Vessel sinks are one of the latest trends in modern bathroom design that makes your sink the centerpiece of your bathroom. Sink manufacturers have seized that trend with gusto.
There’s a huge variety of vessel sinks of all kinds flooding the market right now. That’s awesome in that it means that buyers like you are spoiled for choice, but it can also be incredibly overwhelming.
After all, how can you know what size, material, size, or anything else you want, let alone how to tell a good vessel sink from a bad one?
With our help, of course! In this guide, we’ll talk about what exactly vessel sinks are anyway and how to choose the right one for your home. Then we’ll go over our five favorite vessel sinks that are currently available.
As opposed to drop-in or undermount sinks, where the vast majority of the basin sits underneath the bathroom vanity countertop, vessel sinks sit on top of the counter. Some vessel sinks may be partly sunken into the counter, but the rim of the sink will still be well above the counter surface. A mounting ring holds the sink in place.
There’s not really a practical reason for choosing a vessel sink, though some provide a teeny bit more counter space beneath the rim of the sink. Opting for a vessel sink is primarily just an aesthetic choice.
You can see that reflected in the way that vessel sinks are designed. In comparison to other sink types, vessel sinks are available in an incredible array of shapes, materials, colors, and patterns. Many of those are clearly intended to make the sink the focal point of the bathroom.
Now the height and visibility of the vessel sink mean it’s not exactly a minimalist choice, but if you have more understated tastes, you don’t have to rule out vessel sinks. Not all vessel sinks are particularly ostentatious and many have simpler designs.
There are a few things to be aware of before choosing to go with a vessel sink though. For one, vessel sinks typically don’t have an overflow drain (though some do) to prevent water flow over the rim of the sink, so you have to be careful when you fill-up the sink.
In addition, you’ll need a special sink faucet to go with your vessel sink. Vessel sink faucets are taller than standard faucets in order to reach over the higher rim of the washbasin. Alternatively, there are also wall mount vessel faucets, but those will typically require you to make changes to your powder room pipes.
What Do You Look For In The Best Vessel Sink?
When choosing a high-quality bathroom vessel sink, there are a few things to keep in mind.
The material from which the sink is made is one of the most important factors. As we’ve already said, vessel sinks are available in a huge array of materials so there’s something to suit any possible tastes.
Some sinks even contain multiple materials. For example, glass sinks may be just plain clear or tinted, but they may also contain a combo of other materials like metal or stone to add color or shine.
Appearance isn’t the only reason to choose one sink material over another though.
The material also makes a big difference in the durability of the sink. Different materials may be resistant to some combination of scratches, stains, chips, heat, and more. Fireclay, for example, is highly durable.
Different materials have different maintenance requirements as well. Copper sinks can be prone to corrosion, while stone sinks need to be regularly sealed and can be sensitive to many household products.
Price is another place where material makes a difference. Stone tends to be one of the most expensive sink materials, while ceramic sinks are typically very affordable.
Drain Hole Size
The vast majority of bathrooms sinks, vessel or otherwise, use a standard drain hole size, 1.75 inches. That means that if you’re using standard plumbing, your existing plumbing should work with any sink with that standard sized drain hole. However, if your plumbing is different for some reason, you may need an adapter or a specialty sink.
It’s worth double checking before you buy, just in case. And don’t worry, you don’t have to be a plumbing expert. Just measure the size of the drain hole on your existing sink.
Though round bowls several inches in height are perhaps what comes to mind when you think of a vessel sink, they actually come in lots of different shapes and sizes. Bowls are the most common, but wide rectangular sinks are also very common. Squares and ovals aren’t unheard of either.
But aside from aesthetic purposes, there are a few other things to know when deciding what sink shape you want.
For one, how deep you want your sink to be. If you’ll be using it to soak items, for example, you may want a deeper sink. On the other hand, you can get away with a rather shallow sink if you’ll only be using the sink to wash your hands.
However, going with a shallower sink doesn’t necessarily mean going with a sink that doesn’t have much volume. To prevent splashing and provide extra water volume, shorter sinks tend to be wider as well.
And speaking of height, you’ll want to think about the height of your counters too.
If you’re installing on standard sized countertops, you’ll probably want to avoid going with a sink that’s too tall or it can be awkward to try to use it. Unless you’re especially tall, that is, in which case a taller sink can add a lot of convenience to your bathroom vanity.
Of course, if you’re replacing your cabinetry and countertops as well, you get more flexibility. Simply have your countertops set up a few inches shorter than standard so your new sink isn’t so high.
Our overall favorite vessel sink is the Kraus Elavo Round Vessel 14″ Ceramic Bathroom Sink.
This white sink has a simple round bowl shape. It’s made of vitreous china, which is stain, chipping, and scratch-resistant. The glossy, non-porous finish also resists bacteria growth.
The sink bowl can be purchased alone, with a pop-up drain, or with a drain and a Kraus Arlo Vessel Faucet. The drain and faucet are available in Brushed Nickel, Chrome, and Oil Rubbed Bronze finishes to match your bathroom fixtures.
Limited Lifetime Warranty
Made of durable vitreous china
May be slight variations in finish that stop the sink from looking quite perfect
Sink bowl is a little shallow and some users report splashing over the rim
2. Lordear Rectangle Pure White Porcelain Ceramic Vessel Sink (Best Budget)
A limited budget doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a vessel sink. The Lordear Rectangle Pure White Porcelain Ceramic Vessel Sink is a great vessel sink that’s also totally affordable.
This sink has a rectangular sink bowl for a modern look. It’s actually available in six different sizes and two different colors, but even the smallest, which is 16 x 12 inches, is larger than the Kraus Elavo. The sink’s still fairly tall, though, measuring 5 inches from countertop to rim.
3. Kohler Kensho Vessel Bathroom Sink (Best High End)
If money is no object, then perhaps the Kohler Kensho Vessel Bathroom Sink is for you.
This natural stone sink is gorgeous. The outside has beautifully detailed etched patterns that are based on Japanese sashiko kimono designs and are inlaid with champagne gold. The inside of the basin is smooth to reveal the stone’s natural texture, making each sink unique.
It is a truly lovely lovely piece of functional art, but it doesn’t come cheap. In fact, this sink is more than 10 times the price of the next most expensive sink we recommend here.
Last up is the Vigo Crystalline Glass Vessel Sink. If you want something that can serve as a focal point for your bathroom but don’t have the cash to shell out for the Kohler Kensho, this tempered glass sink may be the perfect alternative.
It’s available in a couple different shapes and a multitude of finishes, each of which makes a unique statement. Go with the clear glass bowl for a more simple look or choose something like the Russet or Black and Silver finish for something bolder. The Sheer Black and White Frost finishes fall somewhere in between.
Limited Lifetime Warranty
Circular and rectangular options available in several finishes
Each sink is handmade, so each one is unique
For the non-clear finishes, the coloring may vary from the pictures
Tempered glass can still be prone to chipping and scratching
Though we particularly love the simple, attractive design and value offered by the Kraus Elavo Round Vessel sink, each of these sinks has earned their place in our list of the best vessel sinks.
The Lordear and Luxier sinks are great for a sleek, modern bathroom, while the Kohler and Vigo recommendations are perfect if you want a bolder sink.
To choose the right one for you, just think about the criteria that we’ve discussed, your needs and preferences, and your particular budget. By now, you should have all the knowledge you need to make the best choice!