triple sink???

AlihooplaJanuary 26, 2012


We are remodeling our kitchen and I am picking out a sink. I am pretty set on a triple sink, because my mom (an experienced chef) has had one for 10 years now and she says she would never go back to a double. She says I also need to go with a high faucet.

However, cabinet space is valuable also. A triple bowl sink takes up more cabinet space.

Does anyone have any ideas of advantages or disadvantages?

the reason I am not (at least maybe not?) considering a single bowl sink is that although I have a dishwasher, I dirty a lot of dishes/pots when I cook and like to hand wash some as I go, as not to have complete chaos at the end of the evening.

Has anyone here had experience with a triple sink?

Any advise would be greatly appreciated.



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There is a thread right now about what you love/hate about your kitchen and the Kohler triple sink (small bowl with GD in the middle) gets thoroughly bashed. I guess it depends on what style triple sink. I personally prefer a large single bowl with a removable dishpan.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 3:07PM
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Ali: I'm probably going to be the only one on this forum who has, and likes, a triple sink (45" wide). I have a large kitchen, no prep sink, and I like the separation the triple sink provides. If I had a prep sink, I probably would have gone with a single sink.

This sink has two very large sinks on the sides, and a smaller one in the middle. The larger ones are big enough to lay a cookie sheet in the bottom, and the smaller one is great for balancing collanders etc. I use it more than I ever thought I would. And if I need just a small amount of soapy water for cleanup, this is perfect.

Another thing I like is having one side for dirty dishes, and the other as a "working" sink when cooking. And I use the middle for hand washing too. Hate washing my hands over dishes.

I had to search a long time to find an affordable faucet with a long spout reach. Kind of wish I'd gone with two over each large sink.

Would I do it again. In a heartbeat. It works perfectly for me. I don't cook alot, but when I do, it's for large crowds. So I love the space. When we have guests, and multiple cooks using the kitchen (which happens often), it's great. Another reason I wish I'd gone with the two faucets.

Good luck, Ali!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 3:24PM
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I'm one of the people in the other thread with an old 43" Kohler cast iron triple sink, but in my case the center part isn't really a stopper to hold water...just a shallow entry place for the garbage disposal. What I have is awkward to use and no portion of it feels generous (in spite of the overall length.)

A real triple sink with a usable bowl in the center might be a different animal, and that might well be what your mother is referring to.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 3:48PM
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It wastes a ton of space for the amount of actual usability you get from it. And that goes double for the extra large sink base that one needs. That's a lot of space that doesn't really pay for itself. It's only for a really BIG kitchen. And even then, I'd want a secondary sink elsewhere.

You are much better off with a large single and a smaller secondary sink next to it if you are going to dedicate that much space to a sink in one location. However, the best solution of all is to have a secondary prep sink in a location that you will use it and a large single sink for cleanup in conjunction with a DW that gets used.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 4:07PM
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I'm one of those sad owners of the Kohler triple bowl sink that is so despised. While I can understand why someone would think they want a triple bowl sink, I'm having a hard time believing that there isn't a better alternative for most people. The ONLY scenario I can see a triple bowl being effective is the one Joyce posted above. To have a triple bowl that is effective and usable, you need a HUGE sink.

The problems with my 43" Kohler (I'll try to keep this and the venom to a minimum!):

The sink is a huge 43" but the triple bowl manages to take up so much room that you end up with two double sinks that aren't big enough to wash large items. My double bowls are just large enough that a dinner plate can lay flat. Anything larger won't fit.

My particular triple bowl is a drop in and the single bowl isn't recessed so water hits the edge of the triple bowl and runs out the front and back soaking me in the process. An under mount sink would resolve that issue.

Because the sink is so large, most faucets won't reach the double bowls. Joyce mentions that in her post and, even with a faucet with a long reach, she still wishes she had installed a separate faucet for each double sink. If I want to soak something in my sink, I have to use the pull out on my faucet and stand there and fill whatever I'm soaking because my faucet can't reach further than the corner of each double bowl. Can't throw a pot or pan in the sink, turn on the faucet and do something else while it fills. Nope, gotta stand there and wait while the darn thing fills up.

