Clear Out and Grind Up Food Waste With These Tested Garbage Disposals

garbage disposal
The 4 Best Garbage Disposals, TestedStaff, Courtesy of InSinkErator


"Hearst Magazines and Yahoo may earn commission or revenue on some items through these links."

The term “garbage disposal” is really a bit of a misnomer. If you’ve ever had one, you probably know that you can’t run random garbage through it. Instead, they’re designed to grind up and dispose of food waste that you would otherwise compost.

What makes a good disposal, what features you should look for, and how much should you spend? To answer those questions, we installed and tested several promising models (and researched a few more) to learn more about how they work and what to look for.

Check out quick info on our top picks below, then scroll down for more in-depth reviews of these and other top-performing models, plus buying advice.

Looking for more helpful appliances to dispose of your waste? Read our reviews of the best trash compactors, trash cans, and compost tumblers.

The Best Garbage Disposals

[table-of-contents] stripped

How Do I Choose a Good Garbage Disposal?

First, make sure you can use a garbage disposal in your house. Some municipalities or cities have ordinances regarding the installation and use of garbage disposals. In some cases, towns without public wastewater treatment plants, where residents have their own septic systems, may not allow them.

There are models out there specifically designed for use with septic systems. Conversely, some cities require disposal units in kitchen sinks to be sure all waste entering its treatment system is small enough to be handled efficiently.

What to Consider

Continuous Versus Batch Feed

Continuous-feed garbage disposals turn on with a switch and grind food waste passing through the drain and into the grinding chamber. These disposals are the most convenient due to their simple, one-step operation.

Batch-feed disposals grind only with the drain cover in place. You can’t put additional waste in unless you remove the drain cover and the garbage disposal is off. And with many batch-feed models, putting the cover on and taking it off is how you start and stop the grinding.

While the latter may be less convenient and slower than continuous disposals, they’re clearly safer because you can’t reach in while the garbage disposal is running. They also require no separate switch, which, if you don't already have one, can entail some electrical work to install.


Horsepower

Garbage disposals typically have 1/4-, 1/2-, 3/4-, or 1-horsepower motors. More horsepower generally indicates more robust grinding.

Some manufacturers suggest power that corresponds to the number of people in the family and how much action the garbage disposal will see. Smaller families can opt for lower horsepower, whereas larger families should buy a disposal with higher horsepower, simply due to the higher volume of food waste.

Regardless of family size, the number is also worth keeping in mind because garbage disposals with more horsepower have stronger components and may last longer. They may also have an additional boost of power for hard-to-grind items like corn cobs.


Noise

Grinding noise and vibration are some of the biggest concerns consumers have about garbage disposals. The appliances usually connect to the sink with a heavy rubber gasket or union that helps reduce vibration. More expensive units may be enclosed in a cover filled with sound-deadening insulation.


Electrical Connections

Garbage disposals may come pre-wired with a power cord and a plug, with a cord and a plug you have to wire yourself, or with no cord at all. The latter two options are best for replacing an older, hardwired unit.

The remote switch that controls the garbage disposal needs to be within reach of the sink. If you’re installing a garbage disposal where there wasn’t one previously, you’ll need to run power to both that switch and an outlet installed in the sink cabinet for the garbage disposal’s plug.


How We Tested

We test garbage disposals in our office in Easton, Pennsylvania. The first four models you see below have all gone thr0ugh the process, along with several others that are either now out of stock or did not make the cut.

During testing, we installed each garbage disposal under the same sink in the same basic, laminate-covered, particle board cabinet. The sink itself is an inexpensive, stainless-steel, double-bowl unit, with sound-deadening spray on the bottom.

garbage disposal testing
Lakota Gambill

We used a clear P-trap—that’s the pipe under the sink with an S-shaped bend in it—attached to the discharge tube and diverted waste into a screen over a 5-gallon bucket for inspection. We put carrots, celery, baked beans, chicken bones, and raw corn on the cob through each model—a selection used to simulate the breadth of food waste consumers typically use disposals for.

Finally, we took stock of how much noise each produces by recording the sound levels while running half ears of raw corn through the disposals we tested.

garbage disposal testing
Lakota Gambill

We held a meter, which logged one sound level reading per second, about 6 inches from the rim of our test sink and aimed it at the drain. We started recording sound levels with the water turned on to get a stable level, then flipped the garbage disposal on until the sound returned to a steady level, indicating it had finished grinding up the corncob.

We also researched and vetted a few options that we haven’t gotten our hands on yet, keeping an eye out for innovative features, sound-deadening, efficiency, and ease of installation. You can find those models in our “Other Garbage Disposals Worth Considering” section.

Our Full Garbage Disposal Reviews

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.walmart.com%2Fip%2FInSinkerator-PRO750-Evolution-Pro-3-4-HP-Garbage-Disposal%2F142334103&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.popularmechanics.com%2Fhome%2Fa28980045%2Fbest-garbage-disposals%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Evolution Pro 750 Garbage Disposal</p><p>overstock.com</p><p>$318.68</p><span class="copyright">InSinkErator </span>

The Evolution Pro 750 is a compact model, and the shortest of all the garbage disposals we tested, meaning there’s plenty of room under it for spray bottles and cleaners. That said, it boasts many of the best features a garbage disposal can have, like stainless-steel grinding components and sound-dampening insulation. All told, this garbage disposal took about 15 minutes for us to install. The stainless-steel sink drain mounted fairly easily, as its Quick-Lock name implied.

