From technical point of view, garbage disposals are relatively simple devices. But that does not mean that all garbage disposers are created equal. Here are some of the things you should consider before buying a garbage disposer.
You have types of garbage disposals to choose from, continuous feed and batch feed. The continuous feed type is more convenient to use but a batch feed garbage disposal is safer. A batch-feed garbage disposer has a lid that must be closed before the grinding starts. This makes it impossible to get stuck with fingers in the grinding chamber. A batch-feed model is more awkward to use but for families with small children, the added safety can be worth the hassle. Batch feed disposers tend to be a little bit quieter than continuous feed models. Another small advantage of the batch feed model is that the lid also works as a power switch. You don’t need to worry about touching a power switch with wet hands. Despite the advantages of batch feed disposers most of the popular garbage disposals are continuous feed disposers.
How powerful garbage disposal you need depends on how much food waste your household generates and what kind of food waste it is. For small household with no tough food waste, a 0.5 HP garbage disposer will be good enough. For households with a lot of food waste or plenty of fibrous waste, a 1 HP waste disposer is probably the best investment. For the average household, 0.5 or 0.75 HP will be enough. Note that a powerful waste disposer both reduces the risk of jamming and grinds the waste faster.
Beware that some 1 HP garbage disposals are significantly larger than most other models. If you are going buy powerful disposer, make sure that you have enough space under the sink. Most of the 1 HP models also generate more vibration than the average garbage disposer, make sure that your sink is solid enough to support the new disposal. Cheap thin sinks may not provide enough support. A large grinding chamber has the advantage that the food waste is quicker processed. If you have a lot of food scraps, this may worth remembering.
The best waste disposers are very quiet but a few waste disposers are relatively noisy. If possible check the noise level, or at least check the specifications.
Virtually all garbage disposals can be connected to a dish washer. If you have planned to connect your dish washer to the disposer, make sure that the disposer has a dish washer connection. It is very important to remember to remove the plug in the dishwasher inlet before connecting the dish washer to the disposer, otherwise it will get messy! It is a so-called knock-out plug. You need a hammer and a screwdriver to remove the plug.
In most cases, garbage disposers work for many years without problems. Many disposals come with a five year warranty or longer. If you only get a one year or two year warranty, you may want to check the competition. Note that the warranties are often limited to the original buyer. If you buy a house with an existing waste disposer, it is most likely out of warranty.
If you have a septic tank, you may prefer a garbage disposer that adds microorganisms which helps to break down the waste. But not all experts are convinced that such a solution make any significant difference. Note that a garbage disposal puts an additional strain on a septic system.
The US market is dominated by Waste King and Insinkerator. Both companies make excellent garbage disposers. Insinkerator disposals are expensive but the models in their Evolution series are excellent. Waste King disposers are much cheaper and in most cases work without any problems, giving you excellent value for your money.