When you’re shopping for a new kitchen sink, prepare to be overwhelmed by the exciting variety of styles. For help selecting just the right sink, consult this handy guide.

Our thanks to Derek Voigt, director of product management at Elkay, for his description of kitchen sink types pros and cons. Check out photos of some cool kitchen sinks.

Double-bowl sinks

Pros: Double-bowl sinks are the longtime favorite of American homeowners. A divided kitchen sink offers the convenience of separate bowls for various chores - think washing, rinsing, and drip-drying - while bringing statement-making color to your kitchen. With a double-bowl sink, you can also use one side for food prep, as you soak dirty pots in the other. And if you’re planning to replace only your sink, chances are a double bowl will be the best fit for the opening in your counter.

Cons: Each individual bowl in a double-bowl sink may not be wide or deep enough for tasks like cleaning large pans or bathing your baby.

Single-bowl sinks

Pros: Single-bowl sinks allow you to soak and wash large items such as Dutch ovens and baking sheets with ease. Although these sinks may be used in any kitchen, they are especially appropriate for a small kitchen remodel, where every inch of counter space is precious.

Cons: Single bowls are spacious and deep; however, they don’t allow for separation - of dirty from clean dishes or food prep from cleanup, to name just two examples - and aren’t for every homeowner when it comes to kitchen sinks.

Farmhouse sinks

Pros: Though farmhouse sinks (also known as apron front sinks) are traditionally made of fireclay or cast iron, manufacturers have begun producing stainless steel and quartz farmhouse sinks, too. This means homeowners now have a variety of materials and statement-making color choices to match their personal design style. Fireclay farmhouse sinks offer timeless appeal with long-lasting durability and shine.

Cons: Due to their size and weight, farmhouse sinks are more complex to install than undermount or top mount sinks; be sure to find a contractor who’s experienced with this style. Homeowners may worry that specific farmhouse trends will fade in and out of fashion quickly. Update your kitchen's appearance without the time investment, expense, or stress involved in a full renovation.

Island-prep sinks

Pros: Installing an island-prep sink is great when you spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Prep sinks streamline your kitchen routine - ideal during a holiday cooking rush, when you need extra space for dinner party preparation, or simply to store and prep cocktails or other drinks. They can also add a designer touch, in materials like quartz luxe and copper.

Cons: Island sink installation is an extra expense and gobbles up countertop "real estate." Go this route only if you foresee that you will actually end up using the prep sink.

Offset sinks

Pros: The term "offset sinks" really refers to two different sink styles: 1) a double bowl, with one full-size and one smaller bowl or 2) a sink whose drain is located near the edge or directly under the faucet, rather than smack in the middle. An offset double-bowl sink gives the advantages of a traditional double bowl, with a slimmer profile, while an offset drain makes for more usable space on the sink bottom, as well as in the cabinet below (because the drainpipe is further back than the norm).

Cons: An offset-drain sink often empties a bit more slowly than the standard. The plumbing is harder to reach, complicating installation and repair.

Laura Firszt writes for networx.com.