For most homeowners, a garbage disposal is a modern kitchen miracle. Many homeowners preach that they couldn’t live without their under sink garbage disposal given its unique ability to handle kitchen food waste with ease.
Food waste and the pungent odors that come with rarely bother garbage disposal owners because they are able quickly and efficiently grind down bothersome cooking and cleaning leftovers. As soon as you install a garbage disposal in your kitchen, you’ll experience firsthand why so many homeowners consider it a prime asset.
However, not just any garbage disposal will do. You need to find the home garbage disposal for you. This means finding an excellent model that’s appropriately sized for your home or apartment. You’ll also need to identify a model with enough horsepower and capacity to handle your influx of food waste.
While this search sounds challenging, you don’t need to worry! To make your search for the most affordable garbage disposal easier, I’ve compiled a comprehensive top 10 list of the best garbage disposals for home use. Each review breaks down leading models based on their key features, and price, allowing you to make an informed purchase.
Also, be sure to read on to learn about garbage disposal benefits, garbage disposal installation, a guide on how to use a garbage disposal, and more. Once you plan for common garbage disposal problems, you'll be well on your way to implementing one of these crucial appliances into your home kitchen.
All About Garbage Disposals
At its base level, a garbage disposal is a modern method for disposing of food waste without just dumping it in the trash. Installed beneath your sink and directly attached to the drain, a garbage disposal collects food debris like fruit peels and vegetable chunks and grinds them down into tiny bits that won’t clog your sink or disrupt your septic tank.
Food disposers are capable of completing a variety of different jobs in your kitchen. As noted, garbage disposals waylay the need to dump particularly smelly food waste in the garbage. As long as the disposal is engaged correctly, it is capable of breaking down almost every type of uneaten food.
Garbage disposals also cut down on clog risks because of their unique ability to macerate food waste into microscopic, easy-to-pass particles that don't bunch up and impede water flow. Undesirable kitchen smells are also less of a concern with a garbage disposal installed.
Rotting food debris that would otherwise decay in your pipes and garbage can are quickly broken down and taken away through a capable disposal unit. Some garbage disposal models are even compatible with septic tank systems, allowing you to maximize your systems disposal potential with a simple flip of the switch.
Beyond this, many different garbage disposal types are designed to fit a variety of needs and budgets. Some disposal units are compact, making them suitable for small apartments and their limited kitchen sink space.
Other high-end models are designed to run very quietly, allowing you to grind up food without making much of a ruckus. Finally, you can find heavy-duty, commercial-grade garbage disposals that can handle the food waste from many customers at once without breaking a sweat.
No matter what garbage disposal model you select, we at Plumbing Lab know that you will quickly find that your new in-sink unit will become the cornerstone of your food disposal procedure.
The Benefits of Garbage Disposal Units
Installing a garbage disposal in your home is a great way to keep your kitchen or cooking area sanitary while also eliminating smelly food waste more efficiently. Garbage disposals provide a wide variety of benefits that you should consider if you're undecided about this essential kitchen appliance.
Once you learn about the benefits of installing and using a garbage disposal, you won’t think twice about adding one to your home immediately:
Garbage disposals are noteworthy for their ability to cut down on garbage-related kitchen smells. Sink buildup and trashed food scraps all produce an undesirable stench as they rot and fester.
Garbage disposals head off this decomposition process by breaking down food scraps to the point that they can be easily collected and disposed of before noxious smells can be emitted. Some garbage disposal models are even equipped with unique micro-bacteria injectors that can help directly fight the stench of rotting food.
Speeding Up Dishwashing
Perhaps the worst part of dishwashing is the need to pick out floating food scraps when the job is done. Garbage disposals cut out the need for this unpleasant step as it succinctly grinds up food bits that would otherwise escape down the drain and create clogs. For homeowners with families, this ability to ease the dishwashing process is a real asset.
A garbage disposal unit cuts down on your trash production because it can provide an alternative means of disposal for many ordinary food scraps and meal preparation leftovers.
Egg shells, vegetable stalks, fruit cores, fish bones, and more can all be ground in the garbage disposal (depending on the model) rather than being tossed in the trash bin. Less garbage overall means fewer trips to the dumpster, making a garbage disposal a real time-saver.
