Van life has become more and more popular in recent years, and for good reason. Who wouldn’t want a home they could just pack up and take with them wherever they wanted to go? Even with as much freedom and as many benefits as there are to the lifestyle, though, there are always going to be a few drawbacks, and cooking is one of them. In such a small space, your kitchen has to be perfect.
So, what makes the best kitchen in a home on the go? The internet has a few good ideas to share with you. Let’s take a look at the 16 best van life kitchen sink setups.
The 16 Best Van Life Kitchen Sink Setups
These setups have been pulled from a variety of sources across the internet. From Amazon reviews to fellow van life blogs, these are the sinks most often recommended as a need-to-have part of your space-saving setup.
Included in each description is:
- A rundown of what the sink’s made of
- How big it is (in inches, including depth, length, and width)
- How much it weighs (when available)
- How it’s mounted
- What it comes with
- How much it costs
- What others have to say
We’re also going to talk about the downsides to each setup, to give you a clearer picture of what to expect. Most options don’t come with an included faucet setup or drain assembly. Some of them may not function exactly as advertised. Still, according to the people that actively use them on the daily, they’re still doing some amazing work.
With all that information at hand, let’s look at the setups.
The Kraus KWT 311-25 Kore Workstation
This monster of a setup is an impressive multitasker; not only is the main sink basin made of stainless steel and a 25-inch drop-in or under-mount versatile design, but it also comes with a wide variety of accessories that convert it into an additional workspace when not in use. It can be fitted with a bamboo cutting board, dish grid, and drying rack.
It’s also specifically engineered for easy draining, so you don’t have to worry about water pooling in the basin and sloshing around. Speaking of sloshing, the lower cabinet is fully insulated, so your sink won’t make your van shake whenever you turn on the faucet.
The sink comes alone without a faucet, and it can be quite pricey. Keep in mind that this cost Is covering the inclusion of all the accessories and the cabinet insulation. Even so, it’s on the higher side of the prices on this list.
2-Burner Combination Sink and Stove
If you’re really pressed for space, a combination sink and stove might be a good option for you. This model, which is made of stainless steel with a glass lid, has two burners built-in beside the basin. The whole setup can be closed under the lid to give you an additional workspace when you’re not using either one.
It’s a fairly easy clean setup, in full steel with easy access around the burners, so you don’t have to worry about burned-on food. Because they’re so close together, though, you’re going to want to be very careful when cooking with grease; grease and water don’t mix, and you don’t want that kind of burn on your hands, or anywhere else.
This setup, again, doesn’t include the faucet or drain system. You’d also need to buy the fuel and fuel line setups for the burners. There can be some quirks when it comes to installing combination sinks, so make sure that you are up for the extra challenge.
STARSTAR Workstation Stainless Steel Luxury Single Bowl
This workstation is fairly similar to the previous two on this list because of its multifunctionality. It’s got a deep, square sink basin that can either be dropped in or under-mounted, with an interior ledge that allows for accessories. It comes with a draining rack and a cutting board, both of which allow you to use the sink space as an exterior work surface.
The smallest version has a 15 inch by 15 inch basin and goes up to a 30 inch by 22 inch basin. They also offer a three and four year protection plan, respectively. It doesn’t come with a faucet or a drain assembly.
STARSTAR Double Bowl Workstation
STARSTAR seems to be a popular brand among long-term van life experts, taking two spots on the list. This setup is for those who have a little more room or those who are planning to keep their kitchen setup as all-in-one as they can get it.
This workstation comes with two 10 inch deep basins that come in five sizes from 28 inches across to 32.75 inches across. As with the single-basin version mentioned above, it comes with a slew of accessories including a cutting board, colander, two drying grids, and two wire baskets. It still doesn’t come with a faucet, though.
The setup is undermount only and comes with an option to add a three year protection plan. This is easily one of the best designed sinks on our list simply due to the fact that it all the accessories are designed for this sink, so they pack nicely and save lots of counter space—a crucial design consideration for van setups.
