirable one. But in recent years a stainless steel finish has started to become more popular in the kitchen – especially in appliances – as well as in modern design as a whole. The result has been a shift in the style of stainless steel kitchen sinks from basic to beautiful, to the point that they’ve become among the more desirable types of sinks out there.

Stainless Steel Sink Makeover

All In One Stainless Steel Dual Bowl Farmhouse Sink From Vigo Industries
All In One Stainless Steel Dual Bowl Farmhouse Sink From Vigo Industries

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It used to be that most stainless steel sinks came in the most utilitarian of styles: the drop-in sink. This made them ideal for easy installation and easy replacement, but didn’t do a whole lot to enhance the look and feel of the kitchen you put them in. But this is actually one of the biggest changes stainless steel sinks have seen in recent years. Now, they’re much more widely available in undermount and even apron style sinks. This allows for a more finished, polished appearance that showcases the beauty of stainless steel rather than merely enduring it.

Stainless Steel For A Modern Kitchen

Stainless Steel Double Bowl Farmhouse Sink From Vigo Industries
Stainless Steel Double Bowl Farmhouse Sink From Vigo Industries

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Stainless steel apron sinks blend the utility of an old fashioned farm house with the sleek finish of modern style and just a hint of the professional kitchen. The simple brushed steel apron places the metal front and center to perfectly coordinate with a set of stainless steel appliances, or just to provide that slightly industrial metal touch to a modern decor. Like those used in professional kitchens, large, single basin sinks provide for high capacity use and are great for heavily trafficked kitchens.

Seamless And Sleek

Wave Stainless Steel Double Bowl Undermount Sink From Blanco
Wave Stainless Steel Double Bowl Undermount Sink From Blanco

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Undermount stainless steel sinks have gained new attention for their simple, sleek finish.  Because they’re no longer strictly rectangular, stainless steel kitchen sinks have made huge strides in style. Their curved, offset bowls help diminish that slightly industrial look, making the heavy duty material a more organic part of your average kitchen. For those with a slightly more modern aesthetic, stainless steel sinks have even begun to be used as integrated sinks – that is, built in to a single, stainless steel counter top. This look is much more dramatic and modern, but offers a unique, chic option for those with a more contemporary sense of style.

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Stainless Steel Durability

Double Bowl Stainless Steel Sink From Vigo Industries
Double Bowl Stainless Steel Sink From Vigo Industries

Stainless steel sinks have always been desirable for their durability. Unlike porcelain coated cast iron sinks which can chip, crack, or erode, stainless steel holds up to a wide variety of use and abuse. It’s non-reactive to most household acids, it’s resistant to heat and cold, and any scratches or scuffs from routine use simply develop into a patina that’s a beautiful, natural part of the sink. But while in the past these sinks were often used as a safeguard against the unknown (in apartments and rentals especially), they can actually be a dream come true for any kitchen because they’re easy to clean and not nearly as fussy to care for as many other commonly used materials.

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What About Noise?

16 Gauge Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink With Sound Dampening Technology From Vigo Industries
16 Gauge Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink With Sound Dampening Technology From Vigo Industries

Perhaps the biggest complaint and one of the few drawbacks to having a stainless steel kitchen sink is that they can be a little noisy. Silverware dropped into a stainless steel sink is going to sound a little louder than it would in a ceramic or composite stone kitchen sink, and historically many stainless steel sinks would ping, tick, or make other small but irritating noises when the metal was heated or cooled too rapidly, like when boiling pasta water is drained into the sink. But the noisiness of steel is actually easily preventable, or at least very easy to reduce. The thicker the steel (or the lower the gauge, which shouldn’t be higher than 18, and should be closer to 16) the quieter it is, because it’s less likely to flex and bend when heated. If noise is a major concern, keep an eye out for sinks that come with sound dampening padding, which can further help reduce the noise problem.

Multi Purpose Kitchen Sinks

Harmony Lustertone Dual Bowl Gourmet Kitchen Sink From Elkay
Harmony Lustertone Dual Bowl Gourmet Kitchen Sink From Elkay

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Stainless steel kitchen sinks are also at the forefront of the shift toward designer or “gourmet” kitchen sinks. These are sinks that are designed to be a little wider than average, with a prep area built directly into the surface of the sink. These can be single, double, or triple bowl sinks, but afford an easy to clean surface that drains simply and directly into the sink, without any danger of dripping, splashing, or spilling – perfect for dealing with juicy fruits or vegetables or can even act as a more contained space to prepare meat or fish. Many of these gourmet sinks come with other accessories as well, like built in shelves, strainers or sink grids, and even colanders or cutting boards that sit firmly on the lip of the sink, effectively turning the sink into a fully functioning prep area and significantly reducing clutter and the need for extra counter space, especially in a smaller kitchen.

Stainless steel kitchen sinks may have started out as a budget alternative, but in recent years they’ve moved to the forefront of kitchen design for their beauty and durability. But what do you think – are you happy to see stainless steel coming into vogue?