What to look for in a garbage disposal? There are several things to consider for making the best choice for you. The following is a quick list and we will go through some of them in the paragraphs below.

  • Horse power
  • Warranty
  • Family size vs. habits
  • Replacement new install
  • Noise
  • Price

Family size or who is using it? Is it a replacement or new install? How you use your disposal and the location of the sink are all a few questions you should be asking yourself.

Let me say something on horse power as this is the single most important spec that differentiates disposals. A 1/4 hp motored disposal is going to do well for a smaller work load and mostly soft food disposal. It will also do okay for someone who doesn’t eat at home very often.

There is a big difference between 1/4 and 1.0 hp disposals. The larger motor size means it can crush or chew up tougher items like popcorn kernels and some small bones and nuts and it is going to process larger quantities of waste and still perform well. While the difference between a 1/2hp and 1 hp disposals isn’t as significant as the 1/4 to 1.0 horse power there is a marked difference in performance. A 1 hp disposal will take care of a large family and should easily crush bones and anything else that gets thrown in.

For two people who just dispose of soft waste a 1/4 hp would do a very adequate job. For a regular size family 4-6 people who mostly dispose of soft waste with the occasional bone or solid waste the 3/4hp should be very sufficient. And for a large family and one that does put a lot of harder object through the disposal a full 1 hp model would be ideal. Also note the people on septic systems should make sure the disposal they purchase should grind things smaller so as to be easier on the septic system.

Most of the newer disposals have some sound proofing. But if the sink is located in an island or on a bar it may need some more sound proofing. The surrounding cabinet acts like a drum to the sounds the disposal makes when on. By placing an extra piece of sheet rock at the back of the cabinet you can greatly reduce the noise your disposal makes.

For the most part replacements of disposals are very easy and need minimal tools. A screwdriver, channel locks (I prefer robo-grips) hacksaw blade (very rarely needed) and some plumber’s putty. Some electrical tape and side kicks might be helpful if you need to hard wire your disposal.

If you have an older sink and the gaskets and sleeves are giving you some issues a little dish soap used as a lubricant works great. If you read the install instructions that come with the product as well as watch a few installation videos you should do fine.

On a new install I would make sure the sound proofing is in already if it is going into an island or bar. If there is not a plug-in at the location I would seriously think about having an outlet installed. It makes the connection easier and you won’t have to worry as much about a faulty electrical connection.