1512 18 Gauge Stainless Steel Kitchen Ensemble
This is a significantly smaller setup that can be installed in even the smallest of vans for a convenient sink system. It can only be under-mounted, which might be inconvenient for some setups, but is generally a fairly easy inclusion, and is made of thicker steel than most other options, meaning it’s durable.
It comes with a cutting board and drain system and is a 15 inch by 11 inch by 7 inch setup. This basin only comes in one sizing option, so there’s not a lot of flexibility in that regard. This is one of the most affordable options on the list, though. Much like the others, you can also purchase a three year protection plan.
Elkay Quartz Classic Single Bowl Dual Mount Sink
This simple single basin can be either be dropped-in or under-mounted, and is coated in a resistant finish. It is stain, impact, heat, and scratch-resistant, and is heat safe to 535 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also easy-clean with soap and water, as well as being nonporous, meaning that no food or liquids can stick to the surface and spread bacteria.
It comes in a variety of colors including dusk gray, bisque, greige, and putty, as well as the standard black and white. Stylistically, this might be the most varied option on the list, even if it only comes in one basin size.
The cheapest version of the setup comes with only the basin. You can also get it with the bottom grids and drains included, or the full package with the faucet, grids, and drains included. It does not come with a protection plan.
Monarch Abode 17092 Pure Copper Single Bowl Kitchen Sink
If you’re looking for a stylish as well as economical sink, this one might be right for you. Made of copper, this basin is naturally antibacterial and fairly easy to clean, on top of being long-lasting. On top of that, its hand-pounded design makes for a rustic finish that can be attractive in a lot of different aesthetics.
The makers note that the copper will darken overtime, but say this isn’t cause for concern, although they do recommend against using corrosive or particularly abrasive cleaning methods as they may damage the finish. You’ll have to look into what products work with this particular basin.
If you’re willing to do the extra research, though, this setup could work for you. It uses a standard drain and comes in two colors, classic copper and black. It’s a bit shallower than other options on this list, only having a 6-inch depth, and is sold as basin-only, no accessories included.
ACE HS-0810IG Mini Drop-In Hand Sink
Built from 20 gauge steel with a polished finish, this sink setup is the strongest steel on the list. It comes standard with a tall steel faucet and a drain and has a flat lip that can easily be converted into another workspace, although it doesn’t come standard with any accessories.
It measures in at 13 inches by 13 inches across, but is only 5 inches deep, making it a smaller option that’s great for those looking to save as much space as possible without sacrificing any functionality. Fortunately, it makes up for its size by being easy to clean.
It’s a drop-in style installation and a three year protection plan is available.
WAECO SNG4237 Sink
This is a simple, thick steel, all-in-one sink setup that includes the faucet and seals. It’s a square sink with a glass cover to create another work surface on top when the basin is not in use. It’s a larger option, coming in at 20 inches by 21 inches across and 9 inches deep, and weighs nearly 8 pounds on its own.
What’s good about this setup is that it’s a no-assembly-required deal. It comes pre-assembled with everything in place. All you have to do is fit it into your water supply and let it run, which is good for those who want a no-fuss setup.
This one is definitely one of the pricier options on the list, with options to add either a 3 or 4 year protection plan.
Ruvati Workstation Drop-in Topmount Sink
Specifically designed for RVs and tiny homes, this setup comes in two sizes. You can choose the 15 by 15-inch option or the 21 by 20-inch option. The basin is made of a brushed 16 gauge stainless steel and comes with a solid wood cutting board and stainless steel colander, both of which can be set on the basin to create a work surface when the sink isn’t in use.
It’s also covered under a lifetime warranty from Ruvati in the event of any damage, breaks, or failures. This sink setup, which doesn’t include a faucet, has a 3-year protection plan as well.
RecPro RV Double Bowl Sink
There are some excellent double sink options out there if you have a little more room to play within your van. This option, specially designed for RVs and vans, has two bowls and totals at 27 inches across and 7 inches deep. The basins are made of stainless steel for easy cleaning.
