Buyer's Guide & Information

Best Garbage Disposals Reviewed

We’ve put together this comprehensive guide to the best garbage disposal units on the market.

by DisposingAndy

Did you know that over half of all homes in the US have garbage disposals? And for a good reason - these simple appliances are an absolute must-have for any busy homeowner. If you don't have one already, you should have.

The only problem is that there are tons of different models on the market, which, if you're a first-time buyer, makes it tough to figure out which one you should buy. Luckily for you, we've put together this comprehensive guide to the best garbage disposal units on the market to help. Just read on, and we'll walk you through it!

Garbage Disposal Comparison Table

Image

Model

Dimensions

(inches)

Feed Type

Horsepower

Buy Now

InSinkErator Evolution Compact 3/4 HP Compact...

InSinkErator Evolution

8 x 8 x 12.1

Continuous

3/4 HP

InSinkErator Garbage Disposal, Evolution...

InSinkErator Evolution Excel

13 x 12 x 12

Continuous

1 HP

Waste King Legend Series 1 HP Continuous Feed...

Waste King L-8000

8.5 x 8.5 x 16

Continuous

1 HP

InSinkErator Garbage Disposal, Badger 5, 1/2...

InSinkErator Badger 5

7 x 7 x 13

Continuous

½ HP

Moen GXS75C Host Series 3/4 HP Continuous...

Moen GXS75C GX Series

5.4 x 5.4 x 13.4

Continuous

3/4 HP

InSinkErator Garbage Disposal, Badger 1, 1/3...

InSinkErator Badger 1

7 x 7 x 12

Continuous

1/3 HP

InSinkErator Evolution Septic Assist 3/4 HP...

InSinkErator Evolution Septic Assist

14 x 11 x 16

Continuous

¾ HP

InSinkErator Garbage Disposal + Air Switch +...

InSinkErator Evolution Essential XTR

8.8 x 8.8 x 12.2

Continuous

3/4 HP

InSinkErator Garbage Disposal Evolution Cover...

InSinkErator Cover Control Plus Evolution

10 x 10 x 16.2

Batch

3/4 HP

Waste King L-111 Garbage Disposal with Power...

Waste King L-111 Garbage Disposal Multi

5.2 x 5.2 x 12.8

Continuous

1/3 HP

Waste King 3000-3 3 HP Commercial Food Waste...

Waste King 3000-1

15.8 x 15.8 x 25.8

Continuous

3 HP

Emerson E202, Stainless Steel

Emerson Evergrind E202

6.3 x 6.3 x 12.6

Continuous

1/2 HP


How Garbage Disposals Work

A garbage disposal unit is basically a grinder that fits under your kitchen sink, between the sink drain and the drain pipe. Its job is to grind food waste into tiny, biodegradable particles that can be washed safely down your drain and out into the sewage system.

To do so, the unit contains a grinding plate attached to a motor. When the homeowner activates the unit, electricity flows to the motor, turning the grinding plate and cutting any food waste inside into teeny-tiny pieces. Water from the sink faucet washes these pieces away when the tap is turned on, while a splash guard prevents any water or food from splashing upward.

This is a great time-saving device and is a must-have for anyone who wants to save time on washing up. It’s especially useful for large families that generate a lot of food waste.


The Value of Having Waste Disposals

Here are just a few of the key benefits of having waste disposals installed in your home:

More convenient

Garbage disposals will streamline your kitchen clean-up and save you hours every month. With a garbage disposal system, you don't have to bother clearing the leftovers off your plates into the trash before you wash them - you can do everything from the sink.

Improved Health & Hygiene

Did you know that your kitchen is one of the germiest places in your home? It’s true - your kitchen sponge actually has more germs than your toilet! Leaving food waste lying around your kitchen in the trash gives these bacteria a place to thrive, which can lead to nasty odors and potential health risks. Using a garbage disposal unit eliminates this problem by getting rid of the food waste instantly. It’s much more hygienic.

Environmental Benefits

Waste disposal units grind up your food scraps into particles that turn into fertilizers in the sewer system. This is a more environmentally friendly solution compared to putting it in the trash as it reduces the amount of food waste that goes to rot in local landfills, releasing greenhouse gas emissions in the process.


