Garbage disposals are very popular in modern homes. They are usually attached to the kitchen sink drain, which allows you to dump your dirty dishes directly into the sink without worrying about food debris clogging your pipes. We’ve compiled a list of the best garbage disposals and some key considerations when choosing them.
Best Garbage Disposals
7 used from $44.52
- Grind food waste with less jam.
- Easy to install and clean.
- Compatible with dishwasher
- Take up small space under the sink
- There is no ON & OFF switch.
9 used from $68.08
- Powerful and effective household model
- Easy to put together
- Sturdy construction
- Various leftovers grinding
- Run with minimal sound
- Check your cabinet space and hole before buying
- Occasional noise reports
18 used from $91.97
- For small family use
- Durable galvanized steel construction
- Easy installation
- Quiet operation
- Does not come with an electric cord
9 used from $115.18
- Powerful 3/4 horsepower grinding
- Sound reduction
- Removable power cord included
- More compatibility
- A few reports of not absolutely quiet as expected but acceptable
2 used from $78.91
- Dishwasher compatible
- High-speed stainless steel grinder for various food scraps
- With minimal sound
- For 2-4 people family
- Install kit and power cord included
- Pretty easy to install
- Septic safe
- Occasional product longevity questions
4 used from $45.98
- Save under sink space with slim look
- Anti-rust stainless steel grinder plate
- Come with connection accessories
- Rare complaints of tough food scraps getting stuck, need to be hand fixed after switching off the power
What to Consider When Buying A Garbage Disposal?
Garbage Disposal Types
Continuous feed garbage disposals
These garbage disposals are more common, because they have an open mouth design and can be used while they are running, so you can continuously throw food scraps in. You only need to flip an on/off wall switch to grind your leftovers.
There are many choices to choose from, including models that are budget-friendly.
However, these models must be powered by wall switches, which are sold separately and need to be installed by an electrical contractor. An alternative is to use an air switch that does not require professional installation but requires an under sink outlet as well as a drill.
The disposal can be run openly so that objects, such as utensils, could fall in the drain. There is also the possibility of food debris shards flying out.
Bulk-fed garbage disposals
Instead of throwing food waste down the disposal while it’s running, bulk-fed garbage disposals allow you to process your food waste just like a food processor. You can throw some scraps into the disposal at a time and then put a stopper on the drain opening to turn the valve on.
A securely fastened lid is necessary to cover the disposal mouth before the user turns the device on. This type works only when the drain is covered and other objects are not in the drain. It reduces the chance of injury and keeps users safe.
These are a great choice for kitchen islands because they don’t need wall switches.
The cost of batch-feed garbage disposals is generally higher than those continuous-feed models. Therefore, there is only a small portion of the market and they are harder to find.
Septic feed waste disposals
If your house has a septic system, we recommend buying a septic garbage disposal, which is compatible with a septic tank and works with microorganisms to break down food waste.
These disposals work differently than regular garbage disposals. When they are breaking down food waste, they will release special enzymes, which aid in the faster breakdown of solid food waste within the septic tank and keep your septic tank healthy.
However, you need to be extra careful about disposing of food scraps in septic garbage disposals. When you flush the particles into your septic tank, not all food waste can be broken down by the bacteria in the septic tank. Some types of food waste, like coffee grounds, fruit pits, and meat bones, can’t even be eaten.
Moreover, it takes time for bacteria to break down solid food waste. And the sludge from these food scraps accumulates much faster than it decomposes. They will build up in the septic tank. In order to avoid extra maintenance and repairs to your septic system, you should not throw away things like coffee grounds and fruit pits as well as oil and grease into the septic garbage disposal.
The enzyme treatment is contained in a cartridge that attaches to the septic assistance garbage disposal. This cartridge must be replaced every so often, just as with a printer.
