Informational Guide

Hard Food Disposer Or Filtration?

In this guide, we discuss the differences between a hard food disposer or filtration.

by Holly Curell

Are you trying to decide between a hard food disposer or filtration for your dishwasher? There are several differences between the two, which you’ll learn about in this guide.

You’ll want to choose the option that’s better for your life at home, so make sure to continue reading! 

A hard food disposer uses a chopping system to destroy food that enters the dishwasher. This makes disposal easier and prevents the food waste from getting back on your plates.

It is the same as having a garbage disposal in your dishwasher. It’s also easy to clean out the machine. Overall, it’s a good choice to get a unit that has these functions together. 

plumber cleaning a dishwasher filter

Many larger families choose this option so that they don’t have to deal with clogs in the garbage disposal or dishwasher. When excessive amounts of food are added to the unit, you want to make sure that the hard food disposer is there to deal with it. 

The main purpose of this appliance is to give you more convenience. If you’ve ever had to deal with stubborn dishwasher clogs that cause water to back up, you know how rough they can be! With this option, you won’t have to deal with that anymore. 

You can find different levels of grinding power. The higher you go, the more the food is liquefied before passing into the plumbing system. However, the more strength, the more you need to pay. 

Overall, the hard food disposer should obliterate any food particles that make their way into the machine. This option is excellent for anyone looking for a heavy duty appliance.  

  • Dedicated plumbing
  • Looks great in your cabinet 
  • Quiet when running 
  • Specialized cycle options 
  • Is very large
  • Requires plumbing and electrical hookup 

Dishwasher With Filtration System (Overview + Pros & Cons)  

load dishwasher

However, if you want something quieter, you may prefer the filtration system instead. This appliance works to trap food in a filter. You will need to clean it every month, so it’s not completely hands-off. Although, it's usually cheaper than the garbage disposal dishwashers. 

While there is manual cleaning required. You also get a very quiet dishwasher since there's no disposal to run. This option is better for couples or single people because you won't have to clean the filter very often. With large families, you'd be cleaning it out all of the time! 

The main purpose of the appliance is to provide an alternative method to using a garbage disposal. With the filter, you also won’t have to listen to loud sounds either. Although, not as many people prefer this option. 

If you don't want to touch an old filter once per month, then you might want to shell out for the garbage disposal. That makes the process completely hands-off, which is better for some people. 

Overall, adding a filtration system is another excellent option for many people. You’ll want to compare the benefits to the hard disposal system, then choose from there. 

  • Very quiet
  • Cost efficient 
  • Works in most systems 
  • Great alternative for smaller families  
  • Requires monthly filter changes
  • Needs frequent cleaning

Hard Food Disposer Or Filtration: Differences & Which Is Better?  


First of all, the disposer grinds up food without you having to activate it. These food particles are then washed away after being completely chopped apart.

The filter option is very different. The filters simply catch the food at the bottom of the machine. There's no grinding, and you need to remove the particles once a month. 


With the disposer, the cleaning is automatic, making it the better option in this category. The ground-up food disintegrates, so you don't have to worry about it getting back on your clean dishes. 

The filter is much more hands-on when it comes to cleaning. If you don't clean and empty it every month, it’s sure to smell bad! A clogged filter also makes it harder for your dishes to get clean. 

Noise Level  

Disposers make the dishwasher a lot louder than it is without. This is due to the grinders working to remove food from the unit. Many people find that this option is very loud. 

However, a filter system doesn’t add any noise to the operation of the unit. You won’t have to listen to any grinding sounds, making it the quiet version. 


The disposer is the much more efficient option. It automatically takes care of any food that makes its way into the unit. There’s no input from you to make the machine run at its best. That can’t be said of the filtration option, though. If you don’t change the filter often, you’re sure to run into problems. 

Ease Of Use  

Both are pretty easy to use. Once you learn to clean the filter, it becomes second nature to most people. Both options rank similarly in this category, except that the disposer runs automatically. You simply turn on the machine, then wait for it to work. 


The disposer doesn’t have as long to last. This is due to all of the moving parts in the machine, which can wear out over time. The filter simply needs cleaning and replacing- there are no moving parts that can catch on something and break. So, if you want longevity, we recommend that you go for the filtration units. 


The disposer is definitely going to be the higher priced appliance. It comes with a lot more mechanical parts and tech, which makes it more expensive to purchase. However, you won’t need to worry about keeping the filter clean and buying a new one from time to time. 

Both options can be very pricey, just like any other kitchen unit. Make sure to set a budget that you can stick to before you start to shop for one! 

People Also Ask (FAQs)

Do all dishwashers have hard food disposers?

Not all dishwashers will come with this feature. Many use it- but not all! The Samsung dishwasher comes with the hard food disposers, making it a great choice. 

Do all dishwashers have removable filters?  

No, not all of them will. You’ll want to consult the manual if you’re currently unsure whether you have one or not. Check the bottom of the tub, which is under the rotating arm. If there’s a cylinder, that’s the filter. 

Can I run my dishwasher without the filter?  

That’s not a good idea! You’ll run into issues with food getting back onto your dishes, and there may even be a nasty clog to deal with. 

Where is the filter located on a dishwasher?  

This filter always sits at the bottom of the dishwasher. You can pull out the bottom dish rack then look in the tub. It’s often around the spray arm. 

Can you have both a disposer and filter in the same dishwasher?  

You can! Some use both to ensure that all food is removed safely from the unit. You get some of the benefits that each option has. 


In short, you’ll want to consider which of these options to choose when you’re next in the market for a new dishwasher. Not everyone realizes that there are two different types. 

Holly Curell is the editor extraordinaire for Plumbing Lab. Having grown up in Michigan, Holly has spent time living in New York, Virginia, & currently North Carolina, where she lives with her husband & family. Holly loves DIY & has years of experience with at-home plumbing problems that arise from having 3 kids & living in colder climates. When she's not writing about her plumbing knowledge, Holly enjoys reading, hiking & relaxing with family.