Less trash means that your kitchen habits will become greener as soon as you start using your new garbage disposal. Cole Plumbing notes that some 20% of environmental waste results from food scraps.
With few food scraps to throw in the trash, you’ll also end up using far fewer plastic garbage bags, which don’t decompose and remain in landfills for generations. Also, some garbage disposal units allow you to remove ground up food scraps directly, allowing you to put them in a compost pile for future recycling as soil.
Reduce Plumbing Risks
With a functional garbage disposal unit installed, you won’t have to call the plumber to bail you out every time a few too many large food scraps sneak down the drain and create a clog. Garbage disposals grind down food scraps to tiny sizes, allowing them to easily pass through even small apartment pipes without building up.
Though some types of food waste still pose a clog risk (namely fats and oils), garbage disposals cut down on the likelihood of a costly plumbing problem occurring in your kitchen.
Choosing the Best Food Disposer
With a variety of garbage disposal units on the market from major brands like Waste King, InSinkErator, and Emerson, you have a select number of choices when it comes time to purchase a garbage disposal.
However, each model features different specifications that communicate its ability to break down food scraps while remaining reliable and auditorily unobtrusive in the long term.
Be sure to review each of these critical specifications to help isolate the best garbage disposal for your needs:
Motor Capacity (Horsepower)
Your garbage disposal’s motor capacity (often measured in horsepower) will directly affect its capability to chop up and dispose of more substantial, denser food scrap bits such as fish bones.
Higher horsepower implies that the motor will operate with more power and efficiency, allowing the appliance to chop up more robust or larger quantities of food.
As a minimum, you’ll want to purchase a garbage disposer with 0.5 or more horsepower.
Some of the best garbage disposal units can reach up to 1.0 horsepower or larger, allowing them to take on the toughest garbage disintegration jobs with ease.
For most garbage disposal units, speed (measured in revolutions per minute or RPM) refers to the velocity at which the internals blades or rotors spin. These spinning mechanisms act as the teeth that chop up inserted food scraps.
As such, a faster spinning blade is more able to accept a higher volume of food scraps over a shorter period, leading to enhanced efficiency. You should look for a garbage disposal with 1500 RPM as a bare minimum. Some premium and industry-grade units can reach up to 3000 RPM.
Sound Masking System (Noise Levels)
In their natural state, garbage disposals tend to be a bit noisy, simply because they feature an internal grinding mechanism that relies on friction to function. However, several garbage disposal models feature mechanisms and case constructions that minimize overall noise pollution produced during operation.
Some disposal units use insulated grinding gears to reduce the crushing action's volume. Other models use a so-called "American Standard High Torque" design, which keeps the disposal unit in balance at all times to reduce sound-producing vibrations.
Material Construction (Durability)
Like all kitchen appliances, you want to wisely invest in a product that will last a long time and still provide a reliable standard of performance. When it comes to garbage disposals, you should seek out a model built for durability, and from quality construction materials.
For instance, a disposal made of stainless steel won't rust quickly and will stand up to the long-term wear and tear of regular operation. Rust, in particular, is a significant risk for cheaply made models as garbage disposals always have water passing through them.
Anti-jam Technology (Preventing Clogs)
A jammed garbage disposal is of no use to anyone. As such, you should look for models that include features and functions designed to minimize the chance of clogging or jamming when the disposal is in use. One useful anti-jam feature is a swivel impeller, which provides an additional laterally grinding motion decrease buildup.
Some models even include a devoted two-step grinding process which incorporates a pre-cutter mechanism. In effect, anti-jam technology allows you to grind up tougher food and prevent clogging even after extended use.
Grinding Capability (Pulverizing power)
While horsepower and motor capacity indicate your garbage disposer's overall power, grinding capacity gauges the appliance's ability to chop, tear, and overall masticate food waste inserted into it. You want a model that turns even tough food scraps like fish bones into mush, so don't short change grinding capacity to get a bargain.
An auto-reverse function, for example, can add to your garbage disposal's grinding capacity by automatically causing the blades to spin in reversed directions to dislodge jams. Quality-made blades are also essential to grinding capacity, so look for stainless steel and similarly sturdy blades that won't rust or lose their edge in a wet environment.
