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It may not get as much attention as other appliances, but the garbage disposal is somewhat of an unsung (and unseen) hero in the home, powerfully pulverizing food waste and making quick work of kitchen cleanup. But these motorized machines hiding under sinks are not all the same.
First, there are continuous-feed and batch-feed models (more on that later), and some come with special features such as additional insulation or stainless steel grinding chambers. We researched and narrowed down the best garbage disposals on the market, so all you have to do is click—well, and handle the installation.
Can cut through tough veggie scraps
Quieter than others
Rubber baffle may lead to slow draining
Thousands of happy owners have made the InSinkErator Evolution Compact garbage disposal a best-seller. This 3/4-horsepower unit has a 34.6-ounce grind chamber with stainless steel grind components, and reviewers say it’s the perfect size to handle food waste from a large, hungry family. This model is a continuous-feed disposal, so it can handle a constant stream of food, too.
Experts give this InSinkErator very good marks for speed, fineness of grind, and ability to cut through tough vegetable scraps. It gets slightly lower marks for noise, but most owners say it’s not too loud thanks to SoundSeal technology with sound insulation, an anti-vibration sink mount, and an anti-vibration tailpipe. Several owners say it was easy enough to install without a professional and has plenty of power for all kinds of food waste. A few note that the rubber baffle means their sink drains too slowly, and some say they’ve had issues with leaks. Fortunately, this model is backed by a four-year in-home warranty, so if something goes wrong, service agents will come to you.
EZ Mount system
10-year mechanical warranty
Runs relatively quietly
Mixed reviews on noise level
Another very popular garbage disposal, the Waste King Legend is beloved for its sturdy build and easy installation. Like the InSinkErator, it’s a 3/4-horsepower unit with stainless-steel grinders that can stand the test of time, and because it’s a continuous-feed model, users can keep it running as they’re adding food waste—convenient for most families.
Features on the Waste King include a front-mounted reset button, a removable splash guard, and sound insulation meant to reduce noise during operation. Most reviewers say the noise is typical for a garbage disposal, though some people complain of a loud click when it’s first turned on. However, almost all are happy with the motor’s power, saying the blades blow through lots of food waste without jamming.
They also say it’s fairly easy to install thanks to an EZ Mount system that includes necessary hardware. It’s backed by an impressive 10-year in-home mechanical warranty that means repairs are done in-home, and there is a lifetime warranty protecting against corrosion.
Easy to install
Slightly stiff splash guard
Smaller households or buyers with small budgets will appreciate the Waste King Legend L-111, recommended by hundreds of owners who say it’s ideal for anyone who doesn’t need quite as much power in a garbage disposal. This continuous-feed model is a 1/3-horsepower unit with stainless steel grinders and a 1,900 rpm motor, and many owners say it’s a great fit for smaller kitchens or apartments where big dinners aren’t a nightly affair.
Like larger Waste King models, this one features sound-reducing insulation, a front-mounted reset button, a removable splash guard and a corrosion-proof grinding chamber. Reviewers say it’s easy to install even without a pro, and some say the upside to getting less-powerful disposal is a quieter motor, too. Most are pleased with the power, but some say the splash guard is a little stiff, meaning they have to more actively push food waste down into the disposal. This model is backed by a two-year in-home repair warranty.
Best for Large Amounts of Waste: InSinkErator PRO1100XL Pro Series 1.1 HP Food Waste Garbage Disposal
Quick, fine grind
Power cord comes separately
Rubber stopper flaps are a little tight
Got a whole lot of mouths to feed? Need a garbage disposal that can stand up to a large, constant stream of food waste? Reviewers say this pricey InSinkErator Pro is worth the investment over smaller, less powerful garbage disposals. It has a 1.1-horsepower, 1,725 rpm motor and a 40-ounce stainless steel grind chamber to handle large amounts of food waste at one time. Experts give it top marks for fineness, very good ones for noise and handling of vegetable scraps, and good ones for noise.
This InSinkErator has three-stage MultiGrind technology that means it can break down even large chunks of food, and unlike many cheaper disposals, it has an auto-reverse and jam sensor features that can clear out food that has become stuck. SoundSeal technology including a Quiet Collar Sink Baffle cuts down on annoying vibrations and excess noise, and owners confirm that it’s a very quiet disposal, especially considering its power. They also say it’s easy to install, but note that the power cord must be purchased separately. If something goes wrong, this InSinkErator has one of the best warranties out there—12 years of in-home service.
