Consumer Reports: Unsinkable kitchen sinks

Most of us don't think too much about our kitchen sinkthat is until we're thinking about remodeling or the one we have just has to go. And the choices are endless. There's stainless steel and Corian and styles such as an above-the-counter basin and an apron-front sink.

Consumer Reports put 18 kitchen sinks through tough tests to reveal which can really stand the test of time.

Sinks are stained with foods including Kool-Aid, pasta sauce, and coffee. They are scrubbed with scouring pads. And testers dropped hard objects weighing up to 5 pounds on them from different heights. Testers even checked to see how well the sinks can handle a hot pot of 400 F oil.

All of the sinks had a weaknesssome worse than others. The acrylic sinks actually melted during the heat-resistance tests. The fire clay sinks cracked during the impact test. And although almost all of the stainless-steel sinks scratched, they proved to be the most durable type of sink and among the least expensive.

But Consumer Reports says avoid high-polished stainless steel. Brushed and matte finishes will hide stains a lot better than a high-polished surface. You'll also want to get a stainless-steel sink with sound-absorbing pads on the underside. They're quieter than sinks with a spray-on coating.

As for double-basin sinks, often they're too small for big pans, so take your biggest pan with you to the store.

Consumer Reports says another consideration with a kitchen sink is the depth. Deeper sinks reduce splashes. But if you're not very tall, working in a low sink can be uncomfortable.

If you're replacing a sink but not the countertop, a drop-in sink is the simplest to install. And it will work with most types of countertops.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website. Subscribe to