What Size Garbage Disposal Do I Need?

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Whether you are replacing an existing unit or installing a new one, purchasing a garbage disposal is always plagued by the question, “What size do I need???”

The garbage disposal offers an excellent alternative to placing more waste in landfills, and it is environmentally responsible. Moreover, it reduces the amount of greenhouse gases released into the environment (from decomposing food). However, for all of its benefits, this is one scenario where buying bigger does not always equate to buying better.

More than likely, you have no idea how to figure out what size you need. Rather than engaging in some painstaking trial and error, read (and check out our reviews) to find out exactly how to figure out which size of garbage disposal you need for your home:

Determining Space Constraints

The first thing you need to do is break out your handy tape measure and measure how much space is available underneath your sink. Don’t forget to measure length, height, and width. Physical dimensions are important because a garbage disposal can consume quite a bit of physical space. Generally, the more power a garbage disposal is, the larger dimensions it has. If storage space is at a premium in your apartment or home and you need the space underneath your sink, then you will more than likely need to purchase a less powerful unit.

How Many People Live in Your Home?

In the world of garbage disposals, size is determined by power. To determine what size of garbage disposal you need, you must first calculate how much grinding power your household requires. The main question you need to ask yourself is “How many people are living in my household?” Simple enough, right?

[amazon box=”B000LNIK6C,B000DZGN7Q,B000LNIK6C,B0014XEM88″ template=”table”]

  • If you live in a 1-2 person household, a 1/3 or ½ HP model would suffice.
  • If you live in a 3-6 person household, your garbage disposer should have a ½ to ¾ HP engine.
  • For a 5-8 person household, the minimum HP your disposer should have is ¾, but a 1 HP motor is preferable.
  • For anything households that have over 8 members, a 1 to 2 HP model will be needed.

Of course, before buying any garbage disposal, you should always read the manufacturer’s recommendations for household size.

The Different Types of Motors

A 1/3rd HP motor is the weakest motor available on the market, but these models also tend to be the most affordable, which is why they are so popular. They are ideal for studio and one bedroom apartments.

A ½ HP motors is ideal for apartments, condominiums, and small homes. It will work well in any environment where it receives light use. Although tougher than 1/3rd HP motors, it must still be treated gently.

The ¾ HP motor is the most popular option among consumers. It is the ideal size for most single family homes and can a wider variety of “hard” foods, like hard vegetables and small bones.

A 1 HP motor is what you want if you live in a large household or have a kitchen that receives a lot of heavy use. Because it is much more powerful than its cousins, it is also a lot more forgiving about what is placed inside of it. It is also good for smaller places of business.

In Conclusion

The most important takeaway from this discussion is that you really only need to assess is how much you will be using your garbage disposal. Of course, for many, budget will be a deciding factor as well. The more powerful your garbage disposal is, the more expensive it will be.

Not sure which one to buy?  Check out our comparison table below:

Model

Horsepower

Our Review

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”75″ identifier=”B000G837TW” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” src=”https://mrgarbagedisposal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/41Y9I6VMNnL.SL75-10.jpg” tag=”mrgarbagedisposal09-20″ width=”75″]

InSinkErator Evolution Compact

Learn More

3/4 H

Read Review

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”75″ identifier=”B00004U9JP” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” src=”https://mrgarbagedisposal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/41C2BfjJtDL.SL75-11.jpg” tag=”mrgarbagedisposal09-20″ width=”75″]

InSinkErator Badger 1

Learn More

1/3 HP

Read Review

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”75″ identifier=”B0014XEM88″ locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” src=”https://mrgarbagedisposal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/41FDCQuU6L.SL75-4.jpg” tag=”mrgarbagedisposal09-20″ width=”75″]

Waste King L-3200 Legend Series

Learn More

3/4 HP

Read Review

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”75″ identifier=”B000G7UH3M” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” src=”https://mrgarbagedisposal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/41OZ420d7yL.SL75-6.jpg” tag=”mrgarbagedisposal09-20″ width=”75″]

