How to Choose a Garbage Disposal | What Size Garbage Disposal Do I Need?

Garbage Disposal Buyer's Guide

Whether you're buying a garbage disposal for your new home or you need a replacement for your existing unit, you might find the process overwhelming at first. It's important to learn essential information, so you know how to choose a garbage disposal. It's always better to have an understanding of what's available so that you have an idea of what to look for when updating kitchen fixtures. This guide will get you started. Let's begin by discussing the two basic types of disposal:

choose the best garbage disposal by comparing

Types of Garbage Disposals

  • Batch Feed - As the name suggests, this unit operates in batches, which means that you will have to load the waste in batches into the disposer. If you have a substantial amount of food, you may need to repeat the cycle. They are more expensive and likely more significant than continuous feed models. With this batch feed unit, you don't have to install an electric or air switch.

    Batch feed units can only run with the stopper in place. It's a safety feature because it eliminates any chance that utensils drop into the unit during operation. This feature prevents injury and damage to the machine. The stopper covers the mouth of the chamber during the process to reduce the noise, but if the stopper is misplaced, you cannot start this disposal unit until you find it.

  • Continuous Feed - As the name implies, this feed operates continuously as long as the wall switch is turned on (or the air switch is pressed on). This type is probably the best solution for most homeowners. Continuous feed disposals grind faster when dealing with a lot of food. However, you must take the necessary precautions as there is a risk involved.

What Size Garbage Disposal Do I Need?

Motor sizes are measured in terms of horsepower (HP). Disposals offer various ratings for motors, most commonly ranging from 1/3 HP to 1 HP. You'll find some with as much as 10 HP, but that is overkill for residential applications. The average motor size is 1/2 HP. If you're wondering what size garbage disposal you need, you're probably safe going with 1/2 HP, but the stronger the motor, the less likely a jam occurs. Spend a little more on a 3/4 HP or 1 HP motor and reduce the risk of jamming.

Grinding Chamber

The grinding chamber includes everything within the cutting area of the housing, and it's where all the magic happens. The chamber size tends to correlate with motor size. So a large motor will be accompanied by a large chamber, capable of doing more work in a shorter time. If you don't mind paying a little extra, stainless steel chambers are supposed to last longer than regular steel (which most disposals are made of). 

what size of garbage disposal is best

One thing you need to realize is that if you don't have much room under your sink, you may be faced with limitations on the disposals you can choose. Some grinding chambers are going to be too big to fit.

Other Features

There are a few features you should look for, like auto-reverse, which is anti-jamming technology that reverses the rotation if there is an obstruction. As you can imagine, this is a pretty useful feature.

You may also want to look for quiet garbage disposal. The problem is it can be challenging to find an adequately quiet unit. There are no standardized sound ratings, and you're relying on the word of manufacturers and salesman. Just know that the noise level doesn't matter that much unless you're worried about sleeping babies. Most households only need to run the disposal a few seconds a day, so the noise isn't that big of a deal.

For more buying information, check out this Twin Home Experts video.

How Long Do Garbage Disposals Last?

Typically, your garbage disposal will last you about 15 years but remember, that will depend on a few factors. Did you go cheap on your purchase? A high-quality disposal will last longer. How well have you treated your disposal? Have you been careful about what you put in it? Do you run it properly, with cold water? Take care of your appliances and they will last longer.

If you want a reliable garbage disposal with all the bells and whistles, try this Moen GXL1000C GX.

Save on Quality Brands at PlumbersStock

We carry trusted brands, so if you need a new disposal or garbage disposal parts, you're in the right place. Here you will find products by Waste King, and the oldest name in the business, InsInkErator.

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How Do Disposals Work?
How to Clean a Garbage Disposal
What to Put in a Garbage Disposal
Installing an InSinkErator Garbage Disposal
How to Unclog a Garbage Disposal

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