The truth is that selecting a bathroom sink can be a bit overwhelming, but only when you’re not sure what you’re looking for. You need to consider which room you are shopping for (master bathroom, family bathroom, powder room), who will use the room and how much space you have. So before you choose your new bathroom sink, have a read and be armed with the information you need to help narrow down the best options for you and your space.
1. Undermount sink.
This type of sink sits underneath the counter. The rim of the sink is fixed to the underside of the countertop, as opposed to sitting on top of it.
Pros: This sink creates a seamless, clean look, as less of it is visible. Water and spills can be wiped directly from the countertop into the sink without any obstruction, making it an easy-to-clean option for family bathrooms.
Cons: Undermounting a sink will usually only be possible with a solid-surface countertop, such as stone, and isn’t suitable with a laminate, as it can’t be sealed as well against moisture. These sinks also tend to cost more than top-mount ones.
Good for: Busy family bathrooms.
2. Top-mount sink.
A top-mount, or drop-in, sink is designed to sit on top of the counter, as the name suggests. Generally, most of the sink sits below the counter, with just the rim of it sitting on top of, and visible above, the counter. The rim can be either slim or chunky depending on the style you choose.
Pros: Top-mount sinks are suitable for most countertop materials, including wood and laminate, as the cutout is covered by the sink and therefore doesn’t risk being damaged by water. They are also less costly than undermount sinks to install in a stone countertop, because they don’t require polishing of the cutout edges.
Con: You can’t wipe water and spills straight from the counter into the sink.
Good for: Elegant master bathrooms and minimalist schemes.
3. Pedestal sink.
If your preference is a simple wall-mounted sink, but your waste pipe has to go through the floor and can’t be changed, then a pedestal sink is a great option.
Pros: The pedestal under the sink sits between the underside of the sink and the floor, concealing any pipework in between. A pedestal sink is also aesthetically pleasing and perfect if you want to give your bathroom a classical vibe.
Cons: You won’t have any storage space under the sink or any counter space around it. This option can also be a bit tricky to clean around, as there is usually a gap between the wall and the back of the pedestal.
Good for: Period bathrooms and traditional schemes.
4. Vessel sink.
A vessel sink is one that generally sits completely on top of the countertop, although there are some models that sit partially below the counter.
Pros: Unlike sinks that are exposed above the counter a little or not at all, vessel sinks demand attention and are a way to create a statement in your bathroom. As the name suggests, a vessel sink is basically like a large bowl, so it is a great choice if you like a deep sink that can hold plenty of water.
Cons: Due to the height of vessel sinks and the way they sit above the counter, careful planning of the counter height, and of the height of the cabinets below, is required to ensure that the sink doesn’t end up being too high and uncomfortable to use. This often leads to less storage space under the counter. Cleaning around the base and back of the sink can also be a bit tricky.
Good for: Master bathrooms and powder rooms.
5. Integrated sink and countertop.
Many off-the-shelf vanity cabinets offer an all-in-one countertop with a sink. With this style, the sink is molded as part of the countertop. It can be made from various materials, such as porcelain or acrylic.
Pros: An integrated sink is easy to clean. There are no ridges or seams, so it’s streamlined and a great choice for busy family bathrooms. These sinks are generally available in set standard sizes. Some suppliers may offer the option to have one custom made to the size that suits your space best.
Con: Integrated tops are usually designed so the countertop gradually slopes down and inward to create a sink in the middle. This can lead to having less flat counter space than with other models.
Good for: Those who want to buy off the shelf for speed and cost rather than opt for a custom vanity.
6. Semirecessed sink.
If your bathroom has limited space, but you would still like some cabinet space below your sink for storage, then a semirecessed option might be the solution you need.
Pros: A semirecessed sink sits at the front of the cabinet and countertop, allowing you to have shallower cabinets — maybe even as shallow as about 12 inches, depending on the model you choose. This frees up valuable floor space. It also keeps a lot of the counter space free. This can be a good option for young children and people with limited mobility, as you can get closer to the sink to reach the faucet without the obstruction of a countertop and cabinets.
Cons: The storage space underneath is limited. Also, because there isn’t any countertop around the front of the sink to catch water, splashes and spills onto the floor are more common, especially in a home with children.
Good for: Children’s bathrooms and tight spaces.
7. Wall-mounted sink.
This is fixed directly to the wall without needing to sit in or on a countertop. It looks streamlined and gives a minimalist feeling to a room.
Pros: A wall-mounted sink doesn’t have cabinets below it, which saves on space and also leaves more visible floor area, making the room feel bigger. For a wall-mounted sink to work in your space, the plumbing, including the waste, must be positioned inside the wall to have a clean look.
Cons: There is no storage space, and there is a lack of “landing” space due to the absence of a countertop. Consider your need for storage in your bathroom before opting for a wall-mounted sink and maybe reserve it for the powder room, where storage isn’t as important.
Good for: Small spaces.
8. Washplane sink.
Washplane sinks, often spotted in sleek hotels and restaurant bathrooms, are the simplest of the options. They’re slim, streamlined and stylish.
Pros: Washplane sinks take up very little space, so they can work in a room where space is limited, such as in a powder room. A stonemason can make them in this style from granite, marble or engineered stone. They mount a small stainless steel trough under the sink to catch the water before it runs into the waste pipe in the wall behind.
Cons: Washplane sinks are best suited to the powder room, where the sink will be used just for hand washing. They don’t come with the option of having a plug, plus they are extremely shallow, so they’re not designed to hold water.
Good for: Powder rooms.