Choosing the Best Garbage Disposal Unit (Buying Guide)

To help you to choose the best garbage disposal unit for your needs, we’ve prepared this list of factors to consider:

Waste Volume

The first thing to consider is how much waste your household will generate. The more food waste, the bigger the garbage disposal unit you’ll need. Bigger units typically have stronger motors and, therefore, can handle more frequent use. If you’re living in a home of 4 or more, you’ll probably want to opt for a family-size unit.

The other thing to consider when it comes to sizing is your available space. You’ll need to make sure that the dimensions of the unit you choose will fit within your under sink cabinet.

Motor Power

The motor power is probably the best indication of a garbage disposal unit’s grinding power. It’s usually measured and listed on the product page in horsepower (HP).  Most units will range from 1/3 HP to 1 HP or more.

Typically, the larger the horsepower, the better the unit will be at grinding tough food items like bones and fibrous substances, and the more waste it can handle.

For small to medium-sized households of two to four people, 3/4 HP should be enough. For large homes of 6 or more people, aim for 1 HP or more.

Grinding Capability (RPM)

The RPM is another useful measurement to help give you an idea of a garbage disposal units power. It tells you how quickly the motor spins.  The higher the RPM, the less likely it is that tough food waste like potato peels will cause the system to bind up. On the opposite side of the coin, a high RPM also usually means the motor will emit more noise, so bear this in mind.

Material (durability)

Garbage disposal units tend to vary when it comes to durability and build quality. Cheaper units will have aluminum grinding chambers, whereas more expensive units will have a grinding chamber made from stainless steel, as this is more durable and less likely to corrode over time.

Noise Level

Waste disposal units can be noisy. If noise is something that you're concerned about, look for units that have insulated grinding chambers and smaller motors as these will usually be quieter. Noise levels are typically shown in decibels (dB). Quiet garbage disposal units will typically be around 50dB, whereas loud units can be as high as 100 dB or more.

Feed Type

Garbage disposal units are typically subcategorized based on their feed type. There are two different types to choose from: batch feed and continuous feed. We’ll talk more about the differences between these two types later.

For now, the main thing to know is that batch feed garbage disposals are safer but less convenient to use, whereas continuous feed garbage disposals are less safe but more convenient. Factor this into your decision

Installation

You should also factor in installation costs and time before buying any unit. Disposals that include an electric cord and a quick-mount neck are usually easier to install if you plan on doing it yourself.

Warranty

A final factor to consider is the warranty period. Garbage disposal unit warranties can range from 1 year to 12 years, depending on the model. Some will only cover parts, whereas others will include labor costs too. Generally, the longer the warranty, the more durable the unit is likely to be.


12 Best Waste Disposal Units Reviewed

1. InSinkErator Evolution

Best Garbage Disposal

Horsepower

3/4 HP

Speed

1725 RPM

Dimensions (HxWxD)

8 x 8 x 12.1 inches

Feed Type

Continuous

Grind Chamber

34.6 oz

Noise Levels

N/A

Installation Information

Installation Type

Sink Mount

Voltage

120v

Wattage

8.1 Amps

Max Sink Thickness

-

Dishwasher Hose Size

-

Drain Connection Size

1-1/2 Inches

Cord Included

Optional

Cord Length

-

This InSinkErator Evolution model is our top for the overall best garbage disposal unit on the market. It’s difficult to find anything to complain about with the model as it really does have it all.

The 3/4 HP motor is powerful enough to break up even the toughest food and is perfect for medium-sized households. If around 2-5 people are living in your home, you should be looking for a garbage disposal system with a similar HP and grind chamber capacity to this.

It's a continuous feed model which means it's easy to use and quick, but you'll want to make sure you keep the kids away from it as it can be dangerous if misused.

I also like the build quality of this unit. It uses stainless steel for many components, so you don't have to worry about rust. That, combined with the LeakGuard liner, makes for a heavy-duty unit that should last for many years.

They say good things come in small packages, and that definitely seems to hold true here, as the InSinkErator Evolution is super compact and will fit in most under sink counter spaces.

