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Do You Need a Sink in an Outdoor Kitchen?

As outdoor kitchens have become bigger and more popular, incorporating a sink is becoming more common. It adds convenience, practicality, and a wow factor to your outdoor space.

There are many benefits to having an outdoor kitchen. If you are going to do any entertaining or eating outside, you might be wondering if your kitchen really needs a sink. This is an important question to have answered because there is a certain investment to be made when it comes to installing a sink in your outdoor kitchen. 

Just about every outdoor kitchen needs a sink. Sinks are practical, convenient, and functional. This is exactly what you are looking for when it comes to developing the perfect outdoor kitchen. The sink will not only help you when cooking but also be used for other purposes as well. 

Having a sink properly installed in your outdoor kitchen will bring you many benefits. If you are wondering why you need one outside, continue reading to discover how your life will change as a result. There are some good reasons to have a sink in your outdoor kitchen and really no downsides worth mentioning. 

Why Should a Sink Be Part of Your Outdoor Kitchen?

There are many reasons to put a sink in outside. When you need a contained water source, you do not want to have to keep running back inside the house or to a water hose just to get what you need. You need a sink in order to make your outdoor kitchen practical and convenient. 

When it comes to installing a sink in your outside kitchen, there are many benefits associated with doing so. Here are just a few of the ways that you can use such a sink:

  • Hand washing station – When you are preparing food, there is an almost constant need to wash your hands. For example, you will want to have access to soap and water every time you finish handling raw meat. In addition, your family or guests will want to have a place they can quickly wash their hands before sitting down for dinner. If you don’t have an outside sink, everyone has to go inside the house just to accomplish this task. 
A person washing her hands.
Your family or guests will want to have a place they can quickly wash their hands.
  • Wash vegetables and other food items – As you prepare a great meal to serve everyone, you will have vegetables and other food items that need to be cleaned up. You do not want to have to go inside just to do this, as that creates a lot of extra trips that negate the purpose of an outdoor kitchen in the first place. 
  • Clean up barbecue tools and other cooking accessories – One of the most appealing aspects of an outdoor kitchen is being able to barbecue for your family and friends at will. That means that there will be a lot of tools and accessories to clean after any meal. You will be thankful that you have an outdoor sink to accomplish this. You will get it done more quickly and with much less mess than having to take everything inside after every event. 
  • Wash the dishes – Some outdoor kitchens may have a dishwasher, but many do not. If you want to keep a tidy outdoor kitchen, you will want to have an available sink in which to wash the dishes. This is important not only from a hygienic standpoint but from an aesthetic one as well.  
  • Prepare drinks – Outdoor bars are becoming quite popular these days. If you are fortunate to have one, then you will really want an outside sink to complement it. This is a place to prepare drinks, wash up cups and other serving items, and get fruit garnishes ready to add to each drink. A sink is a bartender’s best friend, so make sure that you have one available when the occasion calls for a drink. 
  • Rinse of fruits and vegetables picked from the garden – Organic fruits and vegetables are a benefit to any diet, but they do need to be cleaned once you pick them from the garden. A convenient way to do that is to have an outside sink available. This makes it easy to rinse off the dirt and other debris that typically come with fruits and vegetables grown in your outdoor garden. 

These are just a few of the ways you can use a sink that is installed in your outside kitchen. You really do not want to be without a sink, as these reasons highlight. 

Should Your Outside Sink Have a Hot Water Option?

If you are going to invest in an outside sink, then you should make sure that it has the capability of generating hot water. While this does impact how the sink is drained, having hot water allows you to better sterilize dishes and cups as you clean them. This is a health benefit for everyone. 

The least expensive option to add an outside sink is to skip the hard plumbing altogether and simply attach a garden hose to the sink. The sink would then drain into a bucket, allowing you to recycle the water and use it on your plants and other forms of landscaping. While this might be environmentally friendly, it is not the best option from a health perspective. 

A person washing the vegtables.
You can use normal water to wash your hands and rinse off fruits and vegetables.

Although you can use normal water to wash your hands and rinse off fruits and vegetables, it will prohibit you from safely washing dishes and cups. It will also be a no-go for any grilling accessories and anything that has touched raw meat. For most people, that will render the sink useless. 

Go the hard-plumbing route and make sure the outdoor sink is connected to hot water.

Where Should You Put an Outdoor Sink?

It is important to locate the sink as close to the house as possible if you hope to use the existing indoor plumbing that is already established. However, many outdoor kitchens are located away from the main house structure. In such cases, the sink’s location is dependent on the kitchen’s layout. 

