If you’re getting a new sink for your kitchen, you need to know which one to choose. Check our undermount vs drop-in sink guide and discover two good options.
If you go shopping for a kitchen sink, you will find hundreds of different styles and types to choose from. For some, searching through all of these sinks is fun and exciting. For others who don’t know where or how to start, the prospect of looking for a sink is overwhelming.
But before jump into every sink type available, let’s focus on 2 very popular styles, undermount vs drop-in sink. Both types of sinks can look sleek but also offer a variety of benefits, depending on your needs and wants. Both sink types also come in many styles giving you the flexibility to find the perfect sink.
Are you looking for a sleek minimalist design for your next kitchen sink? Then an undermount sink may be the perfect design you’ve been looking for.
Do you prefer a sink with a focus on functionality? Then sticking to the classic drop-in sink may be your best bet.
Before you decide, you should check out the perks and style of each. Here’s a closer look at undermount vs drop-in sinks to help you find the right sink for your kitchen.
Undermount vs. Drop-In Sink Differences
There are multiple ways to install a kitchen sink. The 2 most popular options are undermount vs drop-in sink installation.
A drop-in sink, also known as a self-rimming sink and topmost sink, is a sink that drops into a sink opening on the counter. It has a noticeable lip or ledge with a width varying from 1/2 inch to 2 inches surrounding the sink. This lip sits on top of the counter and helps hold the sink in place.
When installed, the installer will use hidden metal clips under the counter and caulk to secure it. Of the 2 sinks, drop-in sinks are the most popular sink type.
Undermount sinks don’t have a lip that sits on top of the counter. Instead, this sink mounts underneath the counter and stays in place with a mix of extra durable metal clips, calk, or an adhesive. This type of sink shows the edges of the counter in the sink cutout.
While this mounting style isn’t as popular as drop-in sinks, it is growing in popularity. It is, however, limiting as counters non-solid countertops might not look good. Materials such as solid rock or quartz will work best.
The Perks of a Drop-In Sink
Besides being the most popular, drop-in sinks are the most economical. If you search for a particular brand that offers both undermount and drop-in sinks, you’ll find the drop-in sink is cheaper than the undermount.
You can also save money when installing a drop-in sink. They are easier, and safer, to install than an undermount meaning labor costs will be less. If you want to, you can mount your drop-in sink by yourself.
You, or your installer, don’t need to cut additional holes in the counter for faucets and handles. If properly installed, they won’t damage the countertop and make replacing easier should you get a different sink in the future.
This sink is also constable with more counter material options. They look great and work well with all countertop materials including granite, wood, and even laminate counters.
Since this sink style is the most popular, there are more styles and sink materials available for you to choose from. Stainless steel is the most common material but you can also find porcelain, acrylic, iron, and fireclay.
Another point worth considering is the sink size and opening of your countertop. Drop-in sinks come in a variety of sizes allowing you to find the perfect size for your countertop.
Drop-in sinks are also easier to clean. The sink’s entire surface area is easily reachable making cleaning quick and easy.
The Cons of a Drop-In Sink
Despite the many benefits, drop-in sinks have a few cons. One of the most obvious cons is they aren’t as sleek as an undermount sink. This may be a turnoff for those looking for a minimalist and stylish-looking sink.
While the sink is easy to clean, cleaning the counter surrounding the sink can be a challenge. The lip of the sink can catch food, dust, and other grime which can build up over time if not properly cleaned.
Overall, a drop-in sink is a great option and offers the most flexibility in terms of style and material.
The Perks of an Undermount Sink
Undermount sinks are a stylish sink growing in popularity. Undermount sinks are undeniably elegant and modern. If you’re designing your kitchen to look tasteful, an undermount sink will catch your eye.
These good looks can boost the resale value of your home. If you enjoy flipping homes or know you’ll be moving in the future, an undermount sink could get you a little more for your house. For example, undermount fireclay farmhouse sinks not only look classy but are in high demand.
But their good looks aren’t all they have going for them. Undermount sinks offer you more counter space since they don’t have a lip or rim sitting on top of the counter. This is helpful for those with smaller kitchens needing all the counter space they can get, even if it’s just a couple of inches.
Undermount sinks make cleaning your counters easy, too. With no lip, you don’t have to worry about gunk building up on your counter surrounding your sink. You can wipe food, crumbs, or liquid right into your sink without running into a sink lip.
The Cons of an Undermount Sink
The benefits of an undermount sink are great but they have a few more setbacks worth considering. The primary one is that these sinks cost more than drop-in sinks.
The cost of an undermount sink is greater than most other sinks due to the installation process. These sinks hang below the counter meaning they require special clips and adhesives to attach them in place. It’s recommended you hire a professional as installing an undermount sink by yourself can cause damage to the counter or sink or cause injury.
When it comes to the type of countertop, an undermount sink limits you to solid and weight-bearing counter materials. Granite and quartz work well but laminate and wood counters might not be able to handle the weight.
Another issue with counter material is the appearance of bare edges. Since the sink attaches under the counter, you will see the edges of the cutout area of the sink. Granite counters will look good but laminate will show the jagged interior of the sink.
Cleaning and repairing the sink can also be a challenge. The lip of the counter covers the area where the sink connects which can cause gunk to buildup where you can’t see it. This counter edge makes re-caulking a challenge as well.
The final con of this sink style is the limited amount of materials and sizes available. You will need to cut additional holes into your countertop to make room for the faucet and handles.
Undermount sinks are not a bad sink option. They offer a great deal of appeal and functionality.
Are You Replacing a Sink?
If you’re replacing a sink, it can be tempting to upgrade to a sleeker larger design. Before you buy a new sink, there are several factors you’ll need to consider.
The first consideration is are you replacing your countertop along with the sink? If yes, you have more flexibility when shopping for a sink as you can have the new countertop cut to accommodate your sink.
If your answer is no and you plan to reuse your existing countertop, you’ll have a limited selection of sink styles to choose from. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but worth your time to ensure the new sink fits your countertop.
What kind of sink did you have to start? Replacing a drop-in sink is easier as there are fewer additional holes in the countertop and will save you money. It is, however, more difficult to replace this sink with an undermount sink.
If you choose to replace your old drop-in with an undermount sink, keep in mind the edges of the counter cutout will show. You may also need to cut additional holes in the counter for plumping. You can fix or replace your countertop to accommodate these changes but the cost can get expensive.
If you’re replacing an undermount sink, you might have the option to choose between drop-in or an undermount sink. The only issue here is you might need to fill holes in the counter or redo some of the plumbing.
Which Sink Will You Choose?
If you’re choosing between an undermount vs drop-in sink, there are plenty of great benefits. Both come in a variety of styles, sizes, and materials to fit your kitchen.
Undermount sinks are the perfect option for those looking to save counter space and give their kitchen a splash of style. Drop-in sinks are excellent for those who are cost-conscious or want more options to choose from. Whichever sink you decide, it’s sure to look great in your home.
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