For your business or home, two bowl utility sinks offer unique versatility. Their design allows you to use separate areas for performing different tasks in a process, such as soaking tools in one compartment and rinsing them in another. Dual bowls also enable two users to comfortably access the sink at one time and can save time in instances when several people must use the sink for cleanup at the end of a shift. If you're in a food service industry, state or local health requirements may even mandate that you have a minimum of two bowls in any sink fixture.
No matter what your reason for selecting a double bowl work sink style, stainless steel makes the perfect material. Cleaning its surface is simple, and its durability ensures that it can withstand years of use. The metal's strength is also appealing as it allows your utility fixture to safely bear the weight of even heavy tools and equipment. And because The metal does not promote the growth of bacteria like other types of materials, its presence preserves the sanitary conditions necessary for food service and medical settings.
Knowing that a stainless steel dual bowl utility sink is ideal for your commercial or home setting is just the first step in the shopping process. Once you begin to explore the models available from today's top manufacturers, you'll be inundated with options that can be overwhelming. The key to finding the best sink for you is to fully understand how you'll be using the fixture on a daily basis.
Our Buyers' Guide to Two Bowl Utility Sinks is designed to help you focus on the features that will make one particular style ideal for your purposes. Our guide is focused on the questions that you need to ask yourself to thoroughly evaluate your needs and simplify the shopping process.
How tall are your users?
Before even thinking about the sink itself, consider the people who will be using it. The height of your employees or members of your family has a great impact on the usefulness of any particular sink. Using a fixture that is too short for extended periods of time can cause discomfort in the arms, back and shoulders, while a sink that is too tall can be difficult to reach all the way into in order to retrieve small tools from the bottom.
Double bowl stainless steel styles typically fall into two height categories: those below 36 inches and those above 36 inches. Taller styles should be reserved for settings where the majority of users are taller than average.
What tasks need completed at the sink? Would an extra surface by the sink increase its utility?
To determine that you need a double bowl sink as opposed to other styles, you've likely already considered what types of tasks will be performed at your sink, but you may not have considered whether or not a style of a sink with a drainboard would be useful to you. A drainboard is a steel surface that extends from the side of the sink's body. Designed with a gentle slope known as its rise and a raised lip on one end, the drainboard allows water to run back into the sink compartments.
Two bowl utility sinks may come with one drainboard located beside the left or right compartment or dual drainboards that extend from both sides. Drainboards are available in a variety of lengths, with 18, 24, 30 and 36 inches those most commonly offered by manufacturers.
The presence of drainboards on metal sinks offer several beneficial uses, including serving as a:
- Staging area where items waiting to be cleaned can be stacked without concern for dripping on the floor
- Drying area where tools can be left to sit for hours or even overnight
- Storage space for soaps and cleaning products that are commonly used for washing
- Additional workspace in areas with no countertops
How large are the items that you will be washing? How many items will be washed at one time?
A double bowl utility sink is useless if it cannot accommodate the items that you need to wash. Considering the sizes of any items that will be washed in your work sink ensures that you select a fixture with the appropriate dimensions. The overall length (the measure from right to left) and width (the measure from front to back) has an impact upon the size of items that the sink can easily hold, but in many cases, the size of your space and the position of your plumbing dictates how large of a sink you can purchase.
In areas where you don't have much flexibility in terms of the overall dimensions of your sink, the sizes of the bowls and compartments are key. The most important consideration is the overall depth of the compartments or bowls. The depth corresponds to the distance from the low point in the sink directly adjacent to the drain to the top of the sink and tells you how tall items can be to fit completely inside for soaking and washing; sinks with greater depth can hold more water and accommodate larger items.
Work sinks that features bowls that fit inside of their main frames rather than open compartments are also affected by taper, the measure of the slope from the top of the bowl to the drain. A larger taper means that the sink slopes more dramatically, creating more space in the bowl.
In sinks, the corner areas where the sides meet the bottoms can result in lost space. Typically, the corners of the bowls are slightly rounded and hold slightly less water than a straight edge. The radius of the sink measures the size of this curved area and represents the distance from the corner to the place where the sink becomes straight. To maximize the space in your sink, select bowls with smaller radius measurements.
How heavy are the items that you will be washing?
The weight of the items that your sink will need to support directly impacts the strength necessary for your work sink. One of the largest determiners of the strength of a stainless steel fixture is its gauge, the measurement that corresponds to its thickness. Steel manufacturers produce the metal in specific gauges to create a universal classification system for easy comparisons.
The four most common gauges found in sinks are:
- 14 gauge - 1.98 mm
- 16 gauge - 1.6 mm
- 18 gauge - 1.27 mm
- 20 gauge - 0.95 mm
Because thicker steel is stronger, always opt for lower gauges for use with heavy items. It's also crucial that the sink has a uniform gauge throughout its body. This means that the steel is equally thick from the center drain area all the way to the corners.
You should also look for fixtures with fully-welded steel gussets to get the strongest sink possible. The gusset is the metal plate that joins the legs of the sink to its body, and fully-welded gussets are the most securely attached and decrease the chances of the sink collapsing due to excessive weight.
What is the environment?
The conditions in the area in which your fixture will be placed help you determine what type of steel to look for in sinks. Like the gauge, the terms used for the types of steel are manufacturer-wide and refer to the composition of the metal.
All steel contains iron and carbon, but other metals called alloys are also blended with these raw materials during the production process. The composition of these alloys determines type of steel as well as the conditions that the metal can withstand.
In food service and most other commercial and home settings, Type 304 steel is ideal. Also called austenitic steel, this type refers to all steel that is made up of 16 percent chromium alloy mixed with either nickel or manganese. Type 304 steel is safe for foods and durable against most chemicals.
For locations where temperatures are extremely high or the sink will be exposed to very corrosive chemicals, other types of steel are more resilient and better choices for your sink. The most common of these alternatives is Type 430 ferritic steel, which is unique because it contains no other alloys than chromium. You may occasionally see two bowl stainless steel fixtures made from Type 410 martensitic steel, though usually the material is reserved for more industrial use than sink manufacturing. Type 410 contains 12 percent chromium and a small amount of nickel.
What are the regulations for your industry?
In some industries, federal, state and local laws may require your sink to have special features. For instance, some localities mandate that all fixtures used in food service and processing settings have approval from the National Sanitation Foundation, an independent agency that evaluates how well models of sinks preserve sanitary conditions in kitchens and other settings.
Before purchasing any sink fixture, look for copies of the laws for your locality; most state and local health and safety codes are available online as are all federal laws. If you have questions, contact the agency that regulates your industry. Ensuring that your sink meets all of the necessary regulations can protect your business from hefty fines and is worth the extra time to research.