What Size Garbage Disposal Do I Need?

Whether you plan to replace an existing garbage disposal unit while renovating your house or you are interested in buying new garbage disposals for a new house, it is essential to consider important factors such as the size of the garbage disposal units and the number of people who will be living in that house.

Garbage disposals offer an alternative way of getting rid of wastes without the need of adding wastes in landfills. Although food wastes can decompose, being mixed with wastes such as plastics that cannot decompose makes it nearly impossible to manage landfills. As such, it offers you an environmentally friendly approach to getting rid of your biodegradable wastes.

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How to Choose the Right Garbage Disposal Size?

The garbage disposal size that you will need will rely on factors such as:

  • Size of Your Family

If you live alone and do not entertain many people in your home, you will probably need a garbage disposal unit that ranges between 1/3HP to 1/2HP.

However, if you are more likely to entertain more people, you might wish to opt for a garbage disposal that is of larger motor size.

  • Expected Workload

The expected workload should be the main determining factor when selecting a garbage disposal unit. If you plan to cook more often or prepare a lot of food, you will need a larger garbage disposal unit to handle all that wastes.

On the other hand, if you rarely cook your meals at home or make food that serves less than three people, there is a high likelihood that the amount of waste produced from your food will be limited.

  • Frequency of Using the System

If you are looking for a garbage disposal unit to place in your vacation home you can opt for a smaller garbage disposal unit because you will not be staying in the vacation home throughout the year. In such case, a 1/2HP garbage disposal unit can be an effective option for the home.

However, if you are planning to install the garbage disposal unit in the home where you spend most of your time, you should opt for a larger garbage disposal unit.


How to Choose Garbage Disposal?

When selecting the garbage disposal that will be suitable for your needs aside from checking the details provided by the manufacturer to determine the size of the garbage disposal, you should also consider factors like:

  • Warranty

Most garbage disposals last between two and ten years, which is usually longer than the warranty provided by the manufacturer.

To ensure that the manufacturer will assist you in case the garbage disposal unit that you buy jams after a few uses, produces an unusual noise, or does not work, you should request for a warranty. You might notice that garbage disposals that have a longer warranty are slightly expensive than those that offer you a shorter warranty.

  • Noise Levels

Different garbage disposals produce different noise levels. If the noise level of your current garbage disposal bothers you, you should look for a quiet garbage disposal that utilizes sound protection technology.

While they might be slightly more expensive, you will be able to stay in your house comfortably without worrying about the noise produced by the system.

  • Power Cord

Most of the cheap garbage disposal units do not come with a power cord. This gives you the additional work of looking for a power cord that will be suitable for the garbage disposal.

If you wish to avoid such issues and the possibility of buying a garbage disposal power cord that is not right for your system, look for garbage disposal units that come with a power cord.

Alternatively, if you are replacing your garbage disposal, you can choose to use a power cord from your old garbage disposal system to save money.


Different Types of Motor Horsepower

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  • 1/3 Horsepower

This is the weakest motor horsepower available when considering the horsepower of different garbage disposals.

This type of garbage disposal is suitable for households with one to two members. It is commonly found in small apartments or studios.

This type of garbage disposal is the most affordable when compared to the rest. It is also popular and is commonly installed by construction companies in the housing industry that wish to save money while at the same time offer their customers a functional garbage disposal unit.


  • Affordable price
  • Great for a household with one to two people
  • Can be used for small workload
  • Compact and lightweight


  • Limited utility
  • No high-quality internal components
  • It cannot be used in larger households
  • Should only be considered for temporary use when dealing with a larger household

Recommended 1/3HP Garbage Disposal Model -Waste King L-111garbage disposal size 1 2

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  • 1/2 Horsepower

Garbage disposals with 1/2HP motor horsepower are usually ideal for households with two to four people. It is the minimum horsepower that is usually recommended for home use.

