Drop-in vs Undermount Sink – Head to Head Comparison

undermount vs topmount sink

There are many choices in kitchen sinks. However, most homeowners remodel their kitchens with some basic options: drop-in, undermount sinks, and farmhouse sinks. In this article, we will compare drop-in vs undermount sink.

While undermount sinks have a certain appeal, they are more attractive for their aesthetics. However, topmount is better for long-term durability and compatibility with certain countertop materials like wood. In addition to the extra depth they provide, undermount sinks are loved for their seamless look and their ability to blend well with solid surface countertops.

Undermount Sink vs. Drop-In Sink – Which is Right for Me?

This article will help you make the right choice between style, convenience, trend, and budget so that you make your final decision of having an undermount or a top-mount sink. But, first, let us understand the basic configurations of both top mount and undermount sinks.

undermount vs topmount sink
Drop-in vs Undermount Kitchen Sink Comparison

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Topmount Kitchen Sinks

Drop-in sinks, also known as self-rimming and top-mount, remain the most widely used type of kitchen sink. Drop-in sinks are designed with a visible lip around the perimeter. The lip rests flat on the countertop. The sink basin is inserted directly into the countertop. The perimeter lip keeps everything in place.

Hidden metal clips and silicone caulk are used to seal drop-in sinks.

However, not all drop-in sinks need clips to secure them. For example, cast iron sinks, which are heavier than other types, do not need clips. Instead, they use the sink’s weight and caulk to seal. As a result, two people may be required to assist with installation in certain cases.

Undermount Kitchen Sinks

Undermount sinks are attached to the countertop by using special adhesive or heavy-duty clips and caulk. An undermount sink may have a rim, but this is not noticeable because it rests below the counter. Moreover, the countertop edge running along the sink cutout is fully exposed. Undermount sinks can only be used with solid countertop materials.

The undermount sinks can be more trendy than traditional drop-in sinks, which have been around for many years.

Undermount vs Drop-in Kitchen Sink

Here is the head-to-head comparison that will help you reach your ultimate decision.


Topmount sinks are more affordable

Both cost of supply and the cost for installation should be considered when comparing prices for these two sinks. For example, an undermount sink with the same shape and materials will cost more than a top-mount.

The installation of undermount basins is also more expensive. This is apparent when you consider all that work involved keeping these sinks from losing their stick and dropping to the floor. Additional materials cost, labor, and any additional costs for third-party work are all included. Additionally, undermount sinks should be paired with a strong countertop such as engineered stone. This allows for polishing to take place on the inside edges to smooth out any rough surfaces.

Installing an undermount sink will cost you between $50 and $75 more. Drop-in sinks can save you a lot more if you do it yourself. However, installing undermount sinks yourself is not recommended as it can cause damage to expensive countertops.

Cleaning and Maintenance

The undermount wins when it comes to surface cleaning but loses in gunk buildup.

You can easily clean the edges and get rid of any crumbs or water. However, the lip on the top mount can block your ability to sweep away any dirt or crumbs. There is another style of sink, which technically can also be called a top mount. These are the flush-mount. These sinks look sleek, with a groove running around the edge where the sink is inserted. This ensures that the sink’s lip, when dropped into place, is at the same elevation as the countertop. The extra work involved in installing flush mounts is why they are more expensive.

The gunk that forms around the joints connecting the metallic sink and the countertop isn’t as obvious to casual eyes. The silicone seal around a drop-in sink may lose its appearance and need to be replaced. However, this is much more noticeable, so we can see when it gets ugly. Undermount sinks are a different story. All sorts of dirt and filth can build up beneath the countertop when water and food scraps are thrown into the undermount sink.


Drop in sinks are easier to install than undermount sinks

Homeowners can install drop-in sinks on their own, provided that it is an exact replacement. Once you have removed any old caulk from the surface, apply a thin layer of caulk to the hole. Next, attach the clips beneath the countertop.

It is easier to replace the exact size of the sink, but there are some more things you need to keep in mind. It can be difficult to take out an old sink. Sink replacement can also cause many potential problems with the countertop. Also, consider the depth and size of the sink. This can lead to having to change the plumbing drain connections below the sink.