The Evolution Pro took everything in our food waste medley in stride and ground the baked beans, raw carrots, and celery to an average particle size. Chicken bones seemed to grind a little coarser than with some of the other models. Still, the Evolution Pro does a good job balancing speed, noise, capability, and build quality, making it our clear best overall.

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001F9UYMO?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10060.a.28980045%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Whirlaway 291PC Garbage Disposal</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$80.74</p><span class="copyright">Whirlaway </span>

Very few garbage disposals at this price offer the same value at the Whirlaway 291PC. This Whirlaway shares the same EZ-mount as the Waste King below, making it straightforward to install without tools, and it also comes with a corded plug.

Installation took us only about 10 minutes, slightly faster than the InSinkErator above. Carrots, baked beans, and celery went right through it, and the food particles were reasonably fine and uniform. The corncobs were surprising, as this unit ground them up in about 30 seconds, on par with the more powerful garbage disposals. It diced the bones up finely too, though the grinding was a bit louder.

While it’s inexpensive and comes with a smaller motor than other selections on our list, the 291PC handles many of the same foods as the more expensive garbage disposals at a mere third of the price.

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0014X96YS?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10060.a.28980045%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>L-111 Garbage Disposal</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$75.09</p><span class="copyright">Waste King</span>

Waste King’s L-111 comes pre-wired, ready to install, and at a price that’s hard to beat. A rubber gasket seals the sink-flange connection, and the garbage disposal body is made from a reinforced polymer (a type of plastic) and attaches to the flange with a twist-lock connector. The discharge pipe connects to your existing P-trap with a compression fitting (not included). There’s a fitting for a dishwasher discharge hose if required. Installation was straightforward with the instructions provided.

The garbage disposal chewed though carrots, celery, and baked beans, although the carrots lingered a little before being completely ground. The baked beans liquified easily, but we had to push them through the stiff, rubber splash guard. Chicken bones ground up completely, with patience, as they were still clinking around in the garbage disposal for several seconds after they seemed to be done.

Raw corncob was the most tenacious material we tried and required a few start-stop cycles to grind completely. It appeared to hang up the L-111 in such a way that the impellers stopped pushing it into the grind ring. The garbage disposal never jammed and eventually handled everything we threw down it, albeit with more difficulty than other options we tested.

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.walmart.com%2Fip%2FMoen-Gxb75c-Gx-3-4-Hp-Batch-Feed-Garbage-Disposal%2F450531793&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.popularmechanics.com%2Fhome%2Fa28980045%2Fbest-garbage-disposals%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>GXB75C Garbage Disposal</p><p>walmart.com</p><p>$199.99</p><span class="copyright">Moen</span>

Moen’s GXB75C grbage disposal exhibits the fine fit and finish one would expect from the brand. The body and motor are housed in a svelte black cover that also contains sound insulation. This batch-feed garbage disposal comes with a drain cover that, when inserted completely, activates the garbage disposal—water may still pass with the cover inserted.

The discharge pipe turns 90 degrees out of the garbage disposal body and should connect with your existing P-trap with a compression fitting (not included). The unit comes ready to install, pre-wired with a corded plug, and the installation was fairly easy with the included instructions.

This unit, being a batch-feed garbage disposal, doesn’t have a splash guard, so waste is very easily inserted through the drain unobstructed. Carrots, celery, and baked beans all ground easily and without issue. The particle size of disposed carrots and celery appeared to be very slightly finer than coming out of the other units we tested.

The GXB75C efficiently shredded chicken bones, while the corncob required a couple of off/on cycles to completely grind up. While disposing of the corncob, this unit seemed to vibrate more, which contributed to the higher noise level we recorded. Still, it completely ground and ejected everything we put in it—no jams or clogs.

Other Garbage Disposals Worth Considering

We haven’t gotten our hands on any of the models below, but we can vouch for their merits based on our expertise and other testing. If the models above aren’t available or don’t work for you, here are a couple of great alternatives well worth considering.

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BYFM5RG?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C10060.a.28980045%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Badger 5XP Garbage Disposal</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$140.89</p>

Shop Now

Badger 5XP Garbage Disposal

amazon.com

$140.89

This model is more compact that most, ideal for tight spaces underneath the sink. Thanks to a Quick Lock Mount, it should be easy to install and replace. The Badger 5XP has a continuous feed and stainless-steel grind components for rust-resistance and longevity, plus it comes with a cord.

The garbage disposal is also notable as a septic-compatible choice. As long as your septic tank is well maintained, the disposal should work easily with it, without giving your plumbing any issues.

There’s also a four-year warranty attached, which offers replacements if the disposal is damaged in that time. While it may not be the quietest, it’s a solid choice if you need a small unit that’s relatively affordable.

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.walmart.com%2Fip%2FMoen-GX50C-GX-Series-1-2-Horsepower-Continuous-Feed-Compact-Garbage-Disposal-Power-Cord-Included%2F899790679&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.popularmechanics.com%2Fhome%2Fa28980045%2Fbest-garbage-disposals%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>GX50C Garbage Disposal</p><p>walmart.com</p><p>$116.99</p>

If you’re looking for a quiet garbage disposal close to $100, consider this model from Moen. It’s septic-safe and comes equipped with sound-deadening insulation that reduces grinding noise, even on loud, brittle items.

While motor produces just ½-horsepower, the garbage disposal should still comfortably chew through corncobs, chicken bones, and other difficult items without any jams or major issues.

The disposal also features stainless-steel components and a Universal Xpress Mount, so you won’t have to deal with difficult installation. It also has a pre-installed power cord for easy setup.

You Might Also Like