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Need some advice. Single or double bowl for kitchen sink?

12 years ago

This is my first post to this site after spending hours and hours reading and looking at pictures here. I've gotten some great information and am most appreciative!

We are planning a kitchen remodel and are due to start demo on Feb 13th! I'm feeling pretty comfortable with most of the decisions as I put in my dream kitchen 6 years ago and then moved a year later. lol Our home now has a huge kitchen that was planned and laid out by someone who doesn't cook. Can't wait to have a kitchen that actually functions!

One of the decisions that I've gone back and forth on is the kitchen sink. I simply can't decide whether to go with a single bowl or a double. I think most of my issues stem from the fact that I've never had anything other than a double bowl. My new kitchen will have a prep sink in the island so the main sink will mainly serve as the cleanup center.

I do have a dishwasher as well as several things that are not dishwasher safe so I hand wash a reasonable number of items. That makes me think double bowl. But then again . . .. just made turkey soup today and my 20 quart stock pot and some of my larger items are sitting on the counter waiting to be washed. There I go, back to single bowl again. Ugh!

I'm going to go with an apron front fire clay sink that is available in a single or double. I need to get it ordered soon and I'm continuing to flip flop.

I really appreciate any advice. :)

Happy New Year!


Comments (40)

  • enduring
    12 years ago

    Also look into fireclay sink satisfaction while you're at it. FWIW, I have a stainless steel fairly deep single bowl sink and love it. I had a double sink for years in this kitchen and couldn't wait to get rid of it. Years ago I lived in a house with an old large cast iron deep single bowl sink with a large integrated backsplash. It was the best sink ever!

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    I thought I wanted a large single sink like everybody else. Afterall that's what a lot of people on GW claim to love. But then I had my doubts. I never was totally sold on the idea. Mainly because we actually do fill up the sink with soapy water quite often. Maybe this is because I've never had a $1200 dishwasher. I don't trust my delicate glasses in the cheapo dishwasher nor do I like the way the plastics don't dry. And of course I always handwash all of my knives. So I became skeptical of the one sink concept and the inconvenience of having to drag out a dishpan every night after dinner. It was like a lightbulb went on in my head when I realized that I belonged to the double sink camp regardless of what is popular. We haven't built yet, but I actually felt a sense of relief when I decided we'd do a double sink with a low divide. We handwash knives every night and only wash cookie sheets about 5 times a year. Always think about your personal needs and style of doing things.
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    Tony, I have lived and worked and looked in Asia and am familiar with no hot water, no DW kitchens. That being said, I think a separate water source and prep area is extremely critical.. Especially in Asian style cooking, water is your most often used ingredient. Instead of a double bowl, I would suggest a single bowl cleanup sink.. Even 24 " would work or one of those IKEA sinks that are deeper front to back..and a small prep-sink (think a bowl big enough to wash spinach or 2kgs of veggies.) that is away from the cleanup area.. It is yucky to wash veggies near a pile of smelly dirty dishes. Especially without dishwasher, these dishes do tend to pile up until they are scrubbed and put away at end of the day. My friend in Mumbai remodeled her flat and added a prep sink and really loves it. She used a really narrow sink as she has a tiny kitchen. small bar sink j Here is a link that might be useful: Small stainless prep sink
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    12 years ago

    I went from several rectangular double bowls (60/40 and 70/30) and one round double bowl (50/50) to a single bowl Ikea Domsjo fireclay sink. Best decision ever made! You can always keep a small plastic dish pan for the hand-wash items.

    HTH, Petra

  • KBH
    12 years ago

    I am coming from a 60/40 Blanco and can't wait till I get my single bowl cast iron farmhouse sink. I will miss using the 40% side as my drying rack and not having the dishes on the counter. That was a big convenience. But not being able to put my sheet pans in the sink to soak was a PITA.

