But it’s also important for homeowners to be informed about copper sinks before choosing one for their home. Copper has a few differences from other sink materials that affect its appearance and maintenance needs in important ways.
In this guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about copper sinks to help you make an informed decision. We’ll talk about what makes copper unique, what different types of copper sinks are available, and how to maintain a copper sink.
Then we’ll go over what to look for when choosing a copper sink. Finally, we’ll finish up by discussing our top five picks for the best copper sinks on the market.
What Are Copper Sinks?
One of the biggest appeals of a copper sink is the color. The reddish brown color and metallic finish bring a warm feel to any room.
Another is that copper has a “living finish.” This refers to the fact that copper’s finish changes over time as it develops a natural patina.
As the patina develops, certain areas of a copper sink will become lighter, while others become darker, giving the sink a rustic and natural look.
However, the patina also has to be cared for properly to ensure that it stays more consistent and natural. On the other hand, if you want to keep the bright, shiny finish of new copper, there are things that you can do to prevent a patina from developing.
Either way you go, a copper sink will require more careful maintenance than many other sink materials.
But copper’s benefits aren’t just in its appearance. There are also some more functional purposes too.
For one, though copper requires careful maintenance, it’s also quite durable. It won’t easily dent or scratch.
Concerns about care are more about the patina on the copper than the copper itself and if the patina is damaged, you just have to give it some time to redevelop.
Another huge benefit is that copper is naturally antimicrobial. Copper actually kills almost all harmful bacteria within two to four hours of consistent contact.
Fortunately, a naturally antibacterial surface, like copper, in your kitchen or bathroom sink (along with proper cleaning habits, of course) can help keep your family safe and healthy.
Furthermore, copper is also very environmentally friendly compared to other sink materials. It can be recycled infinitely.
In fact, about half of copper used in the US is recycled, which reduces the need for mining. And to top it all off, the widespread availability of copper helps keep the cost down.
What Are The Different Types Of Copper Sinks?
Now that you know why you might want to go with a copper sink in the first place, let’s talk about the different types of copper sinks on the market.
Room & Use
Copper, like other sink materials, can be used for either kitchen or bathroom sinks. Kitchen sinks tend to be larger and deeper than bathroom sinks. They also have a larger drain hole, with a 3.5 inch diameter.
The diameter of bathroom drains varies a bit more, but they’re typically 1.25 inches across. Other than these dimensional differences, kitchen and bathroom sinks are more or less the same.
Both types can be further categorized by how they’re installed. The two major categories are drop-in and undermount sinks.
Drop-in sinks, also sometimes called top mount sinks, are simply lowered into a hole in the countertop. A rim around the edge of the sink basin sits around the edge of the hole to keep the sink in place.
The rim may also have an integrated faucet deck so you don’t have to use a separate deck plate for your countertop faucet.
Like drop-in sinks, undermount sinks have a rim around the basin, but instead of sitting on top of the counter, it’s adhered and clipped into place underneath the counter, lining up with the rim of the sink cutout.
Dual mount sinks are made with a rim that can rest on top of the counter or be attached underneath, allowing you to choose either drop in or undermount installation.
Either drop in or undermount sinks may also be farmhouse sinks, also called apron front sinks. The front side of these sinks is exposed, so they require a cut-out in the front of your cabinetry as well.
They also tend to be deeper and wider than the average sink.
Both kitchen and bathroom sinks can be found in any of these installation types. However, farmhouse sinks for the bathroom are quite uncommon.
Single Or Double Bowl
Lastly, we can categorize sinks by the number of basins they contain. Bathroom sinks will virtually always have a single basin or bowl, while kitchen sinks may have one or two.
A single basin kitchen sink will give you more room to wash large dishes and cookware, while a double basin sink allows you to use one side of the sink to pile or soak dishes while leaving the other side open for dish and hand washing.
How Do Copper Sinks Work?
Now let’s talk a bit more about the patina process and how you should maintain — or prevent — the development of a patina in your copper sink.
Copper develops a patina through oxidation: copper molecules react to oxygen in the air, causing the copper to change color. First it will turn red or pink, then it will darken to black.
This occurs naturally without you having to do anything.
If you want to preserve the patina, you’ll want to avoid prolonged exposure to acidic, corrosive, or oily substances, including foods, toiletry items, cleaning products, and even the oil from your skin.
Obviously you’ll get food in your kitchen sink and toiletries in your bathroom sink. I’m assuming you’re planning on using your sink, after all.
Just try to remove them as quickly as possible.
You’ll also want to avoid even brief exposure to abrasive substances. They remove the patina by scratching it off, so they don’t need time to damage the sink.
If you get something abrasive on the inside of the sink, try to remove it immediately by rinsing thoroughly. Avoid wiping something abrasive out of the sink because this just makes it easier for the substance to scratch your sink.
To preserve the patina, clean your sink thoroughly after every use. Use a soft rag or sponge with warm water and a gentle soap to gently wipe down the surface.Many copper sink manufacturers sell cleaning products or kits specifically designed for copper sinks that you can also use. Just be sure to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Never use abrasive or corrosive cleaning products or cleaning tools, like bleach or steel wool. If you get something on your sink that needs more scrubbing to remove, use a gentle scrubber made of silicone or another soft, non-scratching material.
After you’ve cleaned your sink, dry it out well to remove any water, which can contain minerals that can damage the patina. This is especially important if you have hard water.
But if something does happen to strip the patina, that’s not the end of the world either. The newly exposed copper will quickly begin to oxidize and will match the rest of your sink within just a few days.
