5 Best Kitchen Sink Materials: Pros and Cons

A Comprehensive Guide to the 5 Most Popular Options

The right kitchen sink can add an eye-catching detail that pulls the kitchen’s design together. Whether you're renovating your own home or building a multi-unit project, you want to get it right.

The right kitchen sink can add an eye-catching detail that pulls the kitchen’s design together. Whether you're renovating your own home or building a multi-unit project, you want to get it right.

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1. How You Know You Have the Right Material

You want a great-looking kitchen, and you’ll probably spend the most time in your kitchen at the sink.

You could go with clean, rustic white ceramics. Or spurge on one of several luxury metals that need lots of upkeep but give your kitchen a unique look. Or go with sleek stainless steel that’s also great-looking and is easier to maintain.

So how do you know you have the right match for your kitchen?

3 Key Features of the Best Material for Your Kitchen Sink

1. It looks great.

The kitchen sink is one of the most visible fixtures in an entire home. Especially since most homes these days have open floor plans, you may be able to see the kitchen sink from almost any room in the house.

Some kitchen sinks are made to blend in, and others make a stylish statement.

Fortunately, you don’t have to settle for your grandmother’s kitchen sink. With plenty of design and color options out there, you can find a sink that adds to the look of your kitchen.

An apron front sink in white fireclay enhances a rustic farmhouse look. A black stainless steel basin can add a hit of contrast. Whatever you’re looking for, there are plenty of beautiful options out there.

2. It’s built to last.

Kitchen sinks do a lot of heavy lifting as a fixture.

Choosing the right kitchen sink material means looking for something that can keep up with everything you throw at it.

3. It fits your budget.

The great thing about a kitchen sink is that it’s possible to get high-impact results without using up a major chunk of your budget.

If you’re a professional builder outfitting dozens of kitchens, you may need an affordable option that’s suitable for a variety of styles.

Today’s kitchen sink materials have more to offer than even just a few years ago, so there are plenty of options to suit every budget.

You can see how choosing the right material for your kitchen sink can change the look of your whole kitchen without breaking the bank.

Next let’s look at a quick checklist for finding the perfect sink material for your needs.

2. Checklist for Picking the Best Sink Material

Kitchen sinks come in an amazing array of materials, colors, and configurations.

The best fit for your kitchen design will depend on several factors. This list breaks down the best options to consider based on your needs.

What Do You Need the Sink to Do?

How hard do you need this kitchen sink to work?

A busy family may need a large basin to hold lots of dishes at once. Empty-nesters building their dream retirement home may prefer luxury over durability. Self-styled home chefs who love cast iron need a sink that can take serious punishment and still look great.

High Durability Options:

  • Fireclay
  • Stainless Steel
  • Glazed Porcelain

Moderately Durable Materials:

  • Vitreous China
  • Stone Composites
  • Enamel-Coated Cast Iron

Materials That Need a Lighter Touch:

  • Unglazed Porcelain
  • Certain Metals, such as Copper
  • Acrylic

What’s Your Budget Range?

Your kitchen sink can be an inexpensive way to create a beautiful centerpiece for your kitchen. Or it can totally break the bank.

For multi-unit projects, buying dozens of sinks can add up. But cheap materials like acrylic may turn away higher-paying buyers. On the other hand, budget-friendly stainless steel looks modern and sleek without breaking the bank.

Fortunately, there are plenty of gorgeous options out there to suit a range of budgets.


  • Stainless Steel
  • Acrylic
  • Vitreous China


  • Porcelain
  • Stone Composites

Premium/Luxury Options:

  • Soapstone
  • Copper
  • Fireclay

How Far Are You Willing to Look for The Perfect Sink?

How much extra research are you willing to do to find a sink in a rare or hard to source material? Some materials have a lot more variety available,

As you’re choosing your basin, keep your ideal faucet in mind, too. Some materials also lend themselves to added features you may want. (We’ll get into the details in section 4 below.)


  • Stainless Steel
  • Porcelain
  • Enamel-Coated Cast Iron

Clean and classic:

  • Fireclay
  • Soapstone
  • Stone Composites

Completely unique:

  • Copper
  • Brass
  • Bronze

What Kind of Support Do You Need?

Are you tackling your home renovation yourself? You may need troubleshooting help during your sink installation or to maintain it down the road.

If you’re a designer or builder, you’ll obviously need a distributor that’s prepared to deliver professional support.

