Buying Guide for the Best Undermount Kitchen Sink
Why are there more and more people looking for the best undermount kitchen sink these days? There are several good reasons for that, though first we need to know what an undermount kitchen sink really is.
When you have a traditional kitchen sink, the installation usually involves dropping the sink into the countertop. They’re often called drop-in sinks because of this. The other term for them is rimmed sinks. Sinks generally have rims, and this installation method leaves the rim out on display on top of the countertop. This method is still common because it’s tested and durable. The sink is supported by the countertop, so the weight of water in the basin isn’t a problem.
This is so common that people looked for alternatives, and the undermount kitchen sink came along. These are kitchens sinks that installed from underneath the countertop, so the countertop hides the rim. Such a small change actually led to rather significant benefits.
One benefit is that without the rim, you actually gain up to half a square foot of countertop area. Without the rim, cleaning the sink is a bit easier since you don’t need to clean the rim. It even makes cleaning the countertop easier as well, because with no obstructing rim you can just wipe the debris off the countertop into the sink.
Finally, without the rim it doesn’t just look different. It looks better. It’s more elegant and more stylish.
What to Look For Before Buying an Undermount Kitchen Sink
Not all undermount kitchen sinks are the same. Some are just better than others, and a low-quality undermount sink is more than just a great annoyance. It can be a waste of your money as well when you have to replace it right away. So you may as well take some time to consider certain factors when you’re choosing among undermount kitchen sinks.
- Installation. The installation has to be secure, because with drop in kitchen sinks the sink is supported by the countertop. That’s not the case with the undermount. So you have to make sure the mounting is secure. That means the installation process should be made as easy as possible. There should be clear instructions and mounting hardware.
- Aesthetics. The look of the kitchen sink matters, and it should fit right in with the overall style of the kitchen.
- Shape of the edges. Having rounded edges makes a sink feel gentler and more pleasing, while sharp angles can make the sink look merely functional.
- Number of basins. Having 2 basins makes a kitchen sink more versatile, though you need ample countertop space and a bigger budget for a kitchen sink.
- Dimensions. The length and width determines how big of a pot or pan you can fit inside a countertop. A deep basin can also be filled with more plates, though there can be splashback issues.
- Durability. It should be made from high quality material, and it helps if it has a lifetime buyer protection in the form of a company guarantee.
You need 2 basins for your kitchen sink? The Kraus KHU103-33 has them. You want one to be slightly bigger than the other? That’s the case here as well. This is one undermount kitchen sink that’s undoubtedly versatile. It’s large as well with its 32.75-inch overall length. The bigger basin is 16.9 inches long, while the other one is 12.9 inches long. The width is 17 inches and the depth is a nice deep 10 inches to accommodate a tall stack of dinner plates.
This is also a Kraus, and it’s one of the most recognized brands in the whole kitchen sink industry. They’re innovators and craftsmen, and the KHU series is a prime example of why so many people have such a high regard for the brand. This kitchen sink comes with features that seem to think about everything you may possibly need from a kitchen sink.
This uses the highly-regarded 16-gauge T-304 stainless steel, that’s durable and resistant to rust and corrosion. It comes with a commercial-grade that adds to its looks and durability. There’s really no question about its durability anyway, as it comes with a limited lifetime guarantee.
Don’t get worried that the stainless steel here can lead to lots of noise when you’re working with plates and glasses at the kitchen sink. More than 80% of the sink base is covered by especially thick rubber pads to absorb the sound so it doesn’t reverberate. The drainage inside the basin is also smooth and efficient, as there are grooves that channel the water into the drain to keep the water from pooling in the basin.
It looks great too, by the way. That’s the effect of the nice finish, and of course as it’s an undermount kitchen sink it looks great without the rims showing.
If all these aren’t enough, you even get additional freebies with your purchase. You have bottom grids with soft bumpers to protect the basin surface. There’s a basket strainer and a drain assembly. The installation is easier as all the mounting hardware is included too.
- It’s very durable, and the guarantee offered by the company is for life.
- It’s resistant to dents and rust.
- You don’t make a lot of noise when you’re working at the kitchen sink.
- It’s easy to clean, and it helps that it has rounded edges.
- It looks great.
- You get lots of freebies.
No, this isn’t an inadvertent repeat of the earlier review. This is the KHU102, not the 103. Yes, it’s true that as part of the KHU series of kitchen sinks this model shares the very same DNA of the other models of the series. It’s also the same size at 33 inches (or to be more exact, 32¾ by 19 inches in area and 10 inches in depth). It even has 2 basins as well.
However, the configuration of the 2 basins is the key difference here. With this particular model the 2 basins have the same dimensions. They’re both 14.9 inches long and 17 inches wide.
