Basins Buying Guide

Where to start

From a morning routine through to even washing the dog, it’s essential that a basin meets your needs and can be cleaned in the blink of an eye. After all, we use our bathroom sinks six to eight times per day.

With so many options and plumbing considerations, weighing up the pros and cons of a pedestal vs vanity basin can be tricky unless you know your stuff!

In this guide, we want to help you in your journey to find the best sink for your bathroom by highlighting the different options available and answering some of the most common queries.

When choosing your basin or sink there are three main things you need to consider initially:

1. Space – How much space do I have available?

We recommend measuring the available space, especially if you’re planning on replacing your current bathroom sink but keeping the counter top or cupboard you already have.

If you’re revamping a small cloakroom, then you might want to choose a corner basin as this type is perfect if you’re just looking for a place for people to wash their hands. If you choose a wall hung basin then you’ll have more room for a storage shelf or cupboard underneath, should you need somewhere to store those bathroom essentials.

2. Material – What do I want to my sink to be made from?

Bathroom sinks are available in a range of different materials but the majority of the basins on bathrooms.com are made from vitreous china. Its durable properties stand the test of time but also look great. Cleaning a bathroom sink made from vitreous china is a walk in the park compared to sinks made from glass, marble or metal.

3. Style – What look am I trying to achieve?

You might want to create a bathroom with a country or spa feel, or a modern or traditional style, the decision is yours.

We will look more closely at space, material and style of bathroom sinks as we go through this guide.

Choosing the right type for you…

When looking to purchase a new bathroom sink, there are five main types to choose from.

Before we start it’s worth noting that if you’re planning on getting a plumber to fit the basin for you then you should expect to pay between £70 - £120 and for it to take between 1 or 2 hours. This can take longer if you’re changing your bathroom layout, rather than just replacing an existing sink.

Your options

Types of basins

1. Pedestal basins

The most popular type of bathroom sink is commonly known as a pedestal basin. These floor standing basins are available in a wide range of styles, so whether you want a traditional or ultra-modern look you’ll find a great pedestal basin that will give your bathroom the wow-factor.

It’s worth noting that the pedestal isn’t always designed to hold the weight of the basin (especially where the basin and the pedestal come in two pieces) as its main function is to hide pipework. You will therefore need to check with your plumber to ensure your wall is strong enough and if you have a stud wall you may need to look at getting a support frame fitted.

Pros: They are very easy to fit and if you’re keen on DIY you might be able to do this in around an hour as long as you’re just replacing an existing pedestal sink and the pipework is already in place.

Cons: The pedestal part of the sink does take up floor space so you’ll have to take this in to consideration if your bathroom is on the smaller side.

Cost: £30 - £220

2. Inset vanity basins

Inset vanity basins are designed to sit partially or fully within your counter top or within a vanity unit. They allow you to create a sleek and modern look and are easy to install.  The bathrooms.com furniture range includes attractive vanity units which come with a basin included.

Pros: Inset vanity basins are streamlined and space saving. You can fit them into your counter top or into the top of a vanity unit, which gives you plenty of extra storage options, compared to pedestal basins.

Cons: Unless you already own a counter top or vanity unit then you’ll need to factor in the additional cost.

Cost: £89 - £130

3. Counter top basins

Counter top basins (also known as bowl sinks) sit within counter tops or shelves. They give bathrooms an ultra-modern look and can be a real statement piece in any bathroom.

Pros: these are arguably the easiest type of basin to install and give your bathroom a modern feel.

Cons: You’ll need to factor in the cost of a counter top/shelf if you don’t already own one.

Cost: £40 - £200

4. Wall hung basins

Rather than sitting on a counter, vanity unit or pedestal, wall hung basins are affixed to the wall.

Pros: Wall hung basins are great for small bathrooms and maximising floor space or if you want to create the illusion of space.

Cons: You’ll need to check the material of your wall is suitable for this type of basin. For example, a stud wall will need a basin support frame. A mixer tap is recommended as they are more compact than other sink types.

Cost: £30 - £180

5. Double basins

A double basin is the answer for a busy household or couples that like to keep their toiletries separate. 

Pros: Double basins are an excellent choice for larger bathrooms or for synchronised cleaning rituals with your other half!

Cons: Double basins take up more wall space than other types of basins but if you have a large enough bathroom this won’t be a problem. They are also more expensive because  of the cost of the additional material

Cost: £300 - £500

Which material is best?

