Top 6 Factors to Consider When Buying a Garbage Disposal

By Gretchen Sunder, 12 Dec 2021

Garbage disposal, also known as garbage disposers or food waste disposers, is a wonderful convenience and a cook’s best friend, crushing up and cleaning away the leftovers with the touch of a single switch. To many of us, garbage disposers are among the best kitchen appliances. Not only does it clear out every bit of food left on our plates, but it also lets us do our dishes without worrying about the small leftovers from clogging the sink.

Buying a garbage disposer is not something we think of doing every time. But there are many benefits to consider getting your disposer. For instance, there's less old food left sitting there in your trash can.

Many municipalities have advised people to use garbage disposals because of the many health benefits. Whether it's your first time buying a disposer or you're replacing it, before you begin your search, here are a few pointers on what to look for before you buy your next disposer.

1. Motor Type

One of the most important things to consider before you buy a garbage disposer – and the one that makes the most difference in price is the motor's horsepower. There are two known types of motors: the induction motor and the permanent magnet motor.

Many garbage disposers use the induction motor to function, similar to the motors used in large household appliances, such as washers and dryers. These motors don't produce too much noise and offer a longer and more reliable motor life.

A permanent magnet motor is a lightweight, variable-speed motor similar to most motors found in smaller appliances.

2. Choose your Horsepower rating.  

Garbage disposer motors can range from around 1/3 horsepower up to one horsepower. Disposers with higher horsepower are commonly capable of crushing heavier loads a lot easier, which extends the motor life, whether it’s meant for families with high- horsepower, or frequent cooking

1/3 Horsepower: This is the lowest horsepower for garbage disposers. Even though they might seem like the right economical option, their viability is quite limited. This option should only be considered for temporary use: for instance, a vacation home that is rarely used.

This horsepower typically ranges from $50 to $100.

1/2 Horsepower: This is the minimum horsepower typically used for home use. It usually costs less than $100, so they are also an affordable option. When purchasing your garbage disposer, opt for 1/2 horsepower with the stainless steel grind components, which help in improving the duration.

3\4 Horsepower: This is the perfect size suitable for many kitchens. At 3\4 horsepower, garbage disposers have plenty of power for all the leftovers and more. A disposer with this power is less likely to jam, and it can come with certain features, like sound reduction, to allow it to run silently than the 1/2 horsepower unit.

One thing to note; the appliance is larger than the 1/2 horsepower, so ensure you have enough space under your kitchen sink for installation. Price ranges from $125 to $200 and exceeding.

1 Horsepower: If you need a horsepower unit strong enough to crush chicken bones and fruit rinds, then go for the 1 horsepower unit. Most of these units are the best there is, top-notch. They can even be more silent than the 3/4 or the 1/2 horsepower models and are virtually impossible for it to jam.

If you have enough space in your kitchen and money, the one horsepower disposer is the best and worth the price. From just $150, you can buy the economy models and up to $300, depending on the extra features.

3. Grind Stages

Garbage disposers offer a few stages to grind; there can be either one, two, or three stages for this process. These are the deviations in the stages:

  • Stage 1 – Most disposers offer only one stage for grinding. The food is crushed once then passed through the pipes with water.
  • Stage 2 – The second stage is for achieving a finer grind. The food is virtually liquefied; this allows most difficult foods to be ground. It also reduces the chances of clogs or jams.
  • Stage 3 – The final stage achieves the finest grind available, allowing you to crush almost every type of food waste or hard material. These units can even grind rib bones with no worry of clogs or jams.

4. Ease of installation

One of the most crucial features a quality garbage disposer can offer a buyer is an easier installation. Garbage disposers are frequently made so DIYers can be easily installed and replaced, even for those who have no experience whatsoever in garbage disposals.

The low price point of disposers compared with other gadgets makes them perfect for the DIY installation, and paying for a professional to install the garbage disposer is most likely to add to your budget as you have to pay for the unit's labor itself.

5. Dimensions

Before you purchase your garbage disposal, it’s best if you first take measurements under your kitchen sink, as you’ll find many low-profile options for those with limited space. Although the kitchen space isn't that much of an issue, it's worth looking under your sink to ensure the disposer you purchase won't eat up the space you had allocated for storage.

6. Consider the purchase location.

Most disposers can be bought online, but your options will be somewhat more limited if you buy from a brick-and-mortar store. In such a case, it can be wise to check online stores and confirm the garbage disposers are in stock or available.

You might be surprised about what you can find online with a good eye.

Other Considerations

Although choosing the right motor size is the most important when buying a disposer, certain factors still come into play and can be considered.

Decide how much you’re willing to spend

The first step and also important is to narrow down your options by focusing on specific brands with few models that are within your price range. Even though disposers normally range around $200 at retail, it can be beneficial to decide how much you're willing to spend.

The popular brands tend to be a bit overpriced but are often worth the cost when you weigh experience against a less known product.

Noise Levels

Most homeowners have adapted to loud disposers, but units with advanced sound technology can minimize the noise levels by 30 to 60%. When you decide to buy a garbage disposer, look for the ones that have sound insulation and extra features for reducing the noise levels, like the anti-vibration sink mounts.

Brand

Like many products, garbage disposers are also dominated by specific brands known for their exceptional merchandise. The most popular and liked by many homeowners is most likely InSinkErator; they produce many different models in various sizes and configurations.  Other quality brands include Waste King and Sink Master, among others.

Garbage disposers are fairly simple machines, and you possibly can't regret it if you buy from one of the major manufacturers, all of which sell quality products.

Warranty

A good garbage disposal can last for years, especially if you avoid jamming or clogging the sink with fibrous foods or hard materials. The normal garbage disposer can last for 8 to 10 years, which is often longer than the manufacturer's warranty, which is around one to 10 years.

The best warranty is the lifetime mechanical and corrosion in-home replacement warranty. These warranties typically guarantee you a replacement if your garbage disposer fails due to mechanical or material defects within the warranty period.

Component Materials

There are three types of materials that are most commonly used with grind chambers and components; they include; plastic, stainless steel, and galvanized steel. Many garbage disposers are made with thermoplastic polymer grind chambers – they assist in rust and corrosion resistance.

Nonetheless, stainless steel adds superior corrosion resistance, which helps to lengthen the disposer’s life.

Check star ratings and negative reviews

Before buying the disposer, pay attention to product reviews and the star ratings. A 5-star rating with nine reviews is relatively different from a 5-star rating with 2000 total reviews.

After going through some of the reviews that interest you, go through some of the poor reviews as well. By considering the bad experiences of other buyers, you can get different perspectives on certain issues that never crossed your mind. If you are hell-bent on buying a disposer, we recommend you read through what other customers have to say about the product and experience in general.

Wrapping it Up

Finding the best garbage disposer for your home doesn't have to be overwhelming, and it isn't as daunting as one would think. Take your time before you decide on which disposer to buy, research carefully, considering everything we've written on our guide, and you'll be owning a disposer that makes your life in the kitchen smooth.

Disposers span a variety of costs, brands along with other various components like noise reduction, which ultimately means there is something for everyone. For more tips and articles on garbage disposals and kitchen fixtures, visit us for more insights.

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