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What Size Garbage Disposal Do I Need?

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?

  • 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.

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!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 2 comments
Jim Tench - March 7, 2017

Very helpful article

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