  • boxerpups
    12 years ago

    I chose a single because of the way I cook and the way I
    clean. I wanted a large deep single bowl sink to wash
    lasagna pans or soak a baking dish. I like the feel of
    soap suds in a deep bowl. I also wanted a large deep bowl
    to hide the ocassional dirty coffee cup or glass. Most
    dirty dishes just go into the DW, my bosch DW does not
    require a rinse off so most dishes go right in. The
    deep sink is a perfect way to hide that extra cup or spoon
    that did not make it in the cycle.

    Think about the way you cook, clean and use your sink.
    My aunt (just finished a kitchen reno with a double) and
    they are coming back to cut her granite and refit her
    kitchen with a single bowl. She regrets her double. This
    is not the case for everyone but I know for me I love
    the old fashioned feel of a large sink.
    I just wish I could have had a big beautiful farmhouse


  • northcarolina
    12 years ago

    Now I like double bowls, and I know I am different than a lot of people here in that way. I think which double bowl you have matters, though. My mom's 50/50 double bowl sink can be difficult to wash up in, even though it's a good quality sink (Franke I think) and not as shallow as some. But my double bowl is much easier to use. It is an old cast iron 60/40 drop-in and the big basin is nearly as wide as the countertop (front to back) and quite deep. Although that side is not comfortable to use for washing because of the depth, it is much easier to rinse off large items in there. I never have the problem with water going everywhere or with managing large items that I do with my mom's smaller double basin.

    I am going to be looking for a low divide double bowl for my next sink. I saw a couple of them in a showroom and they look just about perfect for the way I work. Also I promised myself to never have a white sink again (haha) but YMMV on that. (your mileage may vary)

  • CEFreeman
    12 years ago

    Now, I like double bowls, too. I tend to load one up with dirty dishes, then use the other side for rinsing, etc.

    I have a great, apron Kohler (Hawthorne) double bowl sink.
    Unfortunately, the bowls aren't big enough.

    Even though this is new, and I actually have two (long story about rust), I am already eying the big apron sinks that maybe bow out, with a big bowl for pots and rinsing, and a smaller side for laziness. I mean, er, a, dirty dishes until I load them in the dw.

    Just don't forget that a faucet with a higher arch is much more functional than one that's lower.

    Here is my sink:

    Love this baby, but would love to change this one out and sell the one I have in storage.

    Anyway. Look at what you do. If you tend to put everything in the sink to rinse it for the DW? A single bowl can be a PIA because the cups & silver want to slide towards the drain. That doesn't happen in a double! :)

  • dianalo
    12 years ago

    A single bowl can preserve counter space because it does not have to be as wide as a double. We have a vintage single bowl that is not very deep and I really like it better. I chose it for its look and integrated sideboard, my one 'form over functio'n choice, and it turns out I like it better than our previous larger sink for functional reasons as well. It is less deep and overall smaller and I find it works just fine and encourages more prompt cleaning up of dirty dishes. Maybe it is just the new kitchen, but I get to dishes faster now and don't even keep a dish rack out. It does help that our new dw actually cleans well, so no rewashing and I could put things in it that would not have gotten done in our old one, lol.... We have been using the new sink for approx 9 months and so the new toy factor is no longer an issue.
    I disagree about a high arc faucet because with our old one, I'd be wetter after cleaning up. With our new lower one, I stay dry. The new faucet has an elbow in it, so it is flexible without being tall.

  • palomalou
    12 years ago

    LOVE my wide single bowl. Everything fits in it, even the surface bowls from the range (those black panels that sit under the grates.) This house had double when we bought it, and I was SO happy when we finally changed it out--to say nothing about the ugly Corian!

  • Jody
    12 years ago

    We just switched to a single bowl and LOVE it!!! Would never want to go back to a double sink again. So much easier to do clean up with this sink.