Feed Type (batch or continuous)
There are two main types of garbage disposals you'll find on the market today: continuous-feed and batch-feed.
Continuous-feed garbage disposals can run continuously, as their name suggests. With this type, you continue to dump food waste into it the entire time that it's operating.
While this provides extra convenience, this type does require you to keep your fingers far from the operating end while it is in motion.
Batch-feed garbage disposals, on the other hand, take care of food waste in small batches.
They often require a secured stopper to be in place before they can be turned on. This type of garbage disposal is broadly safer but is usually less efficient because you must start and stop between each batch.
Garbage disposals generally mount beneath your kitchen sink, where the drain pipe connects to the water disposal line. Depending on the size of your chosen garbage disposal unit, you’ll likely have to install it in a particular place.
While smaller units remain more flush with the sink basin, larger models tend to take up a fair amount of under-sink space. Be sure to measure how much space you have to spare beneath you sink before purchasing to ensure your garbage disposal can be installed appropriately.
Quality garbage disposals are generally designed to remain durable and reliable for up to five years or more. However, accidents happen, and malfunctions may still occur. As such, you should ensure that your chosen model includes some long-term warranty.
Some manufacturers even offer a lifetime warranty for all repairs and replacements. Procuring an extended warranty will save you money and prevent you from having to look for another cheap garbage disposal replacement anytime soon.
10 Best Garbage Disposal Reviewed
Now that you know what you need, let’s look at some of the garbage disposals units on the market. All of these garbage disposals take into account the above recommendations.
This list will help you find the best one for your kitchen setting.
1. InSinkErator Badger 5XP
Best ¾ HP Garbage Disposal
3-bolt Quick Lock
This is a compact but powerful garbage disposal that uses stainless steel and galvanized steel components to make a long-lasting and effective continuous-feed disposal. The power brought to bear on food waste is enough to take care of most food types, such as bones, egg shells, fruits, and vegetables.
With 0.75 HP, this model is going to be an ideal pick for most families between four and six people. You’ll be able to shred larger quantities of food in the galvanized steel shredder. A garbage disposal with this amount of horsepower strikes a perfect balance between overall shredding ability and noise level.
For the most part, this model is easy to install in many different types of homes. The box comes with all the parts you need to complete the installation. Using its “Quick Lock” sink mount, this model can be installed in just minutes.
As a bonus, this garbage disposal is safe for use with most septic tanks. You can also remove the disposal container, which holds 26 ounces of scrapped material. Emptying between meals quickly and easily for reduced build-up.
Family homeowners should be aware that as a continuous-feed disposal unit, there is some risk of accidental injury while the mechanism is in use – especially among children.
To make sure this doesn’t happen, you should dissuade children from turning on or operating the appliance without a parent present. In any case, this disposal should be left off whenever it is not needed.
This is our #1 choice because of its small but powerful size. It is also very affordable and highly rated by homeowners
From Dave F - Fairly easy installation. Did not have replace dishwasher drain. Used old electricity line. Extremely quiet.
2. InSinkErator Evolution Septic Assist
Best Garbage Disposal for Septic Tanks
3-bolt Quick Lock
This garbage disposal is a high-efficiency machine that can handle large quantities of food at various densities. It's an excellent pick for normal-sized families, and especially those that want to use their garbage disposal with an existing septic system.
This disposal uses an integrated two-stage grind system. This allows food to be pulverized beyond the regular bounds attributed to a 0.75 HP motor. Because food is mulched so effectively, this makes it an excellent pick for use with a septic system as it is already further broken down.
This model also makes use of Bio-Charge Injection technology. This component injects natural microorganisms during operation to further assist in the break down of inserted food waste.
These microorganisms reduce the stench associated with rotting food by adding a light citrus scent, ensuring that your garbage disposal remains odor-free or at a minimum, the smell is pleasant. Septic system users don't need to worry about these microorganisms, either, as they safely interact with natural septic chemicals.
Besides this excellent feature, the grinding chamber and all internal components are made from stainless steel. This construction prevents rust from forming on critical components, increasing the disposal's lifespan considerably.