By far, the thing I hate most about this sink is how most of the water ends up everywhere but in the sink. Everything I wash has to rest on the edge of the middle bowl, so it is up high rather than IN the sink and water splashes everywhere.

The only good thing about my sink is that my husband is so sick of listening to me gripe and complain every time I use it that he FINALLY agreed it is time to remodel. He doesn't cook AT ALL, so, in his mind, if the microwave works, the kitchen is fine. lol The fact that the only place I have to prep is TINY, the cabinets and appliances are falling apart, and it is a functional nightmare just doesn't bother him. Ugh. So if it wasn't for constant complaining about my horrid sink, I might not be getting that new kitchen.

Because I hate my sink so much, I spent an obsessive amount of time thinking about my new sink. For goodness sakes, I even watched video of people washing dishes on youtube! lol I ended up purchasing a 36" single bowl with a right rear drain. After spending a lot of time thinking about how I use my kitchen and want I want from my sink, this made the most sense for ME. Should mention that I will have a prep sink in my new kitchen.

Bottom line is you know how you work and what is important to you. Spend the time thinking about it and do your research If you have the space and think you really want to go for that triple bowl, make sure you get a faucet(s) that will really make the sink work for you.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 4:17PM
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I agree with all the negative things said about a triple sink. And more - it uses up valuable undersink storage space cause you need plumbing for three sinks. Also, which bowl does the disposal go in? Whichevr, it means you will have two other bowls' slimy strainers to dump into the disposal. But worst of all (IMHO) about a triple bowl sink is that it is triple the surfaces to clean.

(I am a covert 2 ways - from double bowl to a Blanco Super Single sink, and from stainless steel to Silgranite.)

    Bookmark   January 27, 2012 at 4:47PM
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Another triple sink lover here. My former home had an Elkay which was large enough to fit my half sheet pan in the bottom. As I had no prep sink having the center compartment for prep and waste was wonderful. I hand wash many non dw safe items and don't put them away immediately so the draining side saves my sanity and the need for a counter draining rack.

Simply put a triple works for the way I cook just like some folks prefer a big single. No right or wrong. :)

We're building now and I'm using the triple 60" (!) Kohler pro task center! It's sitting in the garage of our rental now!

Haven't been on gw for ages since I've been so busy with our move and building.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 8:37AM
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Thanks for all the input!
It is a tough decision and I have to make it today or tomorrow, because our cabinet guy is coming to measure on Monday.
Joyce_6333, do you know what brand your sink is? 45" sounds good to me, and I would love one that had a bowl large enough to lay a cookie sheet in.
cheri127, thanks for posting that information about the thread, I checked it out.
gbsim, I have seen the pro task a dream sink! Way to big for my kitchen though...have fun with it!
Mudhouse and poohpup and alwaysfixen, thanks for the input on not having the garbage disposal be in the middle sink, I will steer clear of that. Poohpup, I loved that you admitted to watching youtube videos of people washing their dishes.
My husband says no to a second small sink in the island for prep, it sounds like most people think that is the ideal situation so I pleaded to get it, but did not win that one! :) So, I think we will be going with the triple sink, if I can find one that does have one of the side bowls being large enough.
I also am trying to decide on some bar stools. I have only gotten one reply on my bar stool thread, so if anyone has any interest in giving their input on that, I am putting a link to that thread.
I'm not the best decision maker, there are too many things to think about!

Here is a link that might be useful: bar stool link

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 10:38AM
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Greendesigns, I'm gonna try one more time to convince my husband about the secondary prep sink...thanks for the input!
By the way, does the secondary sink in an island( partnered with a regular sink in the counter) take up less cabinet space than having one triple sink in the counter area? I'm thinking that maybe the plumbing for the secondary sink might be smaller?

