Are you setting up a new kitchen? One of the most important parts to consider is the sink, which will be used several times a day. That’s why you must pick the best one. The best doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive or the most popular. It has to be the best suited for your kitchen.
The main differences between 16-gauge and 18-gauge stainless steel sinks are their thicknesses and therefore, their durability. When you’re buying a stainless steel sink, you want to avoid the mistake of not considering the size you’re getting.
In this article, we also look at the following topics:
- Whether these sinks scratch
- What are the advantages and disadvantages are for each type?
Let’s take a look at all the options!
Gauges of stainless steel sinks
The gauge is a tricky term that comes up when discussing steel fittings. It refers to the thickness of the steel. Unlike other units of measurement, the gauge gets thicker and better as the number gets lower. For instance, 18 gauge is thicker than a 23 gauge sink.
For some fittings, it is suited to have a thinner gauge. Other functions require something thicker for durability.
In kitchen sinks, it is considered better to have something of a lower gauge and thus higher thickness owing to a couple of factors listed below:
- Noise: a thicker steel basin will reduce the amount of noise your dishes create while you do the washing.
- Commercial use: If they are installed in hotel kitchens, restaurants, and other commercial spaces, you will need a lot more durability on your side. It is because heavy utensils will be placed in these sinks and for longer amounts of time as well. That’s why these sinks are typically in the 14 to 16-gauge range.
- Garbage disposals: If you have a garbage disposal system in your sink, you need a better-quality sink that can take the vibrations it will generate.
Stainless steel sink gauge chart
Look at our stainless steel gauge chart that will tell you the exact thickness you can expect. Gauge isn’t the same for all types of metals. For instance, a 14 gauge in steel is equivalent to 0.0751inches while a 14 gauge carbon sheet has 0.747 inches of thickness.
Let’s look at the thickness you will likely encounter in kitchen sinks.
|Stainless steel Gauge||Thickness (decimal equivalent in inches)|
What is 16 gauge stainless steel?
16 gauge stainless steel is considered a luxury buy in the sink market. It is because it is one of the thickest and highest quality materials there is. It has a thickness of 0.0595″ and is usually employed in high-end commercial spaces or luxurious homes.
Although it can make a great basin, it also works well as a heavy-duty worktable. Worktables of this gauge can be used in bakeries, professional kitchens, and more.
Find out more about steel gauges here.
Best 16 gauge stainless steel sinks
Even if you have decided that 16 gauge is the right choice for you, you will still have to plunder through dozens of great options. We make this task easy for you.
Take a look at our best picks.
Versatile 32-inch workstation
Not just a basin, it’s much more! It’s a workspace with a cutting station, so you can wash your vegetables and start dicing right there and then. A steel colander allows you to rinse and wash everything from leafy veggies to root vegetables.
There is a foldable drying rack to accommodate dishes just washed. A basket strainer allows you to wash and rinse other items like pasta.
The undercoating is tough and can withstand heavy-duty uses and noise. The bottom is sloped to provide easy drainage for the water.
|Product Dimensions||19″D x 32″W x 10″H|
|Size||32 x 19 inch|
- The cutting board that comes with it is really high quality.
- We love buying products from sellers that have consistently delivered for this long.
- It’s a 16-gauge as opposed to 18.
- It looks great in a modern kitchen.
- It’s very easy to see all the things that are included in the order.
- It’s more expensive than if thinner metal was used.
- It’s not super easy to clean.
Spectacular 57-inch workstation
Premium 16 gauge with a combination of chromium and nickel provides a long-lasting life to this piece of art. Along with a cutting board and drying rack, there are also other additions from the previous 32-inch model. There’s room for a condiment tray which is included. A colander and mixing bowl make it easy to stir all ingredients and start.
Bottom rinse grids, basket drainer, and a decorative drain cover make kitchen work easy.
You can even get a lifetime warranty for a limited period since Ruvati has complete faith in all its products.
|Item Weight||97 Pounds|
|Product Dimensions||8″D x 14″W x 5″H|
- It’s for high-end kitchens.
- It’ll provide enough space for 2 people to work at the same time.
- Prepping food is so easy here.
- It comes with a much higher price point.
- We had trouble getting in contact with customer support.
