What is the ideal kitchen sink depth?
Ergonomics, the difference between comfort and a back ache!
Scroll down to see a chart regarding ideal sink depths based on the height of the user.
Drain location, the difference between up-to-date sensible design and 100 year old thoughtless design.
There is little doubt that the kitchen sink is one of the most used appliances in the home. For generations, we have ignored this active area, force fitting stock sized, obsolete designed sinks into kitchens. If you have considered purchasing a sink with a center, or rear center drain, it will be obsolete before you even install it. Your kitchen deserves a sink with a thoughtful design.
As a veteran kitchen designer, appalled by the total lack of well-designed sinks in the market, I began to design my own sinks in 1999. Sinks may appear similar, but there is a huge difference when they are properly designed. The best analogy might be the difference between a $10 and $100 pair of sneakers. They may seem outwardly similar, but on the inside, comfort levels are worlds apart. I hear this all the time - "I am happy with my current sink design". Well, I was happy with my $20 sneakers until I invested in better ones. Never going back! That is exactly what my customers tell me after using one of my workstation sinks - Never going back!
When you use your current sink, I bet that you have to hold your pots, pans and platters partially outside the sink when you wash them. (That is why deep sinks are popular). Large items don't fit down inside the bowl like they should. That is because you are using a sink with an obsolete sink design. The drain is either in the center or the rear center. When you have a properly designed sink - a single bowl with a rear corner drain, you will be able to place everything you wash at the bottom of the sink without covering the drain. With a Rachiele sink, you will work at the bottom of the sink much more often, thus a deep sink will be inappropriate. Deep sinks are necessary only when the sink is poorly designed. Folks, center drains were used by the Egyptians over 2000 years ago. It is about time we used some common sense and moved the drain out of the way of the work area. A properly designed sink will allow you to wash and prepare foods on one side and set off dishes, etc. on the other side (without a crazy center divider). Rinsed dishes will NOT get wet when washing the other dishes. We have thousands of customers that originally called in to order double bowl sinks and now own single bowl workstation sinks. They were all skeptical at first. It took some convincing because the rest of the world is still selling obsolete designs. They all tell me they love the single bowl sink with the rear corner drain and could never go back to a double bowl sink. I had the same hesitation when I designed my own kitchen 19 years ago. It was a big leap of faith, as I was the guinea pig for my well thought out design. Even though I was certain the design was better, it was still difficult for me to make the big step. There would be no turning back. I, and thousands of others, are glad we did! Just read some of the testimonials. If you need further convincing, call me. I will give you names and phone numbers of past customers to chat with. By the way, you can have your cake and eat it too! I made a removable second bowl for those of you die hard double bowl fans.
Take a look at the video below, left. You will see the most advanced ergonomically designed sink in the world - NexGen. Designed by Dino Rachiele - an accredited kitchen designer sinks 1977.
Ergonomics and the ideal sink depth.
Things to consider: (The NO SPIN ZONE)
Yes, a 9" deep is too deep for an ergonomically designed sink! An intelligently designed sink has a rear corner drain. Thoughtlessly designed sinks have center drains or rear center drains. (Sorry folks, I call them like I see them). You need a deep sink if you have a poorly designed sink. Why? Because you are always washing items half in and half out of the sink. You can not put the pot, pan, platter, etc. inside the sink to wash it or it will cover up the drain. So you do the dishwashing "spin routine". You know... You wash the bottom half, spin it around, then wash the top half, then rinse the bottom half, spin it around and rinse the other half. In a Rachiele sink, you can place virtually any pot, pan or platter right down inside the sink without covering the drain. No more spinning! You will find that you work at the bottom of the sink all the time, hence a deep sink is not only unnecessary, but inconvenient!
Most sinks are undermounted under granite, which effectively makes a 9" deep sink 10 1/4" deep. That is just too deep if you are going to be working at the bottom of the sink. Think about this... the countertop (36" tall) is designed to be a comfortable work surface. Now subtract 10 1/4" from that comfortable height. You are effectively working at a 25 3/4" height off the floor level. Take this test and then tell me if I am not correct. Make a work surface that is 25 3/4" tall. (Just to give you some perspective, a desk is 30" tall) Get a paper and pen. Try writing a letter while standing and using the surface height you have just made. One more thing, make sure you are standing several inches back from your work surface (just like you would at a sink). Go ahead, write a long letter. I can assure you, the pain in the back will come shortly!
User Height: Did you know that there is an optimal sink depth proportionate to your height? Oh yes, your height does matter! Do you get tired while working at the sink? Or worse yet, get back aches like I used to? If so, your sink is not the right height. After 35 years in space planning and kitchen design, I have observed the following consistencies between user height and bowl depth. These depths refer only to use in an ergonomically correct sink with a rear corner drain. The depths assume user will be working at the bottom of the sink frequently. This is not the case with most other sinks on the market.
Ideal bowl depth if you are under mounting a Rachiele sink
|Ideal depth double bowl or center drain sink|
|5' 0" up to 5' 3"||7 1/2"||
|5' 4" to 5' 5"||8"||
|5' 5" to 5' 9"||8"||
9" to 10"
|5' 9" to 5'11"||8 "||
|6'0" to 6'2"||7 1/2"||
|6'2" and taller||7"||
Speaking of Ergonomics, the sink industry should be ashamed of itself when it comes to providing a sink for someone in a wheelchair. They all offer center drains that get in the way of the user. We have designed the only A.D.A. sink on the market that makes sense for wheelchair use. The design is patented and the drain is in the far rear corner.. All of the others we have seen have a drain in the middle making it impossible to legs to fit comfortably under the sink. Basically, the industry has taken standard sinks and made them shallow for wheelchair use. (Click here for more information) I have always offered my sinks at my cost to anyone in a wheelchair.