If you are fortunate enough to have an outdoor dishwasher, or you are planning to have one installed, then the logical place for your sink will be next to that piece of equipment. That will create an optimal workflow for your outdoor kitchen that makes a lot of sense. 

Barring that, you can place your sink next to where you store away the trash. This makes it easier as you are cleaning up and will keep you from having to go back and forth to discard the trash. Again, the key is to optimize the setup of the outdoor kitchen so that it is as convenient as possible all around. 

A outdoor sink with tissues and soap.
The sink’s location is dependent on the kitchen’s layout. 

Assuming your sink is going to be a part of an outdoor kitchen, you will also want to make sure that you leave at least 20 to 24 inches of space on the counter to each side of the sink. This will allow you to put in a dish drainer upon which to store your dirty dishes, and it will also give you the room that you need to complete food preparation. You will be thankful that you have the available space near the sink. 

How Big Should an Outdoor Sink Be?

While sinks come in all shapes and sizes, the general rule is that bigger is better. You have to accommodate the space that you have available, but bigger sinks will be more useful than smaller ones. You have to consider your needs and how often you will be using the sink as well. 

Depending on the space that you have available, you can consider a single sink or one that has two separate sections. Having two is more appealing as it gives you a bigger apparatus within which to clean and rinse your dishes. You also want to think about how deep you want your sink to be. Again, deeper provides you with more options and keeps the kitchen a bit cleaner as a result. 

5 Key Reasons to Get an Outdoor Sink Installed

In addition to the benefits mentioned earlier, there are a few key reasons why your family will benefit from having a kitchen installed outside. These reasons should help tip your decision to a favorable one and have you out looking for your new sink by the end of the day. Consider these five reasons as you make your final decision. 

Let the Kids Stay Outside

Nicer weather creates ample opportunity for the children to play outside. This creates some messy children as time goes on. Hands need to be washed, water drunk, and so much more. You do not want the kids running in the house each and every time that they need a drink or need to wash up. An outdoor sink will become invaluable in such situations. 

A kid and an adult washing their hands.
Hands need to be washed, water drunk, and so much more.

One of the advantages of having a sink outside is that it provides you and your children with a fresh source of drinking water. While kids may be adept at just grabbing a drink from the water hose, it goes without saying how many germs this creates. Provide everyone with a much safer source of drinking water by having an outdoor sink available. 

Eliminate Much of the Risk

Many outdoor activities in the spring and summer months require water. From water balloon fights to filling up the water slide, there is a lot of water likely to be flowing around outside. In order to keep everyone safe, you want to keep them outside until they are dry. That could take some time. 

When kids start streaming into the house on a hot day, the potential for accidents is high. This is because water and kitchen tile or wood floors create a slippery environment. You want to have a sink outside in order to eliminate much of the risk. Keeping water outside provides a much safer environment overall which everyone can enjoy. 

Keep the Mess Outside

Warmer weather typically means that you will be working much more outside. There is the yard to take care of, vehicles to maintain, and routine maintenance to attend to that was not possible during the winter. This means that you will be getting dirty and coming into contact with a lot of chemicals. You do not want to be traipsing all of that inside the house. 

A outdoor sink.
It is better to clean your hands and other parts of your body outside.

An outdoor sink will prove invaluable as you start to work outside. It is better to clean your hands and other parts of your body outside so that you keep chemical residue from impacting the surfaces inside your house. It also keeps the inside of your house clean, which is an added benefit of having an outdoor sink available on your property. 

Create an Outdoor Dog Washing Station

Since your dog does not know how to take a bath on his own, this is a task that you will need to perform. If you have allergies, you will be washing your dog at least once a week. Many people do that in the bathroom, creating a huge mess that you must then clean up afterward. Having a big sink outside will make this weekly chore that much easier and more convenient. 

Washing your dog in an outdoor sink makes a lot of sense. It is the perfect place for your dog, and it keeps the mess outside where it belongs. If your dog is like most, he likes to run around and flap the water off when you are finished bathing him. You will be happier with him doing that outside as opposed to inside the lovely house that you just finished cleaning. 

Make Outdoor Kitchen Prep Much Simpler

While exercise is a wonderful thing, there are much better ways to get your daily allotment of steps in than going back and forth inside the house every time you need to prepare food. An outdoor sink provides you with a great place to do all of the food prep that you need while preparing a great meal to serve outside. Keeping everything in one place improves the efficiency of your outdoor kitchen setup as well. 


Now that you know why you need a sink in your outdoor kitchen, it is time to consider your needs. Think about what size and type of kitchen would fit well in your space. There are many varieties available on the market today, so do your research and get the one that you can be most satisfied with in the end. 

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