If you’re upgrading your kitchen and searching for a commercial style stainless steel kitchen sink, you’re probably prioritising size – whether you want a double bowl sink or single bowl sink, as well as functionality. And while these are of course important considerations, to find a quality sink, it’s not the first thing you should be looking for.
Before you even begin shopping for the right size or added features, you need to first find a stainless steel sink with the right grade of stainless steel. Stainless steel sinks come in a variety of different grades, and they certainly aren’t all made equally.
In this article, we’ll be covering why the grade of your stainless steel kitchen sink matters, and which grade you should be choosing for peace of mind and confidence you have the best quality sink in your new kitchen.
What is Stainless Steel?
To understand stainless steel grades, we need to understand what stainless steel is. Stainless steel is a unique kind of steel that doesn't rust easily, which is why it’s an excellent material for kitchen sinks (and kitchen appliances in general). It's made by adding chromium to regular steel.
The chromium forms a thin layer on the surface of the steel that protects it from rust and corrosion – and fun fact: this layer can repair itself if it gets damaged. Stainless steel can also have other elements like nickel and molybdenum to make it even more resistant to corrosion, but we’ll get to the next few sections.
Basically, the specific mix of elements determines the type of stainless steel and what it's best used for, which is why we say it’s important to consider stainless steel grades when choosing a commercial style kitchen sink.
The Different Grades of Stainless Steel
Have you ever wondered why there’s such a massive price difference in some stainless steel sinks even though it’s the same type of sink? Well, it’s all to do with the grade of stainless steel.
Grade 304 Vs Grade 316
Grade 304 stainless steel is the most common high-quality grade for household and commercial kitchen sinks, while grade 316 is used in environments usually exposed to harsh chemicals and minerals, such as hospitals, science labs, or outdoor settings. The main difference between the two grades is the presence of molybdenum, which enhances the steel’s corrosion resistance.
Now, chromium and nickel are also important elements in stainless steel. They improve its overall properties, making it durable and corrosion-resistant. A grade 304 sink contains 18% chromium and 8% nickel, while grade 316 has 17% chromium, 10% nickel, and 2% molybdenum.
So, Which Grade is Best?
Based on materials alone, grade 316 stainless steel is of higher quality and most durable. However, it’s a much more expensive material and not necessary for a domestic sink. You see, Grade 316 is commonly known as “Marine grade” because it can withstand high levels of chemical exposure – but how often are you using harsh chemicals in your kitchen sink?
Sure, you could purchase a Grade 316 stainless steel sink for your kitchen, but you’d be paying a premium for no real reason. That’s why Grade 304 is the best sink choice when searching for high-quality domestic sinks – it’s durable, robust and comes in at a much more friendly price point.
Now, anything below grade 304 you definitely want to steer clear of. Yes, these sinks would be cheaper but of much lower quality. Low-quality stainless steel grades have chromium content between 10% and 12% and can be susceptible to discolouration and pitting, so steer clear at all costs!
A Quick Note on Stainless Steel Gauge
Stainless steel sinks not only come in different grades but also different gauge levels. The gauge level simply refers to the thickness of the stainless steel sheet used to construct the sink.
The most common gauge level for stainless steel sinks is 18, but it’s actually the lowest gauge – meaning the thinnest type of stainless steel.
You ideally want to be shopping for kitchen sinks made with 16-gauge stainless steel or higher, as these are thicker and heavier compared to 18-gauge sinks. The extra thickness provides added durability and resistance to dents and damage, making your sink sturdier overall.
Benefits of High-Quality Stainless Steel Sinks
When it comes to commercial style kitchen sinks, you want to be investing in high-quality stainless steel. Here are just some of the great benefits:
Durability That Lasts
High-quality stainless steel sinks are built to last. They can withstand even the busiest of kitchens, resisting dents, scratches, and any damage that may occur from lots of use. This means you won't have to worry about replacing your sink every few years, saving you money in the long run.
No More Stains and Buildup
One of the standout features of a high quality stainless steel sink is its resistance to stains, acids, and oxide buildup. No matter how much coffee, tomato sauce, or wine comes into contact with the surface, it won't leave stubborn marks or discolouration. You can easily wipe away spills and splashes, keeping your sink looking clean and shiny for years to come.
Easy Maintenance & Hygienic Space
Cleaning up after a busy day in the kitchen is super easy with high-quality stainless steel sinks. With a smooth surface, wiping and rinsing your sink is a breeze. Plus, the stainless steel material prevents food and grime from sticking to the sink, making it much safer and more hygienic overall.
A Perfect Match for Any Kitchen
Whether you're setting up a brand-new kitchen or renovating an existing one, high-quality stainless steel sinks seamlessly blend in. Their sleek and timeless design works well in any kitchen design, offering the perfect blend of versatility, practicality and style.
Commercial Sinks Buying Considerations
Now that we know why stainless steel grades are important when shopping for a commercial style sink, let’s quickly go over the other important factors and features when finding the right sink for your house.
Configurations of Stainless Steel Sinks
Undermount Sinks Vs Top Mount Sinks
Undermount sinks and top mount sinks are two different ways of installing sinks in your kitchen. Undermount sinks are mounted beneath the countertop, giving a sleek and seamless look with no visible edges. They are great for a modern and clean aesthetic, easy cleaning, and showcasing your benchtop.
Top mount sinks, on the other hand, are installed on top of the countertop with a visible lip or rim. They are easier to install and are more traditional in style. While they may not have the same seamless appearance as undermount sinks, top mount sinks are generally more affordable and can work with any type of countertop.
Double Bowl Sink Vs Single Bowl Sink
When deciding between a double bowl sink and a single bowl sink for your kitchen, there’s no right or wrong answer, you just need to consider your needs and preferences. A double bowl sink offers two separate bowls and is ideal for multitasking and keeping your kitchen organised. You can wash dishes in one bowl while using the other for rinsing or food preparation.
On the other hand, a single bowl sink provides a spacious bowl without dividers, offering flexibility and ample space for larger items. It simplifies cleaning and is also a great option if you cook with a lot of oversized pots and pans, for example.
When shopping for a commercial style kitchen sink, here are some additional features you might want to look out for:
- Drainboards for added cleaning space and convenience.
- Sound deadening features like sound-absorbing pads for a quieter kitchen environment.
- Drainers & garbage disposal options for enhanced functionality.
Shop Buildmat’s Commercial Style Stainless Steel Sinks Today
Experience the Buildmat difference with our range of premium commercial-style kitchen sinks, designed to elevate your kitchen with unmatched quality and functionality. Our sinks are built to last, crafted from 1.5mm thick (16 gauge) steel for exceptional durability, meaning they can withstand the demands of busy kitchens. Crafted by hand, with precise bending, welding, grinding, our hardwearing 304 grade stainless steel sinks are engineered to meet the highest standards. Transform your kitchen today with our commercial-style sinks. SHOP NOW.