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How to Buy the Right Drain for Your Bathroom Sink

How to Buy the Right Drain for Your Bathroom Sink

Bathroom sink
For those bathroom sinks that don't come with a drain, finding one on your own is often the final step in a bathroom remodel. While there are a variety of bathroom sink drain options available, the right one should mesh with the style of your bathroom, giving it the perfect finishing touch. Follow a few simple guidelines to ensure you find the right drain.
Bathroom sink

Measure the Sink

The sink drain needs to fit your bathroom sink’s drain opening to work properly. Measure that opening to ensure you get the right size drain, or check the manufacturer’s instructions that came with the sink, as they should include the corresponding drain size. Most drain openings are 1 1/4 inches, although 1 1/2 inches and 1 5/8 inches are also common sizes.

Choose Pop-Up or Grid Functionality

Bathroom sink drains are either pop-up drains or grid drains, with the difference being pop-up drains can close, allowing water to build up in the sink. Grid drains have small holes that can’t close, so water always drains.

Pop-up drains usually open and close through a lever that’s behind the sink faucet, although some drains have levers in other locations. These types of drains are good if you ever need to fill the sink with water. However, the advantage of grid drains is the small holes only allow water to get through while the grid catches anything larger, which helps prevent clogs.

Set a Budget

You can find bathroom sink drains in any price range, but setting a budget before shopping helps narrow your options. The $25 to $40 range has an excellent variety of drains with all kinds of materials and finishes. To consider materials for your bathroom sink, read our Sink Materials Fact Sheet.

Complement the Style of Your Sink

Make sure your home’s bathroom presents a stylish appearance by choosing a drain that complements the sink. This doesn’t mean the drain needs to match the sink and faucet. In fact, a drain with a different material or finish often works well as an accent to the sink.

Brass drains are some of the most popular bathroom sink drains, as the material is both pleasing to the eye and durable. Stainless steel and bronze drains are also common.

Bronze is a versatile finish that creates an eye-catching combination with several sink materials. It blends well with copper sinks, and stands out when paired with concrete sinks. A nickel finish offers a nice shine; you just have to keep it clean so it retains its appearance. If you’re going for a modern look, a chrome drain is a great choice, particularly with a matching chrome faucet.

Check if Your Sink Has an Overflow

An overflow is an optional feature found in some bathroom sinks. As the name suggests, it helps prevent the sink from overflowing. An overflow is a small opening in the sink, and it works by letting air flow into the drain while the sink is full of water so the sink drains water more quickly. Bathroom sink drains are available with and without overflows; check whether your sink has an overflow so you can choose the right type of drain.

Support the Sink With a Mounting Ring

If you have a vessel sink positioned above the countertop, as opposed to a recessed sink that is partially inside the cabinet, choose a drain with a mounting ring. The mounting ring supports the sink, which is important, since the sink isn’t being supported all the way around by a cabinet.

Planning a complete overhaul of your bathroom sink? For detailed instructions on sink removal using household tools, read our guide on How to Remove a Bathroom Sink.