Vessel Sink Vs Drop-In Sink Vs Undermount Sink – Which To Choose?

Remodeling a kitchen or bathroom requires you to make many choices as far as which fixtures to choose. Sinks are essential features in both kitchens and bathrooms, and there are different kinds of sinks available. The types of sinks are vessel sinks, drop-in sinks, and undermount sinks. But which kind of sink should you choose and why? We've researched this topic and will bring you the answer in this article.

Vessel, drop-in, and undermount sinks differ in terms of style, cost, functionality, and installation. There are pros and cons that come with each one. Vessel sinks are more stylish, but are more expensive and aren't as versatile as drop-in and undermount sinks. Drop-in and undermount sinks are more versatile and affordable, but more work is required to install them. The decision of which to purchase should be made only after weighing the pros and cons of each type.

Sinks are a significant investment and you should be informed before you purchase one. In this article, we will take a closer look at the pros and cons of each sink type so that you will have the best possible information before you make a decision. Keep reading to learn more.

Collage of a vessel sink, drop-in sink and undermount sink, Vessel Sink Vs Drop-In Sink Vs Undermount Sink – Which To Choose?

What Exactly Are The Different Types Of Sinks?

Before we look at each sink type's pros and cons, it's important to know a little bit about what each sink looks like.

  • Vessel sink: a free-standing sink sometimes resembling a bowl that sits on top of a counter or vanity.
  • Drop-in sink: a sink that is mounted in the counter but has a lip that rests above the counter.
  • Undermount sink: a sink that sits in the counter with edges that are below the counter.

Now that we are familiar with the look of the different sink types let's take a look at each's pros and cons.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Vessel Sinks

Interior of bathroom with washbasin and faucet


  • Works well in bathrooms
  • Allows for more counter space
  • Easy to install


  • It may go out of style
  • Get cracked or broken more easily
  • It can be hard to clean around the base
  • Requires the faucet to be a certain height

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Drop-In Sinks

Modern kitchen with black sink and fronts


  • Works well in kitchens
  • Come in a wide variety of styles and materials
  • Very affordable
  • Easy to install


  • Take up more counter space
  • Need to be installed in heavy countertops
  • Trap dirt and water under the edge

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Undermount Sinks

Beautiful modern kitchen interior with sink, cabinets, stainless steel in new luxury home


  • Could work in a kitchen or bathroom
  • Have a modern look
  • Easy to clean
  • Create more counter space


  • It may not always be in style
  • Are more expensive
  • It could get weighed down if they aren't installed properly
  • Require sturdy countertops

Do Vessel Sinks Need A Special Drain?

Remember that vessel sinks sit on top of the counter instead of in it. So if you are transitioning to a vessel sink from another type of sink, you will need to lengthen the drain to connect the existing pipes to the actual sink. Lengthening the drain is an inexpensive and easy fix. All you will need is a piece of connector pipe.

Do Vessel Sinks Drain Slowly?

Vessel sinks are known to drain slowly, but the cause isn't that the drain is clogged. Instead, it has to do with how the sink is built. Most vessel sinks have a drain that resembles a grid, meaning that there are smaller holes for the water to drain through. Having this type of drain could mean that the drain isn't properly ventilated.

An improperly ventilated drain could mean that air is getting trapped between the grid and the trap. The air is causing water flow to stop or slow down as it goes down the drain. The reason that air is getting trapped is that vessel sinks are built without an overflow. In sinks that have an overflow, the air can escape, and the sink drains more quickly.

How To Fix A Slow-Draining Vessel Sink

In sinks without an overflow, it's difficult to prevent air from getting trapped in the drain at all, but you can reduce the amount of air trapped in the sink by replacing the grid drain with a pop-up drain. The vessel sink still may not drain as quickly as other sink types, but it will drain a little faster than previously.

You can also try to drill out larger holes in the grid drain instead of replacing it, but this can be tricky because you don't want to risk damaging the drain. The larger holes will cause water to drain faster by allowing more air to escape, but if you damage the drain, you will have to replace the whole thing anyway.

This replacement sink drain assembly is designed for vessel sinks and comes in different finishes.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

What Is The Difference Between Drop-In And Undermount Sinks?

While both drop-in and undermount sinks are installed in the countertop, there are a few differences between the two. The first difference is that the edge of a drop-in sink is above the counter, while an undermount sink is below the counter.

You will also notice a difference in the placement of the faucet. With drop-in sinks, the faucet is attached to the sink above the counter. With undermount sinks, the faucet will be attached to the sink under the counter. You will need to have additional holes in your counter for the faucet to be installed through it.

Can You Replace A Drop-In Sink With Vessel Sink?

You can replace a drop-in sink with a vessel sink. It's not hard to do, but it may involve spending extra money and doing extra work because you will probably have to make adjustments to the counter itself.

Adjusting The Counter 

Since vessel sinks are taller because they sit on top of the counter, you may have to adjust your counter height. If your counter is higher than the standard size, installing a vessel sink on top of it could cause the sink to be too high to use comfortably. If this is the case, you should choose a smaller vessel sink or lower your counter's height.

You will probably also need to replace the whole countertop, as the hole left by your previous sink will be too big to install a vessel sink. If your vessel sink is rectangular and does cover the hole, it's likely that the sink will not be adequately supported as it should be. Replacing the countertop will cost additional money.

Adjusting The Faucet

If you're planning on installing your new faucet in the counter and your vessel sink is tall or the kind that resembles a bowl, you will need to purchase a tall faucet that extends above the sink so that water can flow into the sink adequately. If you want to have a wall-mounted faucet instead, this will require a lot of extra work to reroute your water lines. That should be left to the professionals.

This tall vessel sink faucet comes in different finishes and includes a matching drain assembly.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

You May Also Like: 27 Awesome Bathroom Sink Ideas You Need To See

Can You Replace An Undermount Sink With A Drop-In?

You can easily replace an undermount sink with a drop-in sink, especially if the two sinks are the same size. Choosing a drop-in sink similar in size to the undermount sink means that you won't have cut a new hole in the countertop. You can uninstall the old sink (see this Home Depot guide to learn how to do this), apply caulk around the hole left by the previous sink, put the drop-in sink in place, and press the edges down.

This video shows you how to replace an old drop-in sink with a new one. Fast forward to the 1:20 mark to watch the installation of the new sink.

You May Also Like: 17 Awesome Kitchen Sink Ideas

Do Undermount Sinks Need Support?

Before installing an undermount sink, it's important to note that they should only be installed under granite, concrete, or marble countertops. This is because they are the only countertops that are sturdy enough to support this type of sink. 

Undermount sinks need support to keep them in place, especially when they are weighed down with dishes. Most undermount sinks are installed using a combination of epoxy and silicone caulk, clips, or brackets to help keep them in place.

The clips are metal and have a hole in them so that they can be attached to the underside of the counter with a screw. The brackets attach to cabinets and hold the sink against the counter from the bottom. But unless you're experienced at installing undermount sinks, you should let a professional install it so that you don't accidentally crack the countertop.

Most undermount sinks will come with clips or brackets, but if yours doesn't, you can purchase them.

Click here to see these on Amazon.

In Closing

We hope this guide helped you to choose a new sink for your kitchen or bathroom. There are certainly pros and cons with each type of sink, so you need to decide which kind of sink fits your style and budget the best. Thanks for reading!

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