Your Guide To Choosing The Perfect Bathroom Basin

Considering what basin you are going to use is one of the most important decisions to make when you are renovating your bathroom.

Why? Because there are several types of basins that each serve a slightly different practical purpose. From a design perspective, they can also completely change the look of your bathroom.

In this guide, we are going to go over the types of basins you need to consider as well answering questions that we get all the time by our customers looking to buy a basin.

The 6 Types of Basins

For all intents and purposes, there are 6 main types of basins. Each has distinct advantages and drawbacks. Let’s take a look.

1. Above Counter / Vessel Basins

Above Counter / Vessel Basins

As the name suggests, such a basin sits on top of your benchtop or vanity.

The Good: There is no better way than showing off a beautiful basin by keeping it above your counter. That way, you can reveal its shape, size, and colours in all its fullness. If you’re looking to spend big bucks on a basin that adds style and great functionality to your bathroom, we’d highly recommend an above counter basin.

The Bad:  These types of basins can make cleaning pretty tricky. And you can see why.

Anything with crevices or small gaps makes a great place for dust and dirt to build up. Many basin shapes – especially the oval styles that curve at an angle - will have harder-to-reach places. On top of this, cleaning your benchtop will not be as easy because of the basin obstruction.

Installation: These basins are easy to install, usually with the waste doing the job of securing the basin to the benchtop, and the pipes below.

Pro Tips:

  • If your basin does not have a ground edge (that is, the base does not sit flat against the benchtop) we’d recommend installing it at least 5 cm from the wall to make for easier cleaning.
  • Above counter basins are better suited for larger countertops since they do take quite a bit of space. However, don’t let that stop you from considering a smaller basin if you have a smaller bathroom – such as a guest bathroom or powder room.

2. Inset / Vanity Basins

Semi-Inset Basin

Got a smaller bathroom and want to save some space? An inset or vanity basin could do the trick. They sit partially inside your vanity – half exposed and half-hidden.

The Good: Similar to above counter basins, inset basins take less room while still giving a similar look. They are particularly useful if you have a floor-mounted vanity and don’t want your basin extending too high.

The Bad: Still somewhat tricky to clean, especially around the area where the basin meets the countertop.

Installation: Inset basins are more difficult to install than standard above counter basins. You need to ensure that the counter has the correct size cut-out to accommodate the basin, with room to spare up top. For this reason, a professional installation is recommended.

Pro Tip: Ensure that you know the height of the basin above your benchtop, that way you can select the right sized tapware.

3. Undermount / Undercounter Basins

Undermount / Undercounter Basins

Undercounter or undermount basins sit underneath the benchtop. The basin is completely ‘submerged’ in the bench.

The Good: These basins make for a clean, organised, and sleek finish. Cleaning is also a cinch since you can literally wipe all across the basin and benchtop in one go and push all the grime down the pipe or off the side.

The Bad: Not everyone likes a minimalist look. On top of this, installation is more difficult since it goes directly underneath the benchtop. You’re likely to need a solid surface benchtop such as marble or stone.

Installation: Undercounter basins are more difficult to install than other basin types. This usually makes them more expensive overall.

Pro Tip: Avoid using a laminate benchtop or any other material that doesn’t seal well against water. You’re going to want to stick with solid benchtops!

4. Semi-Recessed Basins

Semi-Recessed Basins

Semi-recessed basins are well..semi-recessed into the countertop. Part of the basin is in the bench, while the other part juts out.

The Good: This is a winning design when it comes to saving space. If you have a vanity that isn’t that wide, a semi-recessed basin will save considerable space. It also can make the basin a standout design feature, considering it is literally the closest vanity object to you.

The Bad: Design-wise, this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. If the basin contains sharp edges, it can be a bumping hazard. Cleaning is slightly more challenging as well.

Installation: This requires more work than a standard above counter basin. The benchtop needs to be cut according to the dimensions of the basin.

Pro Tip: These basins are great for small bathrooms. You can even opt for not having a tap landing to create a sleek look and save even more space.

5. Wall Hung Basins

Wall Hung Basins

As the name suggests, wall hung basins are mounted to your bathroom wall via wall fixing bolts. There is no vanity beneath. They look like they are almost floating, albeit for the pipe that you often see below the basin.

The Good: Want a clean and eye-catching design without taking too much space? If you have a smaller bathroom, ensuite, or other small space, the wall hung basin is worth consideration.

Another great benefit is that you can install it to your preferred height. No more dealing with basins that are too low or too high! 