In comparison, undermount basins require more care in order to be installed correctly., Undermount sinks must be placed and supported temporarily while the clips are marked. You must drill holes into the countertop carefully and then install the clips. You must then caulk the sink and mount it.

Read: How to Install a Drop-in Kitchen Sink – Easy Installation Guide

Storage Space

Undermount sinks are more efficient than top-mount sinks for storage.

However, this may be due to the fact that they take up less space than top-mount sinks. Undermount sinks are best suited for small kitchens that require a lot of counter space. The Undermount sinks are a great way to save centimeters without the hassle of having your chopping boards laid flat and hanging above the sink.

Undermount sinks allow you to extend the countertop all the way to your sink. So, this is the best choice if you have limited space and require every square inch of counter space.

However, the drainboard sink is a type of drop-in sink that can help save counter space. This sink has an integrated drainboard and/or food prep space that extends 8-10 inches beyond its basin.

Reading: Top Quality Stainless Steel Sinks of 2021


Drop-in sinks can be used with all countertops.

Undermount sinks cannot be used with all countertop materials. Therefore, these sinks are not recommended for laminate countertops. Custom tile countertops can also have problems with undermount sinks. The problem is not with the laminate; the problem is in the underlying base of MDF. MDF is highly susceptible to moisture damage and cannot hold clip fasteners. Although the MDF core can be protected by laminate, the seal between laminate and sink must be perfect in order to keep water away.

Drop-in sinks, however, are compatible with any countertop material, including laminate, tile, solid surfaces, composite, and natural stone.

Resale Value

Undermount wins for Resale Value

Your kitchen’s drop-in or undermount style will not impact the resale value of your home. However, major home improvements greatly affect your home’s resale than single elements, such as a kitchen sink.

Undermount sinks, however, have a more unique, high-end feel than conventional drop-ins. The undermount sink is the key component of an exclusive designer kitchen. It can be said that it gives potential buyers a higher value than a standard drop-in sink.

Related: Best Farmhouse Sinks Reviews and Ultimate Buying Guide

undermount vs topmount kitchen sink
Undermount vs Drop-in Kitchen Sink

Pros and Cons of Undermount Sinks

  • Save countertop space
  • Best for countertop cleaning
  • Provide a seamless look to the kitchen
  • More stylish and trendy
  • Better resale value
  • Require professional installation
  • More expensive
  • The hidden rim is More susceptible to gunk and dirt buildup
  • Not suitable for laminate countertops

Pros and Cons of Drop in Sinks

  • Easy sink cleaning
  • Easier to recaulk, when needed
  • DIY installation
  • Affordable
  • Best for all countertops
  • Rim takes space on the counter
  • Visible rim makes Countertop cleaning difficult
  • Old fashioned

Recommended Reading: Best Top-Rated Kitchen Sink of 2021

So, Which is the Better Option?

It all boils down to personal choice. While comparing Drop-in vs Undermount sink, it is clear that undermount sinks tend to be more popular than their fellow top-mounts due to their marketability, it is not a bad idea to ignore the latter. The price, color, durability, and other factors may all play a role in your decision to buy a kitchen sink.

We believe that the kitchen is the heart of a home, and the sink is its centerpiece. At Best Kitchen Sinks, our team of editors and writers put their maximum efforts into consolidating buying guides and reviews that are informative, unbiased, and helpful for homeowners in choosing the best kitchen sinks and other related products for their lovely kitchen! Alex Roy is the founder of best kitchen sinks. Being an expert in kitchen renovations, he believes in designing kitchens with the perfect sinks and other appliances to make kitchen tasks easy and free of mess. Alex Roy knows first-hand the challenges homeowners and business owners face when buying the best sinks and appliances for their kitchens. Besides the honest reviews on top kitchens sinks and filters, you will also find much information regarding kitchen sinks. From installation and plumbing to cleaning the kitchen sinks and troubleshooting any sink problem, our detailed and step-by-step guides will help you maintain your kitchen sink in the perfect shape at a minimal cost.

  1. […] The best way to upgrade the look of your kitchen sink is by replacing it with an undermount sink. This type of kitchen sink sits directly underneath the countertop where it is completely hidden from view. You can see what a difference is: Drop-in vs Undermount Sink – Head to Head Comparison. […]