Acrylic Sink vs Stainless Steel Sink: The Key Difference


Is acrylic sink worth the hype? Or sticking with a traditional stainless steel sink is a better idea? Many homeowners struggle to figure out between Acrylic sinks vs Stainless Steel sinks.

Which one’s for you? Because acrylic sinks come in various shapes and shades, you can make more stylish choices. And that too at much more affordable prices than stainless stink.

Acrylic allows you to brighten up dull bath and kitchen spaces while complementing their unique hues. They’re also lightweight and easy to install.

But what about the durability? Acrylic sinks are made with comparatively softer materials and are more prone to scratches and pits. So they’re not as durable as stainless steel sinks. The thickness and corrosion resistance still make the stainless steel sink a popular material for kitchen sinks.

But that’s not all; check out the article here to find out more on this comparison.

Acrylic Sink vs Stainless Steel Sink

What is Acrylic Sink?

Poly Methyl Methacrylate (PMMA) is a transparent thermoplastic, which is better known as acrylic. This material belongs to the group of engineering plastic and is reinforced by resin and fiberglass to make sinks for bathrooms and kitchens. The acrylic sinks are popular for their versatility in appearance.

These sinks go through a heat-molding process to produce desired shape sinks. You can get them in various styles regarding color, shades, and finishes.

They’re considered an affordable alternative to stainless steel or porcelain bathroom and kitchen sinks. Some of the key features of acrylic sinks that you can get attracted to are:

  • Naturally hygienic, non-porous material
  • Typically comes with a silk matte finish, while shiny finishes are also available
  • The surface has a smooth impact that ensures residues and stains clean easily
  • Includes precut drain openings for standard plastic baskets
  • Available in convenient drop-in and undermount sink installation
  • Minimum water flow sound keeps it quiet

What is Stainless Steel Sink?

Stainless steel sink makes a popular choice for residential and commercial kitchens. They’re low-carbon steel that mainly consists of chromium (16%) and nickel (10%) and is known for its resistance to rust, stain, and heat.

These sinks have a 2 to 3 % molybdenum that provides excellent corrosion resistance and ensures long-lasting durability. Although it doesn’t come in many styles or colors like acrylic sinks, its nickel content can still give a lustrous appearance to any kitchen.

Many consider it noisy, but some thicker models (16 and 18 gauge) are less noisy than the regular less-expensive models. Some of the major features of stainless steel sinks include:

  • Available in high-end to affordable price range
  • They don’t rust, stain, fade, chip, or crack easily and last for years
  • Low-maintenance and retains original luster even when cleaned with normal cleaning agents
  • Absorbs shock to prevent accidental breakage of fragile household products

Acrylic Sink Vs. Stainless Steel Sink

Acrylic and stainless steel sink both are very popular kitchen fixtures for home kitchens, but they can give a distinct feel. Here I’ve compared these sinks based on key features. So you can find out which one excels where.

Difference 1. Appearance

Which one between acrylic and stainless steel sinks gives your kitchen a more elegant look? Acrylic outclasses stainless steel in this regard. It’s a more versatile material that can offer a massive range of shapes and sizes for your kitchen and bathroom sinks.

Acrylic sinks can be styled, textured, and shaded so readily that they can suit every kitchen style. They look close to expensive materials like sandstone, granite, or porcelain, providing exquisiteness in the appearance.

Although nickel in the stainless steel gives a vibrant look, it’s still monotonous and lacks the versatility you probably need for your kitchen appearance.

Difference 2. Durability

When it comes to durability, there’s hard to find a match for stainless steel sinks. Its chromium, nickel, and molybdenum make it a highly durable sink to use in the kitchen. They’ve excellent thickness to withstand any odd. The material absorbs shock and doesn’t lose temper easily.

Moreover, they’re extremely corrosion resistant and not prone to cracking or chipping like acrylic sinks. So the service life of stainless steel can be up to 30 years!

Acrylic sinks are also made of durable plastic, but they’re not as durable as their stainless steel counterparts under regular kitchen use.

