Sinks are a very important part of every kitchen.
Sinks are where we wash our dishes, rinse our vegetables, and even fill our water jugs.
But with so many sink options with wide range of materials out there, which one is the right choice for your kitchen?
Two of the most popular kitchen sink materials today are stainless steel sinks and porcelain kitchen sinks.
In this article “Stainless Steel Sink vs Porcelain: Which is better”, I will talk about the pros and cons of both types of sinks.
Once you are done reading you will be able to decide which option will work for your lifestyle.
Important: On this website, I feature a select number of partners and companies that have products that could help my audience. As an Amazon associate, When you purchase something through my partner links, I might get paid for the referral at no extra cost to you. Read the full disclosure here.
Let’s get started.
Comparing Stainless Sinks to Porcelain sink
Design and Aesthetic Considerations:
Stainless Steel Kitchen Sinks:
Have you seen the modern look of stainless steel kitchen sinks lately?
They’re perfect for that sleek, contemporary feel, especially with a brushed finish.
Although they mainly come in silver tones, they perfectly fit into many kitchen designs.
Porcelain Kitchen Sinks:
On the other hand, if you’re into the farmhouse trend, white porcelain sinks or even white farmhouse sinks might be up your alley.
They have this timeless appeal and are a popular choice for those who love a traditional or vintage vibe.
From the classic white sinks to other shades and styles, porcelain offers plenty of specialty colors.
If durability is a concern, stainless steel, especially the thicker gauge, stands out.
It can handle heavy use and won’t easily dent or chip.
They can withstand daily wear, heavy use, extremely high temperatures, and even heavy pots without showing much distress.
Porcelain, with its more substantial look, is pretty strong.
But be cautious with sharp objects or heavy pots; they might chip or crack the sink.
Just removed a hot pot from the stove?
No worries, porcelain can handle it.
Cleaning and Care:
These sinks are low maintenance.
Cleaning a stainless steel sink is a breeze.
Just some warm water and dish soap, and you’re good.
But watch out for water spots and fingerprints; you might find yourself cleaning more often.
And remember, avoid abrasive cleaners and steel wool; they can scratch the surface.
Porcelain, especially the white kitchen sink models, looks stunning but might show stains from things like coffee grounds if not cleaned quickly.
It’s best to stick with gentle cleaners and keep those harsh chemicals away.
Acidic substances if left for a long time will damage the sink surface.
There are special cleaners available if you would like to use those.
Heat and Stain Resistance:
Another bonus with stainless steel is its resistance to heat.
Drop a hot pot in, and it won’t flinch.
It’s one of the reasons they’re among the most popular kitchen sink materials.
Porcelain’s lovely, but you’ve got to be a bit careful with extreme temperatures.
And a heads-up: stains from red wine or coffee can be a pain if you’re not prompt with cleaning.
A little heads-up, stainless-steel kitchen sink can be noisy during heavy use.
Though, there are some with sound-deadening features that help.
If you want something quieter, porcelain is the way to go. Its dense nature really absorbs the sound, making it a great addition to a peaceful kitchen.
Stainless Steel Sinks:
If you’re budget-conscious, stainless steel is generally more affordable. But prices can vary based on the gauge and quality.
- Drop-in Sinks: These are usually easier to install, which often makes them more affordable. Prices can start as low as $50 for basic models and go up to $500 or more for higher-end models.
- Undermount Sinks: Being more integrated into the countertop, undermount sinks tend to be pricier. Prices typically range from $100 to $800+ depending on brand and quality (thicker sinks / thinner gauges).
- Double-Basin Sinks: Prices can vary widely based on the size of the basins and the overall design. Expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $1,000 or more.
Porcelain has its charm, but it often comes with a heftier price tag, especially if you’re eyeing those handcrafted or porcelain farmhouse sink styles.
- Drop-in Sinks: Prices for basic models can start around $100 and go up to $500 or more for premium models.
- Undermount Sinks: Typically ranging from $200 to $1,000 or more, with the higher-end representing designer or larger-sized sinks.
- Double-Basin Sink: Depending on design and size, these can range from $200 to $1,200 or more.
Note: The above costs are rough averages and actual prices can vary based on region, retailer, sales, and other factors.
Always check with local suppliers or online stores for current pricing.
Also, remember to consider the additional costs of installation of the new kitchen sink, especially if professional assistance is needed.
Functionality and Installation:
In terms of installation, stainless steel is a bit lighter, which can save on installation costs.
Plus, they come in various sink options like drop-in, undermount, and double-basin.
Porcelain sinks are a tad heavier, so keep that in mind during installation.
But like steel, they offer a good variety of installation styles.
While stainless steel offers a variety of shapes, their color options are limited.
Mainly those specialty silver tones.
Porcelain shines with its variety of colors and designs.
If you’re aiming for design flexibility in your kitchen, porcelain might be your answer.
With good care, stainless steel can handle daily wear for a long, long time.
Porcelain too can last ages, but any chips or cracks might change its appearance over the years.
Thinking of the environment?
Stainless steel is recyclable. If you choose one with a lot of recycled content, you’re making an eco-friendly choice.
Porcelain is long-lasting, but in terms of recyclability, it doesn’t quite match up to stainless steel.
Different Types of Kitchen Sinks
Here’s an overview of some of the most common types of kitchen sinks:
Top-Mount or Drop-In Sinks: These sinks are designed to be dropped into a hole in the countertop, with the sink’s rim or lip resting on top of the counter. They’re typically easier and less expensive to install than undermount sinks.
Undermount Sink: This is a drop-in sink attached beneath the countertop, resulting in a seamless look. They make wiping crumbs or spills directly into the sink easier, as there’s no lip to obstruct the path.
