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Sink vs. Basin: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on December 10, 2023
A sink is a bowl-shaped plumbing fixture used for washing, with a drain and faucets, while a basin is a broader term for any open, shallow container, often without plumbing.

Key Differences

A sink is typically a fixed installation, part of a plumbing system, used for washing hands, dishes, and for other cleaning purposes. A basin, in contrast, refers more generally to any shallow, open container, which can be used for various purposes like washing or holding liquids, but is not necessarily plumbed.
Sinks are often found in kitchens and bathrooms, equipped with taps (faucets), and connected to a water supply and drainage system. Basins, however, can be portable and are used in various contexts, like in beauty salons for hair washing or in art studios for holding water.
The design of a sink usually includes a faucet, drain, and sometimes additional features like a garbage disposal unit. Basins, on the other hand, come in various shapes and sizes, from small bowls to large containers, and lack built-in plumbing features.
Sinks are essential for hygiene in residential and commercial settings, playing a key role in daily routines like cooking and personal care. Basins, while also used for washing and cleaning, serve a more varied set of purposes, including in medical, scientific, and artistic fields.
Material-wise, sinks are often made of stainless steel, porcelain, or ceramic, designed for durability and ease of cleaning. Basins can be made from a wider range of materials, including plastic, metal, or glass, depending on their intended use.

Comparison Chart

Primary Use

Washing, integrated into plumbing systems
General-purpose container, not plumbed


Fixed, with water supply and drainage
Portable, used in various settings


Often includes faucets and drains
Simple, open container without plumbing


Stainless steel, porcelain, ceramic
Plastic, metal, glass, various materials

Common Locations

Kitchens, bathrooms
Beauty salons, art studios, laboratories

Sink and Basin Definitions


A sink is designed for durability and frequent use.
The stainless steel sink in our kitchen is very easy to clean.


A basin is a wide, open container used for various purposes.
She filled the basin with warm water to wash the fabrics.


A sink is a plumbed fixture for washing, with a drain and faucets.
Please rinse the dishes in the kitchen sink before loading them into the dishwasher.


Basins are versatile and not limited to plumbing setups.
The artist used a small basin to mix her paints.


Sinks are often installed in kitchens and bathrooms.
The new apartment has a double sink in the kitchen.


Basins can be portable and used in different settings.
In the laboratory, they use glass basins for chemical experiments.


Sinks often come with additional features like garbage disposals.
Our kitchen sink is equipped with a garbage disposal unit.


Basins come in various sizes and materials.
For the camping trip, we'll bring a plastic basin for washing dishes.


A sink is essential for daily hygiene and cleaning activities.
Wash your hands in the bathroom sink before dinner.


Basins are commonly used in beauty salons and medical facilities.
The salon has a special basin for shampooing hair.


To go below the surface of water or another liquid
We watched the leaky inner tube slowly sink.


An open, shallow, usually round container used especially for holding liquids.


To descend to the bottom of a body of water or other liquid
Found the wreck where it had sunk.


The amount that such a vessel can hold.


What is a basin?

A shallow, open container used for various purposes, often without plumbing.

Can a basin be used for the same purposes as a sink?

Yes, but it lacks plumbing features like a drain and faucets.

Is a sink portable?

No, sinks are usually fixed installations.

Are all basins round?

No, they come in various shapes.

What is a sink?

A plumbed fixture used for washing and cleaning, with a drain and faucets.

Are sinks always made of metal or porcelain?

Typically, but other materials like composite are also used.

Can a basin have a drain?

Some basins might, but it's not as common as in sinks.

What are common uses for a basin?

Washing, holding liquids, or mixing materials in various settings.

Can basins be used in medical settings?

Yes, especially for holding liquids or sterile equipment.

What materials are basins commonly made from?

Plastic, metal, glass, and sometimes ceramic.

Do sinks always have hot and cold water faucets?

Most do, but some may have only one water source.

Can a kitchen have more than one sink?

Yes, some kitchens have multiple sinks for different purposes.

Can basins be used outdoors?

Yes, they are versatile and can be used in various settings, including outdoors.

Do sinks require maintenance?

Yes, regular cleaning and sometimes plumbing maintenance.

Are basins used in hair salons?

Yes, specially designed basins are used for hair washing.

Are basins used in art studios?

Yes, often for washing brushes or mixing paints.

Do basins come with accessories?

Rarely, they are usually simple containers.

Is a sink considered a fixture?

Yes, it's a fixed plumbing fixture.

Can a sink be a decorative element in a room?

Yes, especially with modern and designer sinks.

How is a sink installed?

It requires plumbing work to connect to water and drainage systems.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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