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How Much Does a Garbage Disposal Cost?

Last Updated: January 19, 2022

Garbage disposals, or disposers, chop up food waste into pieces that are small enough to pass through plumbing. They reduce food waste in the home and in landfills by diverting it to wastewater treatment systems. With relatively few models and options to choose from, selecting a new garbage disposal is pretty straightforward. A handy homeowner can install a disposal in h or two lf a day or less and save a couple of hundred bucks on professional installation.

Garbage Disposal Options #

Garbage disposals are available with the following options:

  • Continuous-feed vs. Batch-feed: Continuous feed disposers allow food to be pushed into the unit while the motor is running. Batch-feed units only process one load of food waste at a time; the blades begin grinding when a stopper is pushed into place. Continuous feed disposers are a little more convenient, while batch feed disposers are safer.
  • Motor size: Disposers come with 1/3, ½, ¾, or 1 horsepower motors. More powerful motors do a better job of grinding up food waste into smaller pieces, reducing the incidence of pipe clogs. Higher horsepower motors are recommended for homes that dispose of tougher food waste such as bones.
  • Hardwire vs. Plugin: Most continuous-feed disposers operate via a switch that must be hard-wired. A batch-feed disposer might come with a cord that can simply be plugged into an outlet.
  • Speeds and Settings: Basic disposers have a single operation mode: flip the switch or push the stopper into place and it grinds at a single speed in a single direction. More advanced models, however, have options such as auto-reverse mode, anti-jamming features, and multiple grinding levels (similar to a blender).
  • Operation noise: More expensive disposers often have noise and vibration dampening features such as insulation and sink baffles. In general larger, heavier disposers tend to be quieter.
  • Stainless steel components: Disposers with a stainless steel grinding chamber are touted as having greater corrosion-resistance and durability (although this isn't an invitation to abuse them).
  • Septic assist: Septic-friendly disposers release microorganisms during the grinding cycle that help break down food waste.
  • Warranty: Disposer warranties range from 1 year to seven years to ten years to lifetime. The best way to ensure your disposer doesn't have problems is to avoid feeding it with fibrous foods (such as celery, asparagus, artichokes, and fruit and vegetable peels), greasy foods, rice and pasta, egg shells, coffee grounds, and non-food items.

What to Consider When Installing a Garbage Disposal #

In addition to the disposal options described above, you'll also want to consider the following points before moving ahead with installation:

  • Not all municipalities allow garbage disposers due to limits on water and/or sewer capacity. Contact a local authority to find out whether your municipal sewer system supports disposers.
  • Local officials should also be contacted in regards to your septic tank, which may need to be upgraded to accommodate a garbage disposer.
  • Garbage disposers use nearly 1,000 gallons of water per year. Keep in mind how this affects your water bill and whether the extra water usage is prudent in your climate.
  • Make sure that the disposer you buy fits under the sink.
  • Resolve any plumbing issues before installing a garbage disposer, as the extra waste could exacerbate clog-prone pipes.
  • Major manufacturers of garbage disposers include Waste King, KitchenAid, Viking, Kenmore, and InSinkErator.

Garbage Disposal Average Costs #

  • Garbage disposals can cost under $100 and more than $600, although you'll find many good quality units priced between $150 and $350.
  • Higher-priced units have larger motors, more options, and stainless steel components. Those at the top of the price spectrum are foodservice-grade. Cheaper units generally are noisier and not as good at chopping up food into fine pieces.
  • Professional installation of a garbage disposal might cost $100 to $500 or more depending on the complexity of the job. Replacing an existing disposal is cheaper than a brand new installation. Adding a new electrical switch will cost more than plumbing alone
    .* Rather than hiring a plumber and electrician separately, hire a handyman and consolidate installation costs. You might get a deal on installation when purchasing from a store such as Home Depot or Sears, but read the fine print for hidden charges. As with any job, get multiple quotes and make sure that everything is in writing before work begins.
  • Save money on installation and install a garbage disposal yourself. See how at Easy2DIY.

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