With the same dimensions you can have 2 people work at the basin at the same time, which should speed up the work. You also can transfer one plate from one basin to another as you clean them. The basins have square edges to emphasize the functionality of this kitchen sink, so you may as well get full use from it.
As it’s a KHU model, it comes with the special Kraus features that have made the brand famous. It uses the 16-gauge T-304 stainless steel that’s so apt for heavy duty work, as it won’t dent. Don’t trouble yourself about making too much noise banging against the stainless steel, as the NoiseDefend design has covered up to 80% of the sink base with especially thick rubber pads to absorb the sounds.
The basin is nicely deep and can accommodate a stack of up to 30 dinner plates. The bottom of the sink has channel grooves to make sure that your water doesn’t pool at the bottom. You get various extra freebies with your purchase, including the mounting hardware. Finally, there should be a guarantee for a lifetime.
- It offers 2 equal-sized basins.
- It’s very spacious.
- The durability is outstanding.
- It comes with a limited lifetime guarantee.
- There’s no pooling of the water at the bottom of the sink.
- It’s not noisy at all.
- You get lots of freebies like a strainer and a bottom grid for each basin.
Zuhne Modena Undermount Deep Single Bowl 32 x 19 Inch
Do you really need 2 basins? For most of us, a single basin is enough for our kitchen sink. Why pay more for something that you don’t really need anyway?
However, a single large and deep bowl does offer a lot of convenience when you’re at the kitchen sink. This particular version is the largest of the 8 available sizes of the Modena, and it’s truly huge. It is 32 inches long and 19 inches wide, while the depth goes down to 10 inches. You can hide lots of kitchenware in that kind of basin.
It’s easy enough to see why so many construction professionals put this in so many homes all over the world. It’s not just about the size but the quality. It uses surgical-grade T-304 stainless steel made in South Korea instead of China. This steel is impact-resistant. It works very quietly, and that’s due to the use of 5mm pads on up to 90% of the sink’s body. That’s twice as thick as the other pads in other kitchen sinks, and they cover more of the Modena’s body.
It’s easy to install, as it comes with the mounting hardware and the cutout template. Other freebies include a 3-piece strainer, a grid protector, and a sponge holder. There’s a cleaning towel included in your purchase too. It’s easy to clean the sink anyway, since it has rounded edges.
This looks great as well, with the satin finish nicely complementing the rimless look of the sink. The gurantee also looks great and the returns are free. The US support center works around the clock 24x7.
- It’s large and deep so it can fit many dirty dishes out of sight of guests.
- The stainless steel is durable and impact-resistant.
- The noise-proofing is fantastic.
- It comes with numerous free items.
- The customer support is terrific.
Kraus KBU24 32-inch
Just in case you’re thinking déjà vu thoughts as you read this, let’s remind you that this is the KBU and not the KHU series. The difference seems minimal, as the two types of kitchen sinks share many common features. What’s different here with the Kraus KBU24 is that it comes with rounded edges so cleaning is easier.
This particular KBU24 has 2 basins, with one larger and roomier than the other. It’s a 60 to 40 split. The larger one is 18⅝ inches wide on the inside, 15¾ long, and 9 inches deep. The smaller one is 16½ inches wide, 13 inches long, and 7⅛ inches deep. You can put a large dirty pot into the bigger basin, while the plates can fit in nicely in the smaller basin.
Don’t worry about banging the pans and plates on the stainless steel, as this is premium-grade T-304 steel. You also won’t be causing too much noise to wake a baby. It has rubber pads attached to the body of the sink to absorb the noise. That sound is also dampened by the special “Stone Guard” coating, which also works with reducing condensation. It’s corrosion resistant too. No wonder you’re assured of its quality for a lifetime.
Your purchase comes with bonus items, and these include bottom grids with soft bumpers so your sink isn’t scratched. Also included are items like the basket strainer, the drain assembly, the sink cutout template and all the mounting hardware you need to install this.
- You get 2 spacious basins with different dimensions.
- It uses premium stainless steel.
- You won’t wake anybody up when you’re working at the kitchen sink because of the noise-proofing features.
- Cleaning this is easy because of the rounded corners.
- It’s easy to install.
Blanco 511-702 Diamond Equal Double Bowl Kitchen Sink, Anthracite Finish
It’s true that most of the best undermount kitchen sinks are made with stainless steel. But if you want a kitchen sink for a rustic home or log cabin, you really ought to take a look at this.
This looks so different because it’s not stainless steel. It’s made with what Blanco calls Silgranit. This is granite composite that’s made with 80% solid granite. Anything more than that and the granite will be more vulnerable to cracking. So now, you have the feel and sight of a nice natural stone for a kitchen. You also have 2 basins, and they both measure 14.5 by 17 inches in area and 9.5 inches deep.
