Garbage Disposals Buying Guide

These handy kitchen appliances eliminate messy food scraps and discourage pests—plus, they help keep waste out of landfills. This guide can help you choose the best garbage disposal for you kitchen, whether you are replacing an old model or installing one for the first time.

Types of Garbage Disposals

Types of Garbage Disposals

There are two main types of garbage disposals: batch-feed models and continuous-feed models. To choose the type that's right for you, you'll want to consider both safety and convenience. Here are the key differences between the two types.

Batch-Feed

These models only operate when the disposal lid is in place, so they offer increased safety and can be a good choice for families with small children. However, because you need to dispose of food in batches, cleanup can take longer. Batch-feed models are often more expensive than continuous-feed units. Most simply plug into an electrical outlet.

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In-Sink-Erator
$249.00

The Evolution Cover Control Plus delivers the standard in sound and grind performance with the extra assurance of covered operatio...n Our powerful food waste disposers are the right choice when replacing an existing unit or designing a brand-new kitche... read more

Frigidaire
$279.98

Dispose of waste effectively with this Frigidaire Professional waste disposer that crushes food waste quickly. Made with rust-resi...stant stainless steel impellers, this lightweight 3/4 HP batch-feed waste disposal boasts an easy-fit design compatible... read more

GE
$240.98 $219.00

Quickly and effectively grind up food waste with this GE Batch Feed Garbage Disposal. This powerful food waste garbage disposal co...mes with a 0.75-horsepower motor and runs up to 3,100 rpm. The blades are constructed of stainless steel. The... read more

KitchenAid
$429.00

A 1 HP motor allows this KitchenAid batch feed disposer to power through your toughest disposing challenges. MultiGrind Plus Techn...ology features three stages of grinding. The GrindShear Ring is the ideal solution for stringy foods like cornhusks and... read more

Continuous-Feed

Usually operated by a wall switch, continuous-feed models allow you to add new waste as other waste is being ground up and washed down the drain—speeding up the cleanup process. Because they have open necks, continuous-feed units are more dangerous and can allow bone fragments to fly out. An electrician usually installs this type of disposal.

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Product Features

Product Features

All of the garbage disposals sold in the United States are made by only a handful of companies and operate pretty much the same way. However, there are a few important features to look for when comparing models. These features can help ensure reliable performance, as well as improve safety and convenience.

Anti-Jamming Features

Garbage disposals come with a variety of anti-jamming features. Some require you to push a button to reset the motor or use an accessory tool to unclog the unit. More advanced models include an auto-reverse mode that can reverse the motor direction or increase power to clear jams and help prevent them from occurring.

Dishwasher Connector

Most disposal models can be connected to your dishwasher with a hose. This allows you to grind up food particles from your dishes and eliminates the need for prerinsing dishes.

Safety Cover

This cover prevents the garbage disposal from being turned on accidentally. The unit won't operate unless the cover is in place.

Stainless-Steel Components

A stainless-steel grind chamber (which is less prone to corrosion) can increase durability.

Septic-Assist Cartridges

Some units specifically designed for use with septic tanks include special cartridges that release a microorganism into the drain every time food waste is ground up. These microorganisms help break down food waste faster and control odors.

Purchase Considerations

Purchase Considerations

As you're selecting a garbage disposal, be sure to check for local ordinances that may discourage or limit the use of disposals, as well as evaluate your home's unique plumbing system. The horsepower of the garbage disposal motor has a big impact on performance—so think about what waste materials you'll be throwing in the disposal and how much you'll be using the appliance. Also make sure the model you choose will fit easily under your sink. Here are the key items to keep in mind as you're shopping.

Local Requirements

Before you install a garbage disposal, check with your local sewer authority to make sure your community allows the appliances. Some areas discourage garbage disposals because of inadequate sewer systems or a limited water supply. If you have a septic system, you may need to upgrade it before installing a garbage disposal—and you'll likely need to empty it more frequently once the disposal is in use. Check with your local building inspector or environmental health official about recommendations for your area.

Motor Size

Make sure you choose a garbage disposal with a motor powerful enough to suit your needs. Basic models with as little as 1/3 horsepower are sufficient for households of one or two people or families that don't do much cooking. If you prepare meals frequently, a disposer with a 3/4- or 1-horsepower motor would be a better choice. Models with greater horsepower can handle fibrous materials and bones.

Plumbing Issues

If plumbing clogs and backups are a regular occurrence in your home, be sure to fix these problems before installing a garbage disposal—which may just make the problems worse. If your home has a septic tank sized appropriately for multiple home appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers, it should be able to handle a garbage disposal as well. However, it's generally recommended that homeowners with septic tanks refrain from placing solid, mineralized items, such as eggshells and seafood shells, into the disposal, as these could cause accumulation of sludge and decrease the effectiveness of the septic system.

Warranty

Warranties vary from one year to the lifetime of the unit. Keep in mind that longer warranties will likely add to the price of the unit.

Noise Level

Higher-price models are more likely to have features that help reduce vibration and decrease noise—but even the best model won't be completely quiet. In general, though, larger and heavier models run more quietly.

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