Why Are Sinks So Low?

The average height of a kitchen sink is 36 inches while that of a bathroom sink ranges from 29 to 36 inches. These are the standard sink heights and unless you specifically ask for a different height, these are the ones you’ll get. These standard heights may sometimes feel a bit low, but they are actually quite appropriate for human use.

Kitchen sinks are built at waist-level and not higher so that the person using the sink may not have to raise their arms. This prevents unnecessary strain on shoulders and on the upper arm (brachium) muscles. Bathroom sinks are usually even lower than kitchen sinks to be more accessible to kids.

Moreover, it is easier for a tall person to bend over a bit for a low sink than to have a short person not be able to reach a high sink or faucet. There’s still a lot more to know about why sinks are so low. Interestingly, more and more people are now investing in taller sinks without really understanding their pros and cons. Let’s go a bit deeper to understand it all.

Why are Kitchen & Bathroom Sinks So Low?

Both bathroom and kitchen sinks are built low (usually at waist-level) for various reasons. Let’s look at them both individually.

Why Are Kitchen Sinks So Low?

Let’s explain this by discussing what would happen if your kitchen sink was higher than usual. For example, consider your kitchen sink to be as high as your chest. Imagine doing the dishes in this sink. The dirty, soapy water splashes would be all over your face.

Now, think about the position of your arms. You would have to lift up your forearms to reach into the sink. Keeping your arms in this position for a long time would hurt your shoulders and put unnecessary strain on arm muscles. Moreover, a kitchen sink is deep, so you would have to put some extra effort into reaching a high sink’s bottom.

Why Are Bathroom Sinks So Low?

Bathroom sinks are usually even lower than kitchen sinks. The main reason for this is to make them easily accessible for kids. Moreover, getting splashes of dirty water on your face while washing hands would be a really unpleasant (and germy!) experience.

Bathroom sinks are also often used to give baths to babies. A higher bathroom sink would make this quite difficult for the same reason a higher kitchen makes washing dishes difficult: uncomfortable arm posture.

Standard Heights of Bathroom & Kitchen Sinks

For a bathroom sink, the standard height ranges from 30 to 36 inches or 29 to 33, depending upon the type of sink you get and your personal preferences. For instance, a pedestal sink is usually between 30 and 36 inches high. The standard heights for other sinks like vessel sinks, console sinks, etc. are different.

Kitchen sinks, on the other hand, are usually between 29 and 39 inches high. The most common height for a kitchen sink is 36 inches, which is usually at waist-level. Again, you can select any height for your sink depending upon your preferences and the type of sink you want.

Comfort Height Sinks: A Possible Solution

Comfort height is exactly what it sounds like: a height that is specifically designed to suit your comfort-level.

If you’re a tall person who doesn’t have any kids or doesn’t intend on having them, low sinks can be annoying and an unnecessary pain in the back (literally).

Similarly, if you’re a shorter person or have little kids, a standard height sink may be too high for you.

In either case, getting a custom-height sink that is well-suited to your preferences would be a good idea. In fact, comfort height bathroom vanities are becoming more and more common as people explore the wide variety of available options.

Since the standard height for a sink is already on the lower side, these comfort heights are usually a bit higher (usually between 39 to 42 inches).

Things to Consider Before Getting a Comfort Height Sink

Should you get a taller sink if you have a tall family? Well, it’s your house and your sink, so why not? But there are a few things to consider.

Home Sale Value

For example, what if you wanted to sell this house in future to move somewhere else? The standard heights for kitchen and bathroom sinks are 36 and 33 inches respectively. These are the heights at which almost every single sink is made, so people are used to having their sinks this high.

This is the reason why you may face some trouble selling a house with custom height sinks. The very reason for standard heights to exist is because they are well-suited to a wide majority of the people. On the other hand, custom height sinks (whether lower or higher than the standard height) only cater to some people of a particular height range.

However, if you don’t plan on selling your house, I’d recommend you to change the height of your sinks according to your needs. If your sink is too low for you, excessive bending can cause harmful strain on your back. Similarly, lifting your arms up for a sink too high for you can also put unnecessary strain on your shoulders.

Plumbing and Cabinet Changes

If you have a bathroom or kitchen sink already installed but are not happy with its height, don’t worry, it can be raised to your preferred height. However, the process may not be as simple as it may seem.

Raising a sink even by just a few inches (2-3 inches, for example) would mean reconfiguring the plumbing. A change as small as even 2-3 inches is a lot for drains and supply lines.

Moreover, raising the sink would require you to raise the counter as well, especially for a kitchen sink. The counter needs to be able to support the sink’s weight when it’s full of water or dishes. A partial counter would not be able to support this.

And it doesn’t end here. When you raise the counter, the cabinets underneath would need to be raised as well. You can add blocks on top of the existing cabinets too but they may look a bit awkward.

Final Thoughts

Both bathroom and kitchen sinks are built low to improve the overall ergonomic experience for human beings. Low sinks help to reduce unnecessary strain on upper arm muscles and shoulders as well.

However, for taller people, standard sinks may be too low in height, requiring them to bend over and strain their backs. In such cases, it can be a good idea to install comfort height sinks that are taller than the standard options.

However, you should make this decision carefully as altering the height of your sink after it has been completely installed can be quite a hassle. So, this is all you need to know about why kitchen and bathroom sinks are so low and how you can have a taller sink. If you have any questions, feel free to drop them down below!

George Sab is a retired home improvement professional. For over 30 years, he has educated his clients and helped them make the best choice for their homes. George started A Great Sink in 2017 to share his knowledge with the world and assist his readers on their journey to their perfect home!


  1. I’m 5’5″ – not overly tall by any means and I find the standard height counter/standard depth sinks to be too low to hand wash anything comfortably. I’m not sure who came up with these standards, but I’m betting they never had to wash anything by hand.


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