Garbage disposals make life much easier when it comes time to clean up the kitchen. How do you know which one to pick?
In these garbage disposal reviews, we break down what brands and models to consider, what features to look for, and more. We have chosen the Waste King ¾ HP (L-3200) as the best overall garbage disposal.
It boasts stainless-steel parts, a powerful motor, and easy installation all for a pretty affordable price. We’ve also picked nine other disposals that are best for small homes, large families, for those on a budget, and so on.
A Spotlight on the Best Garbage Disposal 2019
Waste King 3/4 HP Garbage Disposal with Power Cord (L-3200) – Our Choice as the Best Overall Garbage Disposal
With a strong but lightweight motor, all stainless-steel parts, easy installation, and other convenient features, the Waste King ¾ HP L-3200 is our pick as the best garbage disposal for 2019. Waste King is known for their effective designs and great warranties, which are both on display in this model.
First, the motor. It’s ¾ horsepower in a compact size of less than 9 pounds with 2700 RPMs. That’s great for breaking down food quickly, and thanks to the 30-ounce chamber, it can fit quite a bit of waste.
Considering its price of around $100, 30-ounces is pretty spacious. The actual disposal itself, however, isn’t too big, so it should fit under most sinks without a problem. If the disposal should jam, the L-3200 is equipped with a manual reset, so it shuts off and stops until you press the button to start running it again. This protects both you and the disposal.
The other great thing about the L-3200 is how easy it is to install. It features an EZ mount, so you shouldn’t need to hire a professional, and most people are able to get it set up in an hour or less. It is also safe for septic tanks that are sized correctly for your home. No electrical work is needed; this model comes with a pre-installed power cord.
If you’re in the market for an affordable continuous-feed garbage disposal that’s easy to install, powerful and big enough to handle lots of waste, and fits in just about any kitchen, this is the one to get. Thanks to its all stainless-steel parts, it’s also built to last. The only downsides are its noise and sometimes the splash guard can prevent the water from draining quickly, but the guard does make cleaning easier.
- Powerful and fast motor
- 30-ounce chamber is on the large side for this price
- Manual reset
- Removable splash guard for easier cleaning
- Comes with power cord
- All stainless steel
- No features for sound, so it’s loud
- Splash guard can prevent the water from draining quickly
InSinkErator Badger 5, 1/2 HP Household Food Waste Disposal – Our Choice as the Best Garbage Disposal for Small Homes
The InSinkErator Badger packs a punch in a small package. With a ½ horsepower Dura-Drive induction motor, it’s capable of breaking down soft and tougher foods, like very small bones. It also comes with a patented Quick Lock mounting system, so it’s easy to install even if you’ve never done it before. If you have limited space, but want a garbage disposal that can handle most waste, consider the Badger 5.
Badgers use Dura-Drives induction motors; this one has ½ horsepower and an RPM of 1725. This is a bit on the slower side for motors on this list of garbage disposal reviews, but if it was faster, it could cause the sink to shake. All that matters is that the disposal is powerful enough to handle most waste you throw at it; it’s a continuous feed style. The chamber capacity is 26-ounces, which is about right for a smaller disposal.
If you overload it and a jam occurs, the disposal will automatically stop. Flip off the switch. You can then reach in and clear it using the “wrenchette” that comes in the box. Once clear, the manual reset will restore power to the motor, and you can switch it back on.
Replacing another InSinkErator disposal? The Quick Lock system makes switching in the new one extremely easy. If this is the first one you’re installing, everything you need is in the box. The sink flange is polished stainless steel, so it works with most stainless steel sinks and three-bolt mounting assemblies. The big installation downside is that it doesn’t come with a power cord, and it uses galvanized steel.
The Badger 5 is compact for small kitchens, but still powerful enough for your needs. Installing it is quick, so you can get it ready out of the box and start using it. There are some weaknesses with the galvanized steel and lack of a power cord, but that’s about it.