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 10:43AM
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There's a big size difference in triple sinks that are used in the restaurant industry vs. the ones designed for home use. A home use triple is pretty useless. All they really are is a 33" double sink that added a third small basin in between them two equal basins. You get two (interior dimension) 14" bowls with a 9" middle bowl. You still can't submerge large cookie sheets in them or lay broiler pans flat in the bottom. They have the worst features of a double equal sink and then add in another small useless basin. Their lack of functionality vs. their reputation as a "pro" style sink has made them anathema to me. If you want a true useful triple sink, look at dedicating around seven feet of space to it and buy a real restaurant triple sink that is designed to hold large items. Otherwise, you're getting hoodwinked as to the actual usability of a triple.

A properly placed prep sink is literally worth it's weight in gold for increased kitchen convenience and productivity. However, one in the wrong spot will never get used and people will complain about it's existence. It's like real estate. Location. Location. Location.

With a single 25" sink with a 22" interior dimension (and faucet) as a main cleanup sink, you can fit even a full sheet pan in it, and an 18" (16 1/2" interior) prep sink (and faucet), you have 43" of sink space, but you get more than double the actual usability of the 42" triple sink space because you can now have multiple persons doing tasks in the kitchen that require access to water. One person can fill the DW with the prep measuring cups and cutting boards while another rinses off the parsley and grabs another cutting board to chop it for a dish's final presentation on the plate. One person can come into the kitchen to wash their hands to grab some fruit while another one is rinsing off raw chicken to place in the broiler. One person can be working with dough and be able to wash their hands while another grabs a glass of water for a kid.

BTW, what is this "overruled" horsehockey? If you are the primary user of the kitchen, then you are the primary decision maker of the remodel. He gets input of course, but you are the one who will make the final decision. And, do post your layout so that we can help you to tweak it for it's maximum utility. Make sure that a prep sink in your space would work better than two large singles side by side or some other sink configuration that y'all might not have thought of.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 11:38AM
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Wow! Thanks for all the input; LOTS for me to think about!
I love your "overruled" - "horsehockey" statement!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 4:28PM
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You mentioned that your mom is an experienced chef, but perhaps her needs are different than yours, as her kitchen size may be different. Maybe a well designed 2 bowl sink would work well because it sounds like you do not have the space for a proper 3 bowl one. Having more bowls of the wrong size is not having "more". I have a single bowl that is not overly huge and it works fine in our kitchen. I went smaller than our previous one and am happier. I know I am in the very small minority here. I find that by it not being as deep, I get splashed a lot less and I am not leaning forward so much to reach the bottom or far end. I am of a normal height for a woman (almost 5'5") but find that I'd get a wet belly if I was not careful with the deeper sink because of coming in contact with the front edge. In our new shallower sink, I can stay dry and that counts for a lot to me.
One thing I do love is the separate drinking water faucet set to the side of our sink because one can get water without bothering someone working at the sink.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 4:41PM
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I totally agree with live_wire_oak regarding the "overruled" comment! The biggest problem with my current kitchen is that it was put together by someone who doesn't cook! My husband doesn't cook AT ALL. The only thing he uses is the microwave and barely at that. When it comes to appliances and layout, he really doesn't have any say.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 5:07PM
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Live-wire.... all triple sinks aren't the same. My Elkay (ELUH4020) was more than capable of laying a half sheet pan (not just a cookie sheet) in the bottom. The dimensions of the left side are 18x 14 and it doesn't have a slope to the sides so this is indeed usable space.
The far right side is a hair smaller and the center compartment is a wonderful prep size.
If you do an undermount with a positive reveal, it's wonderful for sliding a cutting board around on just like the stages or other big single bowls.
Here's the link to the 40" Elkay on Faucet Direct. When we did our kitchen remodel 2 years ago, I found it at WAM homecenter for half the price listed here though.

Triples aren't for everyone but it's a shame to paint them all with the same brush.

Here is a link that might be useful: Elkay ELUH4020 40

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 10:34PM
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Alihoopla - save yourself!!

I would rather get poked in the eye with a sharp stick than keep my triple bowl sink. I loath it.

Every night after dinner when I am using it I ask whoever else is in the kitchen, "Have I told anyone today how much I hate this sink?"

Invariably, one of my teenagers say "Yes Daaaaaaad" complete with eyerolls.

