Stainless steel sinks come in a variety of sizes and finishes. One characteristic used to describe a sink is its gauge. According to Robert Levesque, an engineer and publisher of HomeStyleChoices.com, good quality stainless steel sinks are typically 16- to 18-gauge.
A stainless steel sink's gauge is its thickness; the lower the gauge, the thicker the steel. Consequently, a 16-gauge stainless steel sink is made of stainless steel that is thicker than that used to make an 18-gauge sink.
According to the Engineering Toolbox,16-gauge stainless steel is 0.0625 inches thick and weighs 2.52 pounds per square foot. The stainless steel of an 18-gauge sink is 0.0500 inches thick and weighs 2.016 pounds per square foot.
In August 2007, "Consumer Reports" published a report on stainless steel kitchen sinks claiming that lower gauge sinks were no more resistant to dents, heat, scratches and stains than their thinner counterparts. It concluded that "gauge doesn't matter." The sinks tested ranged from 18- to 23-gauge, however.