“We liked [that] it saves space under the counter, yet it was an upgrade over our old 1/2hp disposal. Despite being more powerful and a multi-grind unit, it is very quiet and does a great job disposing of waste. Price was attractive as well” - Home Depot reviewer

A lot of buyers say they had no trouble installing this themselves, but I'd still advise against it. Evolution models don't tend to be very forgiving of poor installations, so it's probably worth paying a professional to do it for you.


2. InSinkErator Evolution Excel

Quietest Garbage Disposal

Horsepower

1 HP

Speed

1725 RPM

Dimensions (HxWxD)

13 x 12 x 12 inches

Feed Type

Continuous

Grind Chamber

40 oz

Noise Levels

25 dB

Installation Information

Installation Type

Sink Mount

Voltage

120v

Wattage

10 Amps

Max Sink Thickness

-

Dishwasher Hose Size

-

Drain Connection Size

1-1/2 Inches

Cord Included

Optional

Cord Length

-

Next up, we have another InSinkErator garbage disposal unit - the Evolution Excel. This is similar to the model above but with a little extra power. It has more HP and a larger grind chamber. The 1 HP motor is about as powerful as you'll find on a non-commercial garbage disposal unit.

Despite all that horsepower, this is still the quietest garbage disposal on this list, thanks to the insulated SoundSeal technology. It has a noise level of just 25 dB, which is less than half as loud of many other units. To put that noise level into perspective for you, the average full-size vacuum cleaner generates around 80 dB of noise. It's really quiet.

“This unit is so quiet that you wonder if it's working. Its the Lexus of garbuerators. This unit is very heavy and very solid. It gives the impression that it's built to last a long time.” - InSinkErator review

I also appreciate the 3-stage multi-grind. Many cheap garbage disposals will only run food through a single grind cycle. This thing runs it through 3 separate grind cycles to make sure the debris is as fine as possible to prevent clogging.


3. Waste King L-8000

Best 1 HP Garbage Disposal

Horsepower

1 HP

Speed

2800 RPM

Dimensions (HxWxD)

8.5 x 8.5 x 16 inches

Feed Type

Continuous

Grind Chamber

N/A

Noise Levels

80 dB

Installation Information

Installation Type

EZ Mount

Voltage

115v

Wattage

7 Amps

Max Sink Thickness

1/2 Inch

Dishwasher Hose Size

7/8 Inch

Drain Connection Size

1-1/2 Inches

Cord Included

Yes

Cord Length

36 Inches

Third place goes to the Waste King L-8000. Waste King is another brand known for making high-quality garbage disposals - you’ll see them a few times on this list.

The L-8000 ranks at the top of the list when it comes to power. Like the unit above, it has a 1 HP motor which is tough enough to grind up pretty much anything. This disposal can demolish a whole chicken carcass with ease (though I still wouldn’t recommend ever putting bones in any unit).

It’s probably the best 1 HP garbage disposal available. The main difference between this unit and the one above is that this has a greater RPM speed, 2800.

This means the grinding plate rotates much faster. The advantage of this is that it helps prevent jams, but the downside is that it also makes it a little noisier.  It’s also quite big compared to some other disposals, so be aware of that and make sure it fits in your available space.

"For the time that I've had this so far, it's worked really well - and it's been a well. It is a little bit loud but compared to some others; it's not that loud." - YouTube review

We also have a thorough review of Waste King L800 Legend Series to know more about this unit


4. InSinkErator Badger 5

Best 1/2 HP Garbage Disposal

Horsepower

½ HP

Speed

1725 RPM

Dimensions (HxWxD)

7 x 7 x 13 inches

Feed Type

Continuous

Grind Chamber

26 oz

Noise Levels

N/A

Installation Information

Installation Type

Sink Mount

Voltage

120v

Wattage

6.3 Amps

Max Sink Thickness

1 Inch

Dishwasher Hose Size

-

Drain Connection Size

1-1/2 Inches

Cord Included

Yes

Cord Length

32 Inches

If you're looking for something a little less powerful, I'd recommend the InSinkErator Badger 5 garbage disposal system. This is my pick for the best 1/2 HP garbage disposal. It's perfect for small to medium-size households of 2 to 4 people.

