When you’re buying a new disposal unit, you should look for key features on the different models when carrying out your research. I’ve highlighted most of these in the garbage disposal features chart, but here’s more information to help you compare the feature set from different manufactures:
This is a measure of the power of the electric motor inside the unit. The motor spins a series of blades and grinding wheels that chop and grind the food. The greater the power, the greater the ability of the unit to cope with lots of use and bigger, harder items (like bones). There are three main bands of horsepower:
0.50 horsepower garbage disposal: this and the smaller 0.30 hp units are designed for light use, typically coping with the waste produced by an individual living alone.
0.75 horsepower garbage disposals: three quarter horsepower units are designed for typical family use and so are the most popular models sold. These will cope with most food waste that is generated from a single meal.
1.00 horsepower garbage disposals: these are heavy-duty units that are designed for large families and offices.
You don’t want to drown out the conversation in the kitchen with a disposal unit that’s too noisy! Make sure you read the user reviews when making a final choice.
Installing a garbage disposal unit is not particularly difficult if you are confident with some basic pipework and wrench. However, most folk find it easier to get a local handyman or plumber in to make sure there are no leaks! If you want to tackle the job yourself, it shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours.
When comparing models, make sure you check the size of the unit to be sure there’s enough space under your sink.
Almost all units now have robust stainless steel grinding blade,s discs and chambers, so they’re all similarly durable (assuming you don’t regularly over-load the unit because you chose too low a horsepower rating).
Continuous Feed vs Batch Feed
There are two main types of operating mode for disposers: continuous feed and batch feed.
A continuous feed garbage disposer is most commonly used operating method – the unit needs to be switched (or the unit switches on automatically via a sensor) and you need to turn on the faucet so there’s plenty of water running through the unit. The motor in the unit then operates continuously whilst you push food into the plug hole opening. Once you’ve finished, switch off the unit and then turn off the faucet a few seconds later.
To operate a batch feed disposer, you need to push food waste into the unit, then insert a plug into the plug hole which switches on the motor in the unit which crushes and disposes the waste. This is safer and means the unit isn’t running continuously, but it’s not as convenient as being able to feed food waste into the unit. Read our quick guide to the top batch feed disposal units.