Acrylic sinks are resistant to stain and impact, but their soft polycarbonate construction makes them vulnerable to petroleum-based materials.

They don’t withstand scratches or cracks as brilliantly as stainless steel does. But you could still use them for more than ten years with a little careful use.

They’re a less-expensive alternative, and if you’re someone who continuously upgrades the home fixtures, the service life acrylic sinks should feel reasonable to you.

Difference 3. Cleaning & Maintenance

Both the acrylic and stainless sinks are easy to clean and maintain. But we’ve to say stainless steel sinks are slightly ahead in this case. They don’t rust or stain easily. The non-porous texture makes it easier to clean any residue and stickiness.

Stainless steel sinks retain the original look even with low maintenance. These sinks are fairly resistant to scratches and impacts and don’t crack easily. They’re also the easiest to sterilize.

On the other hand, acrylic sinks are also non-porous and impact-resistant. They have a smooth surface and don’t stain easily, except for any petroleum product. You can also easily clean the residues in these sinks.

But acrylic sinks can scratch, crack, damage, and lose sheen over time. Also, they can’t withstand heavy abrasive and scrubbing for cleaning. So their cleaning and maintenance will need more effort than stainless steel.

Difference 4. Noise

If you want a quieter user experience, you’ll surely have to go for the acrylic sinks. The soft material can muffle the sound of water flow and ensure you’re not disturbing anyone during the use.

On the other hand, stainless steel sinks are generally noisy due to the nature of steel. However, the newer and thicker stainless steel (like the 18-gauge) sinks have less noise than the older modes.

Difference 5. Cost

When comparing acrylic and stainless sinks, the cost becomes a major issue. One of the reasons homeowners are inclined to acrylic sinks is their budget-friendly price tag. They’re the most cost-effective alternative to expensive porcelain, granite, and stainless steel sinks.

You can get a good acrylic sink for half the price of a standard stainless steel sink. Although they’re less durable than stainless steel ones, the price gives you an extra chance to upgrade them with timely kitchen fixtures.

On the other hand, stainless steel sinks are slightly expensive, but if you want to save on replacement costs, it’d probably be a better option.

Basic Comparison Chart Between Acrylic and Stainless Steel Sink

ParameterAcrylic SinkStainless Steel Sink
AppearanceMore vibrant lookMonotonous look
VersatilityTons of shapes, colors, shades availableLimited style options
DurabilityLess durable and more prone to damageMore durable and less prone to damage
NoiseReduced sound of water flowMore noisy water flow
Cleaning & MaintenanceSlightly harder to clean and maintainEasier to clean and maintain
CostLess expensiveMore expensive

Is acrylic or stainless steel better?

Which of these sinks is better? Well, it’s subject to personal preference because both have pros and cons.

If you’re too concerned about durability, you must go for the stainless steel sinks. Stainless steel is one of the most durable sink materials. They hold their finish better even with low maintenance. So you won’t have to think about replacement costs any sooner.

However, stainless still sinks aren’t suitable for many modern interior decors. So if you prefer appearance over durability, acrylic sinks will be the right choice for you. The versatility of acrylic sinks in the shapes, colors, and textures make them suitable for any modern kitchen and bathroom.

Acrylic sinks also have decent durability with careful use. Moreover, their reasonable price gives them that extra chance to get chosen over stainless sinks.

Conclusion

While stainless steel is a tough material known for its durability, acrylic material is unparallel for its style versatility.

If you’ve got a modern house, it’s unlikely you’ll go with stainless steel sinks since you prefer style over anything else. Many say acrylic sinks are less durable and prone to damage; a little care is expected when using such types of sinks. Its affordable price tag is also a plus that allows you to make an upgrade quite easily.

However, many busy homes and commercial kitchens such as restaurants, hospitals, or shops still prefer traditional stainless sinks for greater endurance. In such cases, you can’t have an acrylic sink to undergo such a high frequency of use.

That’s all; now you should be good to figure out between the acrylic Sink Vs stainless steel sink.

Lisa Burks

Hi, I'm Lisa Burks, founder of the Sink Formula blog, and plumber of 5 years experience.

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