  • badgergal
    12 years ago

    I have the Blanco Performa Medium #441312 and I love it. It has a lower divide so it can function more like a single but still give you the versatility of a double. I do not have a separate prep sink though so that is why I particularly like this sink. The 3/4 side is big enough for prepping . Here is how it looked prior to the faucet install. What looks like a cabinet right behind the sink is actually the dishwasher waiting to be installed.

  • janealexa
    12 years ago

    We will have a single bowl sink in the new house. We will also have a prep sink.

    Currently we have a 60/40 and I think it is a pain to clean large pots and pans.

    I've heard from others that 50/50 double sinks are not useful. If you go with double, I would get a low divide and do 60/40 or 70/30. I like badgergal's sink!

    Good luck!

  • suzanne_sl
    12 years ago

    Of all the kitchen decisions, the one thing I could never get excited about was the sink. Then I saw the Kohler Stages 45 video. The light dawned on me that what they were saying/showing was actually how I used my sink, just badly because I had an inadequate double bowl that fought me at every turn - I just hadn't realized it. Major light bulb moment.

    In the end, I didn't have room for a Stages 45 and the 33" version is too small (for me) for it's intended use with all its bells and whistles. I ended up with a Krauss 32" sink. I can't tell you how much easier it's made my clean-up! There are a couple of things that are less handy about it, like a place to leave drying dishes that isn't on the counter, but I can live with those. Besides, it encourages me to actually put the hand wash away sooner. There's a lot of things I love about our new kitchen, but the sink is near the top of the list.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Kohler Stages sink video

  • mama goose_gw zn6OH
    12 years ago

    I recently put in a 33" stainless apron sink--former sink was a 33" 50/50 drop-in. I love the new sink, but it's not without it's issues, mainly 90 degree corners and 10" depth. Even when I had the double bowl, I rarely drew a full sink of water for the few large items that I hand wash. I use a large mixing bowl or pot, placed on top of an inverted plastic container, to raise the bowl 2 1/2 inches--comfortable for my 5'7" ht. When I'm finished, I rinse the plastic 'booster' and drain it with the other clean dishes.

    I love being able to fit the dish drainer and a roasting pan in the sink at the same time. We have an auxiliary sink a few steps away, for anyone who needs to wash hands, rinse something, etc.

    In my small kitchen it's a good trade-off. I had to cede counterspace on one side of the sink for the entry to a new addition, so the fact that I can hide a lot of dirty dishes in the deep sink is another plus.

  • rhome410
    12 years ago

    I always preferred double bowls, so I got one for our new house...It's a great one with huge bowls, one slightly larger than the other.

    the key word, for me, you used is prep sink. Now that I have a prep sink, I really wish I'd gotten a large single bowl for the main sink, so I could soak and more easily scrub on larger things, like my largest skillet, stove parts, and oven racks. I no longer need a division in the cleanup sink that allowed me to prep food on one side and gather dirty dishes in the other, and could gain more by having the larger basin.

  • uroboros5
    12 years ago

    Double-bowl sinks are perfect for dynamite sticks, and look great in every color of shrapnel.

  • rnest44
    12 years ago

    Exactly what Rhome410 said. A good sized prep sink changes everything.

  • cooksnsews
    12 years ago

    The main problem with double bowl sinks is that they are simply and hopelessly out of fashion. Anything that your mom or your grandmom had, or was ever a standard feature of a builder-grade kitchen, is just tooooo tacky to place in a modern upscale kitchen. The fact that they functioned more than adequately for generations of families over the past half century or so is of no consequence, since we are now so much more enlightened and kitchen-savvy than any of our immediate ancestors could ever imagine.

  • boxerpups
    12 years ago

    uroboros, ROFLAPMP.

  • vsalzmann
    12 years ago

    The key with a double bowl is to get each side wide enough to function on its own. I have 36" wide double bowl. I can rinse an entire dishwasher load of dishes and stack them in the drain side to await the dish fairy unloading the dishwasher. (she doesn't show up very often).

