Stainless steel sink gauges measure the thickness of the steel used to construct the sink. Smaller gauge numbers indicate a thicker stainless steel, while higher numbers show a thinner stainless steel.
The gauge of a stainless steel sink is important because it affects the sink's durability. Lower gauge sinks will last longer and better withstand the daily wear and tear that sinks take.
Thinner, higher gauge stainless steel sinks are much louder when washing dishes. Any utensil that is placed in a high gauge sink will result in a high-pitched noise that can often grow aggravating.
A comfortable gauge of stainless steel sink is in the 18-20 range or lower. Any sink with a gauge over 20 is more susceptible to damage and will result in plenty of annoying noises when handling dishes.
Thicker gauge stainless steel has many advantages, but it costs more. The higher the steel's gauge, the higher the stainless steel sink's price tag will be.