Here’s both a list of the best utility sinks, as well as what you should be looking for in the process, whether you’re looking for something small for your laundry room, or something majestic made of stainless steel. Are you excited to make your laundry room a lot more functionable place in your house?
What are they?
Utility, by definition, is used as an adjective to describe something that can perform several functions. Thus, a utility sink serves numerous purposes: soaking or rinsing laundry, bathing your pet, cleaning tools or big casseroles, and emptying buckets of water, among many others. Even if you’ve never encountered or used one in the past, I’m pretty sure you’ve already had a glimpse of such wonderful creations in old movies where wall-mounted, vintage, concrete laundry ones are used to soak fabrics instead of automated washing machines. Through time, the number of designs and types have expanded alongside their uses.
They also known as a laundry room sinks, which sometimes misleads people into thinking that it can only be installed in laundry rooms; in truth, you can also have one in your kitchen, garage, backyard, and anywhere you need it. When you’re a homeowner, it’s always good to invest in things that have great value, and this is one of them.
|Durable materials||Convenience||Many styles|
With one of these in your house, I can mostly do all the washing and sanitizing in one area with no fuss. It truly is the most versatile and useful thing that I know of, letting you keep the extra messy, greasy, and grimy items away from your kitchen and bathroom. Unlike a heavy duty wire or a gasless MIG welder, these really belong in all homes across the country!
What’s also great is that you can customize or buy the one that would suit your needs perfectly. With its wide range of material type, size or capacity, and use, you’ll be able to do your day-to-day activities with ease, no matter what it is! Here are the top three things that I appreciate the most about them:
MADE OUT OF DURABLE MATERIALS
It must be durable, so it can serve its multi purposes. Whether it’s concrete, porcelain, stainless steel, or a blend of other materials, they are manufactured in such a way that it would be able to withstand damage caused by chemical or physical agents that the typical kitchen sink cannot handle. This feature comes in handy when you have to clean a tool or fabric that requires a strong cleaning agent!
WIDE VARIETY OF STYLES
There are different types , whether it’s based on how it is installed, or the type of material used. Added features like strainer baskets can also differentiate one from the rest. With the wide variety of styles and models available, you can surely pick one that will suit your needs and blend seamlessly in your laundry room.
From washing gardening tools while attending to your dwarf shrubs, working on your lawn tractor, or pets up to soaking huge fabrics or solid shoes, you’ll have little to no trouble when you use one. Unlike the typical one which can be narrow and shallow, this generally has a deeper and wider working area, allowing you to handle larger items with minimized risk of splashing water outside. In addition, the wide variety of depth and/or dimension to choose from allows you to pick one that will fit perfectly in your space! Make sure to also read our article on the Clean Water Act.
With these helpful features, you’ll be able to reap a lot of benefits from having one installed in your home. To give you a better glimpse, I’ve listed some specific benefits below:
Heavy-duty cleaning. Harsh chemicals may cause damage to usual sinks. And so, heavy-duty cleaning requires a specific type, the same way you’d get a heavy duty extension cord for certain tasks as well.
Avoids Clogging. Hair and lint from the washing machine usually clogs drainages. However, if you empty out your washer into this instead that has a strainer basket at the drainage hole, you can easily trap hair, lint, and other solids that may cause clogging.
Pre-soaking & Hand-Washing laundry. Taking off stains and soaking laundry is easier to do in the utility sink because you won’t have to fill up buckets of water to transfer into basins or bathtubs. Some soak their laundry in the bathtub, but this isn’t sanitary for soiled clothing or shoes. It’s better to do that in the intended space for it!
Dyeing. When dealing with dyes, it’s better to do so in a designated space so you can avoid unwanted staining in porcelain bathtubs or plastic containers. You can also easily drain it and use strong cleaning agents to remove the dye, thereby avoiding having to repeatedly rinse the bathtub before you can safely use it.
Watering Plants. Water reservoirs are a must-have for plant lovers, especially if you prefer bottom-watering your plants. It’s very unsanitary to do this in your bathtub and kitchen, even more so if you use real soil for your plants because soil may harbor potential pests and pathogens. Instead, do it somewhere that is a good place to let your plants be submerged for a while until it soaks up enough water, since you can easily clean and disinfect the area without any safety hazards.
And if you want a water reservoir on-the-go, you might want to check out these fuel transfer tanks that can hold a lot of liquids (water, oil, fuel, fertilizer, etc.) and can be easily transported anywhere.