    Then in the other side I can still wash my largest pots without worrying about spoons falling in the disposal. Tried a single bowl in one house and it was a disaster.

  • sayde
    12 years ago

    I have the 30 inch Shaw's single and love it. Only regret is not having gotten the 36. We used to have a double and my DH was really reluctant to go to a single but he told me that now he really does like it and is glad we got the single bowl.

    We do not have a prep sink at all and do not feel any need for one.

  • a2gemini
    12 years ago

    I always had a double sink and really struggled with a sink choice and decided on the Blanco Cascade. It is a bit of a compromise - it has a raised lip but only a single drain. We won't have a prep sink - just no place for it. Since you have a prep sink - you might not need this option. Good luck

  • breezygirl
    12 years ago

    I disagree a bit with cooksnsews about how the old 50/50 narrow, shallow bowl sink "functioned more than adequately" for decades. Yes, they functioned, but I wouldn't say adequately. I remember many pans in my grandmother's and mother's kitchens that never fit in one of those small basins. Water sloshed. Dirty food bits sloshed on the floor. Cuss words sometimes escaped lips.

    I think women (and I say "women" because that's who mostly did the kitchen work for those generations) merely "got by" with what was on the market or chosen for their house by a male builder or DH. I don't think they are out of fashion because my grandmother used one. I think it's because we found something that functions better!

    I was going to recommend a single bowl anyway regardless, until rhome pointed out that you have a prep sink. A single bowl cleanup sink is a dream if you do your prepping someplace else!

  • uroboros5
    12 years ago

    ". Anything that your mom or your grandmom had, or was ever a standard feature of a builder-grade kitchen, is just tooooo tacky to place in a modern upscale kitchen."


    In my corner of the woods, the double sink was a luxury that rich people had, back in the late sixties and early seventies, washing dishes on one side, and rinsing on the other. But dishwashers rendered this futile.

    My 18 aunts and uncles, my grandma, my friends... all had single bowls. I never saw a double bowl until we bought our first house in 1991.

  • suzanne_sl
    12 years ago

    I also disagree with cooksnews, although his/her point is not totally without merit. During the 71-72 school year, we rented an apartment in Oakland in a building that was probably built in the 20s or 30s. We had a single basin sink in the kitchen and a murphy bed in the living room. Loved that sink! Had we had any kids at the time, that's where they would have been bathed.

    As for my grandmother using a particular kind of sink, I find it unlikely that my grandmother went anywhere near a kitchen sink. Kitchens were where the "help" worked, so probably whatever the builder ordered when the house was built. I was also in an aunt's house recently where the kitchen was appallingly inadequate, but again that aunt didn't do dishes. The dining room on the other hand was spectacular. When her 10 kids were growing up in the 50s, 60s, and maybe 70s, the housekeeper had to live with that horrible space. I believe the house has been sold since Aunty passed away, and I'll bet the first thing that happened was demoing some walls and making a decent kitchen.

    Here's something I'd like from my mom's kitchen - a wisk with an open, flat bottom and a wooden handle. Why don't they make those anymore? They stand up alone in the pot until you come back and give it another stir.

  • susanilz5
    12 years ago

    I cook using big pots and I love my single bowl. Just about everything fits in it. I would be very unhappy with a double sink with the way I use my kitchen.

  • poohpup
    Original Author
    12 years ago

    Thank you so much for the awesome, honest advice. Very appreciated! You've brought up things that I never considered before and really have me thinking hard about how I use my sink. I'm really leaning towards taking the plunge into single bowldom (if that isn't a word, it should be). The prep sink I'm considering is an 18" round. Also thinking maybe I'll go for at 24" prep if it doesn't crowd my island. Lots to think about! Hubby is going to wonder why I'm taking my dish washing so seriously over the next couple of days. lol

    I'd forgotten to mention in my original post that I just can't bring myself to do a stainless steel sink. Just personal preference that I just don't like the way they look. I'd used a cast iron sink in my previous kitchen and I'm thinking fireclay is going to be the way to go. Below is the sink I'm thinking about.

