Unsinkable kitchen sinks

FRESNO, Calif.

And the choices are endless. There's stainless steel and Corian and styles such as an above-the-counter basin and an apron-front sink.

Consumer Reports put 18 kitchen sinks through tough tests to reveal which can really stand the test of time.

Sinks are stained with foods including Kool-Aid, pasta sauce, and coffee. They are scrubbed with scouring pads. And testers dropped hard objects weighing up to 5 pounds on them from different heights. Testers even checked to see how well the sinks can handle a hot pot of 400° F oil.

All of the sinks had a weakness - some worse than others. The acrylic sinks actually melted during the heat-resistance tests. The fire clay sinks cracked during the impact test. And although almost all of the stainless-steel sinks scratched, they proved to be the most durable type of sink and among the least expensive.

But Consumer Reports says avoid high-polished stainless steel. Brushed and matte finishes will hide stains a lot better than a high-polished surface. You'll also want to get a stainless-steel sink with sound-absorbing pads on the underside. They're quieter than sinks with a spray-on coating.

As for double-basin sinks, often they're too small for big pans, so take your biggest pan with you to the store.

Consumer Reports says another consideration with a kitchen sink is the depth. Deeper sinks reduce splashes. But if you're not very tall, working in a low sink can be uncomfortable.

If you're replacing a sink but not the countertop, a drop-in sink is the simplest to install. And it will work with most types of countertops.

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