Grinding Components

Reading through my reviews of garbage disposal units you’ll see that I focus on the power of the electric motor in the device, together with information about the quality of the grinding components. For this article, I thought it worth explaining some of the basics about the components inside the disposer – why they’re important and why I focus on their build-quality!

From a user’s point of view, it’s easy: you push food waste in via the sink and ground pulp is pushed out into the plumbing and sewage system. In between these stages, the disposer is hard at work chopping and grinding the food waste using a number of metal wheels that spin at high speed to break up and crush the waste.

I’ve found that cheaper disposers use galvanized steel grinding wheels whilst the more expensive units have stainless steel mechanisms, but there are other important differences worth looking out for when you’re choosing your disposer.

  1. Grinding stages: Most manufacturers show the number of grinding stages that are used in a particular model – some models grind the food in a single stage, others have two or three stages, each with different sets of spinning wheels.
  2. Grinding materials: As I mentioned earlier, the wheels are made of steel, but the type and finish of steel will often determine the cost and durability of the unit.
  3. Grinding chamber: Sounds like a chamber of horrors, but the material that is used inside the disposer to hold the spinning grinding wheels is important since it can effectively reduce the noise of the unit when it’s working.

Let’s look at all three technologies:

Grinding stages

This defines the number of different sets of spinning grinding wheels that are used to crush and grind the food waste into pulp. Basically, the more stages there are the finer the waste is before it’s passed into your sewage system.

One Grinding stage

inSinkErator badger 5The cheapest models available generally only use a single grinding stage to chop and pulp the food waste. This means that the disposer can’t deal with some of the toughest food waste, and the unit will need a lot of running water to help wash through the unit and clear the waste. The advantage is that it’s cheaper to produce this type of unit so for small apartments or light waste disposal, it’s often a cost-effective choice.

You’ll find single stage garbage disposers are the least expensive but can’t deal effectively with bones, corn cobs or other tough waste.

A good disposer that uses a single stage grinding setup is the InSinkErator Badger

Two Grinding Stages

inSinkErator Evolution Compact 3-4A unit with a second grinding stage uses another set of steel wheels to crush the waste into finer particles: the material from the first stage that’s already been partly broken down is now liquefied.

A second stage helps to reduce the size of the particles of waste and normally reduces jams that the device will suffer. You’ll be able to feed tougher waste material into the garbage disposer without it jamming.

A good disposer that uses a two stage grinding setup is the InSinkErator Evolution Compact

Three Grinding Stages

inSinkErator Evolution Excel 1A disposer that features three grinding stages normally has a slightly different setup for the first stage – where the wheels cut and chop the waste, then the second and third stage wheels sets grind the waste into ever-smaller particles. Although this type of disposer is more expensive (it’s got more mechanical components inside it), you’ll find it can effectively deal with any food waste without jamming.

A good disposer with a three stage grinding system is the InSinkErator Evolution Excel.

Grinding Wheel Materials

The materials used to manufacture the grinding wheels are very important to their lifespan as a key component of the disposer. Cheaper units often use galvanized steel but the stainless steel used in more expensive units will last longer and stay sharp (and so remain effective at grinding) for longer.

Grinding Chamber Materials

The last part of the equation is the material used to surround the grinding wheels. If you take a set of metal wheels and spin them at high speed, they make a lot of noise. To try and reduce this, the top-of-the-range disposers have double-wall grinding chambers to reduce the noise. Another popular material in more expensive disposers is low-friction nylon (or plastic) chamber walls that not only cuts down the noise but reduces the friction as the food waste passes inside the chamber.

Review the Bestselling Garbage Disposal Units

To help you find the right disposer for your needs that includes the level of grinding you are likely to require, take a look at the list of bestselling units.

