Why 16 Gauge Sinks are Not All Created Equal

If a sink is marketed as a 16 gauge sink you would think it would be about the same weight as all the other 16 gauge sinks on the market. You would be wrong.


Gauge is a measure to the thickness of sheet metal. For stainless steel the thickness should be .0625″ for 16 gauge and .0050″ for 18 gauge.

When you draw stainless sink from a 16 gauge sheet of stainless steel you are stretching the sides of the bowl out of the steel. This results much of the sink being substantially less than 16 gauge. Some manufactures are careful to talk about 16 gauge steel and sinks on separate lines on their brochures and never talk about a 16 gauge sink. It is perfectly legal even if deceptive. To create a 16 gauge sink you need to start with steel thicker that 16 gauge.

I have compared the Eclipse 18 gauge (18 gauge is lighter than 16 gauge) to a sink sold on the internet as 16 gauge. That sink is light than the Eclipse 18 gauge. Eclipse has documentation from independent labs regarding compliance with ASTM 112.19.3 and the gauge and grade of the steel. Others talk about it. Eclipse proves it.

A few years ago when ANO began talking about the fact that the major model codes UPC shieldrequire sinks to be certified to meet the ASTM requirement to fabricators other sink manufacturers said it did not matter but we began to see misleading practices to imply certification. Some sinks had sticker that said “meets UPC standards.” This did not mean they were certified to meet the standards only that the manufacturer who was already cutting corner was telling you that they met the standards. Also the standards require the certification be stamped on the sink. The sticker itself indicates it does not meet the standard.

Some sink importers claimed certification based on Chinese certification of the factory. One importer had brochures with a Chinese certification printed on the brochure. A few months later the brochures disappeared and I was told that they were recalled because the certifying agency forced them to recall the brochures because it was not the correct certification. The new brochure from the importer made no reference to certification.

About Tom Robinson

Tom Robinson is Director of Business Development for ANO, Inc. an Independent distributor of plumbing accessories - sinks and faucets - primarily to countertop fabrication and installation industry. The are the exclusive distributor of Eclipse Stainless products in the Midwest. Tom is a former home builder. Past President of the Home Builders Association of Greater Chicago, winner of eight key awards for design and construction and he created over $200 million in new real estate.
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