Bathing Pets. Pets can get rowdy during bath time. Instead of washing them on the bathroom floor where they can easily run out, you might want to try bathing your pets in the utility sink wherein the added depth and enclosed space of the sink will help you in making your pets behave and stay in one place. Sure, you can also do this in the bathtub, but your pets may harbor dirt or pests that may cling to the tub, which will be tedious to clean up (plus the horrors of getting dog hair out of the tub without clogging!).
As mentioned, they come in various types and sizes; they can be categorized based on the mounting type or style, material, and size. However, having too many options can pose as a problem—how would you know which is the best one? You can spend hours trying to pick the perfect one and still end up buying the wrong one if you’re not familiar with the type of material that you need and the dimensions that your space can handle.
|Floor mount||Wall mount|
To help you choose the perfect one for your home, I’ll discuss the different mounting styles, materials, styles, and size. I hope that by the end of this article, you’re already decided on what type to get!
Based on mounting/installation style
With varied purposes comes varied styles and mounting. Depending on the location of where you want to situate it, a certain type of mounting might be preferable over others. Read on to find the perfect match for you!
Image Source: Riverbend Home
This all-in-one utility sink comes with a storage cabinet, with the main part itself mounted into the base cabinet. It comes as a single unit and is comparable with freestanding ones because it can stand on its own, no longer needing any special mounting like what wall-mounted ones require. Some more advantages of this are the extra storage area it provides, and it usually comes with a faucet and plumbing supply line underneath the basin. This one would be a great addition to laundry rooms and kitchen, where you usually need extra storage space for laundry or cooking materials.
Image Source: Costco
As suggested by its name, it is installed as a standalone unit, mounted directly into the wall using support brackets. It needs no structural support underneath, and so it leaves an empty space underneath it. This is a wonderful choice if you don’t have a countertop and you want to keep the floor area spacious and clear. However, steer clear from loading heavy objects onto wall-mounted ones.
Wall-mounted utility models are a great addition to basements where countertops are usually absent, and you need the extra floor space for storage. Most vintage models are either wall-mounted or freestanding, having double basins and resembling water troughs that you usually see in farmhouses.
Image Source: Wayfair
Freestanding ones, as the name suggests, are models that have structural support that lets it stand on its own. Most models are portable, which is an advantage if you want to move the entire unit to a more suitable place. There are some models that can be bolted to the floor (floor-mounted), which offers extra support and stability but sacrifices portability.
Image Source: Lowe’s
However, there are portable options too that are freestanding and generally mounted on wheeled carts, so you can move the whole unit without difficulty wherever you want. This type usually has supply lines that you can connect to an existing plumbing line, which is a great addition for garages and outdoor sites.
Image Source: PortableSinks4Less
Drop-in or self-rimming
Also called an overmount model, this type is mounted into a hollow space of a countertop or kitchen island. The basin is hidden from the view, sitting below the counter (thus the name “drop-in”), but the rim is visible on the counter (thus the names “self-rimming” & “overmount”). Drop-in ones is one of the most common type installed for kitchen countertops because it is very easy to install and you can choose one that will fit and blend well with the countertop’s material. The depth of the basin varies from model to model, while some models boast a built-in washboard.
Image Source: The Home Depot
In contrast to overmount ones, this type is mounted underneath the surface or countertop (thus the name “undermount”), concealing the edges or rim. This is the perfect addition to your home if you want to retain the seamless appearance of your countertop since there’ll be no protruding rims. This also makes cleaning efficient since the absence of the rim makes it easy for you to maneuver spills from the countertop directly into the sink.
Image Source: Zuhne
Based on style
Some models boast a feature that other models do not have. Depending on your needs, you might want to opt for a model that has an added feature that will be useful for you. Here are some examples:
The benefits of having a single basin are doubled when you get one with two basins! This is a great option for people who need to work simultaneously on two tasks, such as soaking laundry on one side while rinsing other clothes on the other. Some double basin ones have a rectangular-shaped basin that has a divider in between, while some models have fully separate basins (and some even have differently sized basins, too!). Here are some examples:
Basin shape & size
Size and dimension are pertinent factors when it comes to choosing the right one. Typical models are just wide and deep enough for rinsing small to mid-sized items without sloshing water. On the other hand, heavy-duty ones have larger basins that have greater depth, offering a big working area so you can fit more (and bigger) items in it, while avoiding water spillage.
When choosing a basin shape & size, think about what feature will be more useful for you: depth or working area. Some models can be big in terms of width and length but are shallow, while some models have deep basins but are limited in terms of width. Here’s an example of a shallow but wide model, which I think is perfect for soaking a few clothes or bathing small pets, offering you a good visual of what’s submerged.
Faucets and faucet holes
Not all models come fully equipped with faucets or faucet holes. Typically, a utility sink is literally just the basin (and the stand/legs, if it’s freestanding) with no faucet, as shown below.