Back to basics
An easy-to-maintain and clean satin-finish, single bowl sink. A single bowl with all the toughness of 16 gauge steel promises long-lasting satisfaction. Undercoating is specially included to reduce noise and give more edge to heavy-duty use.
Stainless steel fights external factors like rust and corrosion. The commercial-style faucet space gives a chic look.
|Item Weight||26.4 pounds|
|Product Dimensions||19″D x 32″W x 10″H|
- It has a very attractive price point for a 16-gauge sink.
- It’s great value for your money.
- It’s made by a reputable company.
- There are many options to choose from.
- It doesn’t have the bells and whistles of the other products.
- It doesn’t come with a cutting board the same way Ruvati does.
What is 18 gauge stainless steel?
With a thickness of around 1.27mm or 0.0480″, 18 gauge steel is a premium option for use around the house. It’s resistant to corrosion and rust, thus a great option for use around water-prone areas like the sink and garage.
You can also make worktables, pipes, almirahs, and storage units out of this sheet. It can also be used for panel installation, crafts, and other decorative uses around the house and offices.
Best 18 gauge stainless steel sinks
Here are some of the best 18 gauge sinks we have come across that have great functionality in the home or commercial kitchen.
This spacious basin is designed for the utmost ease of use. The X grooves and sloped design allow for fast drainage. 33 inches in length and 9 inches deep, the large space allows for maximum functionality and plenty of space to accommodate the accessories that come along with it.
It comes in a step basin form to allow the sink to become a workstation. You can add the acacia wood cutting board to prepare the mise-en-place for your cooking quickly. The colander and drying rack allows for easy rinsing and drying of both vegetables and utensils.
A sink grid and drain strainer make it easy for you to maintain it and keep it clean and mess-free.
There is nothing to disappoint!
- The price point is impressive for what you get.
- It even comes with a cutting board.
- Good quality and price
- It’s 18-gauge.
Double bowl, the double advantage
We love it when there are two of something, including sinks too! A double bowled sink means so much work is made easy. Wash in one and dry in the other or clean in one and dirty in the other – there’s no end to the possibilities!
A super tough high gauge sink that promises long-lasting and dent-free usage. The under-mount design means that it will fit seamlessly with the kitchen countertop without bulging out awkwardly.
The accessories include:
- a kitchen towel
- a bottom grid
- a basket strainer
- and a drain assembly.
- It’s very affordable.
- You get two bowls.
- It’s 18-gauge
- It’s nothing fancy.
- We’re concerned it will scratch.
Gorgeous detailed model
A single basin stainless steel sink of 18 gauge with a brushed finish promises continuity. The steel is SUS304, doesn’t rust or corrode easily, and is also suitable for heavy-duty commercial use. The size is apt for a garbage disposal to fit into.
The accessories included are:
- a cutting board
- roll-up rack
- installation clips
- decorative cover
- and a bottom rinse grid.
The front and rear tracks allow for an easy transition into a workstation. The thick rubber pads on the under-mount make for a noise-less dishwashing experience. If you’re not satisfied, there is a 90-day money-back guarantee. Limited lifetime warranty included.
- It comes with a cutting board.
- The price is unbeatable for what you get.
- The individual components seem fo a fair quality.
- It’s 18-gauge.
- We had never heard of the company before.
Things to look for
There are other things to consider apart from just the thickness of the metal when it comes to kitchen basins. Here are a few to consider.
A deep and large sink might be tempting because of its large capacity to hold many utensils at once. But there’s a catch. A deeper drop-in kitchen sink also means more crouching your back. You have to be careful with under-mount sinks because they will be a whole inch lower than what they measure in depth.
Six inches deep sinks are too small and splashy, but 9-10inches make perfect sense for home kitchens. Keep a mental note not to have too much depth in under-mounted kitchens.
If you’ve got too much depth and want to adjust this, you can get a basin rack for the inside.
Are there grooves inside for smooth drainage of the water? Are the corners straight or soft-angled? While soft angles make for easy cleaning, the straighter angles give more volume overall.
Is the drain located in the center or the rear? Center drains are fine when you’re washing. When piling dishes in the sink, the drain can get clogged quickly. It causes water to overflow. A drain to the rear left or right then makes for quick water draining even with piled stacks of dishes.
