Stainless Steel vs. Granite vs. Composite Sinks: Your Ultimate Kitchen Sink Buying Guide
Whether you’re replacing an old damaged sink or refreshing your kitchen, the sink is one of the most used commodities in the room and needs careful consideration before buying. Your choice will stay with you for years to come so style, shape, and material all need to be accounted for.
Your needs and personal tastes will determine what kind of sink you should choose, and trust us, there are a lot of different types and style to choose from. There is no one size fits all sink, so doing a little research before you buy will ensure that your kitchen sink will not only last for many years to come but that it will help complete your kitchen aesthetic.
As well as coming in a huge range of styles, kitchen sinks can be made of a variety of materials that each offer their own unique advantages.
Things to consider when buying a new sink
When you’re purchasing a new sink for your kitchen, you need to take a number of considerations into account. A sink is going to be a permanent fixture in your kitchen so you need to get the initial purchase right.
The first factor most people consider is the cost of the sink. When it comes to the price there is a huge variety on every part of the scale.
The cost of both composite and stainless steel sinks can run into the hundreds of pounds, especially when you increase the size of the sink and the intricacy of its design. For instance, a graphite composite sink is at the higher end of the market.
However, at the lower end of the market you could pay as little as £70 for a composite sink or £50 for a stainless steel sink.
Material and Style
Depending on your budget, preference and the aesthetic of your kitchen, you have a huge variety of kitchen sinks to choose from when it comes to what material it’s made from.
Composite sinks offer a far greater variety than their stainless steel counterparts. By adding dye to the plastic resin when the sink is cast a whole slew of different colours can be achieved.
Whilst we’d never want to put the stainless steel sink down, when it comes to colours, your choices are limited to one.
Although you can choose from a number of different finishes, stainless steel sinks come in, well, stainless steel. If you’re looking for a bold colour for your kitchen sink, they will therefore be unsuitable. That said, the characteristic shine of stainless steel is pleasantly neutral and will sit nicely within a range of kitchen colour schemes – indeed, many colour schemes are designed with stainless steel in mind.
We’ve already seen that some sinks can be produced more cheaply than others. In the case of stainless steel, this economy evidenced itself by producing an almighty racket whenever you turn on the tap.
In order to minimise material costs cheaper stainless steel sinks are made from very thin sheets of steel. This thinness makes the material much easier to move and vibrate. The basin can therefore act like a drum, amplifying the impact of water (or any dropped object) on the bottom of the sink. This effect might be particularly noticeable at night when a dripping tap in the kitchen downstairs might be audible even when you’re upstairs lying in bed!
Thankfully, this is one respect in which newer stainless steel sinks have made considerable improvements over their predecessors, with 16 and 18-gauge sinks becoming commonplace. Composite sinks are much harder and less flexible, so the vibrations caused by a dripping tap are deadened. But whilst this hardness might eliminate the problem of noise pollution, it has its own problems.
Hardness & durability
If you do a lot of washing up in your kitchen sink, then you’ll at some point have had a mishap. Most of us (barring a ninja-like few) have occasionally had a moment of clumsiness and dropped a plate or a cup into the sink. In such instances, our choice of material can make the difference between shattered and intact crockery.
Being made largely from granite, composite sinks are harder than their steel counterparts. Therefore, they’re much less forgiving than steel ones when accidents happen, which even at heavier gauges, will flex enough to preserve your plates whenever you drop them.
Of course, you’ll want to think about how you’re going to use your sink. If you wash your delicate dishes and glasses using a dishwasher this consideration won’t be quite so weighty.
Composite granite sinks are formed using enormous heat and pressure. They’re able to resist stains, scratches and heat – but they’re not invulnerable to such things. Hot pans risk warping the surface of the sink and knives being dragged across it might leave marks.
By contrast, stainless steel sinks are able to withstand high temperatures and they’re obviously far less prone to stains. Despite this, they’re not impervious to damage. A stainless steel sink will pick up fine scratches over its lifetime. Though these scratches will likely not be visible unless you’re looking for them, the shining nature of stainless steel will make any blemishes all the more apparent. Similarly, allowing droplets of water to stand inside the sink might cause water spots to form.
Browse our full range of sinks, including outstanding ranges of composite and stainless steel sinks. From market-leading brands like CDA, Franke and Clearwater, you can save money when you buy online today!
We’ve looked at some of the ways that stainless steel might suffer damage over time. But just how can this damage be reversed? Fortunately, it is possible for the damage to be undone.
Going over the sink with a very fine wire-wool brush can help eliminate those fine hairline scratches. Once this is done, you can polish the surface using baby oil. If water stains have formed, they can be removed with vinegar, alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide, depending on the severity of the staining.
Cleaning a composite sink requires a little more finesse and delicacy. You’ll want to avoid harsh, abrasive substances. Bleach, for example, might discolour the sink, as might ammonia, food colouring and drain cleaner. Frequent, gentle cleaning is almost always preferable to occasional ‘deep’ cleaning – use a micro-fibre cloth and hot soapy water, and dry thoroughly once you’re done.
Each of the sinks we’ve discussed here has their strengths and weaknesses but with the right care and attention either can serve fantastically well for many years.
Waste Disposal Units and Spare Parts
Some sinks come with a smaller secondary basin where inside there is a waste disposal unit. The waste disposal unit is similar to a blender, in that it uses sharp rotating blades to chop up food into smaller pieces to make it easier to wash away down the drain.
This unit isn’t as durable as the rest of your sink, it can break, jam and become faulty, so you need to make sure that you are able to find replacement waste disposal units that you can easily install in your sink.
We have a huge range of kitchen sinks in a variety of materials and styles available at Ship It Appliances. No matter how your kitchen is set up, we have a sink that will fit seamlessly into your kitchen and complete the room’s aesthetic for many years.