As a result of the 40-ounce stainless steel chamber and two-stage grind system, this garbage disposal unit is loud. To offset this loud operation, it uses SoundSeal technology that stabilizes the unit while it grinds. This reduces overall unit vibrations and, in turn, reduces the amount of loud rumbling that you have to suffer through as you dispose of your food waste. We found it bareable but do not expect a whisper quiet unit.
The two-stage grind system and sound-stifled performance of this garbage disposal fit well with its continuous-feed design. You can turn the disposal on and leave it running while completing your dishwashing and food cleaning efforts.
The large grind chamber has enough space for a few meals before it needs to be emptied, allowing you to focus on cleaning up after a big family meal without added hassle.
One 5-Star review on the InSinkErator Website says, "This InSinkErator is extremely quiet. The 1st time we used it we weren't sure it was working, it was so quiet. I like that it is designed for homes with septic systems, complete with a special cartridge for our septic system."
3. InSinkErator Evolution Compact
Best Compact Garbage Disposal
3-bolt Quick Lock
This garbage disposal is functionally fit for most regular sized families, but its dimensions also lend itself well to smaller living conditions like cabins, apartments and condos. Even with its smaller size, this garbage disposal utilizes a 0.75 HP Dura-Drive motor that can handle all types and quantities of food waste at once.
With continuous-feed functionality, you can easily use this model continuously while preparing or cleaning up after meals. This garbage disposer uses a 2-stage MultiGrind system that grinds food waste in one preliminary stage before passing onto a second stage that liquefies food waste to reduce the opportunity for jams.
While in operation, you’ll notice that the integrated SoundSeal technology reduces the overall noise produced by the two-stage MultiGrind chamber. This is in-line with the previous model with the significant difference being the dimensions of this unit.
"Quiet and extremely efficient. No issues to report.
Previous GE product was noisy and inefficient, with rust showing up early in its lifespan.
This produce is well worth the price and no signs of rust as you can see by taking the rubber piece up and seeing for your self." - Casa from Florida
Installing the disposal is very easy thanks to a 3-bolt Quick Lock system that takes only minutes to set up. This garbage disposal manages to remain compact despite a 34.6-ounce grind chamber. The grind components are also made from stainless steel, allowing it to remain durable long-term by reducing the risk of rust.
Having a compact garbage disposal can be an excellent advantage for anyone living in a small apartment, or for those with which cabinet space is at a premium. A disposer of this size will allow you to install it beneath your sink and still retain storage space for all of the other products you own, such as cleaning chemicals or a garbage can.
4. InSinkErator Evolution Excel
Best Quiet Garbage Disposal
3-bolt Quick Lock
This garbage disposal is an easy-to-install, continuous-feed model that brings a lot of power to home kitchens. Although it provides quite the kick in terms of horsepower, it’s also incredibly comfortable and convenient to use due to how quiet and efficient it performs. At 1 HP, you'll find that this disposal can chop up any food you want to throw at it.
Because it can handle large quantities of food waste, it is ideal for larger families of around six, seven people or more. This model’s grinding capacity additionally benefits from its 3-stage MultiGrind technology. While in operation, the first two grinding stages will turn food into a thick liquid, while the third stage converts the remainder into an easily disposable form.
The Jam-Sensor circuit implemented into this model makes it stand out from the competition. This sensor automatically detects when there is a risk of a jam occurring and will initialize the auto-reverse grind system to clear away any debris that is preventing the disposal from working correctly. This dramatically reduces the number of times that you’ll need to clean the disposal opening due to blockages.
With all of this grinding power, you might be worried that this garbage disposal is incredibly loud. Its SoundSeal design ensures that it will always perform incredibly quietly. The design of the garbage disposal keeps the entire chamber stable as it works, reducing vibration and its resulting bothersome sound.
Quiet garbage disposals like this one can allow you to clean the kitchen in peace and still make conversation with people at the dining table. Between power and convenience, this model is a real kitchen asset.