It can grind up most food scraps pretty quickly, but I'd recommend chopping up any tougher, fibrous food products up finely first. As the motor is a little less powerful, it tends to be quieter than some other units too, which is a huge bonus.

Another thing worth mentioning about this unit is that it's comparatively straightforward to install. It's one of the smaller units on this list and comes with a quick-lock sink mount.

“I am 82 years old and recently installed an InSinkErator Badger 5 1/2-HP Continuous Feed Garbage Disposal. The complete job took me approximately 30 minutes. No leaks or problems and it runs like a charm…” - Lowes reviewer

It’s also very durable as it’s made with galvanized steel grind components.


5. Moen GXS75C GX Series

Best 3/4 HP Garbage Disposal

Horsepower

3/4 HP

Speed

2,700 RPM

Dimensions (HxWxD)

5.4 x 5.4 x 13.4 inches

Feed Type

Continuous

Grind Chamber

N/A

Noise Levels

N/A

Installation Information

Installation Type

3-Bolt

Voltage

115v

Wattage

4.5 Amps

Max Sink Thickness

1/2 Inch

Dishwasher Hose Size

7/8 Inch

Drain Connection Size

1-1/2 Inches

Cord Included

Yes

Cord Length

-

This garbage disposal unit from Moen is the best ¾ HP garbage disposal I've come across. The 2,700 RPM grinds food super quickly, and the ¾ HP motor with Vortex technology can handle the toughest of leftovers.

Despite the high RPM, it’s not as loud as you might think. The in-built SoundShield does a great job of reducing noise output to keep those decibels within the tolerable range. It’s a solid unit backed by a 5-year limited warranty, so you can be sure that it will hold up for many years even with heavy use.

One thing I’ve noticed is that the Moen GXS75C GX Series can get jammed from time to time but, when it does, it’s quick and simple to fix. It’s equally easy to install too; the Universal Xpress 3-bolt mount makes installation a breeze.

“I have rental properties. Solid and reliable are important when replacing appliances. There were a lot of reviews from many brands. It can be difficult to choose. After some research, I settled on the Moen 3/4hp disposer. Excellent choice. Install was very easy, looks great and is three times more powerful and still quieter than the previous unit. Could not be happier.” - Moen review


6. InSinkErator Badger 1

Best 1/3 HP Garbage Disposal

Horsepower

1/3 HP

Speed

1725 RPM

Dimensions (HxWxD)

7 x 7 x 12 inches

Feed Type

Continuous

Grind Chamber

26 oz

Noise Levels

N/A

Installation Information

Installation Type

Sink Mount

Voltage

120v

Wattage

5.6 Amps

Max Sink Thickness

-

Dishwasher Hose Size

-

Drain Connection Size

1-1/2 Inches

Cord Included

Optional

Cord Length

-

Let's move on and look at some of the less powerful garbage disposals, starting with the InSinkErator Badger 1. This is my number one choice for the best 1/3 HP garbage disposal.1/3 HP is only really suitable for non-tough food scraps but, if you live in a small household and don't plan on using it super often, it's a great choice.

It also has a rather small grind chamber capacity of just 26 oz, but again, that should be plenty for 1-2 people’s needs. Also, sacrificing that little bit of power means you can great value for money - this unit is really affordable!

As the motor HP is so low, it's very quiet and efficient. You'll hardly notice the noise at all. It uses a continuous feed type, so you don't have to worry about switching it off and on while you put the food in, you can just leave it running while you clear up plate by plate.

“Normally I don't review products. But this one deserves it. Our disposal broke last Saturday, same model, and it only broke because we did not notice a silverware inside before turning on. Today (Monday) it arrived. I was able to replace it in less than 30 minutes. I never replaced a disposal before... Just took the broken one off, replaced the power cable, put the new one in place and done. Working like a charm.” - Amazon Review


7. InSinkErator Evolution Septic Assist

Best Garbage Disposal for Septic System

Horsepower

¾ HP

Speed

1725 RPM

Dimensions (HxWxD)

14 x 11 x 16 inches

Feed Type

Continuous

Grind Chamber

40 oz

Noise Levels

45 dB

Installation Information

Installation Type

Sink Mount

Voltage

120v

Wattage

8.1 Amps

Max Sink Thickness

-

Dishwasher Hose Size

-

Drain Connection Size

1-1/2 Inches

Cord Included

No

Cord Length

-

Unlike all the other garbage disposals we’ve talked about so far, the Evolution Septic Assist is the first model that is designed specifically for homes that use septic systems. It’s also, in my opinion, the overall best garbage disposal for septic systems on the market.

