The Different Types Of Bathroom Basins | An In-Depth Buyer’s Guide

Yes! You get to choose the finishes for your new bathroom! You need a basin, but when you opened your browser and search the options appear to be endless. There are bathroom basins ready to fit into your spacious master en suite or in the tiny cloakroom in your Victorian terrace house. However, finding the best match can be a little daunting.

In this post, I’ll go through all the different types of bathroom basins, the materials they are available in and what to consider when choosing the perfect basin for your bathroom.

Let’s get into it.

What To Consider Before Buying A Bathroom Basin

You will want your new basin to fit and complement the style of the rest of the sanitaryware in the bathroom. Remember to check these details before you click buy on that stunning new basin.

How Big Is The Bathroom?

If you are renovating a tiny cloakroom off the front hall, your basin will need to be small enough to leave room for the toilet. In an older home, even the master bath suite probably only has enough elbow room for a pedestal, not a full vanity. Take measurements of the room and make a floor plan with maximum space left over for your basin and buy accordingly.

How Many Tap Holes Do You Need?

When sticking to a vintage design, you will need a three-tap hole design on the top of your basin. A modern version may include a hand-activated single tap. You also need to check the width between the outer knobs against any pre-drilled holes in the basin for a proper fit.

What Style/Shape Do You Like?

Do you picture your bathroom kitted out with square features and sharp angles? Perhaps you want to keep that classic round look associated with claw-foot baths. If you are only replacing the basin, look at your other fixtures and select a style that blends for a more cohesive appearance. 

What Is Your Budget?

You can find a perfectly functional new basin for under £40 or you can blow the budget and spend over £2,000 on a double-basin vanity with custom details. Set your price range before you go down the basin shopping rabbit hole.

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What Materials Are Bathroom Basins Available In?

Most basins are made out of these four popular materials. Which one has the benefits and price that matches your needs?


The vast majority of basins found in homes and businesses are that classic white ceramic. It is durable, easy to clean and resists stains and cracks. It often takes a sledgehammer to break up an old ceramic basin. You will find budget-friendly options in this mass-produced material.

Solid Surface (Composite)

If you love the look of stone, a solid surface basin may be an attractive option. Ground-up stone aggregate, resin, and colouring are used to create a tough and durable solid surface that looks much like marble or granite. It can be formed into almost any shape and will last as long as a ceramic basin.


Stainless steel basins have been used in commercial kitchens and hospitals for over a century. Even if the basin is dented or damaged, it can continue to function until you take it out of service. Contemporary bathroom designs include metal fixtures for an industrial appearance. For a more refined appearance, look for a metal vessel basin in hammered copper or brass.


Since vessel-style basins have started trending over the past decade, glass has become a popular choice for many homeowners. The vessel sits on top of the vanity and looks much like an elegant glass bowl. Modern manufacturing techniques ensure that the glass is nearly as tough as ceramic. Order yours in any colour of the rainbow. Each piece is unique, adding an artistic flair to your bathroom.

Natural Stone

Take your design to the next level by adding a natural stone countertop and matching the undermount or countertop basin. The result is a seamless installation that incorporates natural elements that are guaranteed to last a lifetime. You will need to talk to your supplier about maintaining the stone to prevent staining.

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The Different Types Of Bathroom Basins

While trawling websites or speaking to a salesperson at the kitchen design centre, it helps to understand how the different styles of basins are described.

Below are the main types of bathroom basins available on the market.

Use the links to quickly jump to the relevant section:

Full Pedestal Basins

Full Pedestal Basins

This classic basin is perched atop a single floor-to-basin pedestal that hides the exposed pipes that service your basin. They are popular in smaller bathrooms as the pedestal uses minimal floor space and are very affordable. They are typically found with a ceramic or solid surface construction.

Great For:

  • Small spaces
  • Classic design

Not so Awesome for:

  • No storage options
  • No countertop space

Pricing Range: £50 to £1,000

Semi Pedestal Basins

Have you ever noticed how the drain pipe under your basin takes a turn to disappear into the wall? A semi-pedestal basin hides that pipe with a ceramic piece that is only as long as the pipe. The concealing portion may be square or round in design. It is a more contemporary look compared to the traditional full pedestal but gives you a little more room to stow a step stool or storage basket under the sink.

Great For:

  • Small spaces
  • Contemporary design

Not So Awesome For:

  • Hiding your towels and cleaning products
  • No countertop space

Pricing Range: £60 to £350

Wall Hung Basins

The ultimate in space-saving designs, the wall-hung basin is directly mounted to the wall. You can find one of these basins big enough to rinse out your handwashing or small enough to tuck into the smallest bathroom. The pipes are exposed beneath the basin before taking a turn into the wall. There are endless design options for a vintage look or super-modern decor.

Great For:

  • Space-saving designs
  • Finding your choice of style

Not So Awesome For:

  • A polished or luxury bathroom design
  • No storage or counter space

Price Range: £50 to £600

Countertop Basins or Vessel Sink

Countertop Basins or Vessel Sink
Orchard Calhoun countertop basin

A countertop basin is placed on top of the countertop or vanity and the drain passes down through the cabinet. You may find styles that are rectangular or ones that look like a beautiful glass bowl. The original inspiration for the countertop basin was the old jug and bowl left in bed chambers before indoor plumbing was prevalent in homes and hotels.