5. Waste King Legend Series L-2600
Best ½ HP Garbage Disposal
EZ Sink Mount
Garbage disposals at 0.5 HP, like this one, are great for smaller families or a few people living in an apartment together. This model can handle a lot of food types but may have a little difficulty when it comes to more mammoth bones or tougher fruit and vegetable skins.
Despite its moderate horsepower, this model spins at a fast 2600 RPM. Because this is continuous-feed disposals can take advantage of the speed offered by the built-in motor and regularly feed more food waste into the disposal as you clean the kitchen.
The RPM, to a degree, makes up for the moderate horsepower offered and allows you to chew through large quantities of food, akin to the quality regularly handled by garbage disposals with higher horsepower. Because of this combination, you get the affordability and relative quiet offered by small garbage disposals while also achieving the performance on larger models.
Just in case you overwhelm the disposal, this model includes a manual reset button you can hit to shut it off in a snap. You can then restart the apparatus by pushing the button once again. There’s also a safety splash guard on the operation end that can be removed to retrieve any lost items.
Mounting the disposal is incredibly easy too, utilizing a twist-and-block design that allows you to install or replace the disposal in just minutes. You’ll also find that installing this model in a compact kitchen cabinet is very feasible given its relatively sleek design optimized to fit under most apartment sinks.
Finally, this model also comes standard with the full power cord, preventing you from having to scavenge for a suitable option.
6. InSinkErator Badger 1
Best 1/3 HP Garbage Disposal
3-bolt quick lock
Though this model rests on the smaller end of the market, its small size is not a discredit to its overall quality. Garbage disposals with 0.3 HP, such as this one, are usually quieter and enjoyable for smaller families of 2-3 people.
Though this model cannot handle bones and large food scrap quantities well, it can make quick work of most other forms of standard food waste.
In exchange for this small size and capacity, you get an extremely affordable model that's also small enough to fit under most kitchen sinks – even in most apartments. Therefore, installation is relatively pain-free. This model uses a 3-bolt Quick Lock sink mount for easy installation, and all the components necessary to install the unit are included with the purchase.
Even though it only runs at about 0.3 HP, this model runs at an enhanced 1725 RPM. This means that you shouldn’t expect any jams or clogs provided that you don’t overwhelm the grinding mechanism.
This above standard arrangement complements the continuous-feed design well, rumbling quietly along as you feed food waste into its receiver. Most of this unit’s size taken up by the 26-ounce grind chamber, which is large enough to handle a few meals’ worth of food before it needs to be emptied.
You’ll also really like the construction of the Dura-Drive induction motor. This type of motor doesn't include any parts that susceptible to wear, meaning that its lifespan is expected to last far beyond more complicated and expensive garbage disposals.
Our full guide on Badger garbage disposals can be found here.
7. Waste King 3000-3
Best Commercial Garbage Disposal
Cast iron/iron alloy/stainless steel blades
Some families are large, or even huge. If your family includes 6 or more members, you may consider investing industry-grade garbage disposal to accommodate the large volume of food scraps you are bound to produce. In that case, you’ll need something that provides exceptional power and the capacity worthy of use in a cafe or restaurant.
This garbage disposal does just that. It has a 3 HP motor that’s capable of handling both large quantities and tough varieties of food waste without complaint. You can even throw steak bones into this disposal without worry. This disposal uses two jam-resistant, stainless steel swivel impellers to reduce the chances of clogs.
If something does jam the impellers, such as a metallic object like a fork, they will retract to protect themselves and prevent the motor from overloading. This type of self-aware appliance will save you money as a result because it will be able to preserve its components when an accident occurs.
As if that wasn’t enough, this disposal is equipped with two ripper bars. These are installed beneath the grind ring along with an undercutter blade. Together, these provide even more tearing and ripping power for the primary mechanism, shredding the food waste into a liquid state that’s easy to process and eliminate.
At home or in a restaurant, this model can handle high volumes of food scraps without becoming overloaded. With all of the power in this model, you might be worried about the noise level, particularly if you choose to use this in your home.
But to mitigate the extra sound, this disposal is equipped with a “Hush Cushion” that insulates and isolates the disposal, preventing its metal pieces from contacting one. This reduces both vibration and annoying clanking sounds that arise as it shreds food. You’ll be able to use the disposal without disturbing your family and guests at all.
