Informational Guide

Undermount Vs Drop In Sinks Compared

Trying to decide between an undermount vs a drop in sink for your kitchen or bathroom? We look at the differences here.

by Caitlin Shaffer

There are two main configurations of sinks: undermount and drop-in. Is a drop-in sink the same as an undermount?

Not at all! Just as the names suggest, undermount sinks are mounted under the countertop, while drop-ins are “dropped in” the pre-cut space made for the sink in the countertop with a lip resting on the counter to keep it in place.

If you’re trying to decide between the two for your kitchen or bathroom sink, you’re in the right place!

Undermount sinks have been rapidly rising in popularity over the last few years due to the sleek, seamless appearance and modern aesthetic they provide. Not only that, but they're easier to clean and maximize available counter space! They are mounted underneath the countertop, held securely with clips, caulk, or other adhesive made for this purpose. As there's no lip that covers the sink cutout, they have to be used with solid countertops made of marble, quartz, and other similar materials.

What Is An Undermount Sink

What Is a Drop-In Sink?

These are more commonly found in bathrooms, and while they do have a slightly less modern look to them, they still have many benefits. These are dropped into the cutout pre-made in the countertop, with the lip sitting on the counter. There is naturally a gap between the lip and the counter, which gets filled in with a bit of caulk. Typically, this process is a much easier one than that of undermount models, so if you are new to DIY projects, a top mounted kitchen sink could be the one for you.

What Is A Drop In Sink

Undermount vs. Drop-In Compared

There's no "better" option in terms of a black and white answer. When we're talking about undermount vs. drop in sink pros and cons, there are some of each.

  • Undermount Sink Pros
    While “taste” is subjective, the undermount sink is known to be more sleek and visually appealing. As no lip is visible, it creates an entirely seamless look that just looks more expensive. Not only that, but the lack of a lip resting on top makes it much easier to clean. You don’t have to worry about crumbs and gunk getting in the caulk or the caulk wearing off. You can wipe debris directly into the sink if you’d like. Finally, it maximizes countertop space as the lip won’t be taking it up!
  • Undermount Sink Cons
    You should know that you can’t use undermount sinks with every type of countertop material, such as those with a plywood or MDF core like laminates and tile. If the support posts/brackets holding the sink to the countertop don’t work, the sink can begin to sag or even fall off! If the caulk isn’t properly functioning, it can result in water seeping through the gap.
  • Drop-In Sink Pros
    Drop-ins are more affordable by far, and much easier to install. Not only that, but it works with all types of countertop materials, so you aren’t just limited to granite, marble, and other natural stones. These work even with metal! If you aren’t all that skilled with installing these types of things, you should find drop-in sink installation relatively easy and straightforward.
  • Drop-In Sink Cons
    The appearance isn’t quite as modern as the undermounts, though there are many that look incredible as well. The biggest downside is the fact that the rim tends to collect dirt and germs. Sure, you can fill the gap between the edge and countertop up with caulk, but caulk isn’t perfect and does need replacing every five years or so. It's generally a bit harder to clean and does take up more counter space. Albeit, it isn’t a ton...if you're short on counter space anyway, every bit counts.

Cost Comparison – Which is Cheaper to Buy & Install?

Undermount sinks are definitely more expensive. It would be best if you planned on spending at least $200, depending on the model and other necessary fixtures. Drop-in sinks vary quite a bit more in price, depending on the size, materials, brand, model, etcetera. You can score one for less than $50 or spend more than $700! However, your average drop-in sink should cost you around $150 to perhaps $300 if you're getting it installed for you.


Things to Consider When Replacing Your Household Sinks

When deciding between an undermount sink vs drop in sink, there are some considerations to take.

Existing cut out size/quality

First off, think about the cutout that’s already in your countertop. What size is it? Make sure you actually get out measuring tape and measure it rather than eyeballing it. This can result in you getting the wrong size and is just an extra hassle that you shouldn’t have to deal with. Also, look at the quality of the cutout. Is it clean and professionally done?

Existing counter space

Do you have enough counter space that you don’t have to squeeze everything in there while cooking or entertaining? If you have more than enough, then you can go with a drop-in without having to worry about the lip taking up a bit of room. If you’re tight on space, then an undermount may be your best bet.

Existing countertop material

As we mentioned a couple of times already, you need a solid material for an undermount sink to work. A natural stone is the ideal material as it is going to provide strength and integrity.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

Can a drop-in sink be used as an undermount?

While a lot of people recommend against it, it is actually possible to undermount a drop-in sink! However, just trust us when we say it’s better to undermount an actual undermount sink and leave the drop-ins as such.

Can you use a drop in sink with a granite countertop?

Yes, you can! We recommend using clear silicone caulk as it is going to look the best. This goes double if you have a dark stone granite.

Do undermount sinks get mold? How do you remove it?

Unfortunately, yes, they do! This is because water will undoubtedly get into even the tiniest of crevices when we’re dealing with sinks. You can spray bleach where the mold is, or use a more natural option such as vinegar. Vinegar is awesome at killing bacteria and foul odors!


Conclusion

So which is better – undermount or drop-in sink? By now, you have probably figured out that it's about which is better for you and your home. We love undermounts for their style, and if you have the right countertop material and budget, these are great. If you're tighter on cash and have the countertop space to boot, then drop-ins are an excellent choice of kitchen sink!

Caitlin Shaffer has been traveling & working as a content writer & SCUBA dive instructor since 2014. Having lived in Central & South America, Southeast Asia, India, & Australia, Caitlin has had many years of experience with a variety of kitchen, bathroom, plumbing systems & common household products. Other than writing about her plumbing experiences & knowledge, her main passions are yoga, ocean conservation, & sustainable development.

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