A utility room isn't complete without a sink by the same name. Also referred to as laundry sinks or tubs, utility sinks are mainly different from other sinks due to their large size. Their wide, deep basins are perfect for heavy-duty chores like washing gardening tools, bathing small pets, emptying the mop bucket, or hand washing laundry. Due to their broad range of use, utility sinks come in a variety of different models and styles to suit just about any need. To choose the best utility sink for your space, consider the following characteristics:
There are a few options of basin types that have different installation styles to suit your needs or space. As these are typically permanent fixtures in a home, make sure that you choose something that you will like long term and that fits with other updates you may have planned for the space it will be placed in.
Drop-In: Also known as self-rimming or over-mount sinks, this installation type sits nestled into a hole cut in the countertop, with the whole of the basin below the counter, but its rim remaining above. Drop in laundry sinks are relatively easy to install and work well with most countertops and surfaces.
Undermount: With this installation style, the sink is installed entirely underneath a counter in such a way that the countertop completely covers the edges of the sink. This gives a utility sink a finished, contemporary look, and has the added benefit of making it simple to wipe things into the basin from the counter. Some undermount utility sinks may offer matching covers that allow you convert them into extra counter space when they are not in use.
Wall-mounted & Floor-standing: These self-explanatory types of utility sinks are installed separate from countertops as stand-alone units. They can be particularly nice for extra messy washing tasks that might get counters dirty, and can include helpful features like adjustable legs or extra basins.
Portable:Some utility sinks are designed to be portable, and can be taken anywhere that there’s a mess. Certain models are even meant to hooked up to a hose for outdoor usage.
Utility sinks are available in various materials; when selecting the right one for your space, be sure to take into account the weight of the material, the style that it works best with and the sink’s intended use.
- Acrylic: Lightweight, durable, stain-resistant, and budget friendly, there’s plenty to love about acrylic laundry sinks. Their glossy finish also offers a clean look that fits any style space. However, it should be noted that acrylic sinks can be a bit loud (in terms of how the water hits them) and are not as heat-resistant as most of the other types of sinks.
- Cast Iron: This traditional option is incredibly durable and quite heavy, so if you’re looking for something extra sturdy, cast iron is a great choice. However, cast iron sinks are typically coated with enamel or porcelain which can scratch or chip over time, so you may wish to purchase a sink rack to protect the finish.
- Stainless Steel: Perhaps the most practical and economical choice due to their price and ease of cleaning, stainless steel sinks are popular for use in industrial environments. Stainless steel can scratch relatively easily and can be louder than most other types of sinks, so they may work best in more utilitarian spaces.
- Vitreous China: Ceramic laundry sinks are fired at a very high temperature to create a non-porous surface that resists stains better than any other sink material, making them quite easy to clean. They also feature a sturdy ceramic glaze that gives them a pleasing shine, so they make a bright and appealing addition to any utility space.
The faucet you choose to go with your utility sink is also a large factor in how functional the installation as whole can be. If a large sturdy sink is merely accompanied by a trickling tap, you can’t get a whole lot of cleaning done. A utility sink should feature durable faucet with a relatively high water output. Generally any heavy duty faucet that would work well in a kitchen can also be used with a laundry or utility sink; wall mounted and commercial style faucets in particular are great laundry room additions that can handle the toughest of utility tasks. Some models even come with extra features such as side sprays or variable settings to make a variety of chores much easier.
Here's where you can add a touch of personality and charm to an otherwise utilitarian installation. Characteristics such as the shape of the neck, the number and size of handles, and general design can all impact the overall style of your laundry sink.
Material & Finish
There are a variety of materials and finishes available that make it easy to find something to perfectly fit your space. Some of the most popular options include:
- -Brass: Offered in polished and antique finishes, this metal makes a bold statement. Be sure to look for options such as lacquered brass that can maintain their luster for longer.
- -Chrome: Brushed, matte, and polished chrome are all readily available choices that are both durable and economical. These can give a sink a clean, contemporary feel.
- -Copper: This metal’s rich, warm tones can offer a charming old-world feel while still providing great utility.
- -Pewter: This metal is typically a bit darker and much less shiny than chrome or stainless steel. If you’re looking for something understated, but upscale, pewter could be the perfect choice for you.
- -Stainless Steel: A modern finish that is incredibly tough and resistant to tarnishing, stainless steel is also relatively budget friendly.
- -Nickel: This durable and easy-to-clean finish is offered in satin and brushed options that let you choose a bit more shine or texture for your hardware.
Spouts can be either aerated or nonaerated. Aerated spouts use a screen and resistor in combination with air to at once improve water pressure and limit water flow. Nonaerated spouts do not have that screen, so water can flow more quickly and freely.
Aside from aeration, keep the length and reach of the spout in mind. Water should be able to go directly from the spout into the center of the sink. A faucet too small or too large for your needs could make simple tasks more complicated, or even end up creating a mess.
While it may not make a big difference in your day-to-day use, the type of valve that you choose for your utility sink may affect the long-term durability of the faucet or change how easy it is to repair. There are four primary valve types that you can choose from:
- -Ball: These are made specifically to be used with single-handle faucets, and use a slotted, rotating ball for flow regulation. Although they may be prone to leaks after a few years of constant use, they are generally durable and reliable valves.
- -Cartridge: The cartridge valve uses rubber o-rings inside a cylindrical cartridge to control water flow. These are as long-wearing as ball valves, but are easier to repair and can be used in single or two-handle faucets.
- -Ceramic Disk: This design uses two fire-hardened ceramic disks that move against one another to regulate the flow of water. Ceramic disc valves can be used with single or two-handle faucets and are generally maintenance free. The one drawback to these is the price point – you typically will pay a little more for this level of quality and durability.
- -Compression: These control the flow of water using compressed rubber washers. They work well and are one of the most economical choices, but the washers will eventually wear out and need replacing. That being said, washers are quite inexpensive, so they are not a big deal to replace.