Are you looking for a new sink to spice up your kitchen? Can't decide between undermount or drop-in? Then you're in the right place!
We're going to compare the two and see which comes out on top. Get ready to make your kitchen dreams come true!
Be sure to check out our best kitchen sinks page after you learn about the undermount and drop-in sinks.
Before we get into the nerdy details let's first establish the difference between an undermount sink vs a drop-in sink.
Undermount sinks, on the other hand, are installed under the counter. Instead of the outer rim supporting the sink's weight, silicone and sink clips are used to secure it from underneath.
Undermount sinks do have a rim. You just won't be able to see it once the installation is finished. The edge of the pre-made counter hole, however, will be visible. This is always polished and smooth to the touch before your sink is installed.
Often referred to as top-mount sinks, drop-in sinks sit in a precut hole in your countertop. It's a self-rimming variety — in other words, the rim sitting on top of the countertop will support the weight of the sink
Sometimes, there will be extra supports tucked under the countertop to ensure everything stays in place depending on the type of sink material.
Heavier sink materials will not require sink brackets to hold the sink as the weight of the sink does this job instead.
Drop-in sinks are the most common sink used in kitchens, winning over its slightly more stylish cousins, especially with laminate countertops.
Okay, now let's talk cleaning.
For those of you who are all about aesthetics, this might not be the first thing you think about. Style over substance, right? However, choosing a sink that is hard to clean may well become frustrating when it comes to everyday life.
The most infuriating aspect of undermount sinks is the awkward cleaning regime that comes with them. Though incredibly pleasing to the eye, the gap between the top of the sink and the counter gets mucky. Yes, this gap is filled with silicone but trust us when we say that this is not enough to deter food granules and/or mold.
Drop-in sinks are far easier to clean. The rim is visible on the countertop to make wiping a dream. Although, it's worth noting that the slight gap in the joint can harbor dirt but it's visible and doesn't present a cleaning hassle.
When it comes to ease of installation, drop-in sinks win hands down. Why? Well, the clue is in the name! All you have to do is drop it into the hole on your countertop.
For those of you who love a bit of DIY on the weekend, you'll have a great time fitting a drop-in sink. It can easily be a one-person installation job depending on the weight of the sink of course.
Conversely, undermount sinks present many installation challenges. They have to be installed below the countertop so you need to have a complete understanding of the right methods, tools, techniques, and bonding agents to use.
Not to mention that it might be a two-person affair, depending on the construction and weight of the sink. It's unlikely that installing an undermount will be something an average DIYer could do.
It's safe to say that the drop-in sink wins this round!
When choosing a sink it is important to understand that if you have a certain type of material your sink options are limited.
You cannot use an undermount sink with a laminate countertop. Water will ruin your countertops underneath the laminate layer and cause the wood to expand making it unusable and unsafe.
Undermount sinks can be used with all other materials. Undermount sinks are the most common sink chosen for granite, marble, quartz, and all other solid surface countertops.
Drop-in sinks are (generally speaking) the most cost-effective kitchen sink option on the market today. The variety of construction materials available to drop-in sink manufacturers allows them to come with an attractive price tag.
Moreover, the installation process is easy which keeps the cost low even if you decide to employ a professional's help.
As we mentioned, undermount sinks are harder to install and have limited options when it comes to construction materials. Quality, aesthetic attributes, and durability are highly deliberated during the manufacturing process which, ultimately, raises the price you pay.
It is also important to note that cheaper sinks come with a trade-off. Lower quality materials used to manufacture a cheaper sink can cause the sink to rust and not last very long.
304 stainless steel contains less chromium (18%) which means it is more susceptible to corrosion or rusting.
430 stainless steel has about 30% chromium which will provide better corrosion or rusting resistance.
Sinks using better materials such as 430 will cost more compared to the 304 versions.
While the specific prices of both sink types can dramatically fluctuate, here are some ballpark figures to consider:
|Sink Type||Full Price Range||Average Price Range||Professional Install Price|
|Drop-in||$50 to $800||$150 to $300||$50 to $150|
|Undermount||$75 to $1,000||$200 to $500||$100 to $200|
Of course, you also need to consider the price for faucets and drain strainers. In general, these cost $100 to $150 and $10 to $15 respectively.
Our advice? Budget roughly $200 extra if you are wanting an undermount sink.
Don't forget to consider the quality of material used to manufacture the sink which determines the price, durability, and how long it will last.
It is also important to note that thicker gauge sink material will cost much more but provides better quality in comparison.
I don't think one or the other is better overall however I do think there are a few things to consider as outlined in this article.
The most important thing is that you choose a sink that you are happy with but let's take a look at which sink won each round.
|Installation Ease||The drop-in sink.|
|Cleaning Ease||The drop-in sink.|
|Lowest Cost||The drop-in sink.|
|Aesthetics||The undermount sink.|
|Construction Quality||The undermount sink.|
|Durability||The undermount sink.|
As you can see, it's a draw! However, by looking at the table above you can determine which one you think would fit your home the best.
If you're looking for something easy and budget-friendly, choose the drop-in sink or a cheaper undermount.
If you're wanting to add a splash of luxury to your kitchen, choose the undermount.
Most undermount sinks have a deeper sink basin. The depth of your sink basin is also affected by the thickness of your countertop. If you have a 3cm thick countertop which is 1 1/4 you will get that much more depth. Overall a deeper sink is more desirable.
Drop-in sinks are usually not as deep as an undermount sink. Drop-in sinks are usually 6 inches deep compared to 8 inches or 9 inches for undermount sinks.
For this reason a lot of people prefer an undermount sink over a drop-in sink.
At the end of the day, it's all about which one you find more appealing! Just remember to keep your budget in mind when you're considering an undermount sink VS drop-in sink. This is usually the factor that swings refurbishers in one way or another.
If you want to learn more about sink materials you should see our best sink material page here.