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Is your garbage disposal being louder than usual? Taking longer to get the job done? Perhaps it’s time to retire it and get a new one: after all, long lived though it may be, it’s not meant to last forever. Plus, you might be helping the environment by using it!
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What to Know: Best Garbage Disposal
Corn cobs, fish bones, fruit scraps and more: if they go through the disposal, they don’t have to go into the trash, which cuts down on waste, smell and vermin. But that’s not all there is to it! Anything the disposal chops away will not add its bulk to the local landfill: unless you have a septic tank, your pulverized refuse will end up at a treatment plant where, very often, it will undergo a process called anaerobic digestion. The gas generated in this way is converted into biofuel, with any solid residue ending up as farm fertilizer. The environmental impact, therefore, can be quite positive! Should you want to verify if this processing is done in your area, you can always contact your local sewage treatment plant.
Is It Time For A Replacement?
You seal the deal, move in, and presto!, it turns out your kitchen has a garbage disposal. This means it has been used for some time, maybe even years, before you first turned it on. You can usually expect this sort of appliance to have a relatively long life (between 8 and 15 years); however, be it because of old age or an unfortunate malfunction, you might need to bring in a new unit sooner than later. Is it leaking? Working more loudly than before? Taking longer than it used to? Then it’s time to say goodbye.
Better safe than sorry: here’s what you need to go over, before even starting to shop around.
Pipes: Can They Handle It?
If you’re already seeing frequent clogs in your home, then a garbage disposal might not be in the cards for you. This is particularly true if your home is older, pre-1970s, with old cast-iron pipes. If your residence is recent enough to feature plastic pipes (and clogging is also infrequent), then you should be good to go.
Septic Tank: Properly Sized?
It not only needs to be large enough for your home, there has to be margin for food waste; and you might need to pump it every year instead of every three-to-five. You can always get an inspector to tell you if your tank makes the cut for you to use a garbage disposal, or not.
Under The Sink: Is There Enough Room?
Nowadays, most sinks are designed to easily accommodate a garbage disposal underneath; still, you might want to take measurements once you choose the unit you’ll bring home. Their size will vary, especially if they have sound insulation. If you’re renovating your kitchen, check with the manufacturer if the sink is disposal compatible, just to be on the safe side.
The Types In The Market
Garbage disposals are categorized depending on how they’re fed, as follows:
The most common type out there, they are also the most affordable. You turn them on via a power switch, and toss your scraps in as you go. There is an ever present risk of objects falling in, and even injury, as the unit keeps going as long as the power is on.
These are quite rare, which makes them somewhat hard to find. You pour a load into the unit, then place a special topper on the drain opening. This turns the disposal on, which takes care of every bit of refuse in one go. Remove the stopper to turn the disposal off.
Given their specific design, risk of injury or particles flying out is practically nonexistent, and they are also an ideal choice for kitchen islands since they don’t need a switch to function. They are, however, generally more expensive.
With More Power Comes… Better Functionality?
Short answer: not quite. Sure, more horsepower makes for more effective grinding, lesser chance of jams and quieter operation, but it will come at a higher cost for you; and you might be paying for more than you actually need.
If it is for a place you don’t visit often (like your vacation home), a 1/3 hp unit will do. For your average household, an option with a ½ or ¾ hp motor is usually good enough. 1 hp is considered best for places that constantly have to deal with harder waste, such as bones. In any case, you might want to check if your circuit breaker can handle the strain.
Best Price Garbage Disposal: InSinkErator Badger 5
It is well within reach for an average budget, and it’s still one trusty piece: its components are made in galvanized steel, and its ½ hp motor with Dura-Drive induction technology performs its grinding without any wearable parts, so as to reduce the need for any maintenance. Their patented Quick Lock sink mount makes both installation and replacement an easy affair. It doesn’t even have to be hardwired into the wall, as it comes with power cord.
Aside from installation instructions, package includes discharge tube, stopper, flange, jam-buster wrench, and gasket.
- Affordable without sacrificing performance.
- Rather loud when working.
Best Garbage Disposal For Septic Systems: Waste King L-8000
This 1 hp unit will go from 0 to 2800 RPM in just a few seconds thanks to its permanent magnet motor, which is also designed to greatly reduce jamming. It gets the job done quickly, and it is built to last: chamber is made in corrosion-proof polymer, and the grind components are all stainless steel. Splash guard is removable, which makes it easier to clean the unit and retrieve any dropped items.
The proprietary EZ Mount twist-and-lock design is intended to simplify installation, and it does come with the necessary hardware, including a power cord. However, not only does the task require specific tools per the manufacturer, it is widely reported that even a professional may have trouble installing this unit.
- Powerful and long-lasting.
- Installation can be quite complicated.
Best Compact Garbage Disposal: Waste King L-1001
It’s among the smallest units out there, and you can even hook it up to the dishwasher via a 7/8” rubber hose. Motor runs at ½ hp, which should be sufficient for an average family; sound insulation helps make its operation quieter. The preinstalled power cord makes hardwiring unnecessary, and installation is intended to be straightforward via the proprietary EZ Mount.
Jamming is less likely thanks to its permanent magnet motor and stainless steel swivel impellers. Unlike most units, its reset button is mounted at the front.
- Resetting it is easy thanks to button location.
- Can be directly hooked up to the dishwasher.
- Retrieving dropped objects might be difficult due to how narrow it is.
Best Quiet Garbage Disposal: Goplus Garbage Disposal with Power Cord, 1.0HP 2600RPM
Its 1 hp motor goes all the way up to 2600 RPM, but it still manages to generate as little as 50dB of noise when operating, thanks to a special three-point locking system that keeps it steady and prevents any vibration when the unit is on. Power cord is preinstalled.
The removable splash baffler helps prevent injury and splattering, and it can be disassembled for cleaning. Unit is built in ABS and stainless steel for a longer life.
- Quiet operation that doesn’t sacrifice performance.
- Sturdy build.
- Its bulk might take up considerable space under the sink.
Powerful, quiet, functional, it pretty much has it all: motor runs at 1 hp with performance improved by its Dura-Drive induction technology, and, unlike the majority of the units in the market, this one is entirely made of stainless steel, both grind components and chamber. This makes for one of the most solid options out there. Grinding is 3-stage, intended to thoroughly pulverize whatever waste is dropped in. Noise is reduced thanks to its Sound Seal Plus and collar sink baffle.
Jamming protection is twofold: first, the unit engages its auto-reverse feature to avoid getting stuck if an impending jam is detected. If this fails, it doesn’t give up: rather, the jam-sensor circuit increases torque up to 5x, in order to overcome it. Between its base potency, the Multi-Grinding and this feature, almost nothing is too tough for this unit to chop away. For additional peace of mind, its warranty is good for 7 years.
- Packed with bonus features.
- Warranty is longer than the average for its category.
- Requires a hefty investment.
In the end, your choice will come down to your particular situation and your budget. Now you have all the information you need to choose wisely!
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