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Do I need a new garbage disposal?

Do I need a new garbage disposal?

28th Nov 2019

What Size Garbage Disposal Do I Need?

Picking a garbage disposal can be a daunting task, as there are numerous types, sizes, and shapes out there, and many of them might not even work for your sink area. This guide will take you through the process of deciding if you need a new disposal, as well as giving you a comprehensive walkthrough of the various types and makes.

We’re not just experts in trash cans and finding the right ones for the job--we’re also very knowledgeable about garbage disposals and other kitchen equipment. Read on to discover more!

Do I need a new garbage disposal?

Here’s the deal--there are a number of things that can be fixed or replaced with a garbage disposal, but often replacing the whole operation is cheaper than repair. However, if you’re just facing a simple clog, don’t replace the whole kit and kaboodle. However, if you’ve got one of these problems it’s time for a replacement:

  • Frequent resets required - If you’re constantly having to reset your disposal, it likely means that it’s time for a replacement, the motor’s likely wearing out.
  • Terrible persistent odor - If there’s a persistent odor, it might be time for a thorough deep cleaning, but that might not be enough. A worn disposal will more commonly have gross odors over and over again.
  • Chopping is ineffective - If the disposal is not doing what it’s supposed to--disposing, it’s likely time for a new one.
  • Dramatic leakage - If you’re seeing a lot of leakage, it could mean that your disposal has suffered serious enough damage to warrant replacement.
  • Constant clogging - Constant clogging means your disposal is probably not as effective at chopping as it used to be, and unfortunately, this problem will only compound over time.

Motor size

Let’s talk horsepower.

A unit of horsepower is a bizarre antiquated term that refers to roughly a unit of power equal to 550 foot-pounds per second. Imagine that force being applied to food, and you have your motor size and power. A ½ horsepower motor will likely only be suited for smaller foods and soft ones going down the disposal, so if you’re looking for something a bit more powerful, make the leap to a ¾ or 1HP motor. That will ensure that everything gets chopped satisfactorily.

Grinding chamber and opening

Depending on the size of the motor you choose, you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting a garbage disposal with an appropriately sized chamber for the amount of traffic it’s going to be seeing. Because higher horsepower motors can apply more torque than smaller horsepower ones, and that means a larger chamber.

Mainly garbage disposals offer stainless steel grinding chambers, but this isn’t really necessary, as the majority of the time the chamber stays pretty clean. You want to make sure to regularly clean the rubber that covers the drain, as that’s much more likely to get dirty. Additionally, stainless steel can be more susceptible to damage from bones (which you probably shouldn’t be throwing down the disposal anyway).


Depending on your existing plumbing setup, your pipes might not be able to handle a garbage disposal. Making sure that the attachments for the disposal and the sink drain and its drainpipe can handle the additional waste that will be traveling down it from your new disposal. Additionally, some sizes of disposal won’t fit in some plumbing, so if you’re confused or have any questions, make sure to consult a plumber first.

One additional thing to check as well is if there is an outlet/switch and wiring setup ready in your kitchen. If there’s no outlet below your sink, one will need to be installed as well as wiring in a switch to turn the disposal on and off. Some can be powered on through a switch directly on the disposal, but this can be inconvenient.

Dishwasher attachment

If you have a dishwasher, connecting it to your disposal is a must, so food scraps from the dishwasher can be funneled into the disposal and easily removed.

Fancy features

Garbage disposals have many fun additional features that can make your life easier. Here are a few to think about:

  • Auto-reverse - Auto-reverse is a great feature that allows you to spin the motor of the disposal the opposite direction, which goes a long way towards preventing clogs and other bits of debris from creating trouble.
  • Enzyme reservoir - Enzyme reservoirs in garbage disposals send enzymes that help break down food as it passes through your drain, which overall reduces the probability of clogs and stuff like that.
  • Sound baffles - Want a garbage disposal that runs like a stealth bomber? No problem. Disposals with sound baffles will grind muffled, so you’ll have a quiet time.

Great disposals to explore

  • InSinkErator - This 1HP disposal is quiet, powerful, and will destroy anything you toss down it.
  • General Electric GFC320N - A quiet disposal with an easy-to-use reset switch.
  • InSinkErator Badger - Perfect for smaller sinks, this ⅓ HP disposal is great for smaller kitchens and spaces.
  • Waste King L-2600 - ½ HP motor with continuous feed and no expertise required to install.

That’s about it for deciding on a garbage disposal. If you’ve got more questions or need great trash receptacles for any type of disposal, browse our excellent line of products, or be in touch with out best-in-class service team for more information. Happy grinding and disposing!