All InSinkErator units can be used with septic systems, but this one is even more suitable thanks to the in-built ‘Bio-Charge,' which automatically injects microorganisms into the chamber to break down food waste even more before sending it to your septic tank.

The grinder itself works a treat too, thanks to the respectable 3/4 HP motor and 1725 RPM speed. It's also tranquil with a noise level of just 45 dB. One thing worth mentioning is that it is very big compared to other units, which is probably something to do with why it's so quiet.

Check our review of InSinkErator Evolution Septic Assist here.

“I had to order this as a replacement for my 15-year-old ISE disposal that had begun to leak because my water has a low Ph (Read acid)… I'm giving this new unit 5 stars based on only a month and a half of use and the performance of the old unit. This unit is both quieter and faster.” - Amazon review


8. InSinkErator Evolution Essential XTR

Best Continuous Feed Garbage Disposal

Horsepower

3/4 HP

Speed

1725 RPM

Dimensions (HxWxD)

8.8 x 8.8 x 12.2 inches

Feed Type

Continuous

Grind Chamber

34.6 oz

Noise Levels

N/A

Installation Information

Installation Type

Sink Mount

Voltage

120v

Wattage

8.1 Amps

Max Sink Thickness

1 Inch

Dishwasher Hose Size

-

Drain Connection Size

1-1/2 Inches

Cord Included

Yes

Cord Length

-

The Evolution Essential XTR is another excellent garbage disposal unit from InSinkErator. Like all InSinkErator models, it boasts superior durability and SoundSeal technology for quiet operation.

It’s a continuous feed garbage disposal with ¾ HP, perfect for busy moms that cook a lot. What makes this model stand out from the other InSinkErator models in this list is the addition of an air switch and power cord. These add-ons are a nice touch that really takes the unit up a notch.

“I liked how the air button came with the garbage disposal so I didn't have to look around for one. It came with a brushed nickel air button... Also, I like how you can take out the black rubber gasket to clean it. The disposal is quiet enough. You don't want it too quiet or you might forget you have it on.” - Amazon reviewer

The air switch allows for safer operation. It sits on top of your counter and uses air pressure to activate your unit when pressed, as opposed to electricity. This minimizes the risk of getting any electric shocks when your hands are wet.

Overall, it’s one of the best continuous feed garbage disposal units around.


9. InSinkErator Cover Control Plus Evolution

Best Batch Feed Garbage Disposal

Horsepower

3/4 HP

Speed

1725 RPM

Dimensions (HxWxD)

10 x 10 x 16.2 inches

Feed Type

Batch

Grind Chamber

40 oz

Noise Levels

N/A

Installation Information

Installation Type

Anti-Vibration Mount

Voltage

120v

Wattage

7.8 Amps

Max Sink Thickness

-

Dishwasher Hose Size

-

Drain Connection Size

1-1/2 Inches

Cord Included

No

Cord Length

-

You might have noticed that every garbage disposal we’ve talked about so far has been a continuous feed model. Well, this one isn’t. The Cover Control Plus is the best batch feed disposal I’ve found. If you have kids who spend a lot of time in the kitchen, this is the model for you.

As it’s a batch feed unit, you’ll have to put the food in and place the cover on before you can turn it on.  This can sometimes be inconvenient, but it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind. Besides, the grinding chamber on the Cover Control Plus can hold a lot of food, so if your only clearing a few plates, you should probably be able to do it all in a single batch.

“Not only did the Evolution unit fit perfectly without major plumbing modifications, but the rubber isolation also made the unit almost noiseless when running water filled the drain, and emit a very low hum when the water was shut off. The stopper provides a great seal for sink filling, locks in a drain position for normal draining, and turns on with another eighth of a turn.” - Home Depot review

The extra safety isn’t the only great thing about this unit either - it’s also super powerful. Thanks to the ¾ HP motor and two-stage grind, it can handle the toughest food products. I’m talking about the kind of things regular units wouldn’t be able to grind up, like potato peels and chicken bones.