- Powerful for a compact disposal
- Quick Lock install system
- Stainless steel sink flange
- Manual reset
- Not all the parts are stainless steel; some are galvanized steel
- No power cord included
InSinkErator SEPTICASSIST Evolution Septic Assist – Our Choice as the Best Garbage Disposal for Septic Tank
If you have a septic tank, you might worry about whether or not a garbage disposal will work. The InSinkErator Evolution Septic Assist was especially designed with you in mind, and it boasts great features like a powerful motor with two grind stages, a technology that helps break down food waste, and SoundSeal. This is on the upper-end price wise, but it is the best garbage disposal for septic tanks.
You can grind pretty much anything thanks to the Dura-Drive induction motor. It has ¾ horsepower, 40 ounces in the chamber, and MultiGrind, which is a system that uses two grind stages to break food down more effectively. It that wasn’t enough, the Septic Assist also comes with a Bio-Charge Injection Technology.
This produces enzymes every time the disposal is on, which break down the food even further into mush, so it never clogs your septic system. Bio-Charge is even infused with a citrus scent for odor control. This tech is exclusive to InSinkErator. It has some downsides, however, such as its size and that the pricey cartridge needs to be replaced 3-4 times per year.
If noise is an issue for you, this disposal has SoundSeal, which includes insulations, connections to reduce vibrations, and a Quiet Collar Sink Baffle. A quieter disposal is ideal if you need to use it a lot, especially for tougher foods.
Just because you have a septic tank, doesn’t mean you can’t have a garbage disposal. The Septic Assist ensures food is completely pulverized, and it won’t rattle your kitchen with noise. It does have a high price tag, and those Bio-Charge cartridges can add up, too. You might want to consider a more affordable disposal that has septic tank compatibility if that price is daunting.
- Two grind stages
- Bio-Charge Injection Technology breaks down food even more
- SoundSeal for quiet operation
- Bio-Charge cartridges also need to be replaced and aren’t cheap
- Bio-Charge unit is bulky
InSinkErator Evolution Compact 3/4 HP Household Garbage Disposal – Our Choice as the Best Garbage Disposal for Large Families
Bigger families generate more waste, so they need a garbage disposal that’s up to the challenge. The InSinkErator Evolution Compact has features like a powerful ¾ horsepower induction motor, stainless steel parts, and two-grind system to really get food broken down. It isn’t the cheapest model, but it is the best garbage disposal if you care about longevity and reliability.
The motor on a garbage disposal is very important because it determines the kind of waste it can handle. The Dura-Drive motor has ¾ horsepower and two grind stages, so food is broken down into even smaller pieces before getting washed away. This also reduces the chances of a clog, and the machine can take soft and tougher foods, like small bones. How much food?
The grind chamber holds 34.6-ounces, which is on the larger size. It’s also stainless steel, which prevents rusting and corrosion. If you use your garbage disposal a lot, that construction holds up.
Bigger garbage disposals tend to be loud, but this InSinkErator is equipped with SoundSeal technology, including insulation, connections to reduce vibrations, and a Quiet Collar sink baffle. It won’t feel like you’re running a tractor through your kitchen when you use it, and you’ll be able to have normal conversations while disposing of scraps. The baffle does sometimes inhibit fast water drainage, but it’s definitely worth it.
With its large grind chamber and MultiGrind motor, a larger-than-normal amount of scraps and leftovers gets pulverized. Even if you use the disposal a lot, the stainless steel holds up. Add in some sound technology, and you’ve got the best InSinkErator for big families.
- Big 34.6-ounce grind chamber
- Two grind stages
- SoundSeal technology
- Stainless steel
- Sink baffle can slow down water drainage
- A bit on the pricier side
InSinkErator Evolution Excel 1.0 HP – Our Choice as the Best High-End Garbage Disposal
If you want a garbage disposal that goes above and beyond, the InSinkErator Evolution Excel is the one to get. It offers three grind stages with its 1.0 horsepower motor, and a huge 40-ounce grind chamber made of stainless steel. Despite its size and power, it’s even on the quieter side.
