Whether it’s your kitchen or bathroom sink, there’s always something that ends up going down the drain that shouldn’t, potentially clogging the pipes and creating a mess. To catch hair, bits of food and even a ring that may accidently slip off your finger while you are washing dishes, putting a sink strainer over the drain is the best way to avoid plumbing troubles.
A strainer is standard with most kitchen sinks, with some models acting as a strainer and as a stopper with a simple twist. In the bathroom, hair is the culprit, both in the shower and at the sink. Depending on where and what you want to use it for, a sink strainer comes in an array of different styles and designs.
Not sure what would work best for you? We’ve curated a list of sink strainers to use in your kitchen and your bathroom. Read on to see which ones you want to equip your home with.
1. Editor’s Choice: Hilltop Products Kitchen Sink Strainer and Stopper Combo
Many stainless steel sinks come with a standard sink strainer that has a dual function: it works as a strainer to catch food, waste and scraps to prevent them from going down the drain and clogging up the plumbing, and it can also be used as a stopper to fill the sink with water to soak or wash dishes, pots and pans, or even dirty hand towels or clothing.
After time, your sink strainer can break, or you can lose it. This two-pack kitchen basket strainer and stopper combo will fit most standard American kitchen sinks with a 3-1/2-inch diameter drain and has a narrow rectangular center hole for installation. The basket part has 32 holes, so water drains quickly and smoothly, while any debris remains in the basket. The post-style basket works with a simple push and pull operation and is made from stainless steel and plated chrome with a plastic knob.
This sink strainer is also dishwasher safe, so keeping it clean and stain-free is easy.
- Strainer and stopper combo
- Fits most standard American kitchen sink drains
- Food tends to cling to it and needs to be washed off
- Some users said the stopper was too short
- Not everyone will want a stopper
2. Runner Up: OXO Good Grips Silicone Sink Strainer
There are people who prefer to use a sink strainer that is not also a stopper. In fact, many people dislike when their sink fills with water and prefer to only have a strainer basket that catches food debris while water flows easily down the drain.
This sink strainer from OXO combines the sturdiness of stainless steel with the flexibility of stain-resistant silicone to provide the best-of-both-worlds option. The rim of the strainer is the part made from stainless steel, so it will blend nicely with your stainless steel sink. It is also just the right weight to stay in place.
The basket part that catches food is made of silicone, so it won’t scratch the inside of the drain. The stain-resistant silicone makes the strainer easy to clean, too — just pick it up by the post and invert the basket to empty it. The sink strainer, which does not also act as a stopper, is dishwasher safe for convenient, easy and hygienic cleaning.
- Easy to clean
- Stainless steel rim helps strainer stay in place
- Flexible silicone basket inverts to clean
- Raised rim can prevent larger pieces of debris from ending up in strainer
- Basket fills up quickly
- Silicone can get slimy
3. Best Variety: Gotega Bathroom and Kitchen Drain Covers
Long hair or short, at the end of the day, some of it is going to end up down the drain after a shower, potentially balling up and creating a clog. Multiply that by the number of people in your family taking showers and or shaving every other day and all that hair down the drain will quickly turn into a monster.
If you have more than one bathroom in your home — or if you like to switch things up a bit in your one bathroom — this pack of five different colored sink strainers will brighten up your decor while saving you tons of money on drain de-cloggers and plumbers. They also act as a great kitchen sink strainer, too, allowing water to drain easily while preventing food bits from going through.
Made from non-slip flexible thermo-plastic rubber, the sink strainers come in grey, blue, green, red or brown, and are suitable for a slightly domed, flat or open drain that is less than 4.7 inches by 4.7 inches. The raised design and round holes effectively block hair and food particles while the water runs freely down the drain.
These sink strainers are easy to install and remove and are great for the bathroom, laundry room and kitchen.
- Affordable pack of five
- Different colors
- Can be used in the bathroom or kitchen
- Raised design
- For use on smooth tiles and surfaces only
- Doesn’t always stay in place in the tub
4. Easiest to Remove: LASSHSWA 304 Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink Drain Strainer with Handle
Some sink strainers are highly effective but can be difficult to remove. You may need to leverage the rim up with a knife or your fingernail to get a firm grip to pick it up to empty. If you’re looking for an easier method, then you may like this option.
This two-pack sink strainer is equipped with a handle that makes lifting it off the drain and throwing out food debris a breeze. Made from 304-stainless steel, the sink strainers have a two-ply metal sheet flat rim that will hold the strainer in place and will not rust or lose its shape. With smooth edges, there’s no chance of your fingers being scratched or nicked.
Each strainer measures 4.5 inches in diameter, with a 3-inch basket and micro-perforations of 0.08-of-an-inch to filter out most solid debris and food bits. Both strainers will fit most kitchen sink drains and garbage disposals, and while dishwasher safe, are easily cleaned with warm soapy water to keep the mirror finish shine.
- Package of two
- Equipped with a carry handle
- Made from 304 stainless steel
- The rim can prevent some foods from going into the basket
5. Best for Bathroom: Seifalior Sink Stopper and Strainer
Hair is the enemy of your pipes, so reducing the amount that slips down the bathtub or bathroom drain is the key to never having to call the plumber. While some people prefer a portable sink strainer that is put over the drain before using the sink or tub, another option is to install a product that works both as a stopper and a strainer.