Here are a few key types of support to look for:

This checklist probably gave you a good idea what types of kitchen sink materials may work best for you.

Let’s look at the 5 most common materials in detail so you can be confident you know exactly what you need.

3. The Five Best Types of Kitchen Sink Materials

Now that you have an idea of what material you want for your kitchen sink, let’s look at the pros and cons of some popular materials.

3.1 Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is often considered one of the best materials for kitchen sinks. It’s durable, easy to maintain, and affordable.

Stainless steel is a versatile option that can suit many different types of kitchens. It comes in a variety of colors including black, gold, rose gold, and silver. It’s lightweight and can be made in any configuration, including top mount, bottom mount, and apron front.


  • Highly durable to most types of damage. Resistant to heat, corrosion, and staining.
  • Easy to clean and maintain. Can be cleaned with mild soapy water.
  • Hygienic. Non-porous and won’t harbor bacteria or contaminants.
  • Affordable
  • Versatile and fits many design esthetics.
  • Lightweight and easier to install than other materials.
  • Comes in a variety of colors including black, gold, rose gold, and silver
  • Eco-friendly; fully recyclable if you decide to replace your sink in the future.
  • Lasts between 15 to 30 years.


  • Can be loud when cleaning heavy items and metal cookware. However, most come with noise-dampening features to reduce noise.
  • Sometimes susceptible to scratches. Using a mat or metal grid in the bottom can prevent scratches.
  • Can show more water spots than other materials if not dried properly after use.

Best for Your Kitchen If…

  • You want an affordable kitchen sink basin that will last decades.
  • You want a versatile option that can suit a range of color palettes and styles.
  • You’re planning a DIY kitchen renovation or want to install your new sink yourself.
  • You need a sink that can keep up with heavy use while still looking great.

3.2 Fireclay

Fireclay–the name says it all! It’s a clay-based ceramic material like porcelain, but fired at very high temperatures.

The firing process gives this material superior durability and density. Fireclay has a very smooth, nonporous glazed surface and a shiny finish.


  • Fireclay is one of the most durable kitchen sink materials available. Highly resistant to heat, scratches and stains.
  • Classic look: white, glossy, and elegant.
  • Easy to clean and low-maintenance.


  • This dense, solid material is very heavy. You’ll need professional installation.
  • Limited color options. Fireclay generally only comes in white or off-white.
  • Premium material costs more than some other options.
  • Because it’s heavy, shipping can also be expensive depending on where you buy your sink.

Best for Your Kitchen If…

  • You prefer a rustic farmhouse kitchen aesthetic.
  • You’re looking for an apron front sink with a classic, elegant look.
  • You use cast iron cookware or tend to be hard on your kitchen sink and need one of the most durable materials on the market.

3.3 Ceramics

There are two main options for ceramic kitchen sinks: porcelain and vitreous china.

Porcelain is denser and more durable than vitreous china, and weighs a bit more. They’re comparable in price and have a similar finished look in most cases. (You can read more about how they compare here.)

Ceramic can also be used as a coating over a cast iron base. Enamel-coated cast iron sinks are very heavy, and are prone to chipping and scratching.


  • Common options that are easy to source.
  • Glazed porcelain and vitreous china are both non-porous and resistant to stains and odors.
  • Affordable options.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Sometimes come in interesting colors.


  • Vitreous china isn’t as impact or crack resistant as other options. Can be damaged by heavy cookware.
  • Enamel coating can chip away from the cast iron base. Can be damaged by heavy cookware.
  • Ceramics can be heavy and require extra support during installation.
  • Glossy surfaces can get scratched with abrasive scrubbers.

Best for Your Kitchen If…

  • You want a durable yet affordable option.
  • You prefer a classic white kitchen sink with a glossy finish.
  • You want plenty of options for the color, shape, and size of your kitchen sink.

3.4 Stone Composites

Stone composites use a mixture of crushed natural stone (usually granite or quartz) in a resin binder. They have the look and feel of natural stone with the added durability of composite materials.

Stone composite kitchen sinks often have a matte finish as opposed to the high-shine gloss of other kitchen sink materials.


  • Unique esthetics are the main perk of stone composite basins.
  • Less expensive than solid granite or solid stone sinks.
  • Good durability. Resists most stains and scratches.


  • Not as heat resistant as other options.
  • More expensive than stainless steel or fireclay.
  • Finish may become cloudy or dull over time.
  • As a new material, options can be limited and difficult to find.

