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Selecting Design Finishes

Single vs Double Kitchen Sink: Which is Better?

Published on:

5/20/20

written by:

Carrie Barker

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Are you contemplating which is better … single vs double kitchen sink? This is one of those decisions that you don’t even *think* about until you are building or renovating a home, but it’s an important decision.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer here. You have to decide what is better for YOUR family and YOUR needs based on three key factors. These factors include your kitchen size, how you intend to use your sink, and your budget.

In this post, we’ll cover these three important things you should keep in mind as you make this decision, as well the pros and cons of both single and double sinks so you can decide which is the better choice for YOUR family.

Affiliate links are used for your shopping convenience. Read my full disclosure policy here.

WHICH IS BETTER: SINGLE VS DOUBLE KITCHEN SINK?

As I said above, there is no definitive answer to this question. Like all design decisions for your home, your choice should be based on what works best for YOUR family and YOUR needs … regardless of what other people say is the “right answer”.

The trend is certainly moving away from double bowl sinks. Double sinks were popular before the dishwasher was invented; this allowed people to keep dirty dishes soaking in one bowl, while the other bowl was used for rinsing the clean dishes.

Now that most homes have a dishwasher, the need for two sink bowls isn’t as pressing. However, there are still factors that come into play when making this decision.

You need to really think about YOUR cooking and dishwashing habits, as well as your budget and available space in your kitchen.

The most important thing to keep in mind as you read the pros/cons and costs below is to think about how YOU work in your kitchen … particularly when preparing food and cleaning up after meals.

COST: SINGLE VS DOUBLE KITCHEN SINK

On average, a double bowl sink tends to cost slightly more than a single bowl sink. This is primarily because more material is used to make the sink and double sinks tend to be larger.

However, price is also dependent on the sink’s brand and the material (finish) used. One of the most budget-friendly options is stainless steel. On average, a 33” single bowl sink made from stainless steel costs ~$220 whereas a double sink the same size and material costs ~$300.

Installation for a double sink also tends to be more expensive because it’s more challenging and technically has two drain systems.

PROS + CONS OF SINGLE KITCHEN SINK

A single bowl sink is one, usually large, basin with no divider.

Single sinks are ideal for small kitchens because they come in a variety of sizes, ranging from very small single (14″ish) to very large.

PROS OF SINGLE BOWL SINK

  • saves counter space (unless you have a very large single sink)
  • tends to be roomier so there is plenty of space to handwash large pots and pans
  • comes in a variety of sizes from very small to very large
  • ideal if you have a small kitchen or are limited on space
  • large, deep single bowl allows you to stack up dirty dishes until you’re ready to wash them (I’m guilty of doing this ????)
  • typically easier and less expensive to install than double sinks
  • less expensive than double sinks, on average

CONS OF SINGLE BOWL SINK

  • unable to separate clean and dirty dishes
  • heavy metal pots and pans will be combined with delicate glassware
  • can’t separate contaminated (raw meat) dirty dishes from other dishes
  • have to airdry dishes on your counter (which takes up precious counter space)

PROS + CONS OF DOUBLE KITCHEN SINK

A double bowl sink has two basins separated by a wall or divider. You can find double sinks with equally sized bowls, but more often there is one larger and one smaller bowl. Double sinks work best in kitchens that have plenty of counter space.

You can also find double sinks with a low divider (only about halfway high) which almost gives you the “best of both worlds” (i.e. eliminates the problem of washing large pots and pans because they’ll fit better in this type of double sink).

PROS OF DOUBLE BOWL SINK

  • can soak dishes in one bowl while rinsing dishes in the other bowl
  • can add a drying rack in one bowl to air dry dishes (this eliminates dishes airdrying on your counter)
  • can separate dirty (raw meat) dishes from any meal prep
  • can separate heavy metal clunky dishes from delicate glassware

CONS OF DOUBLE BOWL SINK

  • can be difficult to handwash large pots and pans because the divider gets in the way
  • garbage disposal is only on one side so food particles can get stuck in the drain of the other bowl
  • requires more counter space so it’s not ideal for small kitchens
  • typically not as deep as single bowl, so not as easy to ‘hide’ dishes

As I mentioned above, there is no one-size-fits-all answer here. You have to decide which is better for YOUR family and YOUR kitchen based on several key factors: your kitchen size, how you intend to use your sink, and your budget.

Like most design decisions for your new home, you just have to look at the pros and cons and make a decision that works best for your needs.

If you want some guidance on making this decision as well as ALL your design decisions with CONFIDENCE, grab a copy of my FREE ‘Design Decision Guided Workbook’! You don’t want to miss this :).

