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Using a garbage disposal is environmentally friendly and keeps your kitchen clean. We conducted hours of research to find the best garbage disposals, evaluating each model on its horsepower, noise, chamber material, and installation process. Our best overall pick is the InSinkErator Badger 5, ½ HP Continuous Feed Garbage Disposal, because it offers ½ horsepower, has galvanized steel components, and is affordable.
Here are the best garbage disposals to keep your plumbing clear and your sink tidy.
Best Overall: InSinkErator Badger 5 0.5 HP Continuous Feed Garbage Disposal with Power Cord
Galvanized steel components
30-day return policy
Who else recommends it? Simply Recipes and This Old House also picked the InSinkErator Badger 5.
What do buyers say? 94% of 11,900+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
InSinkErator is one of the best-known names in garbage disposals and has a long history of reliability and customer service. The Badger 5 is our top pick because it's powerful, has galvanized steel components, and it's a great fit for a variety of households.
This garbage disposal has ½ horsepower, which is the typical recommended amount for most households. The grind components are made of sturdy galvanized steel, so you can be sure that they won’t rust or wear down quickly. This garbage disposal balances value with performance, so it's an easy choice for anyone looking to upgrade their kitchen.
One of our favorite features of this garbage disposal is how easy it is to install, considering it is a hard-wired garbage disposal. The kit comes with assembly instructions and everything that you need for installation. If you do have problems, the company offers responsive customer service as well as a 30-day return policy.
Best Budget: Waste King L-111 Garbage Disposal with Power Cord
2-year protection plan
Not great for extensive use
Generally, lower horsepower means lower cost when it comes to garbage disposals. The ⅓ horsepower unit from Waste King offers homeowners the chance to purchase a quality garbage disposal without breaking the bank. It has an EZ mount and power cord for easy installation and a 2-year protection plan in case you have any issues.
The lower horsepower does mean that this garbage disposal won’t be able to handle as many large or tough jobs, so this is an ideal choice for occasional use. If you plan on running your disposal after most meals or meal prep, opting for a higher horsepower unit might be worth the higher cost.
Best Splurge: InSinkErator Evolution Prestige Continuous Feed Noise Insulation Garbage Disposal
Power cord not included
A couple of standout features make the high-end InSinkErator Evolution Prestige garbage disposal worth the cost: Its high horsepower can tackle just about any disposal job with an ultra-quiet performance. It also has a large capacity of 40 ounces, which is almost double some of the other garbage disposals on our list.
You will need to purchase a power cord separately if required, which is an additional cost for an already pricey garbage disposal. The other option is to hard-wire the unit, but you will need some electrical know-how to do that yourself.
Best Stainless Steel: Waste Maid 1/3 Builder Anti-Jam Stainless Steel Garbage Disposal
Stainless steel construction
Power cord included
Another ⅓ horsepower option, the Waste Maid Anti-Jam Stainless Steel garbage disposal is a great budget-friendly choice that offers stainless steel durability. It also has an anti-jam system to tackle bigger particles than other ⅓ horsepower garbage disposals. This garbage disposal is easy to install with the standard 3-bolt mount assembly. It also comes with a power cord so that all you need to do is plug it in to get it started.
Best High Horsepower: Moen GXS75C Host Series 3/4 HP Continuous Feed Garbage Disposal
Needs professional installation
The Moen GXS75C model has ultra-high horsepower to tackle food waste of any kind. It is designed for daily use, so you can chop and get rid of your toughest veggies without worry. It also features sound reduction for a quieter performance, so you can still enjoy a TV show while meal prepping. The only downside is that you will need professional help with installation unless you have the knowledge required to wire it yourself.
Best Low Horsepower: InSinkErator Badger 1/3 HP Garbage Disposal
Steel chamber and blade
Another Badger model from the InSinkErator garbage disposal line, this unit has ⅓ horsepower and is excellent value for what it brings to the table. This garbage disposal is ideal for lighter loads and occasional use. It does require hard-wiring, which may be better left to a professional. InSinkErator garbage disposals are known for their durability, and this model has a galvanized steel chamber and stainless steel blade. Even though this is a smaller model, it's still incredibly powerful.
Best for Septic Systems: InSinkErator Septic Assist Quiet Series ¾ HP Continuous Feed Garbage Disposal
Solution breaks down food before it gets to septic system
Power cord sold separately
Septic systems have unique plumbing needs, and the last thing you want is to clog or damage your system with particles that aren’t septic-safe. The InSinkErator Septic Assist garbage disposal has a Bio-Charge solution that helps break down food waste even more before it gets to your septic system.
This garbage disposal has a powerful ¾ horsepower motor, ensuring that larger food pieces, including bones and fibrous vegetables, are demolished. It features sound seal technology for a quieter performance. It comes with a Quick Lock mount system that allows it to be easily installed, although you will probably want to hire a professional for electrical hookup unless you are an expert. If you need a power cord, you will have to purchase it separately.
Best for Large Sinks: Waste King Legend Series 3/4 HP Continuous Feed Sound-Insulated Garbage Disposal
Power already run
Splash guard included
No sound insulation
For large sinks that need to handle a good amount of food waste, the Waste King L-3200 garbage disposal provides a ¾ horsepower motor without taking up a lot of extra space under your sink. It is also easy to install since it includes a power cord. Be prepared for some noise since this is a higher horsepower disposal and doesn’t have any sound insulation.
