Informational Guide

Best Gauge For A Stainless Steel Sink (16 Vs 18 Vs 20 Inch)

Learn which is best for your kitchen and why it is a suitable choice.

by Holly Curell

You’ll find many stainless steel sinks on today's market, but it's necessary to figure out the best gauge for a stainless steel sink. You have many choices to find, but it helps to see that you have a model with a gauge that fits your needs.

What Is the Best Gauge For Stainless Sinks?

Every stainless sink comes with a different gauge total. Let’s look at what makes these different when figuring out.

16 Gauge (0.063-inch)

A 16 gauge stainless steel sink is ideal for when you’re looking for a sink for everyday use. A lower gauge is better when you’re trying to find something for food preparation, handling dishes, or other heavy-duty things.

A lower total is ideal for what gauge should a stainless steel sink be for how it is durable. A low gauge sink is less susceptible to dents, scratches, and other damages that might make it harder to control.

It also has enhanced noise dampening features, meaning that it won't produce lots of noise when you put things in its area. It may cost extra to get one of these sinks, what with it requiring more materials for its construction.

18 Gauge (0.05-inch)

An 18 gauge sink is 20 percent thinner than a 16 gauge model. Look for a 16 gauge sink instead, although an 18 gauge model is fine if you’re looking for something cheaper. It is also appropriate if you don’t have anything too large to handle in your area. It may not be as strong as another model.

20 Gauge (0.038-inch)

A thinner gauge would be better for use in cabins, bar sinks, and other properties where the sink can be a little smaller, or you’re not going to use it as often. The thinner gauge is suitable for basic needs. The material is made with close to half as many materials as a 16 gauge model, making it lighter and better for less intense needs.

22+ Gauge (0.031-inch or less)

Anything with a gauge of 22 or greater works only for specialized needs, including things like water or other light items. Such a sink is small and isn’t supposed to work as often. It is best to avoid anything like this when looking at what gauge stainless sink is best and stick with 20 or lower.

Facts About Stainless Steel Sinks

Stainless steel is an alloy found in many sinks. Stainless steel is an alloy of iron and other elements. It is created when iron ore and other elements like nickel, silicon, and chromium are melted together and fused to produce an alloy.

Carbon is removed from the compound during the formation process to enhance the hardiness of the alloy. It is then cut and shaped and then treated with a surface finish.

Stainless steel is ideal for how it is one of the most durable materials you’ll find in today’s sinks. It lasts for years and can work in any shape you desire. Stainless steel is also affordable, as most new applications feature recycled materials.

The formation process ensures stainless steel remains nonporous, thus making it easy to clean.


Understanding Stainless Steel Sink Gauges

The next point to note is what does gauge mean in sinks. The gauge measurement in a stainless steel sink refers to the thickness of the metal. The gauge is a non-linear measurement. The gauge comes from the general weight of the sink.

A lower gauge means that the stainless steel sink is thicker.  A sink with an 8 gauge is 0.172 inches thick, while one with a 16 gauge is 0.063 inches thick.

A lower gauge means that something is heavier. But it is also capable of resisting dents and scratches. A higher total is useful for compact areas.


How long can a stainless steel sink work for?

The lifespan of the sink is a key part of figuring out what gauge stainless steel is best for a kitchen. An average stainless steel sink works from fifteen to twenty years. It can work for longer if you maintain your sink well and clean it on occasion.

Is a thicker gauge always better?

A thick gauge is ideal for handling more pressure and stress, not to mention it will last longer on average.

What gauge stainless steel is best for a kitchen sink?

A 16 gauge total or lower is best for a kitchen sink. But a 14 or 16 gauge works, as it will not be as heavy as something with a lower total. A 14 or 16 gauge sink is perfect for how well it can handle many items.

Do all stainless steel sinks scratch easily?

Stainless steel sinks can scratch if it is too slim or thin. A thicker model could still scratch, but it would take more effort to produce such a problem. Fortunately, you can clear out scratches by using a 400 to 600 grit sandpaper material with a sanding block.

What is the best way to clean stainless steel sinks?

You can clean a stainless steel sink with baking soda and a soft sponge. Lemon juice may also mix to help you in cleaning off stains without harming the surface.

What are the best stainless steel sink brands?

You’ve got many brand names to choose from when finding a stainless steel sink. These include such names as Ruvati, Sterling, Zuhne, Kraus, Kohler, Franke, and Signature.


You should look well when figuring out what gauge steel for a kitchen sink is right for your property. You have to note what is suitable for whatever your plans are, while also seeing how well you’re going to maintain your sink.

Holly Curell is the editor extraordinaire for Plumbing Lab. Having grown up in Michigan, Holly has spent time living in New York, Virginia, & currently North Carolina, where she lives with her husband & family. Holly loves DIY & has years of experience with at-home plumbing problems that arise from having 3 kids & living in colder climates. When she's not writing about her plumbing knowledge, Holly enjoys reading, hiking & relaxing with family.