Bathroom sinks traditionally come in timeless and elegant white. Which material however ticks the practicality and style boxes you are no doubt looking for? We’ve explored the main materials on offer when choosing your bathroom sink;

1. Ceramic basins and sinks

A hardwearing material, ceramic bathroom sinks are made from clay and will stand the test of time.

Pros: Easy to clean and long lasting. A quick wipe down with a wet cloth can make your sink look like new.

Cons: Ceramic basins look and perform similar to vitreous china basins but often cost slightly more.

Cost: £50 - £350

2. Composite basins and sinks

Composite basins are made from a mixture of at least two different materials, one of which is usually quartz or granite.

Pros: Composite basins look very high end and are available in a range of colours and styles.

Cons: Although more expensive than ceramic and porcelain, a composite basin is still much cheaper than buying a purely granite basin.

Cost: £80 - £370

3. Granite and stone basins and sinks

For ultimate luxury then a granite or stone basin is an excellent choice.

Pros: They are perfect for spa-style bathrooms and make great statement pieces.

Cons: As an investment piece, this type of sink is not suited if you’re on a tight budget.

Cost: £300 - £800

4. White basins and sinks

The majority of sinks from bathrooms.com are made from porcelain and come in two finishes: vitreous china and fine fireclay. Vitreous china is coated porcelain which gives it a high gloss shine. Fireclay sinks are clay based with a porcelain enamel to give it that white, glossy finish.

Pros: Vitreous china comes out on top of the white sink category because its hard wearing and offers great value for money. Porcelain basins are durable and scratch resistant and any small scratches can be easily repaired with a porcelain repair kit.

Cons: Between vitreous chins and fine fireclay, the latter is the more porous of the two. For this reason, a sink made from fine fireclay slightly less sleek as one made from vitreous china.

Cost: £30 - £150

Dimensions – Good to know

Generally, rectangle sinks are between 19 and 24 inches wide and 16 to 23 inches front to back. Round sinks are usually between 16 to 20 inches in diameter.


Sinks for small spaces

If space is at a premium in your bathroom, then there are three types of bathroom sink that we recommend:

1. Compact sinks and wash basins

A smaller size doesn’t mean compromising on style. Bathrooms.com has a great selection of compact sinks that would be a smart solution for any cloakroom or snug bathroom.

Pros: You’ll be impressed by how much bigger your room will seem if you replace it with a more compact design.

Cons: Although this type is great for bathroom essentials,  it’s unsuitable for bigger tasks such as hand-washing clothes.

Cost: £40 - £130

2. Corner basins and sinks

Neat, compact and making the most of your wall space, corner sinks are another great choice for cloakrooms and snug spaces.

Pros: Perfect if all you need is somewhere for people to wash their hands or brush teeth.

Cons: The downside to corner basins is that in order to install one, you need a suitable corner in your bathroom. If the one free corner is obscured with a radiator you might be better opting for a different type of bathroom sink. 

Cost: £40 - £70

3. Square basins and sinks

If you only have a narrow bathroom or perhaps you want to save space so you can have a larger bath then a square basin is a great option as they are narrower than a traditional rectangular shaped basin.

Pros: They are larger than corner basins and small sinks so cover off a few more of life’s tasks.

Cons: Due to their minimalist appearance, options for this sink aren’t as varied as others in the range.

Cost: £40 - £90


What else?         

Five important things to consider

No doubt you have a clearer idea of which sink will be best for your bathroom revamp. Before you go ahead and buy a sink, it’s important that you consider the following questions:

1. Should you change your bathroom’s layout?

Reshuffling the items in your bathroom is a smart idea if you’re looking to utilise your space Bathrooms.com have a handy app to help you visualise these new products in your home.

IMAGE OF APP BEING USED

2. Do you need a plumber to install your bathroom sink?

Replacing an existing sink is often quicker than installing a sink somewhere new but this will ultimately depend on your DIY skills. It’s always advisable to speak to a plumber if you’re new to plumbing. On average, it should cost you between £70 -£120 for a plumber to install your new sink.

3. Have you thought about the water pressure needed?

Before you choose your new bathroom sink it’s important to think about water pressure and the hot water system in your home. Your water pressure will dictate the type of tap that is best suited for your sink. For more information, please check out our Taps Guide >

4. Do you need to reinforce your wall?

Besides countertop and vanity basins, bathroom sinks are secured to a wall. As mentioned previously, you’ll need to consider your wall strength such as if you have a stud wall. The good news is that you can reinforce most walls so that they can hold the weight of your new basin. . You don’t want to be leaning on your bathroom sink one day and find that it starts to wobble.

