Garbage Disposals

ao34February 16, 2013

It was suggested by the guy who is going to install my sink, that I also replace my garbage disposal. My sink will be 25X22 single (so relatively small). How much horsepower should my garbage disposal have? He suggested 1/2 HP. Also which brand does everyone have?

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I hated my 1/2HP disposal - it was an Insinkerator Badger, and it used to get clogged up routinely. My new one is 3/4HP Insinkerator Evolution ProCompact. It has never clogged in 18 months since install. You'll be happier with 3/4 or even 1 HP.

Waste King also makes good GD's.

Be sure to consider either an air switch or a fiber optic switch. The difference is that the fiber optic has a closed gasket. Either will provide a convenient, unobtrusive switch that cannot be turned on by accident by someone looking for a light switch.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 3:31PM
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As to brands, there are pretty much only two, Waste King and Insinkerator. Any other brands you see like Kitchenaid or Kenmore, are re-badges of those two. Both Waste King and Insinkerator are good brands, and each has its pros and cons, but you can't go wrong with either one.

The key to a good disposal, whether it's Waste King or Insinkerator, is to get the 3/4 hp size or the 1 hp size, not the 1/2 hp that you mentioned. The 3/4 or 1 hp is better built, more powerful, more bang for the buck. If you are going to the trouble of installing a disposal, which you will live with for many years, you should spend the small amount extra for more hp than 1/2 hp. Whenever you hear plumbers complaining about disposals, it's for models that are 1/2 hp or less. As an example, the 3/4 hp Waste Kings have a lifetime warranty against corrosion; the 1/2 hp does not.

I will list the pros and cons of both brands: Waste Kings have more torque than the Insinkerators making them more powerful for the same hp. Waste King's chambers are larger than the Insinkerators for the same hp. But a larger chamber can be both good and bad. It's good to have a large chamber to handle large pieces of rind or vegetables or whatever. But if you have space constraints under your sink, a smaller chamber is the best choice. There are a number of Gardenwebbers who have opted for the Insinkerator "Evolution Compact" model because it's smaller, which is good if there is a high plumbing outlet location and/or small undersink space.

Insinkerators are definitely quieter than Waste Kings. This is often the deciding factor for people. Others say the disposal is only on for 30 seconds or so, so they'd don't care about the noise and prefer the Waste King's torque. If your kitchen is open to the living room, the quieter Insinkerators would be better.

Waste Kings have the longest warranties - 10-year in-home warranty on the 3/4 hp 9950. But Insinkerators have good warranties too.

Insinkerator Evolution Essential 3/4 hp disposal

Insinkerator Evolution Compact 3/4 hp disposal for small under-sink spaces

Waste King 9950 3/4 hp disposal

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 8:08PM
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I've been reading up on GDs too. In addition to the above nice summaries, there is also Viking, which is constructed differently (cast parts, I think? Didnt absorb the technical details just the end result) and supposed to be the best. With the price tag to prove it. The Viking and Evolution Excel both have undercutters that give an advantage, and pretty much liquidy anything you can shove in them.

My theoretical future house I'm building at some point will get a Viking, assuming its still got the same construction and power it does now.

My current kitchen will probably get a 3/4 or 1 hp Waste King, unless I find a fantastic deal on the Excel. I can get the WK on Amazon for probably $130-150 where the excel is a little over $300.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 9:00PM
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To add some other information....if you are on a septic system, you may have to get a GD that's designed for septic systems. We have the InSinkErator Septic Assist. Our County Code only allowed us to have a GD if we had one that was specifically for septic systems.

It's been great!

Here is a link that might be useful: InSinkErator Evolution Septic Assist®

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 2:51AM
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Do the 3/4 hp grind up lemon rind? In a previous house I used to grind up lemon rind to help keep the gd smelling nice (and get rid of the lemon from my tea). I have a 1/2 hp badger and all it does is flatten the wedge against the side of the disposal.

So is my lemon wedge too small or is it the GD. I'm renovating so I need to pick a new gd!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 10:19AM
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Cathy - my 3/4 hp Waste King not only grinds lemon rinds, but even watermelon rinds (cut up). I also have been putting chicken bones down there for years, no problem. The instruction booklet came with a list of things that cannot go in the disposal, like peach pits, aluminum foil, glass, and the like. I've had mine for 7 years, and have never had a problem. I just a few minutes ago ground up about 1/2 cantaloupe rind (cut into pieces to fit down the drain, but still pretty big pieces), and it was so fast, like 10 seconds. My Waste King is quite noisy compared to my friend's Insinkerator, no doubt about that. My disposal is also bigger than her Insinkerator--I have tons of room under the sink, so I prefer a larger chamber. I don't care about the noise.