Bestseller No. 1
Waste King L-1001 Garbage Disposal with Power Cord, 1/2 HP
  • HIGH-SPEED MOTOR: The 1/2 HP, 2600 RPM (115v) permanent magnet motor jams less. Has dishwasher hookup
  • EASY INSTALLATION AND CLEANING: EZ Mount for a quick and easy kitchen sink installation, removable splashguard for easy cleaning
  • 2 YEAR PROTECTION: 2-year Limited. Corrosion resistant grinding components
  • NO ELECTRICAL EXPERTISE NEEDED: Pre-installed power cord, no electrical work required
  • LIGHTWEIGHT: Compact and lightweight garbage disposer saves space under the sink. Stainless steel and plastic sink flange
Bestseller No. 2
InSinkErator Garbage Disposal, Badger 5, 1/2 HP Continuous Feed,Black
  • RELIABLE & EASY INSTALL: Badger Series disposers are a reliable & functional choice when affordability is the prime concern, and features a compact, space-saving design that fits existing InSinkErator hardware for a quick and easy install.
  • DURABLE COMPONENTS: This garbage disposal features our exclusive 1/2 hp Dura-Drive Induction Motor and long lasting galvanized steel components to ensure a dependable grind for everyday food scraps.
  • AMERICA'S #1 DISPOSER BRAND: There are more American-built InSinkErator garbage disposals in US homes than all other brands combined. A full line of models means there's one right for every need and budget.
  • FASTER, CLEANER, SMARTER: From meal prep to cleanup, InSinkErator helps make it fast & easy to keep your kitchen clean with our iconic appliances: garbage disposals & instant hot water dispensers.
  • A HISTORY OF INNOVATION FOR THE SINK: We invented garbage disposals in 1927, & we're the world’s largest manufacturer of garbage disposals & instant hot water dispensers for home & commercial use.
Bestseller No. 3
Moen GX50C Prep Series 1/2 HP Continuous Feed Garbage Disposal with Sound Reduction, Power Cord Included, Black
  • PREP SERIES: Designed for those who slice, dice and peel as part of basic meal prep, and need a little more help with cleanup
  • POWERFUL GRINDING: 2,600 RPM, ½ horsepower Vortex motor provides fast, powerful grinding of everyday food scraps and helps reduce jamming
  • NOISE REDUCTION: Designed with SoundSHIELD sound-deadening insulation
  • SIMPLE SWAP: Fits most existing assemblies, including other brands; includes pre-installed power cord
  • SEPTIC SAFE: Safe to use with properly sized septic tanks
Bestseller No. 4
Moen GXS75C Host Series 3/4 HP Continuous Feed Garbage Disposal with Sound Reduction, Power Cord Included
  • HOST SERIES: Designed for those who frequently cook for guests and need advanced cleanup power
  • POWERFUL GRINDING: 2,700 RPM, ¾ horsepower Vortex motor provides fast, powerful grinding of tough food scraps and helps reduce jamming
  • NOISE REDUCTION: Designed with SoundSHIELD sound-deadening insulation
  • SIMPLE SWAP: Fits most existing assemblies, including other brand; includes pre-installed power cord; compact design is lightweight for easy installation and frees up valuable space under the sink
  • SEPTIC SAFE: Safe to use with properly sized septic tanks
SaleBestseller No. 5
Rejuvenate Garbage Disposal and Drain Pipe Cleaner Powerful Foaming Action and Removes Garbage Disposal Smells 6 Unit Pack Lavender Scent
  • Instantly cleans, maintains and deodorizes kitchen garbage disposals
  • Powerful foaming action scrubs away built-up food, grease and odors
  • Enzymes help break down food waste reducing frequency of septic tank pumping
  • Use weekly to maintain your kitchen disposer and drains
  • Effective for septic systems each package contains 6 lavender scented cleaning pods
Bestseller No. 6
The FryOilSaver Co. B36c Garbage Disposal Brush | Cleans Garbage Disposal Units & Removes Odors | Sturdy Grip Handle | Ergonomic T-Grip Handle | Universal Sink Disposal Cleaner | 12 Inches Long
  • CLEANS ODOR-CAUSING RESIDUE - Easily clean any odor causing residue or gunk with the FryOilSaver B36C sink disposal cleaning brush. This cleaning brush is designed to reach deep into drains to clean out any residue better than any other brand
  • ERGONOMIC T-GRIP HANDLE - Each brush is designed with an ergonomic T-grip handle to provide extra comfort, grip, and control while cleaning in drains
  • CLEAN WITH JUST HOT WATER - The FryOilSaver B36C is designed to clean sink disposal systems with only hot water. Achieve a superior clean with the FryOilSaver B36C
  • WORKS ON 90% OF FOOD DISPOSALS - Cleans in 90% of food disposals. Fits down pipes 2 inches or smaller. Designed to clean in hard to reach areas with ease
  • MADE IN THE USA - Proudly made in the USA since 1976
Bestseller No. 8
Waste King Garbage Disposal Air Switch Base and Control Unit - ARC-4200,Black
  • Air switch controller allows you to turn your disposal on and off with the touch of a button (ARC-4200 includes base unit only, switch button sold seperatly)
  • Easily mounts into existing sink hole or a 1-3/8 inch in the countertop
  • Perfect for island sinks or anywhere a wall switch is unavailable
  • Air switches sold separately in multiple finishes and coordinate with all kitchen faucet styles and finishes
  • Backed by Moen's Limited Lifetime Warranty