In this article we're looking at a few of the quietest garbage disposal options based on the manufacturer-provided noise-reduction features, first-hand experience, and user reviews. All garbage disposals have varying levels of noise, which is related to the pwoer of the motor, the number of grinding stages, whether it uses a continuous feed, and what kind of mechanisms have been put in place to minimize noise.
If you'd rather take a look at some of the best overall garbage disposal options, start there and then you can narrow in on the quietest option from the brand or model you like.
Many brands will have varying levels of noise control which impact cost. Here's a quick little demo of what the differences in "quiet" levels would sound like (I took this video in a Lowes in Virginia):
Here's what I'd recommend if you're looking for the quietest garbage disposals:
3 Quietest Garbage Disposals
All of these garbage disposals are shielded for noise control around the motor, which is almost like having a silencer on a hand gun. And while you can still hear them, they're considerably quieter than units that don't have any kind of noise minimizing in place.
They're predictably more expensive, but that's very common for quiet garbage disposals, just because of the increased cost of the technology required to make them.
Instead of hearing a loud grind, you'll hear more of a subdued humming sound that's more muffled, almost like putting a pillow over your mouth when you talk.
If you're looking for a combination of quality and quiet, let's go over the four garbage disposals recommended above in more detail.
1. InSinkErator Evolution Excel
While I haven't actually bought and tested the InSinkErator Evolution Excel, I have heard it operate and can attest that it's really quiet. Whether it's the "quietest on the market" as the product description claims, is up for debate. However, it's definitely one of the smoothest I've ever been able to hear.
This model uses something called SoundSeal which I believe is a patented product by InSinkErator.
It's also a multi-stage grinder (three total) rated at 1 HP, so not only are you getting a very quiet garbage disposal, but it's also quite powerful. With multiple grinding stages and a full HP rating, it can handle heavier items like fibrous vegetables and even bones.
There's no question it's pricier than most models, but personally, if and when we were to do another kitchen renovation, this is the model I would most likely buy.
2. Waste King Knight A1SPC
Again, you get a 1 HP motor with at 2800 RPM for a powerful grinder that's also insulated to keep things quiet.
Note that Waste King provides a lifetime warranty that applies as long as you're the original purchaser of the unit (doesn't apply if you buy one used or second-hand). In and of itself, this is a great feature to have in a garbage disposal, regardless of the noise levels.
And while this unit is not as quiet as the InSinkErator models, it's still far less disruptive than units without any kind of noise protection.
Here are a few other features I like:
- Stainless steel components
- Includes power cord (some disposals don't for some reason)
- Continuous feed
- Entirely metal mounting system
The spinner makes a dulled whirring noise that gets more noticeable when food waste is put down the sinkhole.
This particular model also has a universal mounting system which means it'll be easier to install and likely to fit with most sinks.
3. Moen GX50C
The Moen GX50C isn't as powerful as the other disposals in this list, but it is extremely quiet and uses a similar sound shielding material that isolates the motor and also helps to prevent noisy vibrations while food is grinding. You get 1/2 HP for the motor running at 2600 RPM, so it's almost par in terms of power.
In the following graphic, you can see how the material encases the motor inside the unit and reduces noise:
I like this unit for smaller homes with less people, or perhaps in apartments where you don't cook at home quite as much. You save some money by going with a less powerful garbage disposal, but still get a similar noise reduction system as what we seen in the InSinkErator models.
Here are a few more perks worth mentioning:
- Universal mounting system
- Pre-installed power cord
- Four-year in-home warranty
I do wish the warranty on this unit was a little longer, especially when we're seeing lifetime in-home warranties on some of the other models. But at the price, it's still a great value disposal if you manage the workload. If you avoid dumping food waste in that's too heavy, you aren't likely to need repairs anyway.
How to Help Your Garbage Disposal Run Quieter
All garbage disposals, whether or not their motors have been insulated, will produce a certain amount of noise when you run them. However, there are a few simple things you can do to make it run quieter in general.
- Only run your garbage disposal with running water
- Avoid putting hard or fibrous items into the disposal
- Clean the disposal once every couple of months
- Add exterior padding like pillows or blankets around your garbage disposal (if you have room underneath the sink)
All of these are simple steps you can take to make sure your garbage disposal is running as quietly as possible.