Quick to grind
Easy to install
Stopper doesn't always kick on disposal
If there are a lot of curious little fingers around the house, a batch-feed garbage disposal with a stopper can offer peace of mind. Owners say one of the best batch-feed disposals is this InSinkErator Evolution model, which has a 3/4-horsepower motor and a 40-ounce stainless steel grind chamber. The disposal will only come on when the magnetic stopper is inserted, so no wall switch is needed.
This InSinkErator is fast—it gets top marks in expert tests for speed, and very good ones for fineness, noise and ability to shred vegetable scraps. Other features include two-stage grinding and SoundSeal technology that means less noise, and owners say they agree that this model is very quiet compared with other disposals. Some do note that the stopper doesn’t always easily kick on the disposal, however. Installation is easy thanks to a Quick Lock sink mount, reviewers report, but no power cord comes with this model. It’s backed by a seven-year in-home warranty.
Very fine, quick grind
Sizable grind chamber
Whether you’re finishing a high-end kitchen remodel or simply want a top-of-the-line garbage disposal that will offer the best performance, reviewers say the ultra-quiet KitchenAid Superba is worth a look. It has a 3/4-horsepower, 1,725 rpm motor and a 40-ounce grind chamber that can handle a lot of food waste, even from large family dinners. It’s continuous-feed, which allows for constant use without worries about burnt-out motors.
Experts give the KitchenAid Superba top marks for the fineness of grind and very good ones for speed, noise, and ability to handle vegetable scraps. Features include two-stage grinding, overload protection, and manual reset. It also has SoundSeal technology that KitchenAid says makes it 40 percent quieter than standard garbage disposals, and reviewers confirm that it is definitely a step up from most other models when it comes to noise. One owner even says this disposal can run in an open kitchen without disturbing nearby conversations—an important consideration for users who have wide-open floor plans. Another reviewer says it’s so quiet that it almost sounds like it isn’t working. It’s backed by a five-year warranty.
Easy to install
Motor finely grinds, preventing jams
Pre-installed power cord
Moen might be known for its faucets, but the trusted brand also makes garbage disposals, including this 3/4 horsepower model that consumers swear by. The continuous-feed model is part of Moen's Host Series, intended for those who require a boost when cleaning up after cooking for friends and family.
The VORTEX permanent magnet motor's major claim is that it finely grinds food and therefore gets jammed less frequently than other options, and reviewers confirm that's true. They also rave that the rubber splash guard does a great job of catching unwanted items before they fall in. But if a spoon does slip through, the whole guard lifts out, allowing you to see where you are reaching your hand. Despite its SoundSHIELD feature, some customers complained about the noise, but note that no disposals are quiet.
Our top pick is the InSinkErator Evolution Compact Continuous Feed Garbage Disposal because of its speed and fineness of grind combined with its relative quietness (view at Home Depot). If you prefer a batch-feed model over a continuous-feed garbage disposal, go for the InSinkErator Evolution Cover Control Garbage Disposal, which is not only easy to install but also grinds quickly (view at Home Depot).
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Saundra Latham is a writer who covers home products for The Spruce and The Spruce Eats. She has written more than 25 roundups for the brands, including the best home appliance gifts, induction cooktops, and home tool kits of 2020.
Style: Continuous-feed models, which keep running as you drop in new food waste, are convenient but may pose a safety risk to kids who might stick their fingers down the drain. They also tend to require a hard-wired connection to a wall switch. On the other hand, batch-feed models are loaded with scraps and activated by a magnetic stopper. They’re safer and may not require a hard-wired connection, but they’re less convenient to use.
Power: More powerful units will grind food faster—and possibly smaller as well—so they’re better for folks who'll be sending more food down the drain more often. Less powerful units will be less expensive and they’ll consume less electricity. While they may not be able to handle a refrigerator cleanout, they’ll be fine for food scraps rinsed off of dishes.
Noise: No garbage disposal will be quiet, and the noise depends slightly on what type of food you're grinding, much like a blender, but some models are designed for more quiet operation. Since it’s unlikely you’ll be using the disposal when everyone’s sleeping, the noise factor may not be critical for everyone, but it’s something to keep in mind if you or your family members are sensitive to loud noises.