Corian? Kohler? American Standard? Maybe the company that manufactured your sink doesn’t matter as much as the material your sink was made from. This was the conclusion of extensive testing by Consumer Reports (source).
The 10 best bathroom sink materials are enameled cast iron, fireclay, vitreous china or porcelain, steel, composite and natural stones, copper, glass, solid surface, and acrylic.
However, these bathroom sink materials vary greatly in cost, durability, and ease of cleaning or maintenance, which is why it’s important to consider pros and cons of each.
Best Bathroom Sink Materials
Let’s take a look at 10 of the best bathroom sink materials:
Acrylic bathroom sinks are made of solid plastic, usually backed or reinforced with fiberglass and resin. A lighter and more affordable alternative to most other bathroom sink materials, acrylic is moldable into different forms, which paves the way for various designs and styles.
Acrylic isn’t ideal for kitchens because it isn’t as heavy-duty as some other materials, but these sinks are undoubtedly suitable for bathrooms.
Plus, acrylic sinks are easy to maintain as long as you don’t drop heavy and sharp objects and use abrasive materials. An acrylic sink may also be less noisy as the material can absorb some sound, which can be quite a pleasant attribute if it is in an ensuite bathroom.
On the flip side, an acrylic sink won’t endure heat to the extent of some other materials, so don’t accidentally leave a hot curling iron on your bathroom sink.
Acrylic Bathroom Sink Pros & Cons
|Acrylic Bathroom Sink Pros
|Acrylic Bathroom Sink Cons
|Not the most durable
|Antibacterial and antimicrobial
|Not very resistant to heat
|Nonporous and stain-resistant
2. Composite Stone
A composite stone bathroom sink is an affordable and practical alternative to its natural version. Composite stone sinks can be made of a mixture of resins and the following ground stones.
Composite granite and quartz bathroom sinks, among others, are often better than natural stone because the design and engineering make the finished product nonporous and more resistant to many substances. Also, engineered stone can have many more features than a natural variant.
Composite stone bathroom sinks are an affordable alternative to natural stones.
Composite Stone Bathroom Sink Pros & Cons
|Composite Stone Bathroom Sink Pros
|Composite Stone Bathroom Sink Cons
|Difficult to install
|Durable and resistant to chipping
|Heavy (reinforcements are usually necessary)
|Nonporous (compared to natural stones)
|Not resistant to abrasive chemicals or sponges
|Resistant to most stains
|Periodic maintenance is typically required
Copper bathroom sinks are a showstopper. Exceptionally elegant and unique among bathroom sink materials, copper does require some maintenance. But copper sinks are expensive, so the material may not be an option if your budget is stringent.
Copper bathroom sinks are available in various styles, but they must be adequately rinsed every time because many substances can adversely affect the natural patina of this metal, including the following:
- Acidic foods
- Drain cleaners
- Oils, including sebum
- Shaving cream or gel
Also, copper isn’t an option for you if you are looking for one of the best bathroom sink materials for hard water. The dissolved minerals in hard water may stain copper, and a substantial buildup in due course may be difficult to clean and remove.
Copper Bathroom Sink Pros & Cons
|Copper Bathroom Sink Pros
|Copper Bathroom Sink Cons
|Not resistant to many foods and products
|Not suitable for hard water
|Requires regular maintenance
4. Enameled Cast Iron
Enameled cast iron combines porcelain’s resistance to staining and the durability of a metal that can otherwise rust quickly as a sink material. Enameled cast iron bathroom sinks are inexpensive, but they can last a lifetime and often longer with little care.
Enameled cast iron offers all the benefits of fireclay and porcelain or vitreous china. However, a bathroom sink made of cast iron with an enamel coating is much heavier than one made of only fireclay or porcelain. You may need a suitable foundation to mount an enameled cast iron bathroom sink.
On the positive side, enameled cast iron is cheaper than fireclay, but the latter isn’t as prone to chipping. The enamel layer over cast iron may get chipped or damaged if you use an abrasive cleaner. Also, exposed iron will rust, so you must be watchful for preventive and remedial action.
Enameled Cast Iron Bathroom Sink Pros & Cons
|Enameled Cast Iron Bathroom Sink Pros
|Enameled Cast Iron Bathroom Sink Cons
|Heavy and difficult to install
|Prone to chipping
|Simple cleaning and maintenance
|Vulnerable to rust
|Various sizes and styles
Fireclay is the strongest ceramic material used for bathroom sinks. Not as common as porcelain or vitreous china, fireclay is stronger and, thus, costlier and more durable. Clay and minerals are fired at temperatures higher than that used to make porcelain, which is why fireclay is stronger.
Fireclay sinks are glazed to be reliably nonporous.
Fireclay Bathroom Sink Pros & Cons
|Fireclay Bathroom Sink Pros
|Fireclay Bathroom Sink Cons
|Easy cleaning and maintenance
|Costlier than porcelain and enameled cast iron
|Heavy, so reinforcements may be necessary
|Resistant to abrasive cleaners and acids
|Limited styles, including colors
Bathroom sinks made of solid tempered or toughened glass are available in numerous designs and styles, including colors. You may get a minimalist design, like a bowl, or opt for an exquisite sink that becomes a highlight in your bathroom. Also, you can choose between transparent and opaque glass sinks for your bathrooms to suit any decor you want.