This material resists heat up to 536 degrees F and it’s non-porous. It resists most household stains, plus it can resist chipping and scratching as well. It’s like it’s almost indestructible, so it’s not surprising that its covered for the rest of your life. It’s also resilient, so it won’t damage your dinner plates either.
- Its dark looks and natural stone makes it perfect in an antique house.
- You have 2 roomy basins.
- The granite composite won’t be scratched by the kitchenware.
- It’s also heat-resistant.
- It resists stains as well.
What Are the Top Undermount Kitchen Sink Brands?
Plenty of brands produce high quality kitchen sinks that can serve your particular needs. For undermount kitchen sinks, these are some of the brands that are worth checking out:
The Kraus brand is ubiquitous, and you can find them in millions of kitchens all over the world. They’re especially popular in lists of top kitchen sinks, and they offer several excellent lineups of undermount versions. Their premium kitchen sinks offer the gold standard in the industry. They use handcrafted high quality materials, they design the bottoms for efficient drainage, and their finishes look goof and are easy to clean. The premium Kraus kitchen sinks come with important accessories, and these include mounting hardware and clear instructions for installation. They generally offer a limited lifetime company guarantee for their sinks.
The sinks from Zuhne often come with solid stainless steel at food-grade quality. They manufacture a wide range of sinks to accommodate the many different needs of households. This is an American company based in Houston. They use food-grade stainless steel and the sinks will last for a very long time.
Aside from their premium stainless steel sinks, they also offer fireclay sinks along with sinks made from their unique granite composite material. This German company also sells handcrafted sinks made from a single sheet of premium stainless steel.
How do I install an undermount kitchen sink?
There’s no single way to do this, as each model tends to have its own installation process. Perhaps the best single answer is that you shouldn’t install the undermount kitchen sink all by yourself. It’s a lot more difficult than a drop-in kitchen sink. You should just ask a plumber to do it for you. You can at least help the plumber by downloading the manual, bookmarking the YouTube video, and making sure that the purchase includes all the necessary mounting hardware. Doing it yourself can make a mess out of everything.
Is the undermount feature worth the expense?
That’s a question only you can answer. However, for most people the answer does tend to be a resounding yes. Without the rim showing over the countertop, the kitchen sink somehow looks more appealing. It seems like an inherent part of the countertop, instead of a stick-on on top.The rim blocks you from easily wiping countertop dirt off into the sink. You’d have to clean the rim too, and so its absence can reduce the area that you have to clean.
What other features should I look for?
The most important feature is probably the size and dimensions of the kitchen sink you’re trying to buy. That size needs to be small enough to fit into the countertop. It also should be big enough that you can clean as many kitchenware, glassware, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Is having 2 basins for the kitchen sink worth the extra expense?
It depends on what your real needs are. Having two kitchen sinks allows you to work with another friend at the kitchen sink. It helps you to divide your items in the sink. But if you’re alone and you don’t have to separate your items in the sink, then the extra expense of the additional basin may not be worth it.
Is it really important that the look of the kitchen sink should match the overall kitchen aesthetic?
From a functional perspective, the answer is no. Yet kitchen interior design and aesthetics isn’t as irrelevant as you may think it is. A good look relaxes you, and you don’t want the additional stress when you’re working in the kitchen. A wrong kitchen sink pick can clash with the current kitchen aesthetic and ruin the whole look.
Are stainless steel kitchen sinks really noisy?
Ordinarily, yes they are. Putting glasses and plates on a stainless steel surface can feel like you’re banging on the cymbals repeatedly. The sound can be very annoying after a while.
However, many of the top brands are aware of this problem, which is why they can offer a soundproofing feature. This usually involves having large thick pads stuck to the base of the kitchen sink to absorb the sound when you set flosses into the sink.
What’s so wrong about porcelain sinks anyway?
Porcelain remains popular choice, but it sure does offer some drawbacks. These drawbacks are often related to how porcelain really contains glass materials. These glass materials can chip, especially when you drop plates and pots on the kitchen sink. Porcelain also has a nasty habit of developing dark spots.
How do I know if a kitchen sink will last?
There are 3 basic ways to find out. You can check out the material used for the kitchen sink, and it should be a durable material like stainless steel. If this is the case, then it should be made of a proven type of touch steel. The T-304 is a popular choice for many premium models.
Another way is to check and see if there’s an extensive guarantee on the product. Preferably it should be for a lifetime.
Finally, you should read a fair sample of the customer reviews online. Look for complaints regarding accidental damage of the kitchen sink due to heavy plates and pots. If there are too many of these complaints, they may have a grain of truth there somewhere.
An undermount kitchen sink isn’t just functional. It enhances the look of the kitchen well. Pick the perfect combination of form and function for the best kitchen sink, and you’re all set to go.