I can't even properly wash most of my dishes, let alone my half-sheet baking sheets. BUT - having said that, if you want one and like them, get it. Isn't the point of redoing your kitchen to get those items that make you happy?

Good luck!!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 10:45PM
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unless one of those sinks is at LEAST 30" wide you can keep your triple bowl. i prefer my single bowl 36" and an additional prep sink. i had a double bowl sink before and that was completely useless. i can only imagine the nightmare of a triple bowl sink. the way i see it: if i can't soak a roasting pan in it, i don't want it. you'd be wasting 43" on a sink that is of little use.

in hindsight, it would have been wonderful to have installed a second 36" single bowl. but that would have been an extravagance; even for me ;-P

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 11:06PM
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If the OP has room for 8 slabs they may have room for three sinks all crammed together. It smells off / odd when a stranger says someone overruled having a sink farther away. The prep sink doesn't have to be in an island.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2012 at 11:46PM
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The folks I bought my sink from said they replace triple bowl sinks all the time. I was set on getting a large double bowl sink until it was explained that a large single bowl sink with a rear corner drain would be more usefull. I wash and do my food prep on the right and set off to the left. I have plenty of roomto set large platters inside my sink without covering the drain. It was suggested to go to Bed Bath and Beyond and pick up a dish drain to keep on the left side. It works like a charm. I feel so free! Who knew this experience would be so life changing! Even my hubby and kids love to do the dishes. Their website is loaded with good info that will make you think of things you might not have considered. I suggest you call them though. I found their website a bit overwhelming. The owner always answers the phone and he is a kitchen designer that is eager to share his ideas. I ended up changing several things in my kitchen based on his ideas. In my investigations I found Eklay to have some of the best sinks. That being said, I bit the bullet and purchased a custom sink by Rachiele. They call me their ambassador because I can't stop raving about my sink. They even sent me a bottle of stainless steel cleaner as a gift. Wow, that stuff is amazing. I have never seen it before in a store, but I have found several other uses for it. My hubby cleans his grill with it. I stopped that though. It is like liquid gold and he is not allowed to use it any more. Well enough of my story. They will have to put me on the payroll soon. Check out Elkay's large triple bowls or look into a single bowl as an alternative.

Here is a link that might be useful: Large single bowl sinks

    Bookmark   January 31, 2012 at 6:14AM
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Hi Everyone, I've been attentively reading everyone's comments and appreciate the pros/cons. We have plenty of room for a triple sink (not the 60" gbsim has but a 42" instead). I'm leaning towards the Kohler K-3166-L over the Elkay 4020. Here is the reason we're going with the triple bowl and if anyone can share their thoughts on whether this makes sense and can be done then please, share away! The left bowl on this Kohler model is slightly more shallow at 7 1/2" depth. This bowl's PRIMARY use will be to allow misc. dishes to sit and drain/drip dry on a little rack or rinse basket. Husband does NOT want to see a dish drainer on the counter anymore. We use our dishwasher for just about everything but there are some items that need to be hand washed because a. they're not dw safe, b. you need it before a dw cycle (coffee pot), c. wine glasses that you prefer to hand wash instead. Generally speaking I am hand washing the coffee pot each day, the little brown coffee filter basket, a few wine glasses, big popcorn plastic bowl, pots and a few fry pans, the dog dish, and maybe some of my good carving knives. I realize it won't hold ALL of these things...but it's rare that they're all washed and drying at the same time unless I fall behind. I realize there will be times I will have to put a towel on the countertop and let things dry there.The middle bowl is a disposal bowl and that's it. The right bowl is slightly deeper and measuring at 14 x 18 is large enough to wash a pot out, cut flower stems off , let a casserole bowl soak a little before hand washing, rinse spaghetti, etc.
We have a lavette just off to the side for hand-washing when the sink is occupied. I will also have a pot-filler at the stove. So- that's what I envision. Any reason why this set up won't work? FYI- total remodel- going from 2 bowl sink (where one bowl on left is really just a disposal and the other on the right, the main bowl is approximately 10" deep and about 18" wide).

Thanks for reading this and thank you in advance for your comments and suggestions!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 2:35PM
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