Toughened glass is nonporous with high resistance to heat, so the hot water line for your bath sink won’t have any adverse effect. Tempered glass doesn’t crack easily, but you can’t drop any heavy object or strike such material. Like many materials, glass will break if you drop the sink.
Glass Bathroom Sink Pros & Cons
|Glass Bathroom Sink Pros
|Glass Bathroom Sink Cons
|Heavy objects can damage tempered glass
|Easy to clean
|Not resistant to soap and water spots
|Light, so installation is usually straightforward
|Typically available as vessel sink only
|Stylish and plenty of designs, sizes, etc.
7. Natural Stone
A natural stone sink can be the singularly most attractive fixture in your bathroom. Subject to the type of stone you choose, the sink can be truly unique and an investment that may last forever. But like most materials, natural stone has a few noteworthy demerits that are worth considering.
Natural stone is vulnerable to staining. Almost every natural stone bathroom sink is sealed to be resistant to stains. Periodic resealing is necessary. Also, you can’t use any abrasive cleaner for the sink or the drain. Caustic chemicals will damage natural stones and the protective seal.
Natural stones are unquestionably durable, but most are vulnerable to chipping. Given the high cost of all-natural stone sinks, the last thing you want is a chipped or damaged portion. Plus, all-natural stones are heavier than most other materials, so installation is somewhat demanding.
Natural Stone Bathroom Sink Pros & Cons
|Natural Stone Bathroom Sink Pros
|Natural Stone Bathroom Sink Cons
|Prone to staining
|Resealing is necessary
8. Solid Surface
A solid surface bathroom sink is made of a composite material. While acrylic may be classified as a solid surface sink, there are other varieties, so I have separated the two types of materials in this guide.
Solid surface bathroom sinks may comprise the following materials:
- Acrylic resins
- Mineral dust
- Polyester resins
Owing to the composite nature of solid surface sinks and how they are made, there is no dearth of shapes and styles. Such composite materials also make for sleeker sinks without any effect on durability.
A solid surface bathroom sink is not even remotely as expensive as stone, but it can be equally quiet due to its construction. Unlike natural stone, solid surface sinks aren’t heavy or vulnerable to chipping and staining. Solid surface sinks are also resistant to scratching.
These sinks are effortless to clean and maintain, especially because they are so durable and most have protective coatings. Plus, unlike porcelain and glass, most solid surface materials don’t crack and shatter, unlike porcelain and glass, respectively.
Solid Surface Bathroom Sink Pros & Cons
|Solid Surface Bathroom Sink Pros
|Solid Surface Bathroom Sink Cons
|Easy cleaning and maintenance
|Many sizes and styles
|Professional installation may be necessary
|Resistant to chipping and staining
|Not compatible with every countertop
|Seamless aesthetics, subject to installation
9. Stainless Steel
Stainless steel bathroom sinks are among the most inexpensive options while being extremely durable. However, the aesthetics of stainless steel may not impress everyone, especially if the sink doesn’t complement the bathroom decor and other fixtures.
A stainless steel sink can have the desired gauge if you want a heavy-duty variant. The sleekest ones may be a little prone to dents. Some stainless steel sinks may be vulnerable to scratching, but it is more of a concern if you use one in your kitchen than in your bathrooms.
Stainless Steel Bathroom Sink Pros & Cons
|Stainless Steel Bathroom Sink Pros
|Stainless Steel Bathroom Sink Cons
|Easy to clean
|Periodic polishing is usually necessary
|Spots may develop in due course
|No cracking or chipping
|Vulnerable to dents and scratching
|Resistant to stains
10. Vitreous China
Vitreous china bathroom sinks are made of porcelain with a glossy finish. These sinks aren’t the same as fireclay because the porcelain composition may have the following materials:
Vitreous China Bathroom Sink Pros & Cons
|Vitreous China Bathroom Sink Pros
|Vitreous China Bathroom Sink Cons
|Coating may chip or crack
|Easy cleaning and maintenance
|Not the strongest or most durable
|Plenty of sizes and styles
|Some installations may need reinforcements
|Resistant to scratching and staining
Best Bathroom Sink Material for Hard Water
Hard water can stain the following bathroom sink materials:
The best bathroom sink material for hard water is composite stone or solid surface. However, a composite stone or solid surface sink might require a bit more cleaning and maintenance due to hard water than what is necessary otherwise.
Best Bathroom Sink Material for Rental Property
If you live in a rental property, the best bathroom sink material is probably acrylic or glass. Both are relatively lighter materials that don’t require complicated installations. You may not need any reinforcement, which might be an issue in a rental property, subject to the tenancy agreement.
If you own a rental property, you might want to opt for one of the most durable sink materials for the bathrooms, such as:
- Composite stone
- Enameled cast iron
- Natural stone
- Solid surface
Easiest To Clean Bathroom Sink Material
Is ease of cleaning a top priority for your sink? If so, here’s a head-to-head comparison of the 10 best bathroom sink materials for 2023, including the ease of cleaning:
|Bathroom Sink Material
|Ease of Cleaning
|Enameled Cast Iron
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