In commercial kitchens, most all sinks are manufactured from stainless steel. Stainless steel is known for its durability and corrosion resistance. It is also preferred for ease of cleaning and sanitation. Economy sinks are often manufactured with 400 Series stainless steel, while medium grade and custom sinks are often made from a more corrosion resistant product such as 304 Series stainless. The thickness or “gauge” of the stainless steel varies depending on the duty level. The following applications are typical.
Duty Level: Light Duty / Gauge: 18 / Thickness: Thinnest / Quality Level: Economy Grade
Duty Level: Medium Duty / Gauge: 16 / Thickness: Medium thickness Quality Level: Mid-Grade & Custom
Duty Level: Heavy Duty / Gauge: 14 / Thickness: Thickest Quality Level: High Grade Custom
Most manufacturers offer a wide variety of leg mounted, wall mounted, drop-in, or cabinet style sinks in a variety of sizes. Most manufacturers are also willing to customize or fabricate products as needed. The most used sinks in foodservice include the following.
- Prep & Produce Sinks – Typically one or two compartments, they may include drainboards or integrated work surfaces. They are designed for all types of food and vegetable washing and prep.
- Hand Sinks – Health departments require dedicated hand sinks for hand washing. They are typically required in prep areas and near restrooms. Splash guards may be required if mounted adjacent to food prep stations.
- Pot Sinks – Typically a single or double compartment sink that is wide and deep for hand washing large pots, pans, and other large kitchen items.
- Three Compartment Sinks – They are used for manually washing, rinsing and sanitizing kitchen wares. They typically feature drain boards on both ends and a trash chute for scraping plates. Three compartment sinks are also used behind the bar for manually washing, rinsing, and sanitizing bar glasses.
- Dump Sinks – Small utility sinks typically found behind the bar. They are used to discard ice and liquids from bussed glassware.
- Mop Sinks – Low to the floor, they are for filling and emptying mop buckets or for washing mops. They should never be used for food prep, ware washing, or hand washing.
Sinks bearing the NSF certification have been tested for durability and ease of cleaning. They often include features such as smooth welds and coved corners.