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Prep Sinks in Kitchen Islands: Pros and Cons

I recently hosted a housewarming party, and quite a few of our guests mentioned our kitchen prep sink. “We’re dying to have a second sink!” “Wow, this must really come in handy!” To be honest, I never gave much thought to the feature before, but all this interest got me thinking. Why is it that everyone wants a prep sink in their kitchen? Is it worth it?


To understand the pros and cons of a prep sink in a kitchen island, it’s vital to understand what a prep sink is used for. Of course, prep sink use varies depending on your kitchen activity. Most families with a prep sink use it in one of two ways: as a secondary sink during busy holiday cooking-sessions or as a bar sink.


While the benefits of a prep sink are numerous, it’s not always a good idea to install a prep sink in an island. Here are some of the pros and cons to consider before you tackle this project.


Space Requirements for a Prep Sink

Con: Prep sinks take up valuable counter space

Prep sinks installed on your kitchen island ultimately take away your overall counter space, which is a definite consideration for many homeowners. If you’re already struggling with a lack of work area in your kitchen, then a prep sink may not be the best idea.


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Pro: Prep sinks are slightly smaller than traditional kitchen sinks


Prep sink size varies between models and shapes, but the average prep sink is smaller than a normal kitchen sink.


For square/rectangular sinks, look for something between 13” by 16” to 16” by 18”. On the other hand, round sinks average around 18”-20” in diameter.


Depending on your needs, the depth of the prep sink may also measure less than a traditional kitchen sink. Consider how you’ll use the sink before you settled on one. For example, if you plan to prep copious amount of food, drain pasta with a colander, or fill up pots and pans with water using your prep sink, it needs to be larger.


Storage Considerations

Con: The sink bottom and plumbing must be hidden

It’s not as simple as throwing in a sink and calling it a day. In fact, prep sinks require just as much plumbing as a regular kitchen sink. That means that the sink will likely take up some coveted cabinet space and displace the plates, bowls, and other things you used to store there.


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Pro: The space under a prep sink CAN be used for storage (if you think outside the box)


While you lose your full lower cabinet or open space to the new prep sink, you can still use the area for storage — but you must be clever about it. Try putting your plastic containers, cleaning supplies, or even excess bar products.


The space under our prep sink in island doubles as a bar sink cabinet, including mixers and liquor. Since the primary use of our prep sink is for bar-related tasks, it seemed like a natural fit.



Pro: Installing a prep sink isn’t an expensive renovation if your utilities are already there.

When the island is primed for a sink, a simple prep sink installation can run you anywhere from $200 to $500. But things get more expensive as the size and scope of your project broadens. If you require plumbing or electrical connections, your price can easily reach $1,000 or more.


Photo by Andrey_Popov on Shutterstock

Con: Many homeowners with a prep sink don’t use it often enough to justify its use


Will you use your prep sink on holidays or every day? Do you need full plumbing or just a basin? These are the questions you must ask before you invest in a prep sink.


In our home, our sink is most often used as a basin/container to hold iced beverages, such as beer and wine during parties. Once or twice a year, we use it to prepare feasts for the holidays. So, would it be cost-effective for us to install a prep sink if he didn’t have one already? Probably not.


But that doesn’t mean you won’t get use out of it. Consider how and when you’ll use a prep sink in island, the costs, and space requirements, and then make the call.


As with all home renovations, a prep sink in island is a functional addition that can make your life easier and your kitchen seem more exquisite.


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