How To Choose The Best Garbage Disposal

Insinkerator Evolution Series - Some of the quietest garbage disposals available

Home owners are no strangers to making choices.

From what home to buy to what color to paint the walls, the process of owning a home and making it yours is one full of choices.

For those facing the choice of what garbage disposal to purchase, we’ll break it down for you as we look at how exactly to choose the best disposal.

Most Important Features

Technology being what it is today, there are so many features offered with every appliance that recognizing the most important features can be overwhelming.

In the case of choosing a garbage disposal, the following is a list of features we think rate high on the list to evaluate:

  1. Brand
  2. Power
  3. Easy Installation
  4. Performance

1. Brand

The first step is to narrow down your search to include a few reputable companies.

This is an important first step because it really helps you cut out a lot of the leg work that goes into researching every last disposal on the market. Honing in on a couple of companies you feel comfortable with is a good way to ensure the rest of your search will meet a baseline of quality, rather than trying to vet individual products.

Waste King L-3300 Garbage Disposal Under 150

We have reviewed many disposals and have often returned to those offered by InSinkErator, Waste King and Moen.

These brands have all been around for a number of decades, with generally high ratings in a variety of criteria (including cost and performance as well as installation).

2. Power

Once you’ve found a couple of really good companies, you can narrow down your search for a disposal based on how much power you need.

If you aren’t familiar with the different horse power ratings and which one you need, the best thing to do is think in terms of how much use the disposal will get and what sorts of food waste will go in it.

For instance, those who live alone or with one other person and don’t do a lot of food prep at home will likely only need 1/3 horse power (HP) garbage disposal for the occasional small scraps of food. On the other hand, large families or those who prepare a lot of different dishes at home on a regular basis will be much better off purchasing a 1 horse power (HP) disposal which can easily handle grinding up fibrous foods like vegetable and citrus peels as well as much more food waste at a time.

If you don’t think either of these describes your situation, you are probably best suited for a 1/2-3/4 horse power (HP) model, somewhere in the middle.

These disposals are sure to help with clean up and can handle some waste but don’t necessarily require babying.

3. Easy Installation

Easy Installation is crucial for the DIYer or anyone not in a position to hire a plumber or electrician to install their disposal.

You can find the perfect disposal but if its a bear to put in or requires a costly visit from a pro, what is the point? Don’t get me wrong, there are going to be times when you will have to rely on the expertise of a general contractor or just a friend with a bit more experience, but we don’t think that installing a garbage disposal needs to be one of those times.

The reality is there are plenty of models on the market with superior ratings for installation and many customers who claimed the installation process took them 20 minutes even though it was their first time. Make no mistake, a 20 minute installation as a newbie should not be your expectation, and we aren’t saying that is the norm.

However, the process certainly doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg and take up an entire day.

4. Performance

Lastly, consider the performance rating of the model you purchase.

Obviously no single disposal is perfect and there will always be that outlying customer that had a fluke problem and wasn’t satisfied.

But in general, what are folks saying about the model in question?

What does the manufacturer offer in terms of warranty?

Both can be good indications of how long you can reasonably expect the disposal to last. There are plenty of excellent disposals out there that last and last and rarely, if ever jam or struggle to handle everyday food waste.

Other Features

Although these are the big four features that you should most heavily consider, there are a lot of other features offered in disposals that are worth consideration.

From included splash guard and power cords to a narrow, light-weight low profile model, most companies have choices that run the gamut.

Noise and cost are other things to keep on your radar as well.

InSinkErator Evolution Compact 3-4 HP Garbage Disposal

Lots of people want a super quiet disposal which may be personal preference but definitely something to think about. Some are a bit more costly and there are often “bells and whistles” you are paying for which may or may not be worth the price. Those made of stainless steel lugs and other grinding components won’t rust, contributing to the “Performance” feature on our list, while some with galvanized steel parts can also live a long life.

Getting even more technical, the kind of motor and the RPM rating could be something you might want to familiarize yourself with. RPMs generally equal how likely the grinding chamber is to jam. The higher the number, the less likely you will be using an Alan wrench to free your carrot peels from the disposal. Different motors can also affect the likelihood of jams. Magnet motors are the newest variety and boast much less jamming due to increased torque and speed compared to older induction motor models.

All of this information is worth gathering and weighing along with cost and the reviews about customer service which can turn a good situation into a bad one quickly or vice versa.


If you are thinking about purchasing a disposal we hope this list has made you less overwhelmed about the process, and given you a few things worth taking into consideration.

There are lots of excellent choices for garbage disposals that check all the boxes we’ve mentioned and then some.

We hope this will help you find the one that is right for you.

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