5. Do you want one tap or two?

You’ll need to decide if you want one single tap or two taps before you decide on your sink as the holes are pre-drilled. If you’d prefer to have your taps on your counter top such as the Rinaldi counter top sink, then make sure you choose a basin without pre-drilled holes.

Whether you go for a single (mixer) or two taps is up to you. If you’re environmentally conscious it’s worth noting that mixer taps are usually fitted with a flow limiter which means that you can’t take too much water from the hot and cold pipes at the same time. As a result, less hot water is consumed which will save on your energy bills in the long run.

It’s important to check the product description to see whether your taps are included. You may also need to order the waste and a basin fixing kit but this will be clearly explained on the product page.


Styling & Installation

Good to know

So what else might you need when purchasing a new basin? You will want to consider the following;

Overflows

Aimed to prevent your sink from overflowing if you ever accidentally leave your plug in and tap running. Once the water reaches a certain level, it goes down the overflow hole. A lot of sinks come with these already installed but it’s definitely a feature to keep an eye out for – especially if you have the tendency to get distracted or try and tackle too many tasks at once!

Wastes

Your choice of overflow will affect your choice of waste. If you’ve chosen a basin with an internal overflow, you’ll need a slotted waste, whilst an un-slotted waste is used with basins that have no overflow. Your plumber will recommend which is best if you need additional help deciding which is suitable.

Cabinets and drawers

If you’ve opted for an inset or vanity basin, then we can help you choose a cabinet or drawers unit to fix your bathroom sink to. All of our bathroom furniture comes pre-assembled so you’ll also need to measure the route you’ll take to get it in to your as well as the space it’s filling.

The great thing about having a cabinet or drawers as part of your basin is that you’ll have more storage space for all of your bathroom essentials. If space is at a premium, then you can always opt for a shelf to add a touch of minimalism and save on floor space


Choosing a basin in the right style

Whether you have a theme in your bathroom or are yet to decide on one, the below product selections should help whet your appetite to really help shape the look and feel of your new bathroom.

1. Basins and sinks for contemporary and modern bathrooms

If you want to create a modern bathroom with a luxury feel, then a statement sink is key.

An eye-catching contemporary counter top basin can give you a designer look, without costing a fortune. We recommend the Maderno Signature Counter Top Basin or the Rinaldi Signature Counter Top Basin.

If you want something extra special, why not consider the elegant Maderno Signature Floorstanding Basin?

2. Basins and sinks for country and seaside bathrooms

If you want a warm, homely feel to your bathroom then you might want to opt for a country or seaside theme. This style of bathroom is all about comfort with a dash of rustic charm.

We love the Edwardian Traditional Pedestal Basin (and its sister, the Edwardian Traditional Compact Basin for smaller bathrooms). It looks like the kind of bathroom sink you’d find in a cottage.

Alternatively, you could find a charming bathroom cabinet or shelving unit and fit an inset vanity basin to the top. You could paint the cabinet light blue or white if you’re going for a seaside theme, and add some seagulls and boat motifs. If you’re feeling brave you could paint red and white stripes and turn your cabinet into your own mini beach hut! The Salisbury cabinet is a great option if you feel like cheating instead.

3. Basins and sinks for spa style bathrooms

For a luxurious bathroom that rivals any spa why not add a large freestanding bath or walk-in shower? Wall hung basins will help add an element of sophistication such as the Contour  or  Rinaldi Signature Wall Hung Basin.

You might also want to consider counter top basins such as the and Linear.  are super stylish and look just like the sinks you’d find in top spas. The Janssen Signature Pedestal Basin is another opulent choice.

4. Basins and sinks for traditional bathrooms

If you want to create a timeless and elegant bathroom, then we recommend products with a more historical feel such as our Edwardian & Victorian Pedestal Basins. Both look elegant and their classic styling is perfect for any traditional bathroom.

IMAGE OF TRADITIONAL BATHROOM SCENE WITH VICTORIAN PEDESTAL BASIN


Summary

You’re now armed with the knowledge to make bathroom sink journey an absolute Doddle. We’re sure you’ll find something with the wow factor and suited to your everyday needs.

For help on choosing your toilet, bath and shower enclosure, please check out our other guides.


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