Best Stainless Steel Gauge for sink
16 gauge? 20 gauge? 24 gauge? What does it mean? Which one’s the best stainless steel gauge thickness for my new kitchen sink? These are some of the questions you might have when choosing your next stainless steel kitchen sink. There are so many brands and styles from each manufacturer, and you want to make sure you make an informed choice. This article will focus on helping you decide on the thickness (gauge) of metal to shop for and to make the best choice for your situation.
The following table shows the actual thickness for popular gauges of kitchen sinks, as well as its density and % decrease in thickness compared to 16 stainless steel gauge, which is typically the heaviest gauge used for stainless steel kitchen sinks.
Stainless steels are iron alloys with a minimum of 10.5% chromium. Other alloying elements are added to enhance their structure and properties such as formability, strength and cryogenic toughness. These include metals such as:
After a review of a large sample of key players in the kitchen sink market, including Blanco, Kraus and Houzer, the most common stainless steel alloy used in the manufacture of stainless steel kitchen sinks is 304 surgical grade stainless steel. The main elements added to the iron in 304 stainless steel are 17.5-20% Chromium (Cr) and 8-11% Nickel (Ni). Most sink manufacturers seem to choose 18% chromium and 10% nickel. With the rising costs of ferrochrome (used to make chromium) and shortages of nickel, one of the ways manufacturers control costs of kitchen sinks is to decrease the amount of material used.
So what should I look for in choosing a kitchen sink?
So why is thicker (lower gauge) better?
A lower gauge (thicker) sink is better for the following reasons:
- Improved noise dampening
- Less susceptibility to denting and bowing
- Strength and durability
It is generally agreed by sink experts that a heavier gauge can help prevent denting and bowing, and will also contribute to noise reduction from garbage disposals and items dropped or placed into the sink. Many sink manufacturers incorporate a sound proofing and insulation on the underside of the sink with coatings and/or pads. This will definitely help to make the sink quieter, but a thicker steel sink will have much better damping characteristics due to its mass.
What happens when you accidentally drop the pointy end of a butcher knife into the kitchen sink? Hopefully, nothing! A thicker kitchen sink will be less prone to dent and because it is stronger, it could make the difference between piercing the sheet metal, and not.
A thicker walled kitchen sink (lower stainless steel gauge) will bow less when you suddenly drain the water from a pot on the stove because the sheet metal is stiffer and will be more able to resist thermal expansion and movement.There is also less tendency for that Pop! sound when the boiling water hits the bottom of the sink.
Does a thicker (lower gauge) mean a better quality kitchen sink?
No, not necessarily. There is inherent better quality in the noise damping and structural integrity of the sink, however there are many other features which are probably more important in assessing the quality of a sink like finish, straightness and consistency.
Is thicker always better?
Not necessarily for the sink manufacturer, since it is more difficult to “deep draw”, or craft from a single sheet, and to reduce welding marks on zero radius sinks. Depending on the complexity of the sink shape and its method of manufacture, optimal gauge thickness of 16 or 18 gauge will be used to balance cost with ease of manufacture and marketing.
So what stainless steel gauge should I buy?
The maximum gauge I would recommend for any stainless steel kitchen sink is 18 gauge. The best choice is of course 16 gauge, however either 16 or 18 gauge will provide the same top value in terms of cost, performance and overall satisfaction. Don’t bother with higher gauges (20, 22, 24) which are significantly thinner. My extensive market analysis shows there is no truth to the myth that the lowest gauge sinks are the most expensive – 16 and 18 gauge sinks are similarly priced.
18 Gauge vs 16 Gauge Sink?
If you had the choice between two identical sinks (16 and 18 gauge) at similar prices, don’t hesitate in getting the 16 gauge sink. Why? A 16 gauge sink is 0.0625″ thick, while an 18 gauge sink is 0.05″ thick, which is only 20% less. There is no noticeable difference between the two gauges, however at the same price range, 16 gauge is “better” (thicker is better!).
If you had two identical sinks, one 16 gauge and the other 18 gauge, but the 16 gauge sink was much more expensive, I would recommend the 18 stainless steel gauge sink, because of the incremental benefits.
Through this article, we hope to help you understand Best gauge of stainless steel sink