10. Waste King L-111 Garbage Disposal Multi

Best Cheap Garbage Disposal Under $100

Horsepower

1/3 HP

Speed

1900 RPM

Dimensions (HxWxD)

5.2 x 5.2 x 12.8 inches

Feed Type

Continuous

Grind Chamber

N/A

Noise Levels

N/A

Installation Information

Installation Type

EZ Mount

Voltage

115v

Wattage

4 Amps

Max Sink Thickness

1/2 Inch

Dishwasher Hose Size

7/8 Inch

Drain Connection Size

1-1/2 Inches

Cord Included

Yes

Cord Length

32 Inches

If you’re shopping for a garbage disposal unit on a tight budget, the Waste King L-111 model is probably your best choice. This is one of the best garbage disposals under $100 that you’ll find anywhere.

It's a lightweight, compact, continuous feed garbage disposal that is super easy to install thanks to the EZ mount and pre-installed power cord. Because it's so small, it will hardly take up any space under your sink, leaving plenty of room for your other kitchen essentials. A 2-year limited warranty also backs it.

“I was not sure if I should purchase the 1/3 or 1/2 horsepower model since they were not too far off in price. I read that the 1/3 hp models are quieter and in my household, we do not use the garbage disposal as the main form of disposing of garbage so I went with the Waste King Legend Series L-111 model. I must say, this thing is extremely quiet, whereas, my old disposal sounded like a turbine was starting up when running.” - Amazon reviewer

The tradeoff for the low price tag is that it doesn't have the most powerful motor. It has just 1/3 HP, which is fine for small households and should be able to grind up most food waste, but I'd avoid putting any fibrous vegetable peels in there.

Overall, it’s my pick for the best cheap garbage disposal. If you want excellent value for money, go for it.


11. Waste King 3000-1

Best Commercial Garbage Disposal

Horsepower

3 HP

Speed

1740 RPM

Dimensions (HxWxD)

15.8 x 15.8 x 25.8 inches

Feed Type

Continuous

Grind Chamber

N/A

Noise Levels

N/A

Installation Information

Installation Type

Hush Cushion® Mounting Connection

Voltage

110-120v

Wattage

17 Amps

Max Sink Thickness

1/2 Inch

Dishwasher Hose Size

7/8 Inch

Drain Connection Size

1-1/2 Inches

Cord Included

Yes

Cord Length

-

The Waste King 3000-1 is my pick for the best commercial garbage disposal unit. This thing is designed for commercial use. It’s bigger, badder, and much more powerful than residential units.

It comes with a whopping 3 HP motor - that’s three times as much as the most powerful residential units and way more than you’d ever need in a regular home. As such, I wouldn’t recommend this for homeowners, but I would recommend it for restaurants and commercial kitchens.

The two in-built ripper bars help it to rip apart bones and other extremely tough food products, while the stainless steel swivel impellers guard against jams.

It also features a ‘Hush Cushion’ which stops the metal in the unit from clanging together and significantly reduces the sound. This is really useful as, without it, a motor this powerful would generate a ton of noise.

Naturally, a motor that powerful needs a lot of room, so this unit is big. Make sure you’ve got the space for it before you make your purchase.


12. Emerson Evergrind E202

Currently On Sale Emerson E202, Stainless Steel

Best Smallest Garbage Disposal

Horsepower

1/2 HP

Speed

1725 RPM

Dimensions (HxWxD)

6.3 x 6.3 x 12.6 inches

Feed Type

Continuous

Grind Chamber

26 oz

Noise Levels

N/A

Installation Information

Installation Type

Sink Mount

Voltage

120v

Wattage

6.3 Amps

Max Sink Thickness

-

Dishwasher Hose Size

-

Drain Connection Size

1-1/2 Inches

Cord Included

Optional

Cord Length

-

Last but not least, we have the Evergrind E202 by Emerson. This is my top recommendation for homeowners with small kitchens who need to make the most out of their available space. It's one of the smallest garbage disposals around and will take up next to no room in your kitchen cabinet.

