Nowadays bathroom sinks come in a dizzying variety of different styles. You can choose to spend $50 for a simple wall-hung sink or you can invest up to $5,000 for a furniture-quality cabinet vanity. Some models are self-contained while others must be installed on a countertop, and some sinks have to be mounted in a piece of cabinetry.
It’s important to state that there are no right or wrong choices; the many options exist simply because of the wide variety of options presented by bathroom designers.
It’s easy to get distracted by the most fashionable bathroom styles, but it’s important to consider functionality before making the purchase, so be sure to choose wisely since the sink is going to be in your bathroom for a long time.
Let’s review the most common types of bathroom sinks and see which one works best for you:
1. Wall-Mounted Sink
The wall-mounted sink is the most common bathroom sink on the market and it’s used mostly when the bathroom space is tight.
These sinks mount directly to the wall with no floor support and attach to special hanger brackets and to framing members or a wall reinforcement behind the sink. Wall mounted sinks can have plumbing drains and supply lines exposed or you can add a concealed arm or wall support to keep them disclosed
According to Leah Tuttleman, ASAE Certified Designer, “many people choose a wall mounted sink because of its clean appearance”. She adds that they offer a clutter-free look that’s both modern and utilitarian. “When you put something on the wall, it’s more like a sculpture because the tile around it, the color and shape are all part of the composition.”
Pros: A wall-mounted sink doesn’t have cabinets so it saves on space and leaves more visible floor area, making the room feel bigger (plus it’s easier to clean).
Cons: There is no storage space, so consider your need for storage before opting for a wall-mounted sink and maybe leave it for the powder room where storage isn’t as important.
2. Pedestal Sink
The pedestal sink is a classic commonly found in older apartments and homes. Just like the wall-mounted sink it’s often used in small bathrooms, but it is elegant enough to be used as a focal point even when space is not an issue.
As their name suggests, these sinks are mounted atop a pedestal that supports it off the floor. Sometimes the sink is mounted to the wall and essentially hangs there and the pedestal is purely decorative. With both types, plumbing waste and supply lines are concealed inside the pedestal.
Pros: The pedestal under the sink conceals the pipework and it’s also aesthetically pleasing and perfect if you want to have a classical vibe in your bathroom.
Cons: You won’t have any storage space under the sink plus there is no counter space.
3. Vessel-Sink Vanity
The vessel sink is a fairly modern design that creates a unique vanity. The sink sits atop a floor-mounted vanity base, fastened to the wall for stability. Vessel sinks require non-standard faucets and waste-drain systems so they are featured mostly in new construction or major bathroom renovations.
Pros: Vessel sinks demand attention so they are the perfect way to create a statement in your designer bathroom. Plus vessel sink is like a large bowl so it is a great choice if you want to avoid splashing on the countertop.
Cons: Due to the height of the vessel sinks it’s required to ensure that the sink doesn’t end up being too high and uncomfortable to use. This often leads to less storage space and cleaning around the base can also be tricky.
4. Drop-In Sink
The drop-in sink is also called “self-rimming sink” or “surface-mounted sink” and is usually installed in a vanity countertop. These sinks are common to older and newer constructions and can be installed into any type of countertop including plastic laminate, stone and ceramic.
Cast-iron sinks can be held in place by their weight and lighter sinks usually have a clamping system that secures the sink to the countertop.
Pros: Top-mount sinks are suitable for most countertop materials and they’re also less costly than undermount sinks since they don’t require polishing of the cutout edges.
Cons: You can’t wipe water spillage from the counter into the sink.
5. Under-Mount Sink
The under-mount is a premium sink found mostly in modern constructions and remodels. They can only be installed into solid-surface counters such as stone or synthetic composite tops, which makes them a bit more expensive.
As the name suggests they mount from the underside of the counter and are slightly larger than the opening of the top so the countertop creates a slight lip over the sink bowl. It’s typically made of cast iron, vitreous china, metals such as copper and stainless steel, or out of a resin material. Plumbing waste and supply lines are usually concealed within the vanity base.
Pros: This sink creates a seamless, clean look and water can be wiped directly from the countertop into the sink making it the perfect solution for family bathrooms.
Cons: These sinks tend to cost more than other models.
6. Integrated sink and countertop
One-piece countertops that have sinks built in are usually made of granite, marble, tile, wood and other solid surface materials. These sinks don't come with bases, so you can buy a coordinating base or you can use the one you have as long as it’s a proper fit. The tops are generally up to 1" larger than the vanity which provides a slight overhang.
Pros: An integrated sink is easy to clean and is a great choice for families with small children.
Con: Integrated tops are usually designed so the countertop gradually slopes down which can lead to having less counter space than with other models.
Few things to consider before making the purchase...
- Bathroom sinks take up different amounts of space. Some sinks don't offer countertop space which can be a dealbreaker.
- Usage frequency and the type of users (adults or children) is super important in choosing your bathroom sink.
- Choose durable sink materials for high-trafficked and children's bathrooms.
- Not all cleaning products are compatible with all types of bathroom sinks. Metals, wood and stone are sensitive and will need to be cared for differently. Learn all the requirements before making the purchase.
- Now that you read our guide about bathroom sink styles head over to our store and check out the latest designer pieces, because the sink your bathroom needs might just be there!