Are more powerful garbage disposals noisier?
While there's a small difference in noise levels between 1/2 HP and 1 HP garbage disposals, it's hard to notice if neither of them have noise prevention. They'll both just sound loud, where you'll only be slightly better off with the lower-rated motor.
The only factor that significantly impacts noise levels is the sound-proofing technology we've mentioned.
If that's listed as a feature, power levels of the motor aren't going to make much of a noticeable difference.
About Quiet Garbage Disposals
What makes a garbage disposal quieter?
A quiet garbage disposal may seem like a basic expectation for homeowners but - in reality - low noise levels in a disposal shouldn't be taken for granted and are hard to come by. Disposals vary in sound levels were many would not be considered quiet at all. So what makes the difference? Sound level boils down to a few key factors: Insulation, splash guard and (in some cases) the type of motor.
Types of SOund-Proofing Technology
Many companies have their own patented sound reducing technology. Some to look for are SoundShield, Exclusive Silencer Technology, SoundSeal, and SoundSealPlus. These systems all reduce sound on the disposals they come with as compared to the standard noise level of a garbage disposal which is about 80dB.
Brands that Most Commonly Implementing Sound Proofing
Some of our favorite brands for sound proofing are Moen, InSinkErator and Waste King which tend to have quieter disposals in comparison to other brands. Not only do these brands employ the aforementioned patented technology in their series of disposals but the reviews for these particular brands' sound reduction are consistently outstanding.
How to Compare Garbage Disposal Noise Levels
If you prefer to be extremely thorough in your research (or have trust issues when it comes to believing the testimony of strangers), let me give you a couple of bench marks to go by when it come to evaluating and comparing sound in a garbage disposal. As mentioned earlier the average decibel level of a garbage disposal is about 80dB. That's about the same level of sound as being in a noisy restaurant. A vacuum cleaner running is about 70dB and a whisper is around 25dB. On the other hand, a drill weighs in at 100dB and fireworks are at about 145dB. Hopefully that gives you an idea. If your standard for noise level in kitchen appliances is that of light rainfall or a bird singing outside your window, you should recognize that you will need to shop for a disposal at about half the decibel level of the average.
For those serious about getting that decibel level correct, consider downloading an app that can measure the sounds in question. Although not quite as accurate as an actual device designed to measure sound, Decibel Meter and Sound Level Meter are both apps that will work.
That said, the challenge then becomes getting your hands on the disposal in question. Familiarizing yourself with common examples of decibel levels and checking with the manufacturer about the claims of decibel level of the disposal you are considering may be the better approach to being sure you are satisfied with the noise level of a particular garbage disposal.
Price is definitely a consideration when shopping for disposals especially those with the higher-end technology that reduces noise. The good news is that even though some of the super quiet ones are much more expensive than their noisy counterparts, sound control technology often comes with other great features too.
Pros and Cons of Buying a Quiet Garbage Disposal
There are a couple of things to consider when settling on which disposal to purchase in reference to noise levels since all disposals are not created equal. If sound proofing rates high on your priority list, but capacity does not, then what may seem like a "con" of a quieter disposal to some may actually be a non issue for you.
Conversely, if noise is worth something but not nearly as much as horse power (HP) then having the "pro" of the top of the line silencing technology may not be that impressive.
Ultimately there are many factors involved in which disposal to choose and no single factor is always important to every consumer. With that in mind, we will take a look at some features that are generally associated with low noise level and try to parse out which are "pros" and which are "cons".
- Flexibility of use of your disposal is probably the biggest perceived "pro" of investing in a disposal with noise control technology. Although some don't necessarily mind the noise or have a particular need for quiet, for many homeowners a low noise level in kitchen appliances in general are a "make or break".
- Another benefit of a disposal with sound proofing technology is that usually these models come with all the "bells and whistles" that the top of the line has to offer. You would be hard pressed to find a garbage disposal with high-end noise control technology which was made poorly of cheap material or one that didn't also have good reviews for things like installation and performance.