Image Source: Wayfair
And so, if you need the whole setup, make sure to purchase one that has the appropriate accessories. It’d be a nightmare if you purchased one thinking that it already comes with a faucet! Faucets come in many sizes and styles, such as two- or single-handle models, centerset or widespread, and deck- or wall-mounted. Some models even have an extra feature like a side sprayer, as shown below.
Farmhouse sink or apron-front
Farmhouse sinks and apron-front models are commonly used interchangeably when referring to sinks with a large lip or front rim that sticks out from the counter, which is considered the “apron.” The other rims or corners are hidden from view, and this can be installed via flush mount or slide-in, overmount, and undermount installations.
Farmhouse-styled ones generally have much deeper and wider basins compared to traditional ones, and the apron/front lip protects your counter from being wet (thereby saving it from unwanted wood rot) since the water drippings will drop from the apron straight to the floor where you can easily put a rag to catch it. Therefore, farmhouse ones are a great addition to counters that need to be protected from getting wet, and a great choice for people who do a lot of dishwashing or laundry.
Extended washboards, soap dishes, basin dividers, etc.
Additional features such as washboards, soap holders, dish rack, bucket hooks, drainboards, and basin dividers, among many others, serve to make a certain task easier. Think about which task is the one you’ll primarily use it for, so you choose an additional feature that will help you complete your chores efficiently.
Check out our similar guide on cassette toilets and extension cords by length. We also have a guide with a chart showing how you can convert metric to SAE. When it comes to water, and sealing things off, we’d encourage you to read our guide on epoxy grout.
Based on material
The material influences the cost, appearance, and functionality, which is why it’s important to choose the one that’s within your budget and is best suited to your needs. Each type of material has their own pros and cons. For example, stainless steel may not blend well with your kitchen counter’s theme or style, but it is favourable to use for commercial uses. Here’s a quick list of great materials to consider:
|Stainless steel||Acrylic||Polypropylene||Enameled cast iron||Solid surfacing||Concrete||Soapstone|
Stainless steel – This is mainly used in commercial environments because it has excellent corrosion and oxidation resistance. Although it does not have a very stylish appearance, it still looks sleek and boasts high durability and practicality, which is why it’s the perfect choice for garages, laundry rooms, restaurants, etc. They’re is also very easy to maintain; it is sandable and can withstand steel wool, harsh cleaning agents, and heat.
PROS: corrosion, oxidation, heat, and stain resistant; highly durable, & easy to maintain
CONS: can dent upon sufficient force, deep scratches cannot be fixed, & pricey
Acrylic – This is a good choice if you want a low-cost, modern/aesthetically pleasing, and stain-resistant model. Acrylic is a type of polycarbonate plastic that can be molded into different shapes, so the variety of shapes and designs will be broad. Stains and scratches can be easily removed by buffing or polishing. However, if you’re a painter, steer clear from this because petroleum-based products will damage the acrylic. Furthermore, acrylic is not heat-resistant; a hot pan can easily burn and mark it permanently.
PROS: aesthetic designs and colors, affordable, stain-resistant, durable, lightweight, scratches can be buffed out, & easy to install
CONS: not as durable than stainless or cast-iron ones, not recommended for petroleum-based products, & vulnerable to heat
Polypropylene – This is the most commonly used material for the purpose; therefore, it is readily available and in-stock in many stores. Some models also boast mold/mildew and chemical resistant properties, making them preferable for laboratory applications. It’s also very lightweight, so it’s perfect for wall-mount installations.
PROS: durable, mold- and mildew-resistant, highly resistant to harsh and acidic/corrosive chemicals (if designed for lab), lightweight, affordable, & easy to maintain
CONS: staining and cracking may occur, may be reactive with some harsh chemicals, & vulnerable to heat (melts at 320°F and higher)
Enameled cast iron – To make an enameled cast iron, a porcelain enamel coating is added onto the durable iron alloy material. This coating gives it a smooth, glossy surface, and it makes the underlying iron more stable even at high temperatures. However, you should be careful with using abrasive tools because these may damage the porcelain enamel coating, leading to chipping. Also, the core is generally a galvanized steel, which adds to the durability, avoiding rusting and oxidation. An enameled cast iron model is very sturdy and stain-resistant, but the added weight may pose a problem. Thus, it should be installed in an equally durable counter or must be supported by high-quality legs or cabinet.
