There are so many choices that we have to make when it comes to our home and the accessories we choose to put in them. From door knobs to paint colors to appliances - the choices can seem endless.

But, knowing what choices can save you time and money in the long run, will help you to make up your mind.

So, whether you are putting in a new garbage disposal or replacing one you've already had, how do you know what garbage disposal you would need? There are multiple questions to ask yourself. Questions about size, cost and power are the first ones that come to mind.

How Do I Know What Garbage Disposal To Buy?

There are many types and brands of garbage disposals available today - the best way to choose one is to consider the types of features that you would need.

For example: If you are the only person living in your home - you won't necessarily need a high powered disposal with a 2 HP motor. If you don't have an electrical outlet under your kitchen sink then you will want to either have one installed or consider a hard-wired garbage disposal.

Bottom line is there are multiple features to consider when deciding on which garbage disposal to get. Here's a list of the most common features in disposal units. You can decide from this list which would apply to your needs.

  • Motor power - there are a variety of power strengths when choosing a garbage disposal. The range is from 1/3 HP to 2 HP. The amount of power you choose depends on the amount of usage which is normally estimated by the number of people living in the house.
    • For 1 to 2 residents - a motor that is 1/3 HP or 1/2 HP should work well
    • For 3 to 6 residents - a motor of 1/2 HP to 3/4 HP should be enough
    • For 5 to 8 residents - a motor of 3/4 HP up to 1 HP is recommended
    • For 9 or more residents - a motor of 1 HP to 2 HP is recommended
    • We would also ask you to take into consideration the amount of cooking you do. Even if your household has only 2 members, if one or both of you do a considerable amount of cooking then you may want to consider increasing the recommended motor power of your garbage disposal.
  • How It's Powered - there are units that are powered by an electrical cord which you would plug in and others need to be hard wired into the electrical system
  • Septic System - if your home is using a septic tank you may think that you should avoid installing a garbage disposal but that's not necessarily the case. You can read more about this in our article Can You Have A Garbage Disposal With A Septic System. Yes, there are precautions to take but you CAN have a disposal unit. You want to choose a garbage disposal that does a very good job of grinding what you put in it. Look for disposal units that are compatable with septic systems.
  • Auto Reverse Mode - most garbage disposal owners have experienced a jammed disposal unit at one time or another. Getting one with an auto reverse mode may help with that. Reversing how the blades normally turn may remove the food that is jamming the unit.
  • Safety Cover - if you have small children or elderly living in your home a disposal unit with a safety feature may be a good choice. The safety cover prevents the disposal unit from turning on if the cover is not in place.
  • Warranty - if you are interested in having a warranty for your product - you may want to see what types of warranties each unit that you are considering offers. If all else is equal - a longer warranty on a product may sway you towards that particular product.

What Makes A Good Garbage Disposal?

A "good" garbage disposal will be different for each household. Depending on your specific needs, how often you would use it, are you on a septic tank or not, etc. all play a part in rating which garbage disposal fits your situation the best.

The features we listed above should help you to decide what makes a good garbage disposal good for your family.

How Expensive Is It To Replace A Garbage Disposal?

Beyond the cost of the garbage disposal - there is a fee for having it installed - which is normally anywhere from $100 to $150 dollars.

Of course, if you are handy you can certainly work on installing a disposal unit yourself. But if you run into complications, we recommend you call in a professional plumber to get the job done for you.

How To Choose A Garbage Disposal

If you do decide on installing a disposal unit, here are some tips on how to choose the best one for you.

  1. There are basically 2 types of garbage disposals:
    • Continuous Feed - runs as long as the switch is turned on. So you can keep putting food down the disposal while it's running.
    • Batch Feed - runs only when you put the cover on. So, you can only put so much food in the disposal, run it and then repeat the process.
  2. What horsepower can you afford? The biggest difference between least expensive and most expensive disposals is the amount of horsepower (how powerful they are). It ranges from 3¼ to 1 full horsepower motors.

    Basically, if your household has one or two members, you can probably do very well with the 3¼ horsepower motor but if you have a large family, well it may be worth it to go for as powerful a motor as you can afford.

  3. The noise factor can be a deciding issue. Again, many of the more expensive garbage disposals come with noise dampening materials that reduce the noise (but don't eliminate it of course).
  4. Stainless steel parts. If you plan to live with your disposal for many, many years you may want to consider getting one that has stainless steel parts. These resist corrosion which in turn gives the disposal a longer and healthier life!

If you have any questions about your garbage disposal or are having some problems with it, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-443-8229. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.