The horsepower of the motor is the most important factor in choosing a garbage disposal. It also makes a significant difference in the price. The electric motors used in residential garbage disposals range from 1/3 to 1 horsepower. Garbage disposals that have more horsepower are quieter and less likely to jam than basic or standard disposals with lower horsepower. The motor’s wattage determines the efficiency of a garbage disposal. A high-wattage motor will quickly and efficiently mash almost any organic matter that you throw down the drain.
1/3 horsepower: 1/3 horsepower is the lowest-powered garbage disposals. They are not a cost-effective option and have limited utility. These appliances are easy to jam and have the cheapest interior components which can rust quickly. These options are suitable for short-term or infrequent use.
1/2 horsepower: This is the recommended minimum horsepower for home use. They are smaller than 1-hp and 3/4-hp units and can be used in tight spaces. If you aren’t using the disposal often and don’t want to overload the disposal, 1/2-hp disposal might be a good option. However, these disposals can make noise, so it is essential to use a lot of water to ensure that all food waste passes through. A 1/2 horsepower garbage disposal with stainless steel grind parts will last longer.
3/4 horsepower: This size is ideal and will work in most kitchens. Garbage disposals with this much horsepower allow for plenty of power to dispose of all leftovers and are unlikely to jam. They can grind more solid waste like celery and potato peels with no problems. Keep in mind that these appliances will be physically larger than 1/2 horsepower units. Make sure you have enough space to place one under your sink.
There are many other added features for these disposals. For instance, stainless steel grinding components have a longer life span. These disposals will also have greater sound protection and can be quieter than half-horsepower units.
1 horsepower: A 1 horsepower machine is the best if you need to grind chicken bones or fruit rinds or coffee grounds. They are powerful and have better insulation, they can be quieter than all other horsepower models. This level of disposal should be made from complete stainless steel, have a larger capacity, and be almost impossible to jam.
These appliances are large and will require a lot of space underneath the sink. These are excellent units and well worth the investment if you have the space and money.
It is crucial to know what a garbage disposal is made from. There are two main materials: aluminum or stainless steel.
Aluminum garbage disposals are affordable but less durable and last shorter time. Stainless steel garbage disposals are stronger and more powerful but are more expensive. Also, stainless steel won’t rust so quickly and can last for a long time.
Although newer models are quieter, a garbage disposal won’t be the most silent. The noise level of higher-end models is generally lower.
Many disposals include sound-deadening components such as insulation around disposal, nylon-coated grinding pieces, insulated mounting baffles, and sound baffles at sink opening. However, manufacturers are not required by law to publish the disposal’s decibel levels.
You may hear a strange sound or buzz coming from your device. This could indicate that something is wrong or that the device needs to be maintained.
Most garbage disposal units last for at least five years. The longer, more robust models are likely to last 10 years or more.
Some garbage disposals come with extra features that prevent the system from becoming clogged.
Other models come with safety features such as auto-shutoff.
You can hook up a few garbage disposals to your dishwasher so that you don’t have the hassle of scraping food off before loading dishes.
What Are Advantages and Disadvantages of A Garbage Disposal?
A garbage disposal reduces odors from garbage cans, as food won’t rot in it. It eliminates the need to spray your kitchen with air freshener just because you have a smelly trash container.
Odors come from food waste that has been left behind in the garbage, even if homeowners have a bi-weekly or monthly trash pickup. Wild animals may be attracted to the smell, and they might eat the food. A garbage disposal can have a bad odor. This is especially true if food items are not allowed to be flushed down the drain.
It can be tempting to throw away all the leftovers from your dishes and just dump them in the sink. These food scraps can accumulate in your pipes over time and cause blockages. Garbage disposal allows you to grind food scraps into smaller particles that are less likely to get stuck in your pipes.
Make cleanup easier
A garbage disposal also makes cleanup after meals and cooking much easier. You also have a lower chance of dropping crumbs onto the floor when you move plates from one place to another. A garbage disposal can take most leftover food out and put it down in the sink. You’ll probably end up with less trash.