It can complement a vintage style or a truly modern look. Selecting the right taps and base cabinetry will make a large impact on how the countertop basin looks in the completed room.

Great For:

  • Huge selection of finishes and styles
  • Works with both modern and antique decor
  • Mounted on a cabinet to give you more storage options
  • Larger bathrooms

Not So Awesome For:

  • Kids or shorter individuals as it tends to be installed higher than traditional basin designs
  • Exposed rims can be damaged more easily

Pricing Range: £60 to £600

Inset Basins

Inset Basins
Grohe Bau 1 tap hole inset basin

If your home was built in the 1970s or later, the bathroom likely features a small vanity with an inset basin. The most common type is made out of ceramic. The countertop to the vanity is cut out so that the basin drops into the space with its rim resting on the edge of the hole.

All the plumbing is hidden in the cabinet, and you may have some storage. Find one in a designer colour that complements your counters, cabinetry, or tile. Save some cash and opt for standard taps or select a custom tap with a little added flair.

Great For:

  • Easy to find
  • Affordable
  • Adds counter space and storage
  • Works with most contemporary designs

Not So Awesome For:

  • Creating a unique space
  • Will take up more room in a small bathroom

Pricing Range:  £40 to £300

Semi Recessed Basins

You love the practicality of an inset basin, but also want to do something different with your bathroom design. Semi-recessed basins are a blend of the inset and countertop basin design. They are positioned on the front edge of the counter with half of the bowl exposed while the back is set down like an inset.

They may look like a mini farmhouse sink or a modern installation. You can opt to have a full vanity underneath your basin or just use a floating countertop.

Great For:

  • A unique twist on traditional designs
  • Works with a cabinet or counter
  • Enjoy counter space for toiletries

Not So Awesome For:

  • Building on a budget
  • No front lip on the counter to catch small spills and splashes
  • Can take away storage under the sink.

Pricing Range: £100 to £500

Washstand Basins

Whether you are planning on creating a new bathroom with a trending industrial feel or want something that looks like a London spa, you may picture a washstand basin. Instead of using a pedestal, wall mount, or cabinet to support the basin, a washstand depends on metal legs.

You will find looks that come straight out of a Victorian hospital setting and others that use gold or brass to complete a sleek stand. Some have open shelves beneath the basin or even a small enclosed cabinet. The basin may be larger without any counter space or have the counter and basin formed out of a single piece of composite.

Great For:

  • Creative finish for your modern bathroom
  • Endless options for design and manufacture
  • Large basin able to double for other household chores

Not So Awesome For:

  • Plumbing is exposed
  • Open shelving will not hide messes
  • Takes up a large footprint in the room

Pricing Range: £225 to £1800

Corner Basins

Sometimes you are adding a small two-piece bathroom off the front hall and there is barely room to turn around. Perhaps you managed to squeeze in a small shower, but that meant the end of the vanity. When there is nowhere to fit a standard-sized basin, a corner basin may be the perfect solution.

You can find one as a pedestal or wall mount. Generally, they are made for the budget-friendly market, but some custom options are available. Do not expect to have enough room to do your makeup or share with the kids.

Great For:

  • Fitting all the fixtures into a tiny space
  • Budget-friendly solution

Not So Awesome For:

  • Spending time in front of the mirror
  • No room to spare
  • No storage options

Pricing Range: £60 to £250

Cloakroom Basins

Yes, there is just enough room off the kitchen to put in a two-piece bathroom. The basin will only be used for washing hands before dinner, so it doesn’t need to be big. That is when you should explore the options in the cloakroom basins department.

They can be as small as 400mm x 200mm, are wall-mounted, and have a single mixer tap or the standard hot and cold. Most have exposed pipes underneath, but some styles use a semi-pedestal to hide them. Others apply a colour powder coat so that the finish on the drain matches the taps.

Great For:

  • Just big enough to wash the hands
  • Available in contemporary or traditional designs
  • Gives your bathroom complete functionality

Not So Awesome For:

  • No room to spare
  • No counters or storage options
  • Limited selection

Pricing Range: £40 to £300

Under Counter Basins

Under Counter Basins

How do they create that uniform counter and basin appearance on all the home design sites and YouTube channels? Under-counter basins are often (not always) manufactured out of the same material as the countertop, whether that is composite, ceramic, or stone.

The basin is attached to the counter from underneath using adhesive sealant and metal clips for support. You can add any taps that you prefer for a modern or more conservative appearance.

Great For:

  • Unified design
  • Seamless appearance for large counters
  • Works well for double-basin vanities

Not So Awesome For:

  • The seam can develop leaks on poor installations
  • Can be more expensive due to matching the counter and the basin

Pricing Range: £60 to £250

Final Thoughts…

There you have it! Everything you need to know about bathroom basins so you can make the best choice for your new en-suite or cloakroom.

I hope this post has helped explain the options available and what to take into consideration when selecting bathroom basins.

All that’s left to say is, happy basin shopping!


Michael R

Michael is a KBB designer from the UK. He's been designing and project managing new Kitchen, Bedroom and Bathroom installations for over eight years now, and before that, he was an electrician and part of a KBB fitting team. He created The Bathroom Blueprint in early 2020.