MR Direct Blog

Join The Conversation

Since their introduction during the WWII era, stainless steel sinks have continued to grow in popularity. It’s easy to understand why. They’re conspicuously attractive and nearly indestructible. Unless it’s a very thin gauge, stainless steel will tolerate its share of abuse while maintaining its structural and visual integrity. It certainly is not going to crack, shatter, or snap apart. There’s no staining, even from wine; and that left-behind lemon wedge will have no effect. A hot pot won’t scorch it, and you can fill it with ice water to blanch those veges. Even its neutral coloring allows it to blend into any décor. What’s not to love? But there’s more.

You get choices with stainless, so shop carefully. The majority of stainless sinks are formed from what is known as 300-series steel. This is the minimum quality of steel to choose. Some models use 304-grade steel from this series, which provides even more durability; but usually at a slightly higher price. Here’s something to try as you go about shopping for your new sink. Take a little magnet along. When you spot a sink you like, set the magnet on it. If it sticks – don’t buy it! It means the manufacturer cut corners and didn’t include nickel in the steel formulation. Without nickel, the sink is not only magnetic, but will quickly show discoloration, stains, and spots.

People used to say these sinks were just too noisy! There was a tinny sound when the water was running; and an irritating clang when silverware was dropped. Today, pads and coatings are commonly added to the exterior to deaden such sounds and to prevent condensation; making the noise issue moot, and mute! Wanna muffle things even further? Pick up an inexpensive can of adhesive foam insulation and spray the underside. Even I can handle that!

Stainless sinks come in multiple thicknesses. 18-gauge is the industry standard; but many manufacturers offer a thicker 16-gauge, some, even a hefty 14-gauge. For the budget-minded, thinner 20-24 gauge models can be found. If your kitchen routine is rigorous, and your budget allows it, go as thick as possible. But if you want to save a few bucks and still have a legitimate, durable sink; any 300-series model will do.

Most manufacturers apply a brushed satin finish to the surface, which masks scratches and looks good in its own right. Only dried hard water marks can potentially blemish the surface and they are easily prevented by wiping the sink dry after use.

You’re sure to find the size and shape sink you need in stainless steel. There are single or double, equal or offset, and farmhouse or traditional configurations. They’re available as top, under, or apron installations. With so many options, it’s hard not to consider stainless steel for today’s active home kitchen.