An included splash guard will keep your sink's interior sparkling and help ward off any unwanted odors. When it’s time to clean the disposal, remove the splash guard to use the cleaner of your choice. The disposal comes with an 8-year warranty standard if you have any issues.
Best for Small Sinks: InSinkErator Evolution Compact 3/4 HP Continuous Feed Garbage Disposal with Power Cord
Quick Lock mount works with other InSinkErator models
Power cord sold separately
Ideal for smaller spaces, the InSinkErator Evolution Compact garbage disposal has a shorter height than other garbage disposals. It works well even for high-use kitchens since it has a high horsepower motor and a two-stage grinding system. It uses a standard 3-bolt assembly, but you must purchase a power cord separately. Hard-wiring is required, so electrical expertise is recommended for installation.
Our top pick is the InSinkErator Badger 5, ½ HP Continuous Feed Garbage Disposal. It is a great mix of value and performance, with ½ HP and galvanized steel components. For something more affordable, consider the Waste King L-111 Garbage Disposal with Power Cord. It has a lower horsepower, so is ideal for occasional disposal or smaller amounts of food waste.
What to Look for When Buying a Garbage Disposal
Garbage disposals can come in batch feed options or continuous feed options. Batch feed disposals are less common and require a special magnetic piece to be in place before the garbage disposal will operate. Continuous feed disposals are functional and only require that you flip a power switch. Batch feed models are great when you want to make sure that nothing accidentally goes through the garbage disposal. Continuous feed models, which we recommend, are very popular for residential kitchens.
Garbage disposals come in a variety of horsepower, with the majority coming in at ½ or ¾ horsepower. These will both work for most households. Low horsepower models can be rated at ⅓ horsepower, but you should be aware of the limitations of these garbage disposals when it comes to grinding up larger pieces of food. Extra high horsepower disposals (those of 1 horsepower) are most commonly found in commercial kitchens and will be more than most home chefs need.
“A ½ or ¾ horsepower garbage disposal should work for most needs,” says plumbing installation expert Bill Richmond of BR Plumbers. “For most users, it’s best to spend money on other features like a quiet disposal rather than high horsepower that they don’t need.”
The garbage disposal chamber can be made of a strong corrosion-resistant polymer, galvanized steel, or stainless steel. All are made to work with the wear and tear of running a garbage disposal. It’s also important to know what the blade is made of to ensure that it holds up. These are often made of stainless steel.
Your specific sink setup may dictate what type of installation you need for your garbage disposal. Start by mounting the actual disposal under your sink. Many come with a 3-bolt mounting assembly that makes it easy to change out in the future. You will also need to set up the plumbing. Fortunately, most garbage disposals come with everything that you need. If you have an electrical outlet below your sink, look for a garbage disposal with a cord. Sometimes you can purchase a cord separately, but that will add to the overall cost. It is more common to have garbage disposals hard-wired. While it is not a difficult installation, it’s always best to work with a professional electrician if you are not experienced with electrical work.
Some garbage disposals have special mechanisms that prevent larger food particles from jamming the device. These can help ensure that the garbage disposal continues to work properly, lasts longer, and prevents issues from developing with your plumbing. If you have a septic system, it is very important to get a garbage disposal that will keep your system clear and functional.
Garbage disposals can be quite loud, especially those with high-power motors. That’s why many include sound insulation or noise reduction. Choosing a garbage disposal with noise reduction technology can lower the noise of your garbage disposal so that you can even hold a conversation next to the sink while the disposal is running.
What can and cannot go into a garbage disposal?
Generally, all food waste can go into the garbage disposal. This includes soft and leafy foods such as strawberry tops and leftover salad greens. For higher horsepower models, this can also include hard food waste, such as bones. A few things to avoid putting down the disposal include fibrous vegetables like celery, coffee grounds, egg shells, fruit pits, and any grease. It’s always best to read your garbage disposal’s user manual to find out what foods it can handle.
How do you unclog a garbage disposal?
Minor clogs can be broken down using a combination of baking soda and vinegar. Pour baking soda down the disposal and follow it with white vinegar until it begins to foam. Let it foam for 20-30 minutes, which will dissolve the clog. Run hot water to wash any residue away and run the disposal to make sure it is operating properly.
For stubborn clogs, a plunger can help dislodge any large particles. You may also need to physically disconnect the disposal and remove any build-up in the unit itself or in the plumbing. Always make sure to unplug the disposal or turn off the power to the breaker, if hard-wired. If you are still unable to unclog the disposal, call a plumber to see if there is a larger issue that may be covered under your garbage disposal’s warranty. “It’s really best to call a plumber when you’re having issues,” says Richmond. “That last thing that you want is to keep running your disposal and to cause more damage.”
How do you clean a garbage disposal?
To clean a garbage disposal, start by cleaning the splash guard with dish soap. You may be able to run it through the dishwasher to get a thorough clean. Put a few ice cubes and lemon or orange slices into your garbage disposal to remove any food build-up and get a fresh citrus scent. You can also use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar to clear up any clogs that may be impacting the performance of your garbage disposal or causing odors.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was researched and written by Katie Begley, a freelance writer specializing in home and family products. Katie has been writing for The Spruce since 2019. For this roundup, Katie considered dozens of garbage disposal models, carefully evaluating each model’s horsepower, noise, installation type, and value. She also took hundreds of customer reviews and write-ups from third-party websites into account. Additional input was provided by North Carolina-based plumber Bill Richmond.