1/2HP garbage disposal is stronger than the 1/3HP motor. It can grind food wastes slightly faster than the 1/3HP motor. Despite being better than the 1/3HP motor, this type of garbage disposal should only be used for households that house less than four people to ensure that the number of food wastes produced will be effectively ground by the system.

It is physically smaller than other disposal units that have more horsepower making it effective in fitting in houses that have small spaces under the sink.


  • Relatively effective performance for grinding food waste
  • Small in physical size
  • Enough for daily use
  • Affordable price for around $100


  • If you overfeed the appliance with waste it will stop working
  • Not for a household with more than 4 people


Recommended 1/2HP Garbage Disposal Model -InSinkErator Badger 5

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  • 3/4 Horsepower

3/4 Horsepower garbage disposal unit is the best motor size for most households. It is suitable for both rental apartments and for homeowners. This size of garbage disposal has more power and can grind most food wastes in the leftovers.

Unlike 1/3 and 1/2HP garbage disposals, 3/4hp garbage disposal can grind tough food wastes like small chicken bones and fruit and vegetable peelings. Having more power means that this disposal is less likely to jam.

Most of the garbage disposals that come with this much horsepower will have additional features like sound protection to ensure that they can operate quietly and power cords. An issue that you might find with 3/4 hp garbage disposals is that they are physically larger and more likely to occupy all the space under your sink.


  • Great for most household
  • Effective for tougher food scraps
  • Can serve large families
  • Less likely to jam
  • Quiet in operation
  • Relatively high-quality materials and internal components


  • Physically larger than the 1/3 and 1/2HP


Recommended 3/4HP Garbage Disposal Model -InSinkErator Evolution

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  • 1 Horsepower

1HP garbage disposal unit is a good option for large households or even commercial use. It can be used by homeowners or commercial kitchen that are relatively small. This garbage disposal has more power and can grind chicken bones, fruit peelings, coffee grounds, and other tough food wastes.

Most of the models that offer 1 f horsepower provide good quality garbage disposals that come with additional features like a power cord, sound protection features, and physical larger motors.

All the garbage disposals at this level are made with complete stainless steel material to prevent rusting. They can be quite large and will require additional space to ensure that they can fit under the sink.


  • Great for both residential or commercial use
  • More effective in grinding food wastes
  • Grinding faster and more powerful
  • Virtually impossible to jam
  • Made with complete stainless steel material to prevent rusting
  • Additional features
  • Quieter in use because of the use of sound insulation technology


  • Not for small household


Recommended 1HP Garbage Disposal Model -Waste King L-8000

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  • 1.1 Horsepower

1/1HP garbage disposals are suitable for households that have more than eight people or commercial kitchens because of the number of food wastes produced in such kitchens. They can easily grind any type of food wastes.

Most of them come with multi-grinding that ensures the food waste is ground to fine particles before being released into the septic tank. They are usually quieter than the smaller models because of the sound protection technology that they use. Additionally, they are less likely to rust because they are made with stainless steel.


  • Great for commercial use or large households
  • Excellent and effective work for very tough waste
  • More advanced technology for grinding and sound insulation
  • Made using high-quality materials for both external and internal


  • Physically larger making them incapable of fitting in small under the sink spaces
  • Should be used more carefully

Recommended 1.1HP Garbage Disposal Model -InSinkErator Pro1100XL

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Final Thoughts

When choosing the best garbage disposal for your house ensure you consider the horsepower. The size of the motor’s horsepower will determine how effective garbage disposal will be at serving you. It will also determine the duration you will be able to use the same garbage disposal without experiencing mechanical problems.

Deciding which garbage disposal you should select relies on the workload that the disposal will be subjected to in the kitchen.

If you are living alone in a studio and do not entertain much, you can opt for garbage disposal with 1/3 to 1/2HP but if you have a big family or entertain large numbers of people, a 3/4HP or 1HP garbage disposal will be more suitable for your needs.