Farmhouse or Apron Front Sinks: Characterized by their exposed front-facing side, farmhouse sinks are a stylish choice often seen in traditional or rustic kitchen designs. They can be quite deep, providing ample space for washing large pots and pans.
Double-Basin Sinks: These feature two bowls or basins, which can be of the same size or different sizes. One side can be used for washing and the other for rinsing, or one can be designated for clean dishes and the other for dirty ones.
Single-Basin Sinks: As the name suggests, these have just one bowl. They’re versatile and can be easier to clean due to their uninterrupted space.
Island or Prep Sinks: These are smaller sinks placed on a kitchen island or bar. They’re used primarily for food prep or as a secondary sink to the main one.
Corner Sinks: Designed to fit into a corner of the kitchen, these sinks can help utilize an otherwise awkward space. They can be in the form of a single or double basin.
Bar or Prep Sinks: These are smaller sinks that are often installed in a home bar or secondary kitchen space. They’re perfect for prepping drinks or washing smaller dishes.
Integrated Sinks: Made from the same material as the countertop, these sinks offer a seamless look. The sink and countertop blend smoothly, making cleaning easier.
Drainboard Sinks: These come with an attached board that slopes into the sink, allowing dishes to drain directly into the basin.
Here is a good Video on comparisons of sinks by Mark Tobin
Making The Final Decision:
Choosing the right sink material can make a big difference in your kitchen experience.
Whether you’re seeking durability, style, or a combination of both, there is no wrong choice.
You know, when it comes to choosing the perfect sink for your kitchen, it really boils down to kitchen design, what you need and the look you’re going for.
Let me give you a couple of scenarios to explain what I mean.
Imagine John and Sarah, right? They’re this young couple, total foodies, and they’re always hosting these dinners.
They revamped their kitchen recently and needed something sturdy.
Given all the cooking and cleaning they do, they went for a stainless-steel sink.
Makes sense because it’s tough against heavy pots and sharp objects.
Plus, it’s got this sleek modern look that fits right in with their contemporary setup.
And you know, a lot of people online have said the same – if you’re someone who’s using the kitchen a lot, stainless steel is your friend.
Now, on the flip side, there’s Emma.
Picture someone who’s super into vintage designs.
She wanted to give her kitchen a kind of classic, old-world charm.
So, she was all about the porcelain sinks.
They’ve got this glossy finish, and she was raving about the variety of colors available.
And she was totally sold on that apron-front design – you know, the one that gives a farmhouse vibe.
Sure, porcelain needs a bit of TLC, but given she’s not in the kitchen as much, and she wanted that specific look, it was a great choice for her.
So you see, both stainless steel and porcelain have their perks.
It’s just about figuring out what works for you, thinking about how you use your kitchen, and the vibe you want.
What types of sinks are most resistant to damage from heavy objects or sharp objects?
Stainless-steel kitchen sinks are among the most popular options due to their durability.
They can resist damage from heavy or sharp objects better than many other materials.
However, it’s always a good idea to be cautious and use a sink grid to prevent any potential damage.
I’ve seen both stainless sink and ceramic sinks in kitchens. What’s the difference?
Stainless sinks are made of steel and are known for their durability and modern look.
On the other hand, ceramic sinks, often with a porcelain finish, offer a more classic appearance and have a solid porcelain or thick gauge cast iron base.
Both have their advantages, and the best choice depends on personal preferences and the kitchen’s design style.
I’ve heard about apron-front sinks and apron sinks. Are they the same?
Yes, apron-front sinks and apron sinks refer to the same type of sink.
They have a unique design where the front of the sink (the “apron”) is exposed, giving a distinctive look.
These are especially popular in farmhouse or rustic-style kitchens.
I want a sink that lasts a long time and is suitable for daily washing dishes. What materials would you recommend?
For longevity and daily use, stainless-steel sinks and those with a cast iron base and porcelain finish are among the best materials.
They can withstand the wear and tear of washing dishes over a long time, and there’s a good reason they’re frequently chosen by homeowners.
With so many types of sinks available, which are the most popular options for modern kitchens?
The most popular options nowadays are stainless-steel kitchen sinks for their sleek design and durability.
However, apron-front sinks, especially those with a porcelain finish, are also gaining traction for those seeking a blend of traditional and modern aesthetics in their kitchens.
Always consider the type of sink that best fits your kitchen’s design and your functional needs.
Can I use abrasive cleaners on my porcelain sink?
It’s best to avoid them as they can dull the glossy finish.
How often should I polish my stainless-steel sink?
Once a month is enough to maintain its shine.
Are there any eco-friendly cleaning solutions for sinks?
Yes! Baking soda and vinegar work wonders on both sink types.
Does porcelain fade with sunlight?
Generally, no. Porcelain sinks maintain their color well.
Can I install a garbage disposal with a porcelain sink?
Yes, but ensure the installation is done carefully to avoid cracks.
What are the different materials, sinks are available in ?
- Stainless Steel: Popular due to its durability and ease of cleaning.
- Porcelain or Ceramic: Offers a classic look, often seen in farmhouse style sinks.
- Granite Composite sinks: Made from a mix of granite and acrylic resin, these sinks resist scratches and offer a unique look.
- Cast Iron with Enamel Finish: Heavy but durable, these sinks have a glossy finish and retain heat well.
- Natural Stone: Often made from materials like granite or soapstone, they offer a high-end, natural look.
- Copper: Offers a unique, rustic look and possesses antimicrobial properties.
- Acrylic: Lightweight and available in various colors, but may not be as durable as other materials.
- Concrete sinks: Concrete sinks are custom cast to fit a specific space or design intention.