The difference between Belfast sinks and Butler sinks

Belfast sinks
Butler sinks

Since we increased our ceramic sink range, we have had a number of queries as to what is the difference between a Belfast and Butler sink? Belfast and Butler sink's origins both go back to Victorian times and both are very similar in that they are made of solid white ceramic Fireclay and are extremely durable with all RAK Ceramic sinks coming with a 15 year warranty. However, how they evolved into the sinks that are fitted into your kitchen today, is slightly different and quite an interesting story. Honestly!!

We will start with the obvious differences. Belfast sinks are smaller, fit for a 600mm unit but with a deeper bowl and weight density. Butler sinks on the other hand are much wider, fitting to an 800mm unit allowing for much larger items to be washed (such as a large dog!!!) but have a slightly more swallow bowl. Belfast sinks also have the drain close to the tap while a Butler sink has the drain in the middle of bowl. 

The History

Back in Victorian times, Butler sinks might also have been known as London sinks due to the locality in which they were commonly found. The main reason they differentiated from Belfast sinks however, was that they did not come fitted with a Weir overflow. The apparent reason for this was that London did not have an abundant supply of water available and Belfast had. This was because London was further inland along the Thames and therefore had higher costs in obtaining fresh water for its large population than Belfast. It was considered your average Belfast household user, was more likely to let their kitchen taps run and drain large quantities of water. London did not have such an abundant supply of water and even went as far as to banning sinks with a weir overflow design and establishing an inspector to ensure that households adhered to plumbing regulations! To allow for the same provision of water in a bowl, a wider design developed which in reality, had some more practical uses such as a filthy Labrador in need of a wash. Hence the Butler sink was born.

Belfast Sink
Belfast sink dimensions

Butler sinks
Butler sinks Dimensions

As the years went by, water supply became less of an issue and kitchens became bigger. Some modern Butler sinks are now as deep as Belfast sinks. Also Belfast sinks have evolved to be wider with the typical example being the double bowl Belfast sink. This sink is as wide as Butler and almost as deep as a Belfast with a ceramic partition in the middle.


Double bowl belfast sink
Double bowl belfast sink dimensions

At the end of the day, both are great ceramic sinks to complete the traditional kitchen theme.

View our Belfast, Butler and other kitchen sinks range

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