This setup is ranked at number 3 on Amazon in RV Kitchen Sinks, with a 4.5 out of 5 customer rating. It sounds like a fantastic deal, but keep in mind that it doesn’t include a faucet, drain, or any other accessories, although reviewers say that it does come standard with all the fitting hardware you need. It also isn’t protected by any warranty.
2460R Built-in Cook’s Kitchen Combo
Once again showing off the benefits of combination utility, this setup from the Dometic Store includes a simple 8-inch deep basin alongside two small gas burners. It’s simple, affordable, and its stainless steel finish is easy to clean.
The drawback to this particular setup is that it doesn’t come with a faucet, drain, or any accessories. It does, however, have a raised lip around the basin that could be used to support third party accessories that would transform it into another work surface.
Lordear Porcelain Sink
Porcelain is usually reserved for the bathroom, but can make an excellent, stylish kitchen sink as well! This basin, from Lordear, comes in a variety of sizes, from the economical 16 by 12-inch to a spacious 24 by 16-inch if you have more room to play with. It also comes in three colors: classic white, marbled black and white, and marbled black.
Because it’s porcelain, you do run the risk of chipping or cracking the basin. This could be a problem if you’re using hanging storage or just have a particular tendency for clumsiness, as it can cause rough surfaces that can lead to injuries or chipped pieces in food. Still, because it’s so thick, this isn’t likely to be a huge issue.
It doesn’t come with any accessories, a faucet, or a drain. It’s also a heavier option, weighing in at around 18 pounds. That being said, it’s naturally very heat resistant, making it a good choice for those who need to do slightly more heavy-duty cleanup. It’s designed to be installed above the counter.
RecPro Round Stainless Steel Sink
If you’re really only looking for a place to rinse your hands while prepping, then you might consider a round sink. From RecPro, this version is a 13-inch basin that’s 5 inches deep, so it’s not going to take up much space in your van at all. It’s also light, at only 3 pounds.
This does mean, unfortunately, that it has no multifunctional capability. There’s no way to set anything up over the basin if it’s drop-in mounted, and no way to dry things in the sink effectively. It gives you very little room to work with when cleaning larger dishes, pots, and pans. Some buyers report issues with mild staining as well.
But, if you’re just looking for a sink you can use to clean yourself up, it might be the best way to go. It has options to come with or without the faucet. Either way, you can get fairly cheap protection plans for up to three years.
SOMRXO Wet Bar Sink
This might be the sink that comes in the widest size variety, with six options ranging from 14 by 18-inch to 28 by 18-inch, all of which are 10 inches deep. Reviewers do warn that it’s a little more difficult to get food out of the drain but seem extremely pleased by the product otherwise.
This 16 gauge stainless steel basin is marketed as having “indestructible construction,” and is an undermount installation with a thick rubber coating on the outside that isolates sound. This coating is also anti-condensation, to prevent mildew and mold growth, which is a blessing for anyone who plans to spend a lot of time driving through particularly humid regions.
It also comes with a variety of accessories, including a roll up drying rack, rinse grid, basket strainer, and drain assembly, though no faucet. There are protection plans available.
TORVA Undermounted Bar Sink
This sink setup comes in three sizes, the smallest of which, 14 by 19 inches, is perfect for van life. The 10-inch deep rectangular basin is made of stainless steel that has a brushed satin finish for easy cleanup and long-term use. It’s also got soundproofing padding on the underside that doubles as an anti-condensation barrier.
It’s one of the better options when it comes to budget friendly multifunctionality, as it comes with a stainless steel surfaced bamboo cutting board that fits over the basin and a drain assembly, though again, no faucet. Protection plans are available.
Reviews say that this sink is well worth the price, but that it tends to scratch more easily than advertised so that protection plan is probably a good investment.
What Makes a Good Van Kitchen Setup?
Van life means taking on a nomadic lifestyle; you carry everything you have with you in a single van and can just get up and go whenever you want to. Home is where you park it, and it never has to be the same place twice.
