Garbage disposals are a must-have in any modern kitchen. Not only do they make it easier to clean up after meals, but they also help reduce waste and keep your kitchen smelling fresh. However, with so many options available, it can be tough to choose the right one. One factor to consider is horsepower, as it determines the disposal's power and capabilities.
If you're looking to upgrade your kitchen's garbage disposal system, one of the most important factors to consider is horsepower (HP). The higher the horsepower, the more powerful the unit, which means it can handle tougher waste and dispose of it more efficiently.
What does Horsepower mean in Garbage Disposals?
Horsepower is a measure of the disposal's power and capabilities. The higher the horsepower, the more powerful the motor and the better the disposal can handle tough food waste - just like when you purchase a car, the horsepower is indicative of the motor's power and strength. It's important to choose the right horsepower for your needs to ensure optimal performance.
What About RPM / Speed?
RPM, or revolutions per minute, refers to how fast an engine or motor is spinning its output shaft. It is a measure of rotational speed. The higher the RPM, the faster the output shaft is spinning, and the more work the engine or motor is capable of doing in a given amount of time. Just like horsepower, a higher RPM disposal means that it can process more food waste at a time than one with a lower RPM. Ideally, you want as much speed (RPM) and HP as your budget allows.
Here are the best garbage disposals by horsepower in 2023
1/3 HP Garbage Disposals
A 1/3 HP is generally the lowest horsepower available in garbage disposals, and not as common as their ½ HP cousins. These disposals are not very powerful but may still be sufficient for small households or those who produce less tough waste (such as pasta, rice etc).With ⅓ of a horse power however, these units cannot handle any form of bones, or fibrous fruits or vegetables, and what they can handle, they can only process in small portions only. These models are generally less expensive than 1/2 HP disposals and can be a good option for those on a tight budget. The Insinkerator Badger 1 is a highly rated 1/3 HP garbage disposal that features a continuous feed design, galvanised steel components, and a powerful enough motor that can handle most soft to medium toughness food waste. Read the full review of the Badger 1 below:
1/2 HP Garbage Disposals
If you have a small household or only produce light waste, a 1/2 HP garbage disposal may be sufficient for your needs. ½ horsepower is what you will find on most store shelves as a standard garbage disposal. These units are generally more affordable and easier to install than higher horsepower models. A disposal with ½ horsepower should be able to handle some fibrous fruits and vegetable waste and small fish bones, but will have difficulty with chicken bones. One of the best 1/2 HP garbage disposals on the market is the Waste King L-1001, which features a high-speed motor, corrosion-resistant grinding components, and a removable splash guard for easy cleaning. For the best budget disposals, check out our in-depth review of top budget disposals under $100:
3/4 HP Garbage Disposals
For larger households or tougher waste, a 3/4 HP garbage disposal is a better option. These units are more powerful than 1/2 HP models and can handle denser waste such as fish and chicken bones and fibrous vegetables and even fruit pits. It is usually also at this price point where you can find more premium features such as noice reduction and auto-unjamming technology.
The InSinkErator Evolution Compact is a highly rated 3/4 HP garbage disposal that features SoundSeal technology for quiet operation, MultiGrind technology for efficient grinding, and a compact design that fits in tight spaces. We've explored the Insinkerator Evolution Compact in our detailed review below:
1 HP Garbage Disposals
If you produce a lot of waste or want the most powerful and efficient unit, a 1 HP garbage disposal is the way to go. These units can handle virtually any type of waste (even pork or small beef bones) and are designed to last for many years. The InSinkErator Evolution Excel is the best 1 HP garbage disposal on the market, featuring three-stage grind technology, SoundSeal technology for quiet operation, and an auto-reverse feature to prevent jams.
1 1/4 HP Garbage Disposals
For those who want to have the most powerful garbage disposal on the block, or who produce large quantities of waste or have very tough waste to dispose of, a 1.25 HP garbage disposal may be the best option. These models are more powerful than 1 HP models and can handle even the toughest waste with ease. The Frigidaire FF13DISPC1 is a top-rated 1.25 HP garbage disposal that features a continuous feed design, stainless steel components, and a powerful motor - it may not be the most elegant looking disposal, but it sure can grind food waste into tiny particles for easy disposal.
Best Disposals By Horsepower 2023
Horsepower & Speed
Process Soft Waste (Pasta / Rice)
Process Medium Waste (Fruit Peels, Fibrous Vegetables)
Process Small Bones (Fish / Chicken)
Process Large Bones (Pork / Beef)
Universal Quick Lock 3 Bolt Mount
EZ Mount System
Universal Xpress 3 Bolt Mount
Universal Xpress 3 Bolt Mount
Sound Insulation / Reduction
Automatic UnJam Technology
Power Cord Included
Type of Steel
Alloy Stainless Steel
Where to Buy
Which Horsepower Disposal Is Right For Me?
If you live in a 1-2 person household, and only plan to only dispose of soft foods such as pasta or rice and just want to get rid of small amounts of food waste, a 1/3 or ½ HP model would suffice. Look for budget or compact garbage disposals from distinguished manufacturers like Moen, Waste King or Insinkerator's "Badger" brand for a long lasting, affordable and dependable disposal.
For a 3-4 person household, you may want a lager disposal especially if you and your family cooks daily, a minimum ½ horsepower disposal would be necessary. A 1/2 HP disposal makes processing of modest amount of soft food wastes such as pasta, vegetables and fruits easy. Upgrade to ¾ HP if you want your disposal to be capable of handling harder to grind wastes like fruit peels and corn cobs - as well as the added benefit of running much more quietly during operation - brands to note would be Insinkerator's Evolution Compact, or Moen's Host series.
If you live in a 3-4 person household, and your family cooks daily, your garbage disposer should have a minimum of ¾ HP - this can handle all sorts of food wastes from chicken and fish bones to corn on the cobs. Basic 3/4 Horse Power models to note are Insinkerator's Badger 5XP. At this horsepower level, premium garbage disposals can handle most types of waste while also operating much more quietly during operation - in addition the food waste is ground to much smaller pieces preventing clogs. Our favourites would be Insinkerator's Evolution Compact, or Moen's Host series.
If you live in a 5-7 person household, and your family cooks daily, your garbage disposer should have a minimum of ¾ HP to be able to handle large amounts of soft food waste at a time. A ¾ HP disposal can also handle everyday amounts of tougher wastes like fruit peels and corn cobs. Basic ¾ Horse Power models to note are Insinkerator's Badger 5XP. Upgrading to 1 horsepower however will mean a premium garbage disposal that handle all types of waste (except large bones) while also operating much more quietly during operation - brands to note would be Insinkerators Evolution Excel, or Moen's Chef Series.
For any households that have over 7 members, or if you wish to grind almost all food scraps (chicken, or fish bones, pork rib bones, fruit and fruit pits included) a 1 to 1.25 HP model will be needed. Top choices would be Insinkerators Evolution Excel, or the Badger 1HP - both can handle pretty much all food wastes except for large bones, and the Evolution Excel has premium features such as noise reduction and automatic anti jam technology.
When it comes to garbage disposals, horsepower matters. If you have a small household or only produce light waste, a 1/2 HP model may be sufficient. However, if you have a larger household or produce tough waste, it's worth investing in a 3/4 HP or 1 HP model. The Waste King L-1001, InSinkErator Evolution Compact, and InSinkErator Evolution Excel are all excellent options to consider depending on your needs and budget. No matter which model you choose, be sure to follow proper maintenance tips to ensure that your garbage disposal lasts for many years.
Leave a Reply