InSinkErator Evolution Excel

Learn More

1.0 HP

Read Review

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”75″ identifier=”B0014X7B54″ locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” src=”https://mrgarbagedisposal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/411QfBHRcnL.SL75-6.jpg” tag=”mrgarbagedisposal09-20″ width=”75″]

Waste King L-2600 Legend Series

Learn More

1/2 HP

Read Review

Model

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”160″ identifier=”B000G837TW” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” src=”https://mrgarbagedisposal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/41Y9I6VMNnL.SL160-2.jpg” tag=”mrgarbagedisposal09-20″ width=”160″]

InSinkErator Evolution Compact

Learn More

Horsepower

3/4 HP

Our Review

Read Review

Model

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”160″ identifier=”B00004U9JP” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” src=”https://mrgarbagedisposal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/41C2BfjJtDL.SL160-2.jpg” tag=”mrgarbagedisposal09-20″ width=”160″]

InSinkErator Badger 1

Learn More

Horsepower

1/3 HP

Our Review

Read Review

Model

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”160″ identifier=”B0014XEM88″ locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” src=”https://mrgarbagedisposal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/41TsgKM7cL.SL160-1.jpg” tag=”mrgarbagedisposal09-20″ width=”83″]

Waste King L-3200 Legend Series

Learn More

Horsepower

3/4 HP

Our Review

Read Review

Model

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”160″ identifier=”B000G7UH3M” locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” src=”https://mrgarbagedisposal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/41OZ420d7yL.SL160-2.jpg” tag=”mrgarbagedisposal09-20″ width=”160″]

InSinkErator Evolution Excel

Learn More

Horsepower

1.0 HP

Our Review

Read Review

Model

[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”160″ identifier=”B0014X7B54″ locale=”US” nw=”y” nf=”y” src=”https://mrgarbagedisposal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/41MLY2K9tKL.SL160-2.jpg” tag=”mrgarbagedisposal09-20″ width=”160″]

Waste King L-2600 Legend Series

Learn More

Horsepower

1/2 HP

Our Review

Read Review

By Justin Curtis

I am not a professional plumber, but I do feel like I am pretty handy :). I would love to hear your comments about this post or others. Thanks for reading!

7 comments

  1. I’m happy that I’ve found this blog. Full of helpful tips to homeowners who wanted to maintain and keep their plumbing system working for a long run. Also, an excellent guide for identifying what size is appropriate for your home.For other plumbing references and services in Oregon, Washington, and Las Vegas, make sure to drop by at Einstein Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling.

    We love reading blogs like this, and we appreciate the work you put into your website and detailed information you provide. A great read and useful information!

  2. Recently just installed one in my home during a kitchen remodel. Not that I am a plumber but I made my decisions based on some other criteria items as I only have two in my household now.

    3/4 horses are typically quieter models then their 1/2 counterparts as they have more sound insulation due to the larger motor.
    3/4 is the best bang for your buck if you want stainless internals.
    3/4 models all came with better warranty then the 1/2 size
    3/4 jam less
    3/4 provide better performance thus decreasing chances of a smelling disposal.
    3/4 does jump up in size under counter as they are not only a bit longer but they are also wider and the 3/4 does require downspout install on discharge side to the other trap to be assured the extra power doesn’t shoot water/food up the other sink drain. This makes the install a bit more challenging on a double sink as you plan out your disposal to trap tie in. (Depending on how your double sink p-trap lays out)
    Disposal is an installed house appliance so I bought one for the size of my house not just how many people where in it. Mostly for the above reasons as well I do believe bigger is better.

  3. i currently have a 1/3 h.p. disposal in my sink.it’s gone bad & i am thinking of upgrading to a 1/2 h.p. disposal. i live in a home with only 2 people.should i do this?

  4. It’s great that you elaborated on the size garbage disposal. I believe that we should be responsible for having a proper garbage disposal for every home. And yes, we should know the size according to our need. Thanks for providing its basis.

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