A good garbage disposal makes cleaning dishes much more pleasant. As with other kitchen appliances, there are many options available. The cheapest is not necessarily the best one. Whether you are building a new home, replacing a broken appliance, or just want an upgrade, here are some factors to think about when buying a new garbage disposal.


The first thing you need to consider when purchasing a garbage disposal is whether or not you are actually allowed to use one in your location. Disposing of food through the sink puts a strain on the local sewage system. Some areas are unable to handle this burden, and thus have laws in place to keep people from using garbage disposals. If you are replacing an old appliance, this most likely does not apply to you. However, if you are installing a new garbage disposal for the first time in a house, you should check the local regulations.

Plumbing and Electronics

If your location allows for a garbage disposal, the next question is whether or not your house’s plumbing can handle it. Check to make sure that your pipes and fixtures are set up to allow for a garbage disposal before you make a purchase. You will need an electrical circuit underneath the sink in order to plug in the appliance. If you don’t have an outlet nearby, you will need to find a way to extend the cord to one further away. The outlet also needs to function on a switch so that the garbage disposal is not always running.

Garbage Disposal Types

There are two major types of garbage disposals: continuous feed and batch feed. You are most likely more familiar with continuous feed garbage disposals, as they are the most common in homes. This type runs continuously when turned on, and doesn’t stop until you shut it off. Batch feed garbage disposals tend to run for a set amount of time, and don’t work unless you place the cover on it. Continuous feed units work just fine and are relatively inexpensive. Some people prefer batch feed units though. They are safer since they don’t work without the cover. This also prevents food particles from popping back up into the sink.


The strength of a garbage disposal determines how well it can handle breaking up large amounts of food. Less powerful units come with 1/4 or 1/3 horsepower. If you don’t use your garbage disposal very much and only dispose of small amounts of food when you do, one of these units should be fine. For most families, however, it’s better to get a ½ horsepower garbage disposal. On the other hand, if you dispose of large amounts of food, you can go for a 1 horsepower unit. This will handle just about anything you throw at it, including bones, without burning out the motor.

Stainless Steel

Make sure you purchase a new garbage disposal with stainless steel blades. More expensive units tend to use more stainless steel in the design. This material lasts longer than the other options from both wear and tear and corrosion. It also forms sharper, more durable blades that will grind up food finely and efficiently. Units without stainless steel blades might be cheaper in the beginning, but they will wear out more quickly, costing you more money in the long run when you have to buy another one.

Dishwasher Connection

If you have a dishwasher, it’s a good idea to get a new garbage disposal that has a dishwasher attachment. This connects your dishwasher to the garbage disposal, which runs any food particles that come from your dirty dishes through the disposal before proceeding through the rest of your plumbing. This not only helps keep your pipes clear, but also helps your dishwasher stay in good condition. The connection is easy to set up.

Extra Features

A new garbage disposal can come with extra features that you might want to consider. Although you will pay extra for these, it might be worth it, depending on your preferences. Garbage disposals tend to be very noisy, and some people prefer a quieter unit. If you want less noise, look for this feature to reduce the noise level. Having a manual reset button is useful to prevent problems from arising. Look for a corrosion shield to protect the garbage disposal from damage and make it last longer. Another option is an anti-splash shield that will prevent food particles from splashing back into your sink.

Hopefully these tips have given you a better idea of what to look for next time you need to replace your garbage disposal. If you want to learn about preventative maintenance for your garbage disposal to keep it running smoothly and efficiently for longer, check out Complete Appliance’s guide here.