6 Kitchen Sink Strainer Types & Sizes (EXPLAINED)

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Kitchen Sink Strainer

If you’re in the market for a new kitchen sink strainer, you need to know all the different types and sizes. Otherwise, you may end up with a poor-fitting strainer for your kitchen sink.

Read on below, learn all about kitchen sink strainers, including the sizes, how to choose the best one for your sink, and more!

What is a Kitchen Sink Strainer?

A kitchen sink strainer is a fine mesh strainer or metal sieve that goes in the sink to keep food and other solids out of the plumbing. These sink strainers can be emptied simply by lifting them out of the sink’s drain and dumping them in the garbage bin. Strainers for kitchen sinks come in various types and sizes, including basket, back nut, double cup, drain, flange, and level type strainers that fit most drains (with a diameter of 3 to 4 inches).

6 Main Types of Kitchen Sink Strainers

Depending on the sink, plumbing, and kitchen drain you have, the type and size of the best kitchen sink strainer vary.

Below, we discuss the 6 main types of sink strainers in greater detail:

Basket Strainer

sink mesh basket

The basket strainer is the most common form of sink strainer found in kitchens worldwide.

As the name suggests, they are basket-like. Many basket strainers are made of metal or some mesh.

Basket strainers usually sit in or on the sink drain without attaching to it.

Back Nut Strainer

The back nut strainer gets its name from the hardware that holds it in place, the back nut.

These strainers slip into the sink drain and then are fascinated in place with a single back nut in the center.

Once in place, the nut needs to be loosened to remove the strainer.

Double Cup Strainer

sink double cup strainer

A double cup strainer is a heavy-duty option for your kitchen sink drain.

These strainers are usually cup-shaped, made of metal, and double-stacked, hence the double name cup.

Double cup strainers may screw directly into the drain or plumbing system.

Drain Strainer

sink drain strainer

A standard drain strainer is more or less a heavy-duty screen or metal or mesh. Sometimes they are solid metal with slits rather than colander-like mesh.

At any rate, they are the most basic of kitchen sink strainer types for catching food waste and other solid particles before they go down the drain hole to the drain pipe.

Flange Strainer

If your sink’s plumbing includes a flange, a flange strainer is what you need.

Like kitchen sink strainers, this type of strainer is made to securely connect to a flange and filter out solid particles from food and waste.

These strainers are similar to a back nut strainer; in that many of them connect to the existing flange via nuts and bolts.

Level Strainer

A level strainer is another type of filtration device useful around the house, but not in the way that a normal sink strainer or stopper is.

Level strainers attach to water hoses and keep debris from entering them (koi pond versus kitchen sink).

Stopper Strainer

stopper strainer

A stopper strainer is just as it sounds; a sink strainer with a stopped built-in. Typically, there is a center pin that disengages or engages the stopper.

When the plug is up, water flows freely down the drain, the strainer catching debris.

If the plug is down, the water stays in the sink until unplugged.

Why Are Kitchen Sink Strainers Important?

cleaning sink strainer

Kitchen sink strainers are rather important to your home’s plumbing system because they help out in a number of ways.

Their first job is to keep the food and other debris from getting into the kitchen’s drain pipes and entering the house’s plumbing system.

They, in turn, prevent the clogging of pipes and the sorts of expensive water damage that may occur.

How Do I Use a Kitchen Sink Strainer?

Using a kitchen sink strainer is relatively straightforward.

The main thing is to keep it dumped and in place to catch any solid debris or food particles that would otherwise slip through and into the plumbing.

Below, we list lay it out in 4 easy steps:

1. Insert the Strainer into the drain

placing sink strainer

The first step to using a kitchen sink strainer is simply placing it into the drain at the bottom of the sink.

If you have two drains and only one strainer, place it in the one that you rinse and/or wash dirty dishes (as that is where the majority of the solids will try to sneak down the drain).

That said, feel free to place a strainer into both drains if you have two of them.

2. Leave the Plug Disengaged (for Water to Flow Freely)

Depending on the type of strainer you have installed, it may or may not have a mechanism in the middle of it to engage a plug.

If your sink strainer does have a central plug, leave it disengaged. That way, the water may flow freely through the strainer and down the drain.

3. Engage the Plug (If You Want to Fill the Sink)

sink strainer action

When you want to fill the sink up with water to do the dishes, or for other purposes, engage the plug by pulling, pushing, or twisting the mechanism in the middle of the strainer.

The plug will temporarily stop the drain and allow the sink to hold water.

