Dispose Wisely: How to Choose a Garbage Disposal

After scraping the dinner plates into the sink, flipping a switch and watching the food particles disappear, many of us don’t think twice about our garbage disposals (also known as garbage disposers). We especially don’t think about installing a new one. However, even the best disposals will eventually need to be replaced. When that time comes, be prepared with these tips on what to consider when buying a garbage disposal.

sink drain and garbage disposal

Signs it's Time to Think About Buying a New Garbage Disposal

First, determine if a replacement is necessary. Sure, it may not be your top priority, but if you find yourself experiencing the following, it may be time to replace your garbage disposal:

  • It frequently gets clogged.
  • You reset it regularly.
  • The odors aren’t alleviated.
  • The blades aren’t chopping efficiently.
  • You have an unfixable leak.

What Garbage Disposal is Best for Me?

There are two types of garbage disposalsto choose from: the continuous feed and the batch feed. Both get the job done; however, the continuous feed disposals are the easiest to use. Also the most commonly used disposal, the continuous feed version has an open mouth and is operated by a switch. The batch feed disposal, on the other hand, requires that you place your food waste into the chamber and close the stopper lid to activate the food grinder inside.

If you find that you’re constantly dropping silverware and other non-food items in your disposal, you may want to consider the batch feed version. If, on the other hand, you don’t have that issue and prefer the added convenience of an on/off switch, the continuous feed version is right for you.

How to Pick a New Garbage Disposal

It’s easy to know which garbage disposal to buy if you consider how important the following factors are to you:

1. Identify the Right Motor Size

– The smaller the motor size, the fewer and softer the foods need to be. For example, a one-third or one-half horsepower (HP) motor is perfect for a single homeowner occasionally grinding soft vegetables. A three-fourths or 1 HP motor, on the other hand, is much more suited to a large family that often eats at home and will provide smoother operation, finer pulverization and less jams — which equals less stress on your waste water system.

2. Identify the Best Grinding Chamber Size And Material

– Chambers in disposals with more HP will be larger, since their motors can handle more food. And chambers and blades made of stainless steel will last longer, be more efficient, are the easiest to clean and won’t rust.

3. Extra Features

– Of course, a garbage disposal is going to make noise. Better quality (and more expensive) units, however, tend to have better insulated grinding chambers, so there’s a marked difference in the noise level. Similarly, some models offer additional features, such as sound baffles (to lower the decibel level of the unit), anti-splash baffles (to keep your sink cleaner) and corrosion protection shields.

Bonus Tip: If your home has a septic system, consider buying a garbage disposal with an enzyme reservoir, to help break down the food scraps.

And since it’s on your mind, did you know most homeowners insurance doesn’t cover broken garbage disposals? Just another reason to help protect your budget with a home warranty from American Home Shield.


AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

Consumer Affairs Icon
Best Company Awards Icon
Need help?
Talk to our Shield Agents 24/7.

New Jersey Residents: The product being offered is a service contract and is separate and distinct from any product or service warranty which may be provided by the home builder or manufacturer.