Because of this, everything about your van needs to be small enough to get up and go with. This means everything, including the kitchen sink. For a van life setup, you’ll need these components at the very minimum:
- A basin
- And, obviously, a water supply hookup
Simple, right? Most of the time, yes, but if you’re not sure what you’re looking for, it can add up fast. Since most manufacturers may not include one or more of those items, be prepared to spend more than just what the price listing shows (unless it is an all-in-one setup).
Kitchen Setup Basics
Your van is going to be your entire home, so realistically, you’re going to want to make your kitchen setup take up only as much room as you will use. Make every square inch count! The basics of a kitchen are simple: a place to store food, a place to prep food, and a place to cook food.
- For storage, you’ll want cold and regular spaces, so a mini fridge that fits under a counter assembly is an excellent option if you can swing it, while hanging racks are your best friend for storing not only food, but the pots, pans, and utensils you’ll use to prep it.
- For preparation, you need a good counterspace to work on. Preferably, you’ll want a separate space for produce and meats to avoid cross-contamination. You’ll also want a space that can be cleaned easily. This is where the sinks come in, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
- For cooking, you’re probably only going to have one option: a stovetop. Ovens aren’t exactly built to work in small spaces and might be dangerous if they’re using more power than you expect them to, so a simple gas or electric burner stovetop is the way to go.
If you can meet all these basics, you’ll have a kitchen that’s more than enough to meet all of your on-the-road needs. So, what about the sink?
Everything in the Kitchen Sink
As mentioned above, your sink is part of your food prep area. It’s where you’ll clean food, pots, pans, utensils, and your hands while making a meal, and it’s how you’ll keep the rest of the kitchen clean. In general, a van life kitchen sink setup is going to have to take into account a few different factors.
- Size. Yep, first and foremost, you’re going to want to consider the amount of space you can reasonably dedicate to this unit. The largest vans on the market (a box-van, similar to a moving truck) only have about 875 cubic feet of space to work with. Considering the average kitchen in a regular home is about 174 square feet on its own, you’re condensing a lot in a little space.
- Utility. With that little space to work with, you’re going to want your setup to do as much as possible with as little wasted room as you can get. You’re looking for an all-in-one, multi-purpose unit with as much included in it as you know you’re going to need.
- Use. This may look like the same thing, but it’s not quite. Your sink is going to play a number of roles in your kitchen, from being a place to get your drinking water (although that’s not recommended) to washing your plates, pots, and pans (remember the shape of your sink is going to affect how easy it is to get them out of there).
- Safety. Obviously, safety is a massive priority. You want a setup that isn’t going to fall, break, or catch anything on fire. This includes when your van is in transit to the next great adventure. This is why traditional glazed sinks are not good options, as ceramic can be as sharp as a scalpel when it’s broken—not a risk you want to take on bumpy roads!
- Style. This may not be the most important part of the setup, but it’s still important! It’s your setup, after all, and you should be happy with how it turns out. It’s got to look the part if you’re going to make it part of your everyday life.
- Price. This is the one that’s going to hurt. Just because it’s coming in a small package doesn’t mean your kitchen setup is going to have a small price tag. Depending on their complexity, your setup could run around $100, or it could go upwards of $500. You’re going to want to look for options within your budget.
We’ve walked through options across the spectrum from cheap and workable to expensive and luxurious, as well as a few solid options in the middle of the road. After that, it’ll be up to you to consider the options and weigh in on what works for your van life.
Making the Call on the Best Van Life Sink Setup
When considering which of these setups, or whichever setup you’ve found that you like, that you want to include in your van, remember that there really isn’t a right or wrong answer. It all depends on what you like. Rectangular, square, or round, deep or shallow, multifunctional or simple, as long as your sink suits your needs, then it’s the best setup for you.
Van life is all about having the freedom to go where you want, when you want, and do whatever you want. If you’ve got the budget and the know-how for it, feel free to get creative with the interior of your van, and come up with the van life kitchen sink setup of your dreams.