I spent much of my youth standing at the single-bowl sink in my family’s kitchen doing things like canning peaches, preparing the crab for Christmas Eve dinner, and, of course, washing dishes. This sink was a white, porcelain beauty that got a whole lot of use and attention.
As an adult, however, I’ve spent most of my kitchen time interacting with a double-bowl sink, and I have to say, I don’t know which is better because frankly, they just meet different needs. I realize, however, that I am part of the vast minority in this respect, and if you were to take a poll, you’d most likely find some pretty passionate feelings in both camps.
If you’re thinking about a kitchen renovation but you’re not sure which type of sink to go with, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to list some pros and cons of both styles to help you narrow down your selection.
If you ask single-bowl people what they love about these sinks, they will tell you that its size matters. Interestingly, this answer means more than what you might think. On the one hand, single-bowl sinks tend to take up less overall space on a countertop, which makes their size a highly desirable feature for small kitchens. On the other hand, because there is only one bowl to work with, it can be a little bit wider and deeper (while still being smaller overall than a double-bowl sink). This lets you wash larger items such as cutting boards and stockpots without standing on your tiptoes and using the sprayer.
Single-bowl sinks also have the benefit of being a little less expensive than their double-bowled counterparts with a typically easier install. Additionally, single bowls have the garbage disposal situated to catch all food particles, so you don’t have to scoop any mushy bits into the garbage by hand.
People who dislike single-bowl sinks usually cite their lack of convenience as a major point against them. For instance, you can’t really separate your dirty dishes from your clean ones, which means that if you wash your dishes by hand, your countertop soon fills up with dirty dishes, and you have to plan for a drying rack somewhere else in the kitchen. This can be particularly problematic for people who have limited kitchen space to begin with. The single bowl also makes it difficult to separate fragile dishes like glass or crystal from items made of metal, cast iron, or ceramic.
Now, if you were to ask a double-bowl sink person his favorite feature, he’ll most likely tell you that it is the versatility that comes with having two separate compartments. The two separate bowls let you wash and dry, wash and rinse, or just hold and wash. You can also use one of the bowls to separate the remains of your food prep from your dishes to help keep your countertops available for other prep work.
Another aspect of the double-bowl sink’s versatility is the number of accessories that you can use in one of the sinks while the other stays clear. Drying racks, cutting boards, strainers, glassware holders, and food rinsing containers that fit into one side of the sink can all make kitchen prep easier and more efficient while freeing up counter space.
One major con of the double-bowl sink is that it takes up significantly more space than the single-bowl sink without providing a place to wash large items. If you plan on using and washing a lot of large pots and pans, a double-bowl sink might not be the best fit for you.
Additionally, another con that I have run into is that the garbage disposal is only on one side of the sink. This can lead to a lot of smelly gunk accumulating on the other side of the sink that you then have to scoop out by hand and shovel into the other side. While not necessarily a deal-breaker, this is an unpleasant task worth mentioning.
Lastly, faucet placement and plumbing are more complicated with a double-bowl sink because you have two areas that need water and plumbing. This can lead to more expensive install and maintenance in the long run.
What Should You Choose?
Unfortunately, no one can make that decision for you. You are going to have to look at your kitchen layout and decide whether a larger bowl with potentially more counter space outweighs the versatility of having two separate compartments for prepping and cleaning.