Vessel Sinks Pros and Cons

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The vessel sink delivers a more luxurious appeal, which makes it commonly paired up with bathroom vanities. It adds a nice touch of class to any bathroom and will surely enhance the overall aesthetics if that is an element that you are striving for in your home. Now, if you are interested in incorporating the vessel sink into your bathroom, there are obviously several considerations to note. In this article, we will be going through all the essential aspects of vessel sinks to help you determine if this is the correct type of basin for you.

What is a Vessel Sink?

A vessel sink is a type of basin that sits atop the countertop or bathroom vanity. Because of its installation, the vessel sink tends to be higher than your typical basins, which is an essential factor to consider. This type of bathroom sink also comes in various designs that utilize different materials, giving vessel basins incredible variety. Also of note, there are two distinct types of vessel sinks in the market.

Two Types of Vessel Sinks: Above-Counter and Recessed

These two variations of this basin revolve around the installation process:

  • Above-Counter Installation
Modern bathroom interior with two vessel sinks

As the name implies, the above-counter vessel sink rests on top of the countertop or vanity. This type is the most common in the market and requires no significant cutting of holes on the counter beside the drain hole, which only measures around 1 5/8th to 1 3/4th inch. 

  • Recessed Installation

The second type of vessel sink is the recessed model. This type of vessel basin offers considerably higher stability than above-counter versions because it is slightly dipped into the counter. Of course, this means that you will need to cut a hole in your counter or vanity. If you are planning on changing to a different vessel sink in the future, you will be limited to a similarly sized basin. 

The Pros and Cons of Vessel Sinks


Now, before you head on to your local Bed, Bath, and Beyond, it is best to understand all the ins and outs of having a vessel sink. Below are the knows advantages and disadvantages of this kind of basin. 


  • Fantastic design and truly enhances the overall style of your bathroom. Also, the selection of different materials gives you a dozen more options to choose from, from the traditional to a more contemporary look. 
  • Vessel sinks are incredibly easy to install, whether you choose the above-counter or the recessed model. In most instances, installing this type of basin can be done without hiring a professional. 
  • Since this type of basin only takes up a small percentage of the countertop’s surface, it is an excellent option for those who want to maximize the available space of their counter or vanity. 
  • Going back to its easy installation, vessel sinks are also easily changeable if you wish to spruce up your bathroom’s design in the future. 


  • Cleaning can be a bit difficult due to the installation method of this type of sink. Water and dirt can get lodged in between the base of the sink and the countertop. This factor is something you should remember if you decide to install a vessel basin. 
  • There is also a question regarding the durability and longevity of the vessel sink. Since the design of the basin requires it to be raised above the counter, its edges are completely exposed to damage. This issue is doubly true if the vessel sink is made from glass or ceramic. Cracks are problems that you need to be aware of if you have vessel basins in your bathroom. 
  • Stability is also a factor that vessel sinks tend to have shortcomings in. A recessed vessel basin will somewhat increase the stability, but it still won’t compare to traditional basins, which are basically built into the counter or vanity. 
  • Another drawback to this type of basin is its lack of overflow. Thus, it is best to avoid leaving the faucet unattended if you do not wish to flood your bathroom with water. 
  • Due to the installation process, vessel sinks add a considerable height, which might be an issue for shorter individuals and children. 
  • Finally, some consider vessel sinks to be a fad and will most likely be an obscure option in the future. If true, this might make repairs and finding new replacement models quite tricky. As things go, though, it appears that the vessel basin is here to stay.

Other Factors to Consider

Besides the pros and cons we listed above, there are several factors to consider before deciding on this type of bathroom basin.

  • The Cost

Vessel sinks tend to be quite a costly investment back then as it is more of a luxury basin. The most astronomical price tag made this type of basin a bit of a reach for ordinary folks. Well, that was then. Currently, vessel sinks cost anywhere between $100 to a little over $1,000 for the high-end bathroom sink brands. You can even find a solid unit for about $300 with a slew of design options to choose from. 

Of course, additional costs will start popping up for the installation of both the basin and faucet. Speaking of the faucet…

  • Special Faucet Types

Vessel sinks require a particular type of faucet to accommodate its extra height. So, you will need a faucet that is both high enough and long enough for the water to flow onto the bowl. 

  • Bathroom Countertop Height

Since the vessel basin will already add a significant height by default, you might want to consider a countertop or vanity that is not that high. If you already have a vanity or counter in your bathroom, we recommend you choose the recessed models to cut off a bit of height from the basin. How high should a bathroom sink be?

Different Vanity Sink Materials

When it comes to vessel sinks, their main draw will always revolve around their aesthetic value. As such, this type of bathroom and vanity basin comes in a variety of designs and materials that will surely enhance the overall interior design of your restroom. 

You can find vessel sinks made from glass, ceramic, plastic, granite, copper, concrete, stone, wood, and even marble.

Of course, the price will vary depending on the type of sink material used. Plastic, glass, and ceramic tend to be cheaper than copper, wood, and marble. Understanding the pros and cons that each material brings to the table will help you better narrow down the best one based on your preferences. 

  • Glass

Featuring a modern vibe, glass vessel sinks are primarily seen in contemporary-style bathrooms. However, the stunning sheen and smooth aesthetic that glass adds to this basin symbolizes luxury and modernity. So, if you are looking for something modern and elegant, a glass basin is the way to go. 

  • Ceramic

Ceramic basins share a lot of qualities with the enamel-coated cast iron sink but are not prone to corrosion, which is a huge advantage. However, ceramic is not as durable and are also more prone to cracks. 

  • Metal

The metallic vessel sink is another standard model that is quite popular in the market. Basins that are made from stainless steel, copper, and cast iron fall under this category. Due to the practical and high-functionality of this type of material, it is often incorporated into commercial establishments. The reason for this is because metal basins are easy to clean, heat-resistant, durable, and relatively affordable.

Also, please take note that copper sinks tend to develop an oxide coating or patina over time. For some, this creates a nice aesthetic touch. However, if you wish to keep the original sheen and color tone of the basin, we suggest you apply treatment to the sink’s surface from time to time. 

Cast iron, specifically the enamel-coated cast-iron basin, is one of the most rigid and heat-resistant options available. However, the enamel-coating tends to be susceptible to impacts and cracks. In addition, if the enamel-coated surface gets compromised, the cast iron underneath will be far more vulnerable to corrosion. 

  • Plastic

Quite possibly the most versatile and affordable material to use in creating a sink, plastic basins can come in a wide variety of shapes and colors. Plastic sinks are also resistant to chemicals, lightweight, and sturdy enough to withstand impacts. However, the color coating can be chipped and scratched. Additionally, while relatively heat-resistant, constant exposure to scorching temperatures can compromise the integrity of the plastic sink in the long run. 

  • Natural Stone

Natural stone vessel sinks are made from granite, soapstone, marble, and travertine. This type of basin is as old-fashioned as you can get and will surely add a distinct charm to your bathroom. The natural stone aesthetic will also fit nicely to bathrooms that are looking to showcase a nature-inspired theme. Natural stone basins are extremely easy to maintain but are also the most expensive option due to the unique method of creating one. 

  • Wood

Like the natural stone basin, wooden sinks can enhance the overall aesthetics of your bathroom by infusing a nature-inspired ambiance. In addition, wood basins are treated with a waterproof finish and are known to be quite durable and stain-resistant. That said, wooden basins are still prone to damage caused by impacts.