How To Choose a Garbage Disposal

Written by: Erica Spangler

A garbage disposal can get rid of food scraps and help eliminate bacteria build-up in your sink as well as can reduce your home's carbon footprint by reducing household waste. Let me help you understand the different garbage disposals and what you need.

What's In This Guide:

Feed Type

Batch Feed

  • Safest choice
  • Requires the placement of a stopper before they are activated, rather than a switch, to trigger the disposal
  • Better for large disposal quantities
  • Must fill disposal before grinding
Shop All Batch Feed Disposals

Continuous Feed

  • Most common type of garbage disposal
  • Activated by a switch
  • Requires running water during use
  • Allows you to continuously feed food waste into the chamber as it grinds
Shop All Continuous Feed Disposals

Important Considerations

Motor Size

  • Smaller motors (1/3 HP and 1/2 HP) are recommended for small amounts of food waste
  • Medium sized motors (3/4 HP) are recommended for two or more people
  • Higher HP models can handle more fibrous materials, such as chicken bones

Drain Connection

  • Most residential disposals are designed to fit standard 3 1/2" drain openings
  • Ensure that you have a standard drain opening prior to purchasing your disposal

Capacity

  • Measurement of how much the disposal can hold and still operate properly
  • Measured in ounces
  • Disposals with larger capacities will result in less cabinet space below your sink
  • Power Cord

    • Some models do not come with a power cord
    • Before purchasing, check whether or not you will need one

    Disposal Flange

    • A basket strainer cannot be used with a disposal
    • Most disposals include a flange to connect the disposal with your sink

    Air Switch

    • A flat button that is placed through a hole in the sink or counter top
    • This will activate the garbage disposal

    Optional Features

    Anti-Jamming

    • Reduces the number of jams through a variety of techniques
    • Some models offer a reset button to reset the motor
    • More advanced models have an auto-reverse feature that senses jams before they happen

    Sound Minimizing

    • Creates quiet operation through insulation and fluid moving parts

    Dishwasher Connection

    • Allows transfer of solid food particles from your dishwasher to be ground by the disposal

    Maintaining Your Garbage Disposal

    Waste to Avoid

    Avoid Hard Foods:

    • Bones
    • Popcorn Kernels
    • Shellfish (crab, shrimp, etc)

    Avoid Fibrous and Starchy Foods:

    • Banana Peels
    • Corn Husks
    • Celery
    • Potato Peelings
    • Rice
    • Pasta

    Avoid Non-food Particles:

    • Fingers
    • Glass
    • Paper
    • Coins
    • Utensils
    • Trash

    Tips for Prolonging the Life of Your Garbage Disposal

    • Run cold water down the drain while it’s in use
    • Cold water prevents overheating of all the moving parts
    • Hot water can melt fat trapped inside food and the garbage disposal
    • Fat can later solidify and clog the pipes
    • Combine pure lemon juice and vinegar, freeze and throw them down for an effective cleaner
    • Clean the inside with a paper towel on a regular basis when off
    × Shipping Rates & Methods

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