  1. Tamara says:

    Carrie – this is a great overview of the pros and cons! I remember debating this with my husband when we built our house 5 years ago. I’m a “stick everything in the dishwasher” kinda girl and he’s a “wash things in the sink” guy, so he won. He chose a single sink design. One of the benefits he was looking for was the ability to wash the extra large pots and pans without the sink being crowded. : )

  2. Cindi says:

    I have a single bowl for the first time and I hate it. 1) It’s so huge you can’t just put a little water in it to do dishes that can’t be put in the dishwasher. So I have to have a separate rubber basin. 2) It’s harder for two people to use the sink at once (ie one person to rinse their hands or get some water while the other is doing dishes). I think the small divider at the bottom is perfect. I saw a sink once that had a removal divider and that seems great as well.

  3. Morag says:

    I have a large single basin and I love it. Easy to wash cookie sheets and large items that don’t go in dishwasher. Has a rack on bottom so can let dishes drip dry

  4. Hillary says:

    You didn’t mention a garbage disposal. I’m going to remodel my kitchen and can’t decide if I’d like to switch to a single basin. I’d love the additional room, as I usually load dishes into the dishwasher, but rinse them in the sink 1st. I’m concerned that I won’t be able to have dirty dishes in the sink and utilize the garbage disposal. I’ve read that’ where a batch feed comes in, but I’m not sure. Seems like I’d be creating a muck. I seriously need to go wash someone’s dishes….lol

  5. Tiffany says:

    I had single sinks in two places I rented and the biggest con to me was that I couldn’t keep half of the sink clear to work in. I like to put my dirty dishes in the sink as I cook. In a single sink it was hard to keep them to the side to still allow me to rinse, strain, etc. If the dishes are left on the counter next to the sink it cut down on my ability to prep on the counter space. The divided bowl allows me to clear my counter space without losing the use of my sink.

    • Thanks for sharing, Tiffany! It kinda all boils down to how a person likes to do their dishes. That seems to be the determining factor in the single vs double kitchen sink debate :).

    • Paige de Albuquerque says:

      Hi Tiffany – I never wanted a single sink until I had one for them same reason you mention. But what I have found is there is a always a “used” bowl or pot that I can rinse out and then keep full of hot soapy water. Sometimes, I have to get one out just for that purpose – but for me it’s worth it to have the extra space to wash/soak cookie sheets, large pots etc. Personal preferences abound. Simililary – the question of laundry room upstairs with bedrooms or downstairs where we normally are?

  6. Jeanette Nazario says:

    My husband and I are in the middle of this debate, I rarely use my dishwasher and I bought a single sink. They are coming to install our new countertops and I changed my mind to keeping our double sink, I just cooking so much and I have a system using the double sink.. Cleaning the large pots, cookie sheets etc have never been an issue for me. I am glad I found this article. Now.I feel I made the right cboice!

    • Hi Jeanette! I’m so glad to hear that you feel like you made the right choice about your sink. Just from reading your comment, I think a double sink is perfect for you since you already have a system that works well. No need to ‘fix’ what isn’t broken :).

  7. Ivon says:

    I definitely want a double bowl, 60/40 with low divide. But accidentally I ordered the regular divide . I read one comment that the low divide results in water splashing onto the other side. Any thought on which type works best? i like to rinse my dishes and prefer a double bowl to keep a clean side.

    • Hi Ivon! If you like to keep one bowl clean to rinse dishes, I think you’ll probably be happier with a double bowl. The low divide doesn’t separate the two bowls as much as a regular divide does.

  8. Elizabeth says:

    I like to wash my pots and pans and dishes as I’m prepping my food so there’s not a whole bunch to do at the end of the meal and things look relatively tidy. Two sinks allows me to have a sink with hot soapy water(I can also wash my hands in) and an available sink to wash veggies/drain noodles etc. Also smaller sinks require less water for a quick wash up of dishes. Also I don’t want too deep a sink as that will mean more bending over. Especially since it’s an inch and a half deeper as an under mount.

    • Thank you for your insight, Elizabeth! This will be helpful to other readers :).

    • Linda says:

      We’re updating our kitchen to sell our home of 35 years, and currently have a large single sink. I’ve seen makeover shows where renters/buyers get excited about a double sink, and I wondered what the advantages are. We LOVE our single sink for things like prepping big turkeys and cleaning the pots & bowls that don’t fit in the dishwasher. Another bonus was being able to wash our two kids in the sink until they were nearly 3yrs old. Much better than bending over a tub on your knees with
      a little one! It’s hard to guess what a buyer would prefer, but your article was helpful in pointing out that if you have a dishwasher (which we do) then the need for a double isn’t as important. We’ve decided to stick with a large single and hope a buyer discovers the advantages.

  9. BK says:

    Another PRO of a double sink is, if you have stainless and the divider comes up to the top, you have a sturdy emergency tripod for temporarily holding hot pots or pans.

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