Also be sure to check out our guide on commercial garbage disposals here.
8. Emerson Evergrind E202
Best Small Garbage Disposal
Quick Lock mount
If you have a cramped sink space or small apartment kitchen, you’ll likely need a mini-sized garbage disposal unit. The compact design of this garbage disposal is ideal for either situation and will allow you to fit it underneath virtually any sink.
Made from rugged, galvanized steel, this model is designed to last through a lot of use, even if you feed it severe food waste each night.
Despite its size, this model features a motor with 0.5 HP and 1725 RPM, matching the standard of larger and more expensive models. This will allow you to use the disposal for most types of food waste, with only a moderate rate of introduction.
The motor is a heavy-duty, Dura-Drive Induction model that manages to be powerful enough to crunch up smaller bones and some fruit and vegetable skins without producing an excess amount of sound pollution.
It's good that the disposal is so quiet because a small, cramped apartment will suffer from high levels of noise by their small room sizes. Therefore, this garbage disposal's combination of decent power, great size, and quiet efficiency make it a great pick if you need a small garbage disposal above all else.
The moderate price is simply a bonus, at the end of the day.
9. InSinkErator Cover Control Plus Evolution
Best Batch Feed Garbage Disposal
3-bolt quick lock
While continuous-feed garbage disposals are usually more common, batch-feed disposals are definitely worth a look, particularly if you have young children present in your home.
Batch-feed garbage disposals only work when small batches of food waste and an appropriate stopper are inserted into its operating end. This has several safety benefits. For instance, it’s harder for children to accidentally injure themselves with a garbage disposal, like this one, that isn’t continuously running.
These types of disposals can also run much more quietly than models that are designed for continuous grinding. Indeed, this model uses SoundSeal technology that reduces vibration and prevents the metal components of the disposal from loudly banging into one another during operation. You won't have to flinch or prepare yourself for a lot of noise as you flip the disposer on manually. Your kitchen ambiance won't be disturbed while you mulch your food waste after a meal.
This disposal uses a two-stage grinding system to ensure that any food waste fit into its receiver is turned into a pulpy liquid. The grind chamber and components are all made of stainless steel, which resists corrosion and maintains effectiveness longer than many other types of materials.
This disposal is also equipped with a chrome-plated zinc stopper that holds back water when necessary. This stopper will ensure the disposer is only turned on when you manually activated. Lastly, there is a magnetic cover start that allows you to activate the disposal without having to walk over to a wall switch.
These two features combined make using this batch-feed disposal just as easy to use as running a continuous-feed model, and in many ways, safer.
10. Waste King L-111
Best Cheap Garbage Disposal Under $100
A suitable garbage disposal can be expensive and can best be thought of as a long-term investment, given their expected lifespan of five or more years. But sometimes you need a garbage disposal that's affordable above all else.
In that case, there's no more magnificent pick than this model, which provides pretty exceptional performance given its low asking price.
This garbage disposal has a motor that provides 0.3 HP but has a higher than average 1900 RPM to improve its effective performance. This will allow you to get away with feeding this disposal more significant amounts of food that would commonly be accepted by disposals with 0.3 HP motors.
This model comes standard with a removable splash guard that allows you to retrieve any items dropped down the sink. In terms of construction, this model incredibly lightweight and compact. This makes it a good pick for college students or anyone in a small, cheap apartment where cabinet space is at a premium. It comes with its power cord and uses an EZ Mount for quick installation and hassle-free cleaning.
Everything you need to mount this disposal is included in the box. Even with the low price, the components of this disposal are made from galvanized steel, ensuring that you can still count on this model’s durability. All of these factors combined to make this garbage disposal the best budget pick because you don't have to sacrifice much performance to attain an affordable price tag.
Determining the Size (HP)
The size of garbage disposal that you need heavily depends on how much food waste you typically produce, as well as what type of food waste is regularly in need of scrapping.
In general, garbage disposal units with higher horsepower will be able to chop up tougher and larger volumes of food than units with lower amounts of horsepower. As a tradeoff, garbage disposal units with high horsepower are often larger than their low-horsepower cousins.
