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ideal number of bowls for kitchen sink? 1, 2, or 3?

i'm trying to struggle through the relative merits of single vs. double vs. triple bowl kitchen sinks. my husband and i are completely renovating our new home (we just got married! still getting used to saying "my husband." : ) any input you hounds could provide would be so very helpful, since i'm getting stalled on a lot of the kitchen details, including this one.

ONE BOWL: i can see the allure of having one very large sink that fits large pots and baking sheets.
TWO BOWLS: i would like to install a garbage disposal, and thought it would be nice to have a little bowl dedicated to that in addition to a large bowl.
THREE BOWLS: in case i do have one small bowl dedicated to garbage disposal, it would also be nice to have two large bowls, one for accumulating dirty dishes and one for prepping food, which would come in handy for large dinner parties.

what do people think? also, do you have recommendations for particular sinks? i am leaning towards an undermount triple bowl blanco, 513-690, stainless steel with two bowls 17"x18", and one bowl 9" x18". but perhaps a large single bowl with a garbage disposal, and a separate prep sink would be more functional? and maybe cheaper. help! thanks!

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  1. undermount, bit more expensive, but you won't have to worry about the sealant/gasket failing (as an architect friend put it "who ever thought surface mount was a good idea?")

    at the very least 2. if you have a D/W it can give out and washing dishes in a single sink is a bitch. it sounds like budget is not a huge issue, so if you go for 3 you might consider a small prep sink away from the workhorse (so to speak) sink so as not to bunch up functions. you'll want to have the disposal hooked to the one by the D/W, but again, if cost isn't a problem the prep could have one too.

    1. Having just gone from two bowl to one, I say one bowl unreservedly. For the first time, I can was all my large pots and roasting pans with ease; no more maneuvering pots under the faucet to make sure it's completely washed. Even if you don't have room for a second sink elsewhere, get a one bowl sink. Our sink was fabricated out of the same granite as our counter, and it is a farmhouse style. Love it,love it, love it!

      1. When we redid our kitchen 3 years ago, my designer recommended a single bowl so decided to go with a franke single bowl which is huge. have never regretted the decision simply because its so practical. I am able to wash large quantities and volume at times in there. I did consider a double bowl at that time and she dissuaded me for which I am grateful. I would go with a large single and then if space permits a smaller prep in another location.

        6 Replies
        1. re: foodwich

          hi foodwich - how did she dissuade you?

          1. re: shirlotta

            by suggesting less space with the double and the accommodating ease of the single. think large stockpots. when i pile in the dinnerware after a party i send her grateful thanks.

          2. re: foodwich

            i agree with the one bowl franke, did you get the orca, foodwich?

            1. re: chuckl

              hmmn i dont think so. will check on the franke site and revert.

              1. re: chuckl

                nope. i didnt i want to say its a huge 30 plus inches but i did get the stainless sink dish insert so it keeps the sink in good condition as in protecting the finish from scratches and also buffers the glassware and dishes.sorry vague about the dimensions since it has been a few years.

            2. Count me in the single bowl faction. Double bowls, even if the two bowls are different sizes, are never large enough. And to combat the issue with hand-washing dishes in a single bowl sink, I put my largest stainless steel bowl to use as a wash basin, freeing up the rest of the sink to use as the "staging" area for dirty dishes and as the rinse station.

              Single bowl gives you much more flexibility and I don't see how a single bowl precludes having a garbage disposal.

              1 Reply
              1. re: janniecooks

                Having gone from my parents house which had 2 bowls and my current house that has 1 bowl - I would go for the 2 bowl option.

                My parents had 1 bowl dedicated to dirty dishes & disposal...while the other bowl contained the dish rack and kept dishes that needed to dry more - LOVED IT - it freed up so much space on the counters!

                Oh and note. DO NOT GET A WHITE PORCELIN SINK! stainless steel all the way!

              2. A lot depends on how big your bigger pots are and how often you use them. Also how good you are about getting things washed and out before the next preparation step. A triple bowl is probably bad since you will never have a bowl big enough for larger pots/pans. A double is perhaps the best compromise if you want a fairly large bowl but the flexibility of an extra one to do things while the other has stuff left in it (e.g. while soaking pots). A single would be fine if you are diligent about getting each job done immediately so the stuff doesn't back up when you suddenly need to do the next job. We put in a double, plus a separte prep sink some distance away. Each one has a disposer. It works pretty well, but I do have big pots/pans that don't fit in even the largest bowl I have.

                The surface mount/under mount decision will be made when you choose your counter top material---if you go with laminate, you must surface mount. If you go with solid such as granite, you will under mount. It's more a cost issue than anything (the cost of the counter top, not the sink).

                On a related point, if you have space I strongly suggest two dishwashers. The extra flexibility they bring is well worth the slight net additional cost.