May 18, 2024

Finding the right sink for commercial use is challenging. There are numerous factors to consider, including the space available, ease of access, the size and convenience. Many businesses need help deciding between a portable sink and a drop-in sink. This blog discusses portable kitchen sinks vs. drop-in sinks, their benefits, and how to choose between them.

What Are Portable Sinks and What Are Some of Their Features?

Portable sinks are self-contained and portable handwashing units. They provide a convenient and hygienic solution for handwashing in locations where traditional plumbing is impractical.

These sinks are designed for easy transportation and set up in various environments. Hence, they are ideal for outdoor events, small restaurants, food service, classrooms, and more.

Here are some standard features of portable sinks:

● Portable sinks are compact and lightweight, allowing easy transportation and mobility.

● Portable sinks are equipped with water tanks for handwashing, with some models having multiple water compartments.

● To promote proper hand hygiene, portable sinks have built-in soap dispensers, offering users quick soap access.

● Some portable sinks are designed with hands-free operation to minimize the risk of cross-contamination.

● Portable sinks often have a system for collecting and storing wastewater for proper disposal.

● Depending on the model, portable sinks may be powered by batteries or electricity.

● Many portable sinks have collapsible or foldable structures, making them efficient for transportation and storage.

What Are Drop-in Sinks and What Are Some of Their Features?

Drop-in or top-mount sinks are fixtures installed by dropping them into a pre-cut hole in a countertop or other surface. They are versatile and commonly used in kitchens, bathrooms, and other areas where a sink is needed.

Here are some features of drop-in sinks:

● Drop-in sinks are easy to install. They are installed into a pre-cut hole in a countertop, and their rim rests securely on the top surface.

● Drop-in sinks can be used in various settings, including kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and utility areas.

● The sink’s rim extends beyond the edge of the countertop, creating a visible edge and providing a finished and polished look.

● They are available in various materials, including stainless steel, porcelain, acrylic, and composite materials.

● Drop-in sinks are easy to replace and can be removed when necessary. A new sink can be installed into the exact cutout.

● They come in various designs, including single-bowl, double-bowl, and triple-bowl configurations.

● Drop-in sinks are compatible with various countertop materials, such as laminate, granite, wood, etc.

Benefits of Portable Sinks

Portable kitchen sinks offer several advantages to its users. 

Here are some of the top benefits of using portable sinks:

Extreme Convenience

Portable sinks can be moved and set up wherever needed. They provide handwashing access even in locations without plumbing, making them useful at outdoor events, temporary kitchens, construction sites, remote locations, etc.

Ensure Proper Hygiene

Portable sinks with running water allow people to wash their hands frequently, supporting good hygiene practices and preventing the spreading of germs and illnesses. Proper hand hygiene is essential at events with food, in healthcare settings, schools, etc.

Compliance with Legal Requirements

Portable sinks help businesses meet legal compliance requirements in locations where traditional plumbing is not feasible. Some examples are food service, healthcare, building worksites, etc.


Installing permanent plumbed sinks is costly compared to renting or purchasing portable sink units. Portable sinks provide sink utilities with minimal installation or construction.


Portable kitchen sinks are available in many designs and setups. Select features like tap style, sink basin size, water tank capacity, etc. Customize portable sinks to fit any space and needs.

Highly Mobile

Unlike plumbed sinks, portable sinks can be moved around a location or to entirely new sites. Quickly move the sink from one place to another as needs change.

Benefits of Drop-in Sinks

While less mobile than portable kitchen sinks, drop-in sinks have several advantages.

Here are a few key benefits of installing drop-in sinks:


Drop-in sinks can create a seamless, elegant look when installed flush within a counter or vanity. This integrated look is cleaner compared to self-rimming sinks. And if you are keen on looks, drop-in sinks are the best choice.

Easy to Install

Most drop-in sinks usually come with a template, making installation easy for anyone. Tackle the installation by cutting a matching hole in the countertop. There are also sinks with self-rimming for easy drop-in installation without extra mounting hardware.

Wide Variety of Choices

Drop-in sinks are available in various materials, shapes, sizes, and styles to match any décor. Standard options include stainless steel, porcelain, enamel, acrylic, and copper.

Highly Durable

Materials like stainless steel, cast iron, and porcelain tend to have excellent durability and longevity, making drop-in sinks valuable installations for spaces with heavy usage.

Easy to Clean

Quickly and easily clean drop-in sinks. They have smooth surfaces and ledges under the counter, which are easy to wipe down. This is a top advantage over portable sinks.

Portable Sinks vs. Drop-in Sinks: Key Differences

When looking to buy commercial kitchen equipment, a considerable challenge that businesses face is to find a suitable equipment option, sinks included.

Here is a detailed comparison between these two sink options to help understand their differences.

Portability Features

Portable sinks are completely mobile units that can be moved wherever needed. They do not require installation and can be stored away when not needed.

On the other hand, drop-in sinks are permanently installed into a solid countertop. They are built-in fixtures that cannot be moved.

Installation Process

Portable sinks do not require plumbing work and are available as fully built-units. They contain a water source (tank) and drainage.

Drop-in sinks require installation. While one may be able to install it, professional installation help may be required for precise measurements to fit the sinkhole.

Water Supply and Source

Portable sinks have an accompanying water tank that needs periodic refilling. Hence, it has limited capacity, and the water level must be regularly checked.

Drop-in sinks connect directly to plumbing water lines with on-demand supply from the pipes. Therefore, there is no need to worry about filling water.

Drainage Options

In a portable sink setting, wastewater is contained in a tank for disposal. When it becomes full, the container must be removed and the water disposed of manually.

In the case of drop-in sinks, the drainage pipe is connected to the drainage system in the facility.

Usage Differences

Portable sinks are primarily designed to meet temporary handwashing needs. They are suitable for installation at temporary gatherings, small restaurants, worksites, remote locations, etc.

Drop-in sinks serve as permanent aesthetic and functional fixtures in bathrooms, kitchens, wet bars, etc. They are fixed in their location and position.

When to Choose Portable Sinks in Commercial Kitchens

Portable sinks are an excellent addition to commercial kitchens in the following situations:

● For outdoor prep, cooking, or serving areas that need hand washing, permanent washing areas are not feasible.

● Portable sinks are the best option for catering events, food trucks, concession stands, etc.,

● When a commercial kitchen undergoes a remodel or maintenance of permanent sinks and plumbing.

● During busy times, like holidays, portable sinks can give extra capacity for handwashing and sanitation.

● For one-time or infrequent events like retreats, seminars, etc., that require onsite meal preparation.

When to Choose Drop-in Sinks in Commercial Kitchens

Drop-in sinks are a permanent handwashing setup. They are suitable for commercial kitchens in the following circumstances:

● When kitchens, offices, and institutions need a permanent setup to ensure hygiene and cleanliness.

● For businesses that need to wash ingredients, vegetables, and equipment and ensure hand hygiene for food safety.

● Drop-in sinks are suitable for large businesses, shopping malls, shopping centers, etc., where thousands of people use them.

● Colleges and schools where students are required to maintain hygiene and cleanliness.

Ancaster Kitchen Equipment: Find the Best Portable Sinks

When choosing between a portable sink or a drop-in sink, a business must consider various aspects, including the benefits of the sink, their own needs, etc. 

One last factor to consider is where businesses should purchase the best sink from. When searching for a reliable brand to buy commercial kitchen equipment, Ancaster Food Equipment is one of the best places in Canada to purchase kitchen equipment.

Ancaster Food Equipment is a top player in the market with decades of experience, reliable brands, and a history of trust and customer satisfaction. It also offers exceptional refurbished equipment that performs like new.