Whatever your industry, if you need an area for hand-washing, supplying water or washing dishes, utensils or any type of equipment, a utility sink is the perfect choice for a plumbing fixture. These sinks are heavy-duty pieces built to withstand frequent, hard use and to bear the weight of heavy objects.
Stainless steel sinks are the preferred type of utility style for most industries, because the metal offers several benefits. Since the metal does not have pores in its surface, bacteria, mold and other microbes cannot penetrate it, ensuring that fixtures crafted from the metal are easily sanitized. The surface of the metal is easy to clean, so even after rinsing or washing messy equipment, you and your employees can wipe and rinse the bowls in your sink and have it looking as good as new. In addition, most types of steel can withstand high temperatures and are resistant to chemicals, rust and corrosion. And because the metal is incredibly strong and durable, sinks constructed from it are ideally suited for washing large or heavy loads.
When you begin to shop for a sink for your business, you will quickly discover that there are a large number of style options available. Even if you have a rough idea of the type of sink that is best for your purposes, you will likely find a number of choices that are similar to one another that meet your specifications.
To make shopping simpler, you can begin your search for the perfect sink by picking out the best size for your commercial setting. From there, you will find it much easier to eliminate particular models from your consideration and keep your search focused on a smaller number of pieces. This Buyers' Guide to Shopping for Stainless Steel Utility Sinks
is geared toward helping you establish that best size for our business' needs.Style
With sinks, style and size often go hand in hand; in some cases, the way pieces are measured depends upon their overall style, so you should think about which type is needed for your business before you even begin thinking about size.
There are three styles for sinks made from stainless steel.
Number of Bowls
- Drop-in sinks must be used with a counter top. These pieces are designed to fit inside of a hole cut in the tops of counters and have a rim that sits on the edge where the sink meets the counters. Usually, these types are used for hand-washing and washing small items.
- Wall-mount sinks are attached to the surfaces of walls using specialized hardware. Like drop-in styles, wall mount sinks are usually reserved for hand-washing and cleaning up small pieces of equipment or tools.
- Freestanding sinks have a solid base or four legs that support them. Sinks in this style can include everything from hand-washing stations with pedestal bases to very large, multi-bowl styles.
If you are shopping for a sink in a freestanding style, the number of bowls will influence its size. Manufacturers produce one, two, three and four bowl styles, and each additional bowl will require more space to be available within your location.
The decision on how many bowls are necessary in your sink will depend upon how many people need to use the sink at once and how many different types of tasks may be performed at the sink simultaneously. In addition, certain applications, like food service, require a minimum number of bowls. Consult federal, state, and local health and safety laws for information about any regulations related to your line of business.Measuring Your Space
Before you begin considering dimensions for wall-mount and freestanding sink styles, use a tape measure to determine how much room you have in the area where your sink will be placed. For drop-in sink styles, you'll either want to measure your existing sink prior to shopping or measure the hole in which you'll be placing your sink. Height
The height of a freestanding sink describes how tall the fixture is from the floor to its top. For a wall mount or drop-in style, the height
is the distance from the top to the bottom of the sink; how tall the piece stands depends upon the mounting height or the height of your cabinetry.
The three primary height categories for all sinks are:
- Under 20 inches - the height category for many wall mount and all drop-in sinks
- 20 to 36 inches - the height category for the biggest wall mount sinks and many freestanding sinks
- Over 36 inches - the height category for the tallest freestanding sinks
When determining the height for a freestanding sink, think about how tall your average user is. For people shorter than 5'10", sinks that are 36 inches in height and lower are often the best for working at for long periods of time. Also, if heavy equipment will be lifted from the floor into the sink, a lower model will make it easier to move the items.Length
The measurement along the front of a sink is its length
. The length of the sink not only relates to how much space the sink will require in your commercial setting, but also the length of items that can be placed in the bowl or bowls and the capacity of the bowls.
The five primary length categories are:
- Under 30 inches
- 30 to 50 inches
- 50.5 to 70 inches
- 70.5 to 90 inches
- Over 90 inches
The measurement along one of the sides from the front of a sink to the back is its width
. Like the length, the width will help determine the width of items that can be placed in the bowl or bowls and how much water the bowls can hold as well as how much space the sink takes up.
The three primary width categories are:
- Under 24 inches
- 24 to 26 inches
- Over 26 inches
The distance from the bottom of the sink bowl just beside the drain to the top of the bowl is the bowl depth. This measurement plays a large role in determining how much water the bowl can hold as well as how tall items that are washed in the sink can be.
There are three main categories for bowl depth:
Other Bowl Dimensions
- 10 inches or less
- 12 inches
- 14 inches
There are two additional dimensions sometimes discussed in reference to the bowls of sinks. The taper of the bowl is the name given to the slope or how much the sides of the sink slant as they run from the top to the bottom. The bigger the size of the taper, the more water a sink can hold.
The radius of the bowl tells you how much space is lost where the straight or sloped sides of the bowl intersect with the bottom of the bowl. The bigger the size of the radius measurement, the less water a sink can hold. The smallest available radius is the zero radius, which has no lost space at its corners.Drains
Another dimension commonly included in product descriptions for sinks is the opening in the bowl. This measurement corresponds with the diameter of the space that is available for the drain fitting. Backsplashes
For some settings, the measurements of the backsplash on your utility sink may not matter much, but in some industries, regulations require that backsplashes meet certain size requirements. There are three primary considerations to the overall size of a backsplash.
- Height - the distance from the top of the sink to the top of the vertical section of the backsplash
- Return - the distance from the top of the vertical of backsplash along the slanted portion of the backsplash to the wall
- Angle - the measure of the angle formed at the intersection of the vertical and the slanted sections of the backsplash; This will be given in degrees.
For many stainless steel utility sinks, you'll see information about the edges of the sink listed. Sheet metal has sharp edges when left in its raw form, and so to prevent injuries, manufacturers typically roll the edges or turn them under. This creates a lip that is smooth and unlikely to cause injury if it is bumped or brushed against.
The amount that the edge is rolled will be given in degrees. The edges of many metal sinks are rolled to 180 degrees. This means that the piece is turned from its starting point and rolled all the way under so that the end of the edge would form a parallel line directly beneath its staring point.
Be sure to consult your local health and safety codes as well as the federal codes for your industry prior to shopping for a stainless steel utility sink, because in some industries, sinks must be rolled to a certain degree.