    And I had used the search function on this site for this very topic but I've found the search function to be fairly useless so far. One example is I'd searched on the GE Advantium oven and it only returned one result that had nothing to do with the oven. Found a few threads on that very oven just by chance. Maybe there are some tricks to using it?

    Thanks again for the wonderful advice!

    Here is a link that might be useful: Farmhaus Fireclay, Fluted, Apron Front

  • lawjedi
    12 years ago

    as ridiculous as it sounds, go to google... type in what you are searching for AND gardenweb. you'll be much better results that way.

    good luck with your sink search!

  • oldhousegal
    12 years ago

    I am a single sink convert with my new 30 inch farm style sink. I initially used a plastic bin in it "just in case". But found it was more or less a crutch that I was afraid to let go of. Once I took the plunge and used only my single bowl, it has been wonderful! Now the plastic bin resides underneath the sink and hasn't come out to play for a couple of months.

    What I've noticed with my sink is that it forces me to use the dishwasher, which is a good thing. I also had runnels installed in the countertop above the dishwasher and that allows me to do quick washes of things that won't fit in the dishwasher, making cleanup a breeze. I think I've had the sink stopped up with water only twice, as I just use a soapy sponge and rinse when I'm finished with everything I'm hand washing, since all that stuff fits into the new sink without having to move it.

    Initially I was convinced I would be getting the Shaw's fireclay sink. But I was worried about the different threads I had read about problems with them..... I eventually found a stone sink on ebay, and I couldn't be happier. I dislike the stainless steel sinks and had a bad experience with the shipping company and my cast iron sink, so that really didn't leave me much of a choice. The sink was the one decision I fretted over the most. Finding my marble/soapstone sink on ebay, was the best part of my kitchen remodel and I count my blessings whenever I use it- for both it's beauty and it's functionality and how that has improved the overall function of my new kitchen. I would never chose to go back to a double bowl sink again. and I don't have a separate prep sink.

  • suzanne_sl
    12 years ago

    Poohpup, it's funny what you say about stainless steel vs. other. I knew that there were people in the world who object to stainless mostly on the spots issue. I can honestly say that I never notice these so-called spots and there is no chance I will ever be spending my time wiping out my sink after each use (or squeeging the shower door either!). But I do concede that if it bothers you, it just does. At Christmas we had some friends over and one of them was checking out the amazing new sink and said, "See? That would bother me." Yes, water spots. Her reaction is much the same as I have to shrimp - it's just too gruesome to consider actually eating one of those things. It's a good thing we live in a free country where you don't have to have stainless steel and I don't have to eat shrimp. LOL!

  • rhome410
    12 years ago

    Did you use the search box at the top of the page or underneath all the post titles? The bottom one works much better, although, I also go to Google a lot of the time to find things here.

    I also am not a fan of stainless sinks and have cast iron. If I switch my Kohler Clarity for a single basin sink, I'll go to the Silgranite SuperSingle.

  • IceMan965
    12 years ago

    Something seems to be missing in EVERY thread about Single vs. Double Bowl sinks. Large single sinks have the space for large items but lack the versatility of having two bowls. Double bowl sinks, regardless of the ratio of the bowls, just aren't big enough for a lot of items.

    But wait, you can have the best of both worlds IF you have a little space. When planning our kitchen remodel/expansion my wife and I got into the age old one bowl vs. two bowl argument. Our old kitchen had a Kohler Executive Chef double bowl sink. The larger bowl was not big enough for big stuff so I wanted a single bowl - she wanted a double bowl, so here is what I did.