- Cost is probably the biggest down side to a quiet disposal. Noise-reduction models are going to run you more than the basic, garden variety unit. If sound doesn't strike you as a super important feature, keep in mind that you are likely to save some money if you opt out of the latest noise control technology.
- Personal preference and expectation are other reasons that a quiet disposal may be viewed as a "con". There are people who do not prefer a super quiet garbage disposal for whatever reason. Often times these customers feel safer knowing that they can hear the disposal when it is on leaving no question of whether or not the unit is actively decimating food waste.
Making the Most of Your Quiet Garbage Disposal
In this section, we'll cover a few ways that you can get the most out of the your quiet garbage disposal. These points could apply to other disposals as well, regardless of how much they're able to reduce your kitchen's db levels.
Tip #1: Sink Pairing
When purchasing your disposal pay close attention to the reviews and manufacturer instructions about which sort of sink ideally pairs with your disposal. Most of the time these sound proofing disposals are great in any sink but occasionally a stainless sink or one made of other metal can negate some of the sound control and cause the sound to be slightly louder than when the same disposal is installed in a fireclay sink, for example.
Tip #2: Exterior Components (installation best practices)
In certain cases there is a particular sound proofing mechanism that must be installed a particular way which may or may not be feasible in your kitchen sink. Again, this largely depends on what sort of technology is involved in making the disposal quiet. Usually the noise level is related to the way the disposal is designed but sometimes a little digging can uncover a component that you don't have which could make a difference. Our advice is to thoroughly read through the manufacturer's instructions and claims and also read all the reviews related to noise level. Someone's experience with the installation process may prove helpful to getting the most out of your quiet disposal.
Tip #3: The Splash Guard
The last tip is to make sure you have the correct splash guard (or "baffle" as they are known technically). Thankfully this last tip is the easiest to follow since the disposal should come with the proper baffle, and using the one designed to work with your particular disposal can be the difference between effective sound proofing and offending noise levels.
Other Garbage Disposals to Consider
In addition to the units we have highlighted already, two models stand out as good potential choices if you are looking for more options.
- Although a good bit more expensive than most, the InSinkErator Pro 1100XL Pro Series 1 is pretty much the top of the line for lots of reasons, not least of which is exceptional sound control. In fact, more than one customer expressed a bit of "tongue-in-cheek" concern that they would leave the unit running because it was so quiet.
- The RINKMO FCD-710 is on the other end of the price spectrum and claims to be exceedingly quiet. The issue with this disposal is that not many reviews are available, but for those willing to take a bit of a risk, the low cost, claims of the company and limited number of excellent reviews may make this one a good choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are a couple of factors involved in making the disposal quiet, but arguably the most important is the plastic insulation that surrounds the top of the disposal as well as rubber where the grinding mechanism moves against the other parts of the disposal so as to limit movement and vibration. Additionally, a baffle made of rubber reduces sound especially when it is tightly installed and has a narrow opening which helps keep sound inside the disposal instead of releasing it into your kitchen.
The short answer is “yes”. Although the sound question varies from disposal to disposal, in many cases “quiet” seems to be well documented and a consensus among users. As I mentioned previously, anything near or under 40 db is going to seem much quieter than the "typical" disposal.
We think the RIMNKMO FCD-710 rates pretty low on the cost spectrum hovering right below $120 while also claiming significant noise reduction.
At the end of the day we say the score is tied between InSinkerator Evolution Excel 1HP and the InSinkErator Evolution Compact ¾ HP. Both are outstanding choices for low sound levesl as well as performance and easy installation.
When shopping for a garbage disposal, make sure you look for features that specify noise reduction and sound proofing. You'll see terms like the following:
- Noise Insulated
- Silencer Technology
- Quiet Operation
These are some of the most common types of verbiage used to describe the quietest garbage disposals. Look for a disposal you like, then see if you can find a version of it that has more noise protection. Often times manufacturers will build several versions of a disposal priced differently.
This does mean that you should expect to pay more for the quieter garbage disposal.
You can sometimes cut costs by going with a less powerful motor, but generally speaking, disposals with sound-proofing are just more costly to build.
The cost is then passed on to you, the consumer.
But, at the same time, I would argue that the quieter disposal is a much better option and worth the additional investment.