Your Guide To Commercial Sinks For Restaurant Kitchens

Last Updated On: February 9, 2021.

picture of a commercial sink with a faucetCommercial sinks are an important part of any kitchen design and when it comes to commercial kitchen environments, it has to meet the local health department and FDA Food Codes.

This is just one part of setting up your commercial kitchen. There are many more factors to consider such as the design and optional features that can come with it.

Besides that, different commercial sinks such as hand, compartment, bar, drop-in’s and under-mount, portable, mop, and disposal sinks also exist.

If you choose to, you can even use these in your home, although the focus of this article is for commercial purposes mostly.

You will find commercial stainless steel sinks in the kitchens of hotels, restaurants, catering businesses, and more. Here is all you need to know about the different types and what they are used for.

Compartment Sinks

image of a sink from aboveCompartment sinks are generally used for food prep, cleaning and soaking dishes, and food scrapping, depending on how many compartments there are.

One-compartment sinks are best for washing products, filling up pots, draining colanders, and other food preparation tasks.

Two-compartment sinks are ideal for thawing food, washing food, scrapping and soaking, or cleaning wares that don’t need the three-sink method.

Three-compartment sinks are what’s mandated by most health departments. This is a method of dishwashing that uses one compartment to wash, one for rinsing, and one for sanitizing.

These are not used for handwashing or as mop basins, and they have to be cleaned once every four hours according to most regulations.

The four-compartment sink is used for the same thing that the three-compartment sink is, but with an additional compartment for soaking, food disposal, or scrapping.

Compartment sinks can come in a variety of sizes to fit in most kitchen sizes and may also include drainboards and backsplashes. If you choose one with a drainboard, ensure the location is convenient to the flow of your dish room.

Portable Sinks

Portable sinks are ideal for outdoor events without access to running water. They can also be used to soak dishes in a commercial kitchen. There are two types, and the simplest of them is the soaking basin.

It’s mainly a stainless steel bin with a drain that is mounted on legs. They don’t have a faucet but can be wheeled to a source of water. The second kind of portable sink is the handwashing cart. These are ideal for foodservice that may be mobile.

They come with wastewater tanks, and some can even be plugged in to give you hot water. They also may provide dispensers for soap and paper towels.

Hand Sinks

picture of a commercial kitchen sinkHand sinks are used only for handwashing. If you are using this in a professional food service environment, usually the FDA food code will require that every business has at least one of these.

It should be placed in a convenient location where employees can get to it before handling food, after taking a smoke break, or after using the bathroom.

You can install them on an existing counter or table, or you can mount it to the wall or opt for a pedestal base. Food code requires side splashes on washbasins located near food preparation areas.

Mop Sinks

The mop sink is specially designed for dumping mop buckets and cleaning mops or other cleaning tools. They can be mounted on legs or installed on the floor. These are also available in tall janitor cabinets.

These usually have shelving, and some can have storage space for a mop bucket. The open mop sinks can come with side splashes, and some have a drop-front design that allows easier bucket emptying.

Floor basins won’t have built-in openings for faucets, but most of the mop winks that are mounted on legs have the cutouts for them.

Disposal Sinks

Disposal sinks are meant to dispose of old food with a water source needed to operate it. They are round bowls around 12 to 18 inches across with steep sides. The steep sides help guide the food down the chute.

There are splash baffles available as well as sleep guards with a raised flange to prevent the loss of silverware down the disposal.

Bar Sinks

picture of a restaurantThese basins are ideal for under bars, washing dishes, washing hands, and emptying drinks. These are built at a lower height to allow installation under the bar and countertop.

They have the same options as compartment tubs, but with a few additional ones that can come in handy with the bar scene. These can include an insulated ice chest or a waste chute in front of the sink.

They can also be open or enclosed to accommodate glasses, bottles, and other wares. They don’t come standard on any models, but speed rails are available for access to bottles.

Drop-In & Undermount Sinks

These are installed on an existing countertop or table. You will find more of these in the standard home. A drop-in sink is lowered into a surface that has been cut using a flange to create a rim on top of the counter.

The under-mount sink is installed from below a cutout. These are more difficult to install, but they are more attractive and easier to clean. Both can come in rectangular, square, and circular shapes and one to three compartments. They can also come with backsplashes and side splashes.

Sink cabinets

Sink cabinets are generally installed on single or double washbasins, mostly in residential environments. However, there are commercial sinks that have cabinets under or over them. This provides easy storage for cleaning supplies.

They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and textures.


To help you prepare your kitchen we’ve also crafted a range of commercial stainless steel sink guides. Find them below:

How to install a commercial sink

How to clean stainless steel basins

How to unclog a sink – this is especially useful for saving costs on plumbers.

How to remove paint from a stainless steel sink

How to get candle wax out of a sink drain

Also, be sure to visit our glossary page so that you can understand all the terms surrounding commercial sinks.