Therefore, it's essential for you to consider how much horsepower you need and how much under-sink space you can devote to an installation before buying a garbage disposal unit.
Grinding Stages of Garbage Disposals
These basic-tier grinders only have one stage where they process food waste for disposal. You’ll need to pass water through these types of garbage disposals to assist it in mulching food effectively.
Frequently, cheaper garbage disposals will only have one grinding stage, giving them some difficulty when it comes to crushing tougher food items like bones or egg shells.
These middle-tier grinders include a primary stage where food waste is crushed as well as a second stage where food waste is virtually liquefied. This reduces the chance of troublesome jams and allows you to shred more difficult food waste such as fruit and vegetable peels or smaller bones without concern.
Finally, these top-tier grinders use both of the first two stages to make food waste into a pulpy liquid before truly finishing the process with a unique third stage (which differs from model to model).
These models are most effective when it comes to turning food into the smallest possible particles, eliminating the chance of jams almost entirely. You can take care of virtually any type of food waste with garbage disposals that utilize three-stage grinding. Of course, these models also tend to be the most expensive of the bunch.
Installation of Garbage Disposal Units
Installing your garbage disposal isn't too tricky, and in fact, many units make it a point to be relatively easy to install. Some of them include "Quick Mounting" systems to allow you to finish installation in under an hour. However, there are some general best practice steps you can follow as you install your new garbage disposal unit.
If you don’t want to take matters into your own hands or you prefer a professional’s touch, you can always hire a plumber to install your garbage disposal for you.
This comes with several different advantages, including the ability to ask the plumber about the best ways to use the garbage disposal and any potential maintenance tips that they may have to ensure that your unit lasts for a long time.
How to Guide for Using Food Waste Disposers
Using a garbage disposal is incredibly simple. That being said, safety and patience are still necessary to ensure that the appliance performs as expected. Follow these steps to ensure that you never run the risk of damaging your garbage disposal and keep your kitchen smelling fresh.
Common Problems to Expect with Garbage Disposals
High Noise Levels
You might experience high noise levels coming from your garbage disposal as a result of its metal parts clanging together or vibrating higher than average. While you might get used to it after a while, there's no denying that a loud garbage disposal can be quite the headache-inducer.
How can I fix this?
If you purchased a garbage disposal that doesn’t have design features or built-in specifically made to reduce the unit's noise level, you could try to secure the disposal unit’s mounting more effectively. Use a box or extra gluing material to make sure that the disposal fits snugly beneath your sink.
You can also make sure that the seal between the sink and the appliance is as tight as possible. Continuous vibration may cause the seal ring of the garbage disposal to rattle itself loose.
You might find that certain types of food or large quantities of food tend to jam your garbage disposal, particularly if you have a model with low horsepower. Jammed garbage disposal is ineffective and will eventually start to smell if you don’t clear the debris away.
How can I fix this?
First, don’t just continually run the garbage disposal or try to force otherwise the jam free. This can cause damage to the grinding mechanisms.
Instead, use a knife or similarly long object and tried to dig the debris out of the garbage disposal funnel. If the waste is too deep to reach with a similar implement, you'll need to uninstall the garbage disposal unit and get the food out manually.
There should be instructions included with your purchase to lead you through this process. Also, make sure to turn the garbage disposal entirely off before you begin repairs of this type to avoid accidental injury.
Bad odors and smells emerging from your garbage disposal is often a result of food not being fully processed as it travels through the unit. Essentially, some food waste is still in the “throat” of the garbage disposal and has begun to decompose accordingly. Also, food might build up in the grinding chamber, causing a noticeable odor.
How can I fix this?
Firstly, run cold water through the disposal and turn it on to allow the machine to fully process any food waste that might still be partially shredded. If the odor doesn't cease, you'll need to clean the interior of the garbage disposal.
To do this, fill the sink with warm water about halfway, and mix some baking soda into the water (according to the box’s instructions).
Generally, about 1/4 of a cup should be enough. You'll then run this baking soda/water combination through the disposal while the motor is running.
This should eliminate any bacteria that has latched on to the inside of the machine while simultaneously clearing access debris. You might also consider putting a lemon into the garbage disposal to freshen the scent.
