How to Select a Great Garbage Disposal

Although garbage disposals aren’t found in every kitchen, we’re increasingly viewing them as a necessity. They help reduce waste both for your home and even in the environment. They are also incredibly convenient once they’ve been installed.

However, disposals are a bigger deal than most people realize. Contrary to popular belief, they are not all the same; cheaper certainly isn’t always better.

In this case, we’re talking about an appliance connected directly to your plumbing, and one that is trusted to break down certain food scraps enough to prevent clogged drains. So, read on for our best tips on how to find the best garbage disposal for your home.Garbage Disposal

Are you Allowed to Own a Garbage Disposal?

Believe it or not, some HOAs and even local governments actually prohibit you from using a garbage disposals in your home. This is because food particles can increase the strain on shared sewage systems and water treatment plants.  

This is especially true if the disposal is a cheap model that does a poor job or even a quality unit that isn’t being used properly. Additionally, you may need to purchase a permit or upgrade your septic tank before installing a disposal.

Therefore, check local regulations and your community’s mandates before purchasing a garbage disposal. You could be especially prone to restrictive regulations if you live in an arid environment.

Why Quality Matters More Than Price

We’re always looking for opportunities to save money, and for good reason. However, selecting the cheaper option now may actually cost more in the future. Quality parts will naturally cost more, and that holds true for the types of metal used for disposal blades as well as the number of blades.

Additionally, motors with more horsepower will do a better job of grinding food particles and typically last longer. Also, many disposals feature some type of filter that will prevent larger food bits from escaping the blades and washing down into the pipes. Needless to say, you may need to spend a little more now to avoid an expensive garbage disposal replacement or even plumbing repairs later.

Garbage Disposal Motors

Motors for garbage disposals are typically measured in relation to horsepower. For example, some have a rating of 1/3 horsepower, while others may reach up to an entire horsepower. While these ratings tend to be phenomenal for what a disposal does, higher is still better.

The more torque powering the grinding of your food particles, the faster it will get down and with greater efficiency. It also controls the rotations per minute (measured in RPM), which, among other things, helps prevent larger food particles from escaping the disposal’s blades and falling into your pipes. Unless you’re planning a light load for your disposal (and plan to use it infrequently), it’s best to select a motor with at least ½ horsepower.

Batch Feed or Continuous Feed?

In general, most garbage disposals are either batch or continuous feed. Would you rather feed all waste into the garbage disposal continuously or do so one batch at a time? The answer may seem obvious, but there are a few considerations. Ultimately, the best garbage disposal for you will depend. Continuous feeds are the most common (except where prohibited by law). As you may have guessed, these are the ones that run nonstop while turned on. Obviously, food volumes shred more quickly and the unit cleans itself as long as the water is running. These are also the more affordable options.

However, more care is needed when using a continuous feed disposal. Since it doesn’t stop running, anything that falls into its spinning blades will get caught. Also, these tend to have a higher chance of flinging food particles back out of the sink, though there are rubber seals and guards to at least help prevent this from happening. It is especially important to prevent your hands from getting too close.

Batch feed garbage disposals

Rather than a large hole that remains open, batch feed garbage disposals actually require a cap or stopper to operate. All food waste must be inserted and the lid until closed before it will even operate. As a result, it will take longer to grind larger amounts of waste. However, it will also reduce water consumption. Further there’s no chance of other objects accidentally falling in during operation or a chance of someone accidentally putting their hand too deep while grinding. Additionally, the stopper will prevent any particles from flinging out.

If you do choose a batch feed garbage disposal, avoid the temptation to leave food waste sitting inside the unit until a more convenient time. Doing this will lead to bacterial growth and possibly even mold. As the waste rots, it may also seep into the inner components of the disposal. Over time, this will lead to foul odors that are difficult to remove and clogging of the unit’s components. Even worse, it may void your warranty.

If you select a continuous feed garbage disposal, remember to keep safety in mind. This is especially true for children, who may decide to see “test” the limits of your unit. You don’t want them grinding materials unnecessarily, and you certainly wouldn’t want them to use a continuous feed disposal unsupervised. Educate them on the real and persistent danger. Also, make it more difficult for smaller children to reach the sink or access the disposal’s on switch.

Ultimately, the best garbage disposal will vary among consumers, depending upon their intended use. Consider your own typical waste loads and the amount of time you can devote to proper cleaning. Keep safety in mind and take precautions as necessary.

Also, we cannot stress enough that you must check local regulations to ensure that disposals are even legal or allowed. It may take some time, but they will eventually find out that you illegally using a disposal, even if you are careful to grind waste into very fine particles.

Finally, remember, don’t automatically select a particular unit just because it’s the cheapest option. It could cost you far more in the long run.