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How to Buy a Garbage Disposal

Whether you're purchasing a new home or remodeling your kitchen, a garbage disposal is an essential appliance. This device shreds food particles and small kitchen scrapes that get caught in the sink, which helps eliminate clogged pipes and food waste from entering landfills. Deciding what type of disposal to choose can be difficult without knowing all the important features and specifications ahead of time. Here are some key factors to consider when buying a garbage disposal.

Why Buy a New Garbage Disposal?

This device can help reduce clogs in your kitchen plumbing. A garbage disposal ensures the sink drain is clear of blockage by grinding up waste until it can be safely rinsed down the drain.

There is a sanitary benefit to having a garbage disposal under your kitchen sink. Without one, you'll have to remove food and kitchen scraps by hand and place them in the trash. If you have rotting food waste sitting in a trash bag, odors can build up over time. Also, the rotting food can attract unwanted pests to your outdoor trash can.

A new garbage disposal can save time on cleaning. You can allow certain types of food debris to go down the drain, which makes cleanup faster and more sanitary. When using this device, remember not to send grease, bones and fiber-based substances down the drain. Also, refrain from putting a lot of potato peels, pasta, rice and other expandable foods down the disposal.


Features of Modern Garbage Disposals

Technological Features

  • Higher horsepower on a garbage disposal unit ensures optimal performance. Typically, units range between 1/3 HP and 1 HP.
  • Many models feature noise reducing capabilities, making them up to 60 percent quieter than standard garbage disposals.
  • Grind stages vary from single-stage grinds to three-stage grinds, and some devices feature an auto-reverse grind system.
  • Grind chamber capacities usually range between 26 oz. and 40 oz.

Design Features

  • Certain types of garbage disposals feature stainless steel components and pieces, which can last longer than other constructions because they're less prone to corrosion.
  • Anti-jamming mechanisms prevent jams during pulverization. Low horsepower garbage disposals, particularly those between 1/3 and 1/2 HP, have a tendency to jam.

Types of Garbage Disposals

Continuous-Feed Garbage Disposals

These models can be run continuously using a wall-mounted switch or an air disposal switch.

  • Can continuously add food waste into the disposal as it grinds
  • Are typically less expensive than other models
  • Requires cold water to be run while turned on 
  • Features an uncovered design
  • Available with anti-jam settings
continuous feed disposal

Continuous-feed garbage disposals are best for…

Home cooks: If you cook up gourmet-style meals, you might have more food waste. This model can handle the large number of scraps that accumulate while preparing a meal. Just remember to keep cold water running while operating it.


Very tidy people: Continuous-feed means you can keep your home cleaner during and after food prep. Simply keep the disposal and water running while you throw food waste into the disposal as you clean.

Batch-Feed Garbage Disposals

As the name suggests, batch-feed garbage disposals work by grinding up your waste in small bunches.

  • Runs only when plugged in
  • Works when the chamber is filled and covered tightly
  • Comes with a cover or stopper to help eliminate jams when foreign objects are accidentally dropped into the disposal
Batch-Feed Garbage Disposals

Batch-feed garbage disposals are best for…

Small households: Because the device is limited on what it can hold and when it can run, these models are better suited for households with less waste.



Families with small children: Bath-feed disposals only operate when plugged in and don't run without being covered. This makes these devices safer options in homes with small children.

Bottom Line

A garbage disposal is necessary in any kitchen for proper disposal of food waste and making cleanup less messy. If your food preparation includes a great deal of food scraps, a continuous-feed garbage disposal is an ideal option because it handles larger amounts of waste and ensures faster cleanup time. However, if you don't cook much or want a safer choice in household with young children, consider a batch-feed garbage disposal. This device won't run without a lid or being plugged in beforehand. No matter which you choose, both models have similar features that will get the job done efficiently and prevent clogging.