This sink strainer and stopper is designed to fit a standard U.S. bathroom wash basin or bathtub with an inner hole of 1.25 inches, with a range of between 1.02 and 1.23 inches, and cannot be used on a drain hole size of more than 1.32 inches. Once installed — an easy two-step process — the built-in strainer retains hair and any objects to prevent them from passing through the drain hole. The push-bounce type stopper seals the drain with one push, while a second push releases it to allow water to flow again.
The strainer/stopper is constructed from high quality brass material and stainless steel with a chrome-plated finish for a shiny look. Available in black, silver, brushed nickel and gold.
- Works as a strainer and a stopper
- Installs for permanent placement
- Four different colors
- Easy to use
- Needs to be installed
6. Best Rimless Design: Dripsie Sink Strainer
There are a lot of good sink strainers out there, but many of them have a rim around the gather basket, with the rim resting on the sink to keep the device in place. The issue sometimes with this design is that even the smallest elevation of a rim can stop food from flowing freely into the basket, leaving food in your sink, forcing you to brush it into the basket by hand, before emptying it.
The innovative design of this sink strainer allows it to sit snugly inside the sink drain — there is no rim to block the flow of food or water. The patent-pending design also features a combination of drain holes, side vents and a hollow central stem for reliable clog resistance, even when the strainer basket is full.
Available in four fun colors – grey, blue, red or green — it fits most standard 3.25-inch diameter kitchen sink drains and is made from a mixture of rubber and plastic with a non-stick surface for easy cleanup. The sink strainer is BPA-free, dishwasher safe and made in the U.S.A.
- Fits inside the drain
- No rim
- Non-stick surface
- Resists clogging
- Rice can get stuck in the holes
- Center post can be hard to grip when removing to empty
7. Also Consider: Kitchen SinkShroom Stainless Steel Sink Strainer
The next sink strainer on our list has such an innovative design, it was a finalist in the 2019 Housewares Design Awards and was featured on The View, Good Housekeeping magazine, Time and CNN.
If you are looking for a reliable product that will continue to drain water no matter how much food gathers in the basket, then consider this sink strainer from SinkShroom. Made from high-quality 304 stainless steel, it is rust resistant and durable. The ergonomic design has a raised hollow center cylinder that is high enough to prevent pots and dishes from blocking the drain — and it’s easy to grab when you want to remove the strainer.
The design places the draining holes in such a way that no matter how much food gathers in the basket, water will still flow easily down the drain, preventing it from accumulating so you don’t have to dig through dirty, soapy water to clean the strainer. And, the food stays in the strainer and won’t end up in the drain to clog your pipes.
- Compatible with most kitchen sinks
- Stays in place
- Even filled with food, water continues to flow down the drain
- A bit pricey
- Won’t stand up to the heat cycle in a dishwasher
8. Honorable Mention: MSC International 11001 Joie Quack Kitchen Sink Strainer
Some people view a kitchen strainer as a purely utilitarian tool — as long as it does the job for which it was constructed, it doesn’t really matter what it looks like. However, if you have a more whimsical side that enjoys blending form with function, then consider this kitchen strainer that is not only super cute, it also does a great job, at a really affordable price.
This sink strainer is made from stainless steel and BPA-free plastic, with a sunny yellow rim and catch basket. In the center of the basket sits a little yellow duckie that works as a post that you grip when you want to empty the basket. Just looking at that orange-beaked duck staring up at you from your sink’s drain will bring a smile to your lips as you go about the drudgery of washing dishes.
Cuteness aside, this sink strainer really works, allowing water to flow through freely while keeping unwanted bits of food and debris from going down the drain and clogging your pipes. The strainer can be used for all sink drains, including the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room and even a garbage disposal.
- Made from stainless steel and BPA-free plastic
- Versatile use
- Some users found it hard to clean
What to look for when choosing a sink strainer:
When it comes to kitchen tools and gadgets, a sink strainer is one of those necessary items we need to use to prevent food and debris from falling down the drain and clogging the pipes. In fact, many new kitchen sinks come with a strainer, so you don’t have to consider purchasing one until the one you have breaks, or you don’t like the way it gets the job done. When it comes to other drains like the one in the bathroom sink and in the shower, having a strainer to catch hair will save you a lot of headaches in the long run from the mass of hair that can accumulate in the pipes, causing water to back up.
The first thing to consider before choosing a sink strainer is to determine which sink it will be used in. A strainer for the kitchen sink will be different from the one that catches hair in the shower.
For the kitchen sink, decide if you just want a basket type that catches food while letting water flow freely down the drain, or if you want one that does that, but can also act as a stopper for the times you want to fill the sink with soapy water to soak dirty dishes and pots or articles of clothing. Either way, the first step is to measure the diameter and depth of the drain. Even if the product states it will fit a standard U.S. sink drain, it’s best to measure to make sure, otherwise you will be disappointed when you receive the strainer and it does not fit.
For the bathroom sink and shower drain, you can also consider if you want a removable strainer that you put over the drain when you use the sink or shower, or if you want something more permanent that also acts as a stopper. Again, it’s vital to measure the drain to make sure it’s a good fit.
Materials: Sink strainers are made from a variety of materials, from hard plastic and flexible silicone and rubber to stainless steel and a combination of these materials. Stainless steel is a good option if you have a stainless steel sink and want to match with a product that won’t rust. Silicone is a good choice if you want something flexible, with a basket that can be inverted to remove food. Whichever material you choose, be aware that a sink strainer with a rim can present a bit of a problem as it will prevent food from smoothly flowing into the catch basket. If this is an issue for you, look for a model that inserts directly into the drain, with no rim.
Photo credit: Tolikoff Photography/Shutterstock