What Size Garbage Disposal Do I Need?

by Paul

A disposal is a very convenient option for a kitchen nowadays. Before going to purchase a new garbage disposal, you should know what size disposal will serve you best.

So knowing how the disposals are differentiated depending on size, power is a must. The pricing also varies with the different power sufficiency. I’ve been asked many times, “what size garbage disposal do I need?” or “what is Garbage disposal horsepower?”.

Check out our list of 5 smallest garbage disposal units on the market.

Here you can also check our list of 5 quietest garbage disposal units on the market.

No matter if you are going to replace your old garbage disposal or you are a brand new customer of a disposal, you should know about a garbage disposal before buying. Because if you do not choose wisely, the disposal may not last for a long time. It is good to know how long a garbage disposal last in most households and how to maintain it to make it last longer.

Less powerful than you need will break down after a few year’s consumption and a more powerful than you need will cost you additional money.

What Size Garbage Disposal Do I Need?

  • Small Household of 2 people: 1/3 Horsepower
  • Medium Household of 4 people: ½ Horsepower
  • Big Household with more than 5 people: ¾ Horsepower / 1 Horsepower

What garbage disposal size you need depends on several things. Mainly, it depends on how many people live in your home. Because that will differ the amount of usage you’ll do with your disposal unit.

To put it simply, more members in your house means heavy use, heavy use means more horsepower, more horsepower means, well specific garbage disposal.

Small Household:

If you have a small family containing 2 people, then there is no need to buy a high power garbage disposal. A 1/3 or ½ Hp disposal is the best choice for you.

You must also consider the space under your sink as most of the time a smaller model of garbage disposal is what you want to choose for small households.

Medium Household:

A family with 3 to 6 people may go for the ½ Hp or ¾ Hp disposals depending on how frequently or how heavily they are going to use it.

Big Household:

Big households containing more than 6 people must go with a 1 HP horsepower motored garbage disposal. What size garbage disposal do I need if I have a family including more than 10 people?

Well, hopefully, the new 1 HP garbage disposals that come with multiple grinding features will handle it. If you opt to go with a commercial grade one, check our post where we compiled most popular commercial garbage disposal units.

What is HP or Horsepower?

Horsepower or HP is the unit of measuring power. We know that the disposal works like a grinding machine inside the chamber. The more powerful the motor is, the faster the blades will spin. So more horsepower is needed if you need a better engine.

Garbage Disposal Horsepower Recommendation:

Usually, garbage disposals come with 4 types of motors.

1/3 Horsepower:

The initial power range of a disposal starts with 1/3 HP. The motors with this much power usually come for the lightest usage. If you are sure that you need very small amount of usage from your garbage disposal, then it is a good option for you. It is certainly the best option for the people with a limited budget. 1/3 horsepower garbage disposals come at the least amount price.

If you know you need it more than very light use, do not buy it just considering the price. Because eventually with more usage the unit will clog a lot, get jammed and will not survive for very long.

½ Horsepower:

This disposal with ½ horsepower is an excellent option for medium usage. In my opinion, it is a safer option. If you are light or medium user, go for it. The price may vary from the 1/3 horsepower disposals, but it will not clog or get jammed as much as that one.

These disposals can easily eat up your everyday food waste without bothering you much. This garbage disposal size is quite popular for small families, and the price range is also affordable.

¾ Horsepower:

¾ horsepower disposals are ideal for those who need a medium to heavy usage of their disposal system. It is the most popular size among the users. It can take your regular meal wastage and even occasional heavy use without a hiccup.

You can trust these disposals with a good amount of wastage regularly. To get the best experience, you should always keep up a good maintenance. The price range of this disposal is pretty high.

If you are looking for a good brand ¾ Horsepower disposal you need to invest a good amount. But I prefer it as a good investment (better to be safe then sorry, right?).

1 + Horsepower:

These are the most powerful disposals available in the market. It can easily chew up all the trash you throw inside it. Once it is clean, you don’t need to get tensed about clog and jam for many days. Most of the manufacturers will say that these disposals can chew up bones, too. If you need heavy use of a garbage disposal, go for this disposal undoubtedly.

The only thing that I should mention is the price of this range. The garbage disposals with 1 Horsepower come with a high price range. So, before going for it, you should consider thinking if you actually need it.

Measure the Space Under Your Sink

Before going to purchase a new garbage disposal, remember to measure the space under your sink.

If the bottom area of your sink is small, you will not be able to insert the disposal unit inside it.

Remember to measure the full area of the disposal unit and also the extra pipeline area that it will consume.

Am I a Big Eater?

There is one additional thing to consider. If you are on your own, then you’d probably think that a 1/3 horsepower garbage disposal is just enough. But, if you are not a big eater and most of the time you eat at work or outside your home, having a garbage disposal might actually be a waste of money for you. You just don’t need it.

On the other hand, if you are like my brother and you eat 8-10 times a day, then having a garbage disposal is a must for you.


Some people love to cook and eat. No matter if they have a small family they love to have parties at home, and a heavy use of the kitchen is regular. That means they need a more powerful unit than a regular small family.

In Garbage disposal horsepower recommendation, all I can say is the necessity depends on your usage. What size garbage disposal do I need, depends on what amount wastage I’m going to put in it.