What I love about this unit is that it manages to balance convenience and compactness with power and functionality. The motor still has a respectable 1/2 HP, which is enough for small to medium-size households, and it works really well. The grind chamber capacity is a little less than other units at just 26 oz, but that's to be expected considering the smaller dimensions.

It's a lot more affordable than other units. Nonetheless, it's well-made and boasts a rugged galvanized steel construction, which makes it pretty durable. It also comes with a limited 1-year warranty, which isn't great, but it also isn't that bad when you factor in the price.


Batch Feed vs. Continuous Feed

Deciding whether to get a batch feed or a continuous feed garbage disposal is probably the most important decision to make. Here are the main differences between each of them in a nutshell:

Continuous Feed Garbage Disposals

These units are usually activated by a wall switch allow you to feed food into the grinding chamber while they're running. They're recommended for large households or anyone that prioritizes convenience. They're NOT recommended for homes with children.

Pros

  • Allows you to clear up more quickly
  • Usually cheaper to purchase and install
  • More hygienic than batch feed disposals

Cons

  • Less safe (non-food items or fingers could accidentally slip into the unit while running)
  • Noisier than batch feed models as the opening isn’t covered
  • Less efficient in terms of water and electricity usage

Batch Feed Garbage Disposals

Batch feed garbage disposals can’t be turned on until a rubber stopper is inserted over the opening to the grinding chamber. This enables safer operation as there is no chance of anything slipping into the chamber while the unit is running. The downside is that food can’t be fed into it while it’s running either, it has to be filled in batches beforehand.

They’re recommended for smaller households and those with children.

Pros

  • Safer operation
  • Usually less noisy thanks to the added sound insulation from the stopper

Cons

  • Less convenient
  • Typically more expensive
  • Less hygienic as leftover refuse is more likely to get stuck in the chamber

How to Use a Garbage Disposal Safely

Garbage disposal units can be dangerous if operated incorrectly, so it’s important to make sure you know how to use a garbage disposal safely.

You should always follow the manufacturer's instructions, but here are some general guidelines on how to operate a continuous-feed unit safely:

  1. 1
    Step 1: Turn the water on first and let it run for 10-15 seconds
  2. 2
    Step 2: Make sure you’ve cut any large chunks of food into smaller pieces
  3. 3
    Step 3: Turn the unit on
  4. 4
    Step 4: Carefully feed the food bits in one at a time

Note: NEVER stick your fingers or non-food objects into the grinding chamber while it’s running. If a non-food object falls in, turn the unit off immediately and fish it out using tongues - NOT your hand.


Installation Guide on Disposals

Installation instructions vary depending on your manufacturer and disposal model, and you should always follow those instructions before the ones in this post.

You also may be better off paying for professional installation service as, if you're not qualified, you may risk messing up the installation and voiding your warranty.

However, if you're determined to install it yourself and want some general guidelines, here are the necessary steps:

Note: It's your responsibility to make sure you know the correct installation process. Don't consider these instructions to be accurate for every installation or foolproof.

  • Step 1: Turn off the circuit breaker
  • Step 2: Place a bucket underneath your sink drain and then disconnect the pipes
  • Step 3: Remove the sink strainer and any excess putty
  • Step 4: Put some plumbers putty around the flange on the new drain and secure in place
  • Step 5: Put a towel on top of the flange and place the disposal temporarily on top
  • Step 6: Stack the fiber gasket, backup flange, and mounting ring on top of each other and slide it onto the bottom of the flange underneath your sink, then use the snap ring to secure
  • Step 7: Tighten the screws and clean up any excess putty
  • Step 8: Insert the gasket and discharge outlet into the disposal unit and attach the discharge tube with the flange and bolts
  • Step 9: Hang the disposal unit to the under-sink mounting ring and use the wrench to lock in place.
  • Step 10: Connect the drainpipes correctly
  • Step 11: Place the stopper in the sink and run the water to check for leaks.
  • Step 12: Plug it in, turn it on, and see if it works!

Here's a video that goes into more detail and provides a more visual walkthrough:


Food Allowed & Disallowed in Disposers

Like in any other appliance, there are do's and don'ts to follow. There are also things that shouldn't be put in a garbage disposal unit. Here is a list as a general guideline.