After a time, you may find that leaks are appearing beneath your sink as a result of the installation of your garbage disposal. This can occur if the seals are not tight enough or if the garbage disposal is too large to fit beneath your sink. Similarly, leakage may occur if your unit is too heavy for your sink pipes.
How can I fix this?
To fix leaks, you should try to make sure that every seal included in the installation of the garbage disposal is as secure as possible. Check for cracks or other signs of damage in the sink both above and below the cabinet, where the disposal is installed.
If there is a crack in the sink itself, you may need to call a plumber for in-depth repair work. If there’s a leak in the disposal itself, you might be able to patch it up with Plumber’s putty or similar adhesive substance.
Garbage Disposals and Septic Systems
If you have a garbage disposal model designed to integrate with your existing septic system, keep in mind a few essential tips to prevent any problems from arising as they work together.
Garbage disposals can lean on the septic system’s ability to break down bacteria, but more immense food waste like egg shells or fruit peels are not meant to go into your septic system. If you dispose of food waste like this, you may cause issues for your septic system, resulting in an expensive cleaning process.
Even if you only use a soft food waste with your disposal, you should still pump your septic system tank out more frequently. This will keep your septic system running smoothly and allow your garbage disposal to be a little more effective at preventing bacteria from spreading.
If you plan to use your disposal with your septic system, we recommend beginning a compost pile for tougher food like eggshells.
Visit our page on garbage disposals for septic systems here.
Maintenance and Upkeep of Waste Disposers
To help keep your garbage disposal running smoothly, follow these and best practices:
Warranty and Replacement Parts
There are a few different types of warranties that are offered with most garbage disposals. These warranties vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, so sure you identify which type comes standard with your model.
Described as a “We Come to You” warranty, this level of coverage generally includes free house calls for parts and labor issues. In most cases, you can call on the manufacturer’s extensive network of trained service agents to find help installing, repairing or replacing these types of garbage disposals. The service line for calling is toll-free.
Waste King Warranty
Waste King provides an in-home service warranty that are generally similar to InSinkErator’s standard warranty. They will replace your garbage disposal if there is a defect within the predetermined expiration period (usually detailed in the user manual). These warranties also come with a lifetime guarantee against corrosion.
Emerson also offers a “We Come to You” warranty in the same vein as InSinkErator. With this warranty, you can call on the company’s service agents for help repairing or replacing a defective unit.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does a typical garbage disposal last?
The right garbage disposal unit should last you between eight and fifteen years. While most warranties don't cover this entire period, most warranties reach about the one-third mark, for an average of five years of coverage.
What is the difference between batch feed and continuous?
Batch-feed garbage disposals turn your food into pulp in small batches and are usually manually activated. Continuous-feed garbage disposals run regularly and allow you to feed food in for mulching without stopping.
What kind of wastes should I put in garbage disposals that are safe for septic tanks?
Only smaller food that can be effectively turned into septic-safe liquid. Eggshells, bones, or harsh vegetable peels are not suitable for septic tanks because they can't be as effectively liquefied.
Can I install these systems myself?
Yes, you can! There are many garbage disposal units with "Easy Install" kits included allowing you to do all the installation yourself.
How much does a plumber charge to replace a garbage disposal?
The price will vary from plumber to plumber, but in general, you should expect to pay between $150 and $200. The warranty that comes with any given purchase may provide discounts to mitigate this cost.
Hopefully, you found exactly what you need when it comes to garbage disposals for home use. With our list of the current top 10 garbage disposals, you have a wide selection of high-performing models compared and contrasted with informing your purchasing process.
With our guides and FAQs on every step of the garbage disposal installation and operation process, you’ll be able to troubleshoot any problem that arises with your at-home unit.
You’ve been armed with all the information necessary to effectively use your garbage disposal unit and keep it running for years to come, as well as take advantage of any warranties that may be included with your purchase.
But if you’re still not sure which one is right for you, consider the InSinkErator Badger 5XP ¾ HP Household Garbage Disposer. It's a solid, all-around excellent model that can handle most types of food and is excellent for most types of people. When it comes to optimal performance and value, this model is the best of the best.
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