A garbage disposal is an alternative to a compost bin. It is an affordable investment that will save you time and effort after each meal. A typical garbage disposal costs between $70 to $150. If you are proficient with basic plumbing, it is possible to install it yourself. Installing one is easy and inexpensive for experienced plumbers. You can expect to get eight to ten years of service from your garbage disposal if you take care of it.
You don’t need to call a plumber because garbage disposal will not clog your drain.
Garbage disposals can be low-energy and help to reduce the amount of waste going to landfills. It’s a benefit for the environment. They can be used to make more space in your trash compactor if you have one.
Garbage disposals can be used with most sewage systems, including municipal sewers or septic tanks. However, septic tanks should be properly sized and maintained.
Although it may seem easy to choose a convenient device like this, there are also some drawbacks. Be prepared to endure the inconveniences that a garage disposal might cause before you spend a lot of money.
Clogs and jams
Garbage disposals cannot handle all types of food waste. The list of prohibited items can sometimes be confusing. Stringy fibrous waste like celery, carrots, banana peels, corn husks, and coconut shells can clog the disposal and cause it to jam. The disposal can be clogged with meat products such as skin, bones, and animal waste. This can cause the blade to dull and make the sink smell.
Starchy foods like potatoes, pasta, and potato peels can often build up a gunk which jams the blade and blocks the drain. Starchy foods such as rice, pasta, potatoes, and potato peels can expand in hot water. This can cause a blockage in the drainpipe which can be costly to repair. Butter, shortening, and lard are all fats that can block garbage disposals and create foul odors.
The disposal can be deodorized by adding citrus peels, lemon juice, or baking soda, but this will add cost to maintenance.
To flush out food after it has been ground, garbage disposals need running water. This water is used to flush out food wastes, but many can be recycled as compost. Sinks consume an average of 2 Gallons of water per hour. Calculate how long it takes to grind and flush food. Next, place a bowl or pitcher under the tap and let the water run for the same time. Composting food scraps is a better option to wasting water. This includes vegetable and fruit scraps as well as eggshells, coffee grounds, and tea bags.
Kitchen waste can lead to more waste in the septic system and water treatment facilities. Older municipal sewage systems may not be able to handle food particles from garbage disposals. Because food waste is harder to treat, water treatment facilities must use more chemicals and energy to remove it. Even if your drain does not flow to a municipal water treatment plant, the same sludge could build up in your system and cause costly and complicated repairs. Some municipalities have garbage disposal regulations that can limit the types of products or the size of the tank a home requires.
Before installing a garbage disposal, make sure you check the local waste management authority or water authority if your area has such a system.
What Can Be Put Into A Garbage Disposal?
Garbage disposals can handle a variety of liquids and soft foods. Some objects can even be beneficial for disposal care. These objects include:
Citrus fruits and vegetables
Nearly all fruits and most vegetables can be thrown in the garbage disposal.
Citrus fruits, such as lemons or oranges, reduce bad odors and replace them with fresh fragrances. Also, citrus fruit’s acid helps to break down garbage disposal gunk. You can simply cut the fruit into small wedges and then run it down with cold water.
However, there are some exceptions, which we will discuss below.
You can dispose of leftover meat scraps after you finish cooking. But remember don’t throw large pieces.
Wet pet food
If your pets leave some canned food in their bowl, you can easily dump it down the garbage disposal.
When the garbage disposal runs, it is best to use cold or cool water.
To help with the disposal of waste, you should leave the water running for 10 seconds. If there is no running water, the garbage disposal could clog up or emit a foul odor. Also, cold water can help transport any fat down the drain pipes and prevent future headaches.
Ice cubes are great for sharpening and cleaning disposal blades.
To ensure that debris doesn’t build up on your disposal blades, it’s a good idea for you to throw a few ice cubes down your drain every other week.
Garbage disposals can be freshened up with ice cubes that are made from lemon juice, vinegar, or biodegradable cleaners.
