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Garbage Disposal Buyers Guide

Among the most essential appliances in any kitchen, you have to include the garbage disposal. A few decades ago, having a garbage disposal was considered more or less a luxury.

These days, though, we’ve all come to depend upon these handy appliances.

After all when you’re doing dishes or cleaning up after meals, if you don’t have a disposal, you’re either going to end up with a lot of clogged drains or loading up the trash with excessive food waste.

So yes, we all pretty much rely on our garbage disposals, but purchasing one shouldn’t be a decision that you rush into.

It’s important to know what the industry offers, what you expect and some of the other important buying considerations before you make your purchase.

We’ve put together this garbage disposal buyer’s guide to help you sort through the available options and make the right buy for your kitchen.

Some of the Main Horsepower Considerations

You can find garbage disposals that offer a wide range of power levels. Usually, you’ll find that garbage disposal power is measured in horsepower. The lower end of the power spectrum belongs to 1/4 horsepower motors, while the most powerful disposals can have motors that exceed 1 horsepower.

For people who don’t cook a lot, or who have only a few folks in the house, we recommend going with a 1/4 to 1/2 horsepower motor. For larger families, or people who prepare fresh foods at home every day, it’s best to go with a 1/2 to 3/4 horsepower model. And if you run a professional kitchen, or prepare several meals for large numbers of people every day, you’ll want a commercial grade disposer that has a 1 horsepower or greater motor.

Different Types of Garbage Disposals

You’ll find two main types of garbage disposals: batch feed models and continuous feed models. A batch feed model requires you to put a drain cap in place before the disposal will begin working. The continuous feed models will allow you to keep feeding food waste in, until you turn the power off.

Here are the main features of each type of disposal:

Batch Feed Models

  • Are recognized as the safest garbage disposals. Because you have to put the contents in the drain, attach a drain cover, and then turn the unit on, these types of disposals pretty much eliminate the chance of accidents happening.
  • Batch feed models do take some getting used to, as they require the extra step of putting on the safety drain cover.
  • Batch feed models can be a bit more time consuming to use, but the return for the extra time is improved safety.

Continuous Feed Models

  • Are more common, and simple to use. Simply turn on the power and keep feeding kitchen food waste down the drain.
  • Do pose the risk of injury. It’s recommended that parents do not allow children to use these types of disposals.
  • Allow for faster clean ups than batch feed models, as you don’t have to stop to put the drain cap on. But you must keep safety in mind as you work with these types of disposals.

Looking For the Extra Features

In addition to power and the basic type of disposal that you choose, you should also think about some of the extra features that are available today. Some of the better disposals actually use dual grinding processes.
These types of disposals seem to do a better job on grinding up your food waste. They work just as quickly as traditional disposals, but the grinding is more thorough, so there are less clogs or back-ups in the drain.

What about Any Septic Tank Issues

We recommend only getting a disposal that is designed specifically for septic tanks, if you live in a home that has a septic system. The disposals designed for use with septic systems typically liquify the waste that you put down the drain.

If you want to avoid potential septic tank issues, you must purchase only those disposals that are made with septic systems in mind. Septic systems can be very touchy, so be sure to put in the extra effort to choose an appropriate garbage disposal if your home plumbing is attached to a septic system.

Keep these things in mind as you decide on your next garbage disposal. By having this buying guide on hand, you’ll be able to choose the disposal that gives you the most bang for your buck.


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