    I had our KD order a 54" wide, quad door sink base (Medallion) and I put a Blanco Diamond Super Single Bowl (33" X 22") Silgranit Sink (440194) on the left and a Blanco Precis Medium Bowl (13" X 18") Silgranit Sink (440144) on the right. I separated the two sinks by 5" to allow sufficient strength for the granite "Bridge" between the two sinks. I also had 5 groves cut into the "Granite Bridges to allow water to flow between the sinks in the unlikely event someone left the water running in one of the sinks.

    While it does take some space and a little imagination to accommodate this arrangement I believe it is the best solution to the one vs. two bowl dilemma - we simply LOVE it. Just a comment about the Blanco Silgranit sinks - I cannot ever see us going back to a Stainless Steel or Cast Iron sink - Blanco Silgranit sinks are IMHO the beat sinks available today.

  • jeanz
    12 years ago

    LARGE single bowl! I've had both single and double and seldom used the second bowl. I love being able to wash large, deep roasting pans without any trouble at all! We went with a Vigo zero-radius, meaning 90-degree corners, and we LOVE it!

  • xoldtimecarpenter
    12 years ago

    There are some very creative people on this forum. I've being remodeling kitchens for 40 years, and some of these ideas are new to me.

    Anyway, here's an idea that might not have been mentioned yet. Obviously large single bowl sinks hold larger objects, and with a dishwasher it's no longer necessary to have two bowls, one to wash and one to rinse.

    But it is still a PITA to have the disposer in a single bowl. If the bowl is full of dishes, the disposer is inaccessible. So we often recommend an asynchronous double bowl sink like the one shown, with the disposer in the small side.

    Everything considered, this is the most useful and convenient arrangement in most single-sink kitchens.

    Hope this helps.

  • northcarolina
    12 years ago

    xoldtimecarpenter -- Your information is so helpful on your website, I hate to disagree... but I have to, on this one. :) I do find washing and rinsing dishes in two bowls necessary even with a dishwasher. We use quite a few things every day that shouldn't go in a DW. If I had a single sink I'd have to have a wash basin sitting in it more or less permanently, and that would not suit me. Also we had our disposal removed (and good riddance) so I don't want a small bowl just for that. (There are a couple of threads here about disposals -- people seem to feel as strongly pro or con about those as they do about single vs double sinks.) All of which is to say, different setups work for different people, so it's good that we have all these options available.

  • Jumpilotmdm
    12 years ago

    With a double bowl the drying rack can be placed IN one of the bowls, the wash water for non-D/W items in the other bowl and the counters empty of anything. If it's a single the drying rack sits on the counter, which is ok if you have the counter space.

  • a2gemini
    12 years ago

    I am using training wheels on my remodel. Blanco Cascade sink with an elevated area but only one drain!

  • Lazarus St. Bernadine
    8 years ago

    This is one of the great dilemmas of all time for me as well. I like the ease of washing dishes and large pots in a single basin sink, but with a double basin sink I can keep a drying basket there separately for a few dishes and cups as I wash them. But I suppose it's just as easy to keep a basket to one side of a single basin, so I may go that route with my upcoming kitchen remodel.

    The real dilemma is whether I want stainless steel, copper, a composite material or simply use the same quartz that my countertops will be.

    I know they are very popular, but I do not like farmhouse style sinks at all. That apron draped over the counter, in my humble opinion, would destroy the look of continuity and elegance I like in my kitchen as I gaze upon the countertops and cabinets. An undermount sink, completely hidden, is the only acceptable way to go for me.

  • Buehl
    8 years ago
    last modified: 8 years ago

    Lazarus...Please do not bump old threads. If you have a question that is not already answered by an older thread, please start your own thread. Your comments appear to be just that - comments. No questions or other useful information. PoohPup asked for help over 3 years ago - I strongly doubt that she needs any more help with this.

    When you bump an old thread like this, you knock someone who needs help today (not 3.5 years ago) off the the first page. If you feel a strong urge to comment, then please do so on a current thread from someone asking for help relevant to your comments. (There is a current thread out there regarding sinks that you could comment on.)

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