Once you’re happy with your patina, you can applya protective wax to help protect the surface. Regular waxing adds another step to maintenance, but it also goes a long way to help avoid damage to the patina, so it may actually save you effort in the long run.
Or, if you don’t want a patina in the first place, waxing before a patina develops, followed by regular waxing, can help. However, a patina can still develop over time. An existing patina can be removed with a copper polishing cream.
However, you’ll only want to use it once or twice a year since they can damage the copper itself with overuse.
Alternatively, some manufacturers sell sinks with a protective lacquer coating, either to prevent a patina from developing or to prevent a patina that’s been developed before sale. As long as you follow the manufacturer’s care instructions to prevent the lacquer from coming off, these can be another great option.
What Do You Look For In The Best Copper Sink?
Whether you want that coppery shine or a rustic patina, there are a few things to look for when choosing a high-quality copper sink.
We already talked about the different types of copper sinks above, so we won’t rehash all that here. Just be sure to keep those factors in mind as well to help you choose a copper sink that works for your home, family, and lifestyle.
Instead, let’s talk about some new things.
First, consider the purity of the copper. Copper is malleable, especially in thinner sheets.
Adding small amounts of other metals to it, like zinc, can help make the sink stronger and less easily bent.
The thickness of the copper also has an effect on durability. 18 gauge copper is pretty common for sinks, but it’s not as strong as a lower gauge, which indicates thicker copper.
Alternatively, some sinks are also made with a layer of copper over another material, giving the sink the look and patina of copper with the strength of the harder, stronger material underneath.
But functionality isn’t the only consideration. There’s a lot of variety among the look of copper sinks despite the common material.
For example, copper comes in multiple finishes. Naked copper is the shiny, brand new looking copper, but there are also sinks that have a head start on establishing a natural patina or that have a finish that replicates a natural patina.
You’ll also want to consider the bowl design and craftsmanship. For example, many copper sinks have a hammered finish to add some texture and interest, but you can also get smooth sinks.
Some even have a design embossed on the surface to add a more decorative element.
Best Copper Sinks Reviewed
Now that all the background is out of the way, let’s talk about our favorite copper sinks.
1. Sinkology Orwell Undermount Single Bowl Copper Sink (Our Top Pick)
Our first sink is a basic copper undermount sink. The Sinkology Orwell has a large single bowl design and a bowl that measures 28″ x 16″ x 8″, so it provides plenty of room for washing large cookware.
The sink is made of 16 gauge copper that’s hand hammered and comes with an antique finish pre-applied. Like all Sinkology sinks, it comes with a lifetime warranty.
Can be purchased with both a bottom grid that helps keep damaging substances away from your sinks surface and/or a matching drain flange or strainer drain
Sleek undermount design
Pre-applied finish but will still develop a natural patina
Some buyers report quality control issues
Bottom may not drain completely, leaving a small amount of pooled water
2. Sinkology Sisley Pro Copper Bar and Prep Sink (Best Budget)
With a bowl that measures 14.5″ x 16.5″ x 9″, our next sink is designed to be used as a bar or prep sink. However, the Sinkology Sisley Pro is also good for maximizing counter space in smaller kitchens.
Like the Orwell, the Sisley Pro is an undermount sink made of 16 gauge pure solid copper and has a hand-hammered antique copper finish.
If you want to use the Sinkology Sisley Pro as a bar or prep sink, it matches perfectly with other Sinkology copper sinks with the antique finish, including the Orwell and our next sink, the Rockwell.
Coordinates with other Sinkology Antique Copper sinks and will develop a natural patina
Can buy just the sink or the sink with a matching disposal flange or strainer drain
3. Sinkology Rockwell Apron Front Copper Farmhouse Sink (Best High End)
As you may be able to tell by now Sinkology is basically the industry leader for copper sinks and they offer sinks at a wide range of price points.
The Sinkology Rockwell is a more expensive option because of its larger size and farmhouse style. It’s a double bowl kitchen sink with each bowl measuring 14.5″ x 19″ x 9″.
Like the other Sinkology sinks, it’s made of 16 gauge pure solid copper with a hand hammered antique copper finish. However, this copper kitchen sink can be installed as either an undermount or drop-in sink.
Can buy with a cleaning kit, with a drain strainer and garbage disposal flange, or with both the drains and a bottom grid
Pre-applied finish but will still develop a natural patina
Some buyers report quality control issues
The apron front design makes installation trickier
Want the appearance of a copper sink without the fuss of preventing or maintaining a patina?
The Ruvati Terraza is actually made of stainless steel, but has a copper toned PVD finish. This makes the sink more resistant to fingerprints, stains, abrasion, rust, tarnish, dents, and wear than copper.
And all of that comes without the careful maintenance that copper sinks require too.
It also has a smooth, sandblasted matte finish that can be hard to find in copper sinks. In addition to the 30 inch wide version, the Ruvati Terraza is also available in 33-inch and 36-inch wide sinks.
Much easier to care for than real copper
Large single basin sink
SoundGuard undercoating and NoiseDefend padding for sound dampening
That brings us to a close on the best copper sinks.
Each of the sinks on this list is an excellent option for your home and you can’t go wrong with any of them. Keep in mind the factors that we’ve discussed here, and by now you should have no problem choosing the right copper sink for your home.
However, if you’d like more options to consider, both SinkologyandMonarch Abode offer plenty of other options to choose from. Sinkology even has copper bathtubs that you can coordinate with your bathroom sink of choice!
And if you’re looking for help caring for your new copper sink once you’ve got it in your home, Sinkology’s Copper CareIQ Kit and Deluxe Copper Armor Kit are both excellent choices for regular care and maintenance.