P.S. Although you mention the lemon to keep your drain smelling nice, I want to add that mine never smells. As long as I make sure everything has been ground completely, and I let the water run until everything has been ground, I have never had odor. And I am very sensitive to smells. I bet your under-powered disposal doesn't grind everything all the way, so there's some bits left, and hence there's an odor.

This post was edited by akchicago on Sun, Feb 17, 13 at 11:10

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 11:05AM
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Wow thanks for all the info. So def going with 3/4 or 1 HP. My new question is...does size matter? As far as under sink clearance? Does there have to be so much space from the bottom of the GD to the cabinet floor? If there is, I may have to consider insinkerator compact.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 11:22AM
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I have the 1 hp Kitchenaid disposal. Love love love it. At the time I bought it, I didn't know it was a re-badged Insinkerator. I liked the Kitchenaid brand, and my salesperson for my KA fridge said he'd sell the disposal to me at a good discount if I bought it at the same time as the KA fridge. Deal.

The 1 hp is ginormous, but that's also because it's a batch feed style, and I believe the OP will be getting a continuous feed style. The batch feeds are bigger. I have enough room with my plumbing, but if anyone is thinking about a 1 hp, you should check the specs to see if it will fit with where your plumbing is located. Or ask your plumber to check for you.

Agree with what everyone else said about do not get a 1/2 hp. I am wondering if the OP's contractor suggested it because there's not a lot of space under the OP's sink, so thought she'd need a small one. If that's the case, he must not know about the Insinkerator Evolution Compact linked above which is a 3/4 hp that would work for compact areas.

When I was shopping for a disposal, I wanted the most powerful, and only looked at 1 hp. People on this forum with 3/4 hp disposals are happy too. I am just in the "bigger is better" camp LOL.

Also I echo what Ginny said above about a fiber optic switch. In my previous kitchen I had a disposal with the switch on the wall, right next to the undercabinet lighting switch. Even after a couple of years, I hesitated before flipping a switch, with the fear of turning on the wrong one. To the OP, if you want more info on these switches, do a search on this forum for "air switch" and you will come up with threads to read.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 11:32AM
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Ao34 - my post crossed with yours at the same time. It's not the clearance to the floor that matters. What is important is where the plumbing outlet is located under your sink. And how deep your sink is. So, what you want is for the outlet of the disposal--i.e. where the disposal drains into your plumbing to leave the house--to be higher than the plumbing under your sink that takes the water out of your house.

If your plumbing outlet is located higher than the disposal's outlet, the disposal may not be able to drain properly - it's just about gravity. You can do two things in that case - either get the Insinkerator Evolution Compact linked above, or have your plumber move the plumbing outlet down a bit. That can be an easy job or a hard job depending on your house's set-up. So ask your plumber to have a look. The disposals' dimensions are on the Insinkerator and Waste King websites, and show the height of the disposal outlet. As I mentioned, I have a very large 1 hp batch feed disposal, but it fit fine with my plumbing under my sink. Other homes might be different.

This post was edited by shannonplus2 on Sun, Feb 17, 13 at 11:44

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 11:41AM
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Again thanks so much for the info. Off to measure. My current disposal is GE 1/3 HP. I honestly never looked at the thing until I decided to replace it. Off to look at where all the plumbing is located...

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 12:01PM
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1 HP and a stainless steel grinding chamber and internals (slingers).

They should look 'large' if you want less noise.

The smaller units have very poor sound insulation.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 1:06PM
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I bought the Insinkerator Cover Control last summer after reading about batch-feed here. It's 3/4 HP and I have it in a 28" sink base. I have room under the GD for a dish drainer and room for cleaning products along the sides of the cabinet.

I really like it. It's quiet to the point that sometimes I'm not sure I have the cover engaged. Stuff just zips right through it. I like that it's made in the USA, where IIRC, WasteKing is a Chinese product.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 1:15PM
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I think 1/2 HP is considered minimal for most folks, but I think the builder standard is 1/4 HP. For us, 3/4 HP is minimal.

We have a 1 HP on our main sink (existing disposal) and an Insinkerator 3/4 HP Evolution Compact at the prep sink. If we need to replace the main sink one at some point, I would plan on the Evolution. They are quieter and more powerful.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 1:16PM
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