If the garbage disposal units use impellers rather than blades, then ice cubes are not required.
Biodegradable dish soap and disposal fluid
Too much grease can lead to the worst possible disposal nightmare.
Disposal will run more efficiently and last longer thanks to the anti-grease ingredients in dish soap and draining liquid.
What Should Never Be Thrown Into A Garbage Disposal?
1. Oil, Grease, and Fat
Grease, oil, and fats can appear liquid at first, but they won’t stay that way long. These substances can congeal over time which can lead to a blockage in your drain. Allow these materials to cool and then throw them away.
2. Fibrous and stringy fruits and vegetables
Many vegetables and fruits have fibrous strands which can get caught in your grinder. You can throw away the following items: celery, asparagus, corn husks, and rhubarb. While a few can be helpful, it is best to avoid throwing away all of them.
Although chopped onions can be easily thrown in the disposal, you should pay attention to the outer layer. The membrane just below the skin can slip through the disposal without being chopped finely. Banana peels and potato peels also have this problem.
It could either be wrapped around the grinder blades or pass directly under it. It can get stuck in the drain, acting as a net and trapping other items. This creates a barrier within the sink trap, which can lead to a blockage.
One of two possible outcomes, when you toss potato peels down the disposal, is that they may slip past the disposal and catch in the drain. Or, 2) they can be ground up and become a starchy paste at your disposal. This paste can cause major blockages in the pipes if it gets into them. Similar situations can occur with other starchy vegetables, such as beans.
3. Pasta, rice, and bread
These three things all absorb water and can expand, which can lead to a blocked drain. You don’t have to worry about leftover spaghetti going down the drain, but you shouldn’t be a slave to dumping pasta in the garbage can. You should run pasta, rice, or bread down your disposal for no less than 30 seconds. After that, you should run cold water down your drain to flush out the grains and not expand them. This is also true for oatmeal and other grains that absorb water.
4. Hard materials like animal bones, nuts, and shells.
We have accepted that garbage disposals are not indestructible. Because they are not designed to handle extremely hard materials, like bones.
Bones are one of the hardest naturally occurring substances, and can drastically reduce the life expectancy at your disposal. A garbage disposal is capable of handling small amounts of chicken or fish bones. Anything larger than this will damage the disposal’s grinding mechanisms.
Like bones, shells, and nuts (including seafood shells), can also be harmful to the garbage disposal. Even softer nuts like peanuts are not good for disposal. Your garbage disposal works in the same way as a nut grinder. Do you know what happens when you grind peanuts and smash them? Peanut butter. Peanut butter is not the same as what you find in a jar. However, it’s a thick peanut paste that can clog your drains.
5. Pits and seeds
It’s safe for you to not put it at your disposal if you are unable to cut it with a knife. Pits and seeds can be difficult to grind because they are often small and round. They can also make a terrible noise when they bounce around in your garbage disposal. You can save your disposal time and toss them in the garbage.
6. Coffee grounds
Do not let the coffee grounds fool you. They are densely packed, almost like a paste, even though they look finely milled. You’ll see a lot of gunky sediment build up in your drains, which can lead to clogs.
7. Egg Shells
It is a common misconception that eggshells can be used to sharpen your garbage disposal’s “blades”. Garbage disposals don’t actually have blades. They have impellers that can be more blunt than sharp. These impellers are more useful for grinding food waste than for pulverizing it like a blender. What about eggshells? When was the last time you used them to sharpen your knives? Eggshells are not intended to sharpen the grinding mechanism. They also have membranes that could easily be wrapped around the grinder. This could cause a host of problems for your appliance.
8. Non-Food Materials
It is possible to be misleading when the term “garbage disposal” is used. This does not mean that you should treat your disposal as a trash can. Your drainage system can become a problem if you have non-food items like tissues, plastic wrappers, or paper towels. These items can also spread through your drainage system, and get into your local water supply. It is best to dispose of anything that is not biodegradable.