Yes

No

Coldwater

Hot water

Liquids

Grease

Soft foods

Spaghetti

Chopped, hard foods

Bones

Most fruit and vegetables scraps

Fibrous vegetables (potato peels, corn husks, etc.)

Cooked meats

Eggshells

Ice

Coffee grounds

Dish soap

Avocado pits


Septic Safe Waste Disposals

Some houses in more rural areas aren’t hooked up to a sewage line and instead, rely on septic systems. If this is you, you’ll need a specific kind of garbage disposal that breaks down the grease, soap, and food waste to help stop it from overloading your septic tank.

Some experts advise against using garbage disposals entirely if your household uses a septic system. However, you should be fine as long as you choose a unit that’s suitable for use with septic systems.


Garbage Disposal Issues and Fixes

Here are some common garbage disposal issues that you might run into and how to fix them:

Noise

If your garbage disposal unit isn’t making any noise at all, it probably isn’t running. Check to see if it’s still plugged into the power outlet as the plug may have become dislodged and if not, contact your manufacturer or an electrician to take a look.

If you notice that your garbage disposal is emitting a louder noise than usual, it’s usually caused by a jam, which is causing the motor to work harder. See below for how to remove a jam.

Jamming

If you’ve put something in the unit that the grinding plate can’t grind down, the unit can become jammed. You’ll know it’s jammed if it hums but doesn’t grind. When this happens, insert an alan wrench into the opening on the bottom of the motor housing and manually clear the obstruction.

Alternatively, if there’s no opening on your model, you can insert a long wooden spoon handle into the drain opening to try to clear it that way.

Clogging

Clogs can be caused by a buildup of debris or fibrous material in your pipes or grinding chamber. Follow the same process as above to remove any content jamming the unit first. If that fails to fix the problem, the clog may be in your drains. If so, use a plunger to unclog the drains.

Leaks

There are several potential causes of a leaking garbage disposal unit, and the correct way to fix it will depend on where the leak is. Here’s a video that will help you to troubleshoot it yourself:

Smells

A nasty odor coming from your garbage disposal usually means there are some leftover food particles or debris rotting inside.

To get rid of it, clean the unit. You can do so by following the manufacturer's guidelines, which may mean using specially-designed cleaning tablets or home solutions such as baking soda and vinegar. You can also put some small slices of lemon peel into the grinding unit and turn it on to cover up the smell.


People Also Ask (FAQs)

How long does a typical garbage disposal last?

Garbage disposal units will usually last between 5 and 12 years, depending on the durability of the model. More expensive models tend to last longer.

Can I put eggshells in my food disposal system?

No, it’s best to avoid putting eggshells into your food disposal system as fibrous materials can cause the unit to become jammed.

Can I put coffee grounds down my disposer?

You should avoid putting coffee grounds into your garbage disposal as they can cause clogs in your plumbing.

Can I put lemons down my garbage disposal unit?

It’s generally safe to put lemons in your disposal unit and sometimes recommended as a cleaning method. However, you should avoid doing it too often and take care to chop it up first into very fine pieces to help prevent clogs.

Can I install these systems myself?

It’s advisable to pay for a professional to install these systems as installation can be complicated and technical, depending on the type of garbage disposal you’re using and the set up of your home. You may need both plumbing and electrical knowledge for wiring.

How much does a plumber charge to replace a garbage disposal?

Costs for removal and installation services vary depending on things like where you live, your kitchen set up, and the type of garbage disposal unit. Expect to pay anywhere between $50 and $250. Many plumbers charge by the hour, so if it takes longer, it’ll cost more.

Where is the best place to buy compact garbage disposal units?

You can often find great value-for-money units on sites like Amazon and eBay. Alternatively, you can buy units directly from the manufacturer’s online or offline stores.


Conclusion

If you managed to stick through to the end, congratulations - you’re now a garbage disposal expert! By now, you should have a good idea of what to look for in a garbage disposal system and how to take care of your unit.

All that’s left to do now is to buy one! If you’re still not sure which model is right for you, you can’t go wrong with the InSinkErator Evolution Compact Garbage Disposal, so I’d recommend purchasing that one.

Enjoy!

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