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Single Bowl vs Double Bowl Kitchen Sink – Which One to Choose?

single kitchen sink vs double
Written by Lewis Turner

If you, like me, spend a lot of time in your kitchen, you will know a fair amount of that time is spent at the sink for one reason or another. I’ve had a single sink before, and I’ve had a double sink. Still though I have toiled over the decision of which to install between single kitchen sink vs double when remodeling. Each has its pros and cons and each suits certain situations and preferences better. Let me break each down for you and discuss said situations for you and maybe, just maybe, I’ll spare you the indecision I have faced more than once!

Single vs Double Sink Conflict

1. The Single Bowl Sink

Single bowl sinks are those with only one basin. They require only one drain, and only one hole in your counter. They come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, designs, finishes, and styles.

Advantages

An obvious advantage of having a single basin is that it means easier installation that ends up being cheaper as only one drain needs to be connected, one sink hole needs to be cut, etc.

Another pro is the fact that they are slightly cheaper to purchase as a fixture,

Another upside is the fact that one basin means a slightly bigger basin over having two smaller ones. So there’s a bit more room when needing to wash or stash bigger crockery and cookery.

Disadvantages

The biggest disadvantage to a single bowl kitchen sink is not being able to use multiple sinks at once. If you are washing dishes or rinsing off some vegetables, the next person cannot come along side you and rinse their hands or flush something down the drain. This becomes especially prevalent when someone needs to use the garbage disposal and the sink is already full of something.

Another disadvantage is for those who need to, or prefer to (no one ever) wash dishes by hand. Double sinks provide the separate spaces you need to wash and rinse off dishes. A single basin forces this process to be done altogether (gross).

Another downside I found with mine is the inability to multitask. I couldn’t dump my just-used cookware in one sink whilst having one free when needing access to water or the drain. I’ll be honest, that got a tad annoying, especially when cooking for more than just the usual number.

2. The Double Sided Sink

The double bowl kitchen sink offers two slightly smaller basins than a single sink would. It requires two separate drains that meet in the plumbing below your counter. They are available in all sorts of designs, styles and materials.

Advantages

The biggest advantage offered by a high-end double bowl sink is the freedom. Your disposer is always free to be used whilst a basin is in use. You can pop dirty dishes in the one bowl whilst using the other bowl to continue your cooking prep, and hand washing your dishes (if you are so inclined) is far easier.

Another advantage (and this is up to preference) is that it can often look more aesthetically pleasing. Double sinks, especially granite sinks or porcelain sinks, just look more enticing to use!

Disadvantages

The starkest downer to a double bowl sink is the space it takes up. You lose a lot of countertop space when installing a double sink and if you don’t make frequent use of both basins it can feel like a total waist.

Another downside is the slightly higher price of the fixture as well as installation.

And there’s another downside, the installation itself. You have to cut twice as much out of your counter, and connect extra plumbing for it. This also reduces the amount of usable space beneath the counter.

You may also struggle to wash or stash larger cookery and crockery as each of the basins tends to be made smaller. It should be said though, if you are willing to fit the bill, large double basins can be found. They’re just less common and require even MORE of your precious countertop space.

Kraus KBU14 31-1/2 inch Undermount Single Bowl 16-gauge Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink
  • EXTRA-TOUGH CONSTRUCTION: Dent-resistant T304 stainless steel in TRU16 real 16-gauge (always 1.5mm thick) for superior strength and durability
  • COMMERCIAL GRADE SATIN FINISH is corrosion and rust-resistant; easily wipes clean
  • QUIETEST SINK: NoiseDefend soundproofing technology features extra-thick pads covering over 80% of the sink and non-toxic undercoating for added insulation
  • FREE ACCESSORIES: Protective stainless steel bottom grid, premium 3 piece basket strainer set, Kraus kitchen towel, mounting hardware, cutout template – LIFETIME LIMITED WARRANTY and customer service that puts you first
  • Outer Sink Dimensions: 31 ½” L x 18 3/8” W x 10” D Min. Cabinet Size: 36”. Length of Bowl-29.5 inch. Width of Bowl- 16.25 inch

Usage of Single or Double Sink

The usage of one sink type or the other comes down to you, or whoever it is in your home that runs the kitchen. Double sinks offer more usage at the same time while single sinks offer more single basin space for usage. It’s up to you to decide which will come in handy more. If you generally use a dishwasher, streamline your cooking process, and work alone in the kitchen, you literally have no need of two sinks. But if you often cook side by side with someone, have high traffic through the kitchen, cook large meals requiring much prep and dirtying of dishes, or wash your dishes the soap and elbow-grease way, a single sink will eventually drive you mad, trust me!

1. Counter Space

Ah, the conundrum! Trying to find a balance between sink-space and counter space. We need our countertops just as much as we need sink space. It can be difficult to decide which is more important. Try following the general rule that if you have limited counter-space, don’t limit it further with two sinks. If you have an abundance of countertops around your kitchen (you’re lucky) then you have the freedom to decide on the sink set-up based on practicality. Double sinks can be found as two small basins or two large basins depending where you search. The equivalent goes for single bowl sinks.

2. Installation

As mentioned earlier, single sinks only require one set of pipes, one drain, and one hole in your counter. This makes them quick and easy to install and therefore cheaper on labor and plumbing materials. If you fancy yourself a DIY enthusiast you have less work cut out for you in comparison to a double sided sink. Double sinks can be a bit of a headache to install, take longer, require an extra drain, take up more plumbing space, and invariably cost more to have put-in.

3. Cost

The fixtures themselves differ only slightly in cost. You are only really paying for a bit of extra material. Between a double and single of exactly the same brand and model, you should never see a variation of more than 100$. If you do, walk away. You do however need to take into consideration that you may also need to purchase a second faucet or tap if you but a double sink. This adds to the price. Couple that with the extra installation costs, and the price difference starts to become noticeable.

4. Maintenance

Maintenance is more-a-less the same. Whatever you do to one sink you do to the other. That being said, if you have a quality double sink, you have twice as many basins to clean and shine up, twice as many drains to flush out now and then, and use twice as much detergent/soap, and elbow grease required when doing so. And, if you know how to unclog a kitchen sink, maintaining it becomes easier than ever!

As you can see, the suitability of one sink type or the other to you is heavily dependent on your kitchen situation. Space, budget, dishwashing practices, cooking habits, and general preference all weigh in on the decision. I hope that in highlighting the general ups and downs to each, and their best uses, I have assisted in narrowing down the decision-making process for you. Good luck!

About the author

Lewis Turner

Market Researcher

Lewis has been a contributor to FaucetsReviewed for the last five years. After graduating in Marketing and Business Administration, he joined a multinational farm that used to be a leading manufacturer of plumbing fixtures and appliances. His professional experience opened doors for him to the diversity of the industry. His deep insights and product analysis add to the site’s authenticity. He is an avid reader and spends most of his past time studying. Lewis is also a trained photographer. He does the most photography of the site. His in-depth reviews are highly informative and insightful.

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