Knowing the thickness isn’t enough, the grade must also be of premium quality. 18/8 is the desired combination of about 18% chromium and 8% nickel. It is also known as the 300 series.
Good stainless steel will not stick to magnets, and that’s how you will know whether what you have is sound or not.
If you want to go deeper into the knowledge of gauges, take a look here.
Under mounting with rubber pads might sound like something a sink might or might not need. However, it’s more essential than you think. If you’re the kind to do dishes at night when everyone has slept, you don’t want to wake up the whole house with the clatter.
Underproofing pads provide the much-needed soundproofing on the sink to avoid this. It will reduce the noise of the running water and silverware and crockery.
While it is the best choice, other materials apart from stainless steel can be employed to make a kitchen basin. These are :
- Enameled cast iron: a unique choice but has its advantages too. It is very durable and hard-water resistant. There is little competition when it comes to denting and chipping. It’s even antimicrobial. But scratches! The scratches are plenty, and they might be a deal breaker for you if you pay attention to aesthetics. It’s also super heavy. Get ready to install heavy-duty countertops.
- Enameled steel: It’s a steel frame with a coating of enamel that is non-porous. It’s durable like enameled cast iron but a little cheaper and with a few differences. It also offers almost the same advantages, except it could chip and dent if you push it.
- Fireclay: This is exactly as it sounds. Made in the proofing of high temperatures to form a tough material, this is not only resistant to stains, scratches, and rust. However, it is prone to cracking when heavy or sharp objects are dropped. It’s recommended to keep the base protected with a plastic grid.
What is the best gauge for a stainless steel sink?
It is recommended to have 18 gauge or 16 gauge stainless steel basins. If you are weary of the price range, you can also go for 20 or 23. But you must consider that these will be lighter, will induce more noise, and will only be able to take on a limited weight of dishes.
Anything higher than 23 is simply a no-go. 16 is the best number for kitchen sink gauges and is the most used gauge in commercial spaces.
Mistakes to avoid buying a kitchen sink
There are some big-time mistakes to avoid whenever you go kitchen sink shopping. Here they are for your benefit!
- Never go thrift shopping – Did you happen to find a ‘vintage’ sink in an old junk shop or online and think it will give a great traditional or gothic vibe? Resist the urge to buy. Not only will it be hell to find compatible faucets and fittings, but the pipes will always exit and enter awkwardly. You will require custom cabinetry and probably spend way more than you thought you were saving by buying a thrift shop sink.
- Not considering size – Is your sink too small or too big for your counter? Measure it out and plan the details. You don’t want to have a tiny sink that can’t hold much and piles up with dishes faster. But you also don’t want limited counter space with an oversized sink looming.
- Not considering faucets: Wide faucets will be a mess with shallow sinks as they will splash everywhere. Power-spray fittings and small sinks are a big no-no. You want the faucet to match the sink size and depth. Otherwise, you will likely have either a splash pool or an odd-looking tiny tap in an oversized pool of a sink.
- Deep kitchen sinks: If you are tempted to buy a kitchen sink with a large depth so it can store more, don’t act so fast. A deeper one can break hell on your back with all the crouching. It is good for taller people, but those with average height should measure before buying.
Here are some answers to questions mostly asked about kitchen basins.
Yes. Although durable and resistant to water corrosion and rusting, they are prone to scratching from daily use. You can take preventative measures to keep them looking their best, but some scratches are inevitable.
There are a few cons to consider with under mount installations. The first is that you will face heavy pressure on your counter with the weight of an under-mount. They are also tougher to replace since it means breaking the counter partially. So if you buy an under mount, you will have to stick to it for a couple of years.
They also take up more space than drop-in sinks. Finally, the space between the counter and the sink can get moldy and require constant cleaning.
The key to having a leak-free under-mount basin is the installation. If high-quality epoxies and caulk are used, you will have leakage-free sinks. If not, they can quickly become a hassle.
Although these sinks won’t fall as dramatically as you imagine, they can be prone to sagging over time. A distance can be created between the counter and the basin, and a gap can form over time. It needs an expert to hike it back up with the appropriate tools.
Consider marble, granite, and concrete countertops to keep under-mount sinks intact for longer.