PROS: highly durable, smooth and glossy appearance, stain and heat resistant, easy to clean, & can be reglazed
CONS: heavy, not as accessible as other materials, & expensive
Solid surfacing – Solid surface ones are made by mixing a mineral compound with polyester or acrylic resins, offering a wide range of styles, colors, and designs. This is a perfect choice if you want a fully seamless look for your countertop since it can be molded from the same solid surface that makes up your countertop. There are a lot of new solid surfacing materials, innovated by companies to have a longer lifespan and withstand harsh environments. Examples are Formica Sinks and Corian ones that offer antibacterial properties, improved stain resistance & durability, and more.
PROS: can be customized to match your countertop, durable, stain resistant, & easy to clean/maintain
CONS: not as heat resistant as stainless steel (burn marks may appear), pricey, & may be reactive with some harsh chemicals
Concrete – This is one of the most affordable choices for material, albeit pricier than the usual porcelain ones. You also have the freedom to personalize the look. It is very sturdy and durable and can give a streamlined finish to your countertop if it’s incorporated into the countertop’s design. However, concrete is porous so cracking may occur especially if it’s not properly sealed and maintained. When damaged, repairing and resealing is possible.
PROS: can be personalized, affordable, heat resistant, & can be resealed/patched up if damaged
CONS: porous, can get cracks, heavy, & can stain if not properly sealed
Soapstone – This wonderful metamorphic rock is a great choice if you want something that does not readily react with acids or harsh chemicals and can withstand high temperatures. Soapstone can actually be used to make waste oil heaters to generate heat in your home due to its non-reactive properties and heat-resistance. It’s also a favorite in the manufacture of laboratory sinks. Soapstone is very dense and impermeable; thus, it doesn’t require sealants as concrete does. Furthermore, it’s stain-resistant and prevents the growth of bacteria and mold. This material also ages with grace, developing a vintage look throughout the years while retaining its functionality and durability if maintained properly. However, if you want to keep the vibrancy of soapstone, the application of mineral oil is a must.
PROS: durable, highly heat-resistant, non-reactive/can withstand corrosive and acidic chemicals, stain resistant, dense and non-porous, & easy to clean and maintain
CONS: expensive, not scratch-resistant, can be damaged and cracked by blunt force/heavy objects, & needs mineral oil for upkeep
Cast iron, metal, plastic, fiberglass or something else?
Some materials resemble each other and might confuse you, especially if these materials are coated with something that has a smooth, glossy white finish. For example, fiberglass closely resembles enameled cast iron and porcelain basins. Some coatings on metals can also mimic the appearance of stainless steel. Thus, don’t rely on visuals; read the description if you’re online shopping or better yet, shop personally in stores to get a better feel on the materials. These materials may look the same, but their properties are completely different from each other, as discussed in the previous section. For example, fiberglass on its own is not a really great material for the purpose since it’s very brittle and porous, but acrylic ones that are reinforced with fiberglass become non-porous and much more durable.
When it comes to outdoor models, you should opt for one that can withstand the harsh and ever-changing weather. Some materials that would suit an outdoor environment are stainless steel, soapstone, and concrete. If you live in an area that experiences winter, you can opt for a water-free option, so you won’t have to worry about winterizing the water lines.
If you’re up for some DIY activities, you can totally make your own! For this, you’ll probably need quality tools like these engine-driven welders or tig welders and plasma cutters, so you can go through any type of material with no fuss. And if you plan to just do a makeover on vintage steel or cast iron one that’s wasting away in your garage, you might want to check out these mini metal lathes for easy metalwork, and these wide belt sanders to polish that sink to give it a brand new look! You should also check out this guide on gauge wires, so you can safely operate your electrical tools anytime, anywhere.
Large or small? How to choose for the right size
Once you’re set with the installation type and material, it’s time to pick the right size. Here’s a quick guide on how to gauge the size based on the area where you’ll be putting it in.
- For wall-mounted, floor-mounted, ones with cabinets:
- The allotted space must equal the actual dimension of the sink or base cabinet. Thus, you should get the actual dimension of the allotted space and give it to the manufacturer or shop owner to help you pick the perfectly sized one for your space. Bear in mind that the faucet and plumbing line placement must also be taken into account when choosing the right space to put it in.
- For overmount, undermount, and slide-in utility ones:
- This is a bit trickier than wall- or floor-mounted ones. First, choose which base cabinet or countertop is going to house it. Make sure that the available countertop or cabinet allows at least 1” of countertop overhang. Also, take into account the working area that you’ll be left with after the installation. For example, if the available space that you have in your garage is around 50”, pick a 40” base cabinet and match it with a 35-37” utility sink. This will leave you 10” of space to freely move.
If you were welding, you’d both want the right glasses as well as the right gas for the purpose, however, if you’re cleaning something at home, you would want to make sure you’re getting the right one for the purpose!