When you’re done washing dishes or whatever you’re doing, disengage the plug and allow the water to drain.

4. Remove and Dump the Strainer

removing sink strainer

Whether you’ve just finished washing the dishes or simply rinsing them off before sticking them in the dishwasher, you’ll need to regularly lift away and dump the food and other solids from the strainer.

After dumping your kitchen sink strainer, place it back into the drain in the bottom of the sink.

What is the Difference Between a Strainer and a Basket?

A strainer is what we’re discussing in this article (and have thoroughly outlined them above, including how to use them). A basket strainer is a whole different kind of animal.

sink mesh strainer

Basket strainers are usually between the drain and a water pump under the sink. Their purpose is to filter out solids from entering and damaging the sensitive pumps.

It is also worthy of mentioning that the term “basket strainer” is also used to describe mesh sink strainers (as outlined above).

How to Choose the Right Strainer for Your Kitchen Sink

Kitchen sinks drains, and plumbing systems vary wildly from home to home.

So, before tossing just any old strainer into the shopping cart (no matter how well-rated it is), take a moment and consider the following factors:


clean kitchen sink

Unfortunately, not all sink drains are a standard size, not even the ones in the kitchen sink.

So, one of the first steps to finding the right drain strainer for your sink in the kitchen is simply measuring it.

That way, you may check the dimensions against any potential strainer you consider buying to make sure it fits.


The type of strainer that best fits your kitchen’s sink drain varies based on the sink’s design and the plumbing system attached to it.

Chances are your sink already has a strainer that needs to be replaced, which you can compare to our list of strainer types above.


The type of material used in constructing your new drain strainer is also very important.

Products made with inferior materials need to be replaced more often and possibly scrubbed more often.

high quality drains

The most common materials for these products include high-grade stainless steel, thick rubber, and durable plastics.

Ease of Use

How hard or easy something is to use makes a huge difference in whether it’s the right one for you or not. Sink strainers for the kitchen are no different.

For example, if the stopper gives you trouble constantly, and you end up spending more time battling to keep water in the sink than you do washing the dishes, the ease of use is terrible (and you should pick a different strainer).


While there are very few (if any) 100-percent kid-proof strainers, some are much more secure than others.

For example, the design of most double cup and back nut strainers makes it virtually impossible for a child to move them.

sink water drains

Whether or not your new strainer is kid-proof is one of the less significant factors to consider, as most children can’t reach the sink drain opening anyhow.

FAQs About Kitchen Sink Strainers

Are Kitchen Sink Strainers Standard Size?

There are two main standard sizes for sink drains, 3 1/2 inches and 4 inches. For that reason, most kitchen sink strainer products are made to fit diameters of 3 inches to 4 inches.

Are Kitchen Sink Strainers Really Necessary?

sink drains trash

Depending on how your drain assembly is put together, a kitchen strainer for catching debris may or may not be necessary.

Having one helps water flow from being interrupted, as it will prevent large food particles from entering the drainage system.

How Do I Measure My Sink Drain for a Strainer?

Finding your drain size is simple. You need to take a take measure or ruler and lay it across the opening to the drainage system.

The correct strainer size is whatever the measurement is (hint: most drains in the kitchen are between 3 inches and 4 inches wide.

What is a Stopper Strainer?

stopper strainer

A stopper strainer allows you to change a setting to fill the sink with water, preventing drainage for a short period. It works as both a strainer and a stopper.

This can be useful for cleaning the sink or washing certain foods.

It also is designed to catch excess food particles as any strainer would be. You change a setting on it to turn it into a full stopper. They typically have a rubber seal that you twist or untwist to allow water to stay in the sink or drain.

How to Prevent Water Leakage?

If you’re experiencing any water leakage, it is best to seek professional advice on your sink.

Should I get a Rust Resistant Strainer?

Yes, cleaning a rusty sink strainer can be a pain, so getting a stainless steel rust-resistant strainer.

Do you Need a Kitchen Strainer if You Have a Garbage Disposal?

sink drains leftovers

If you have a garbage disposal on one side of your sink, it still may be useful to have a strainer. This is because not every type of material is safe to go into a garbage disposal. For example, you don’t want a fork or other utensil to fall there. Therefore, it’s useful to have an extra barrier so that nothing unwanted falls into your sink.

Can a Strainer Prevent Clogs?

Yes! Using a strainer can prevent unwanted materials from your sink basin from getting into your pipes. This prevents clogs and can save you a ton of money in the future by keeping all the components you don’t want in pipes from getting in.