Cleaning is made easier since you have nothing on the floor, preventing the build-up of dirt typically found in vanity installations. You can also play around with some design elements like bottle traps and match them with the aesthetics of your bathroom.

The Bad: By their very nature, wall hung basins do not come with vanities, so there is less storage space. Some of you may miss the familiar feel of that extra bench space too.

The good news is that many wall hung basin designs come with additional benchtop space and even some compartments for storing common bathroom items.

Installation: These basins are easy to install and less expensive since you don’t require a vanity or benchtop.

Pro Tip: Although it is possible to install such a basin by yourself, we’d recommend seeking a professional. You need to ensure that your wall can support more than the weight of your basin.

6. Freestanding / Pedestal Basin

Freestanding / Pedestal Basin

Rounding off our list is the freestanding or pedestal basin. Yep, this basin is self-supporting and provides the focal point in your bathroom design.

The Good: Compared to wall hung basins, a pedestal basin allows you to hide the pipes through the base of the basin. Such a design can look fantastic in your bathroom and give a classical vibe.

The Bad: Similar to wall hung basins, there is no storage underneath. Furthermore; they are somewhat difficult to clean, and you won’t be greeted with that familiar bench feel.

Installation: Typical installation costs can be more expensive than other types of basins. Additional wall or floor support may be required.

Pro Tip: Installing a pedestal basin can be quite tricky. We’d recommend a professional to do the job so you can get the clean, eye-catching look you desire. You don’t want obvious gaps in the construction at the pedestal base or where it meets the sink basin!

Things To Think About Before Buying A Basin

Now that you have an idea of what type of basin you want, it'd be wise to ask yourself some additional questions to further narrow down your choices.

What type of room?

Your requirements for a basin in a secondary bathroom will be different from a basin in your main bathroom.

With a smaller, secondary bathroom (such as in the garage), a more space-saving design could be the way to go. You might even opt for a basin with no underneath storage. Wall hung, pedestal and semi-recessed basins are great options.

Likewise, you might consider a larger, more dominating basin style for your main bathroom. Undercounter, above counter, and semi-inset basins are an ideal choice.

Still, despite the room, whatever basin you choose will be up to you. You can mix and match designs by choosing a finish and design that complements your bathroom.

Size matters too!

The size of the actual basin is important as well. What are you going to use it for? A small basin is great for washing hands, but chances are you are going to want to use it for more things than that, especially if it's going to be in your main bathroom.

Larger basins provide the necessary room for extra activities like applying make-up, dyeing hair, and washing your face.

Choosing Your Waste

Some basins come with their own wastes and others require you to buy them separately.

But what is a waste?

Put simply, the basin waste connects your basin to the plumbing below, allowing you to drain the water.

The two most common types of wastes are slotted and unslotted wastes.

1) The slotted waste is necessary if your basin has an overflow. When the water reaches the overflow point, the slot in the waste will allow the water to properly drain from the overflow.

2) If your basin does not have an overflow, then you need an unslotted waste.

To Overflow Or Not To Overflow?

An overflow is essentially a hole towards the inside back of your basin that will drain the water once it reaches a certain point. It’ll stop potential flooding.

Most people opt for an overflow, however; you may choose not to get one to make the design of your basin really stand out.

How Many Tap Holes Do You Need?

Many basins come with anywhere from 0 – 3 tap holes. These are generally circular cut-outs in the basin where you can connect your tapware.

Some basins come with no tap holes and allow you to specify how many you want to cut before they are delivered to you.

  • 0 tap holes means you can’t connect any taps directly to the basin. This is suitable for using wall basin sets where the handles and spouts are attached to the wall above the countertop.
  • 1 tap hole is suitable for mono basin mixer taps. These are very common, modern-style taps that allow you to use hot and cold water via one lever and one spout.
  • 2 tap holes are great for a more traditional style of tapware such as pillar taps. You can use two handles – one for hot and one for cold - each with its own spout.
  • Lastly, 3 tap holes can be used which implement two handles and a spout. This design can look absolutely stunning, and there are many brands that sell basin tap sets in multiple designs and finishes.

Shopping For A Basin

Start shopping for your perfect basin with Sydney Home Centre. We offer over 100 basins covering all the types we have mentioned here. Most of our basins come with combinations of overflows and tap holes so you can buy the one that fits your exact specifications.

Our brands include Fienza, Inspire, Gareth Ashton, Clark, Caroma, and more.

If you are unsure of what basin you are looking for and need professional guidance, be sure to give us a call on 02 9707 1466.