Best for Your Kitchen If…

  • You want the industrial look of a soapstone basin at a fraction of the price.
  • You want your kitchen sink to blend in with surrounding stone countertops.
  • You’re prepared to give your sink basin a little more TLC than the average to keep it looking good.

3.5 Other Metals

If you’re on the market for a really unique kitchen sink, you may be able to find eye-catching options in metals other than stainless steel. Each has their own pros and cons, but many have a few key similarities.

Metals like copper, brass, bronze, and zinc will develop a patina over time, which can add warmth and a unique antique look. Many of these metals can give your kitchen an interesting antique or rustic feel, but they’re usually hard to find and take special maintenance.

Keep in mind that stainless steel comes in a variety of tones that mimic these metals without the added maintenance and cost.


  • Unique esthetics make these rich metals a unique and eye-catching feature.
  • Many will add a touch of luxury and vintage appeal.
  • Generally durable and long-lasting.


  • Frequently need special cleaning products and regimens.
  • Needs more regular maintenance to preserve their appearance.
  • Luxury price tag to match their unique esthetics.
  • Patina may add interest, or may make the kitchen sink look dingy and worn out.
  • Not always as common or easy to find.

Best for Your Kitchen If…

  • You want a unique kitchen with a strong vintage, antique, or rustic vibe.
  • You’re prepared to give your sink extra maintenance to keep it looking great.
  • You’re ready to do extra research to find the right manufacturer and design for a statement-piece fixture.

Now that you have an idea of what types of kitchen sink materials might work best for your needs and your budget.

Next, let’s take a look at a few other considerations to help you find the perfect sink for your kitchen.

4. Which Kitchen Sink Materials Will Fit Your Build

Because some materials are not as common as others, you may not always find the right size and shape for your kitchen.

So there are a few more things to consider before you invest in your sink.

  • Mounting options
  • Configuration
  • Design and size
  • Added features

Getting these right will let you pull it all together in an attractive and functional workstation

Materials like fireclay are much heavier. So a larger fireclay sink may require a stronger cabinet and heavier mounting brackets. This may not always be practical in your kitchen.

Stainless steel on the other hand is very light and easy to install. You could probably do it yourself in an afternoon. Modern stainless sinks come in several colors and finishes, so you get the same functional design in a durable material.

That also makes it an excellent choice of material if you want the convenience and look of an apron front sink in a DIY-friendly option.

If you’re looking for a rustic white look, porcelain is usually much more affordable and lighter, though not as durable as fireclay.

Let’s answer a few frequently asked questions to help you narrow down your selection.

5. Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the most durable kitchen sink material?

A: Stainless steel is generally considered the most durable kitchen sink material. It’s resistant to corrosion, rust, and staining, won’t chip or crack like ceramics, and doesn’t require any special cleaners or care.

Fireclay is the most durable ceramic option because it’s fired at higher temperatures, making it denser and harder than porcelain.

Q: What kitchen sink material has the longest life for the money?

A. Cast iron and fireclay are both known for lasting many years with proper care. Copper has an extremely long life, but it can be cost prohibitive, hard to find, and takes a lot of maintenance to keep it looking good. Stainless steel can last decades without the extra upkeep.

Q: What’s the best looking sink material?

A: This depends a lot on your personal preferences. If you’re looking for a classic white sink that’s not made of metal, fireclay has superior shine and a tougher finish than standard porcelain. However, stainless steel is one of the most versatile materials in terms of aesthetics. It comes in a range of colors, many of which mimic more expensive metals like copper and brass.

Q: What are the pros and cons of stainless steel kitchen sinks?

A: Stainless steel is generally considered the best material for a kitchen sink. It’s durable, lasts many years, and doesn’t need any special maintenance routines. Because it’s one of the most common materials for a kitchen sink, you’ll find a great variety of designs and color options. It’s also lightweight, making it easy to install, and more affordable than other options.

Q: What are the most common materials for kitchen sinks?

A: Kitchen sinks are usually made from stainless steel, ceramic, or cast iron with an enamel coating. Other materials have their pros and cons, but they generally won’t have the same variety as these more common materials.

Now you probably have a pretty good idea what sink material will fit your kitchen the best. If you still have any doubts, take our quiz!

Take Our Kitchen Sink Quiz

If you’re still having trouble deciding what kitchen sink material is best for you, we can help! Fill out our contact form and we’ll help you choose the best kitchen sink material for your next project.

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