This garbage disposal’s main selling point is its power. With 1 HP, the motor is one of the most powerful you can get. It’s also fast, with over 1700 RPM, but what really sets this unit apart are the grind stages. There are three, so food is essentially turned into mush that’s easily washed down the drain.
Should there ever be a jam, the Evolution Excel has a Jam-Sensor circuit that anticipates the jam and increases the motor’s torque by 500% to power through. The grind system is also Auto-Reserve, which means the disposal will actually switch directions if a jam comes up.
With all that power, you’d think this disposal would be really loud. Luckily, it’s equipped with SoundSeal technology, which includes a Quiet Collar sink baffle and insulation. You can grind up large amounts of tough foods without feeling like you might go deaf.
If you’re willing to pay the high price, this InSinkErator delivers. It has one of the most powerful motors on the market and technology to deal with jams, as well as tech that keeps it quiet. The stainless steel grind chamber resists rust and corrosion, so the disposal should last.
- Really powerful motor
- Three grind stages
- Jam-Sensor circuit and Auto-Reserve system
- SoundSeal technology keeps it quiet
- No included power cord
Waste King L-111 – Our Choice as the Best Budget Garbage Disposal
Looking for a quality garbage disposal that won’t break the bank? The Waste King L-111 could be what you need. It has a good ⅓ HP, permanent magnet motor with high speeds, a 27.3-ounce grind chamber, and pre-installed power cord for easy installation. It’s even compatible with septic tanks.
Let’s take a look at the motor. What is a permanent magnet motor? It offers a good deal of power (⅓ HP for this unit) in a small package and saves energy. They’re actually often initially more expensive than induction motors, but not in this particular disposal. That makes this Waste King practically a steal.
This disposal is also fast with 1900 RPMs, which can make up for any weaknesses with the ⅓ HP. Stainless steel swivel impellers reduce the risk of jamming, and if that does happen, the unit will shut down. You can just use the manual reset button once it’s clear. Unfortunately, the internal grind material is galvanized steel, not stainless.
Never installed a garbage disposal before? Waste Kings are very easy. The L-111 model is equipped with a pre-installed power cord and EZ mount system, so it shouldn’t take more than an hour or so to set up. If you have a septic tank, you can use this disposal. When you need to clean it, just remove the splash guard, which prevent utensils from falling in.
The Waste King L-111 isn’t built with the fanciest features, but for its price, it offers a lot. The permanent magnet motor is reliable, fast, and powerful enough to handle the most common kitchen scraps, while jams are easy to fix. If you’re on a budget, this is the best garbage disposal to get for the money.
- Easy installation
- Manual reset button
- Removable splash guard
- Fast permanent magnet motor
- Internal grind material is galvanized steel, which corrodes over time
- Can take longer to grind large amounts of food
Waste King L-5000TC Legend Series ¾ HP – Our Choice as the Best Batch Feed Garbage Disposal
Batch feed disposals grind up waste in, as the name implies, batches. It has a cover that needs to cover the hole before the disposal will work, so these are much safer than continuous feed. Nothing can fall into the hole while it’s running and cause a jam. They’re best for people who need a disposal that grinds up smaller amounts of waste. The best batch feed we found is the Waste King L-5000TC. It has a powerful and very fast motor, stainless steel grind parts, and it’s easy to install.
At 2700 RPM, this is one of the fastest motors in these garbage disposal reviews. That’s good news, since batch feed disposals tend to take a bit longer, especially if you need to grind multiple batches. This is also a permanent magnet motor, which means it’s more efficient than an induction. The ¾ horsepower can handle soft and tougher foods, while the chamber holds up to 32 ounces at a time.
What about the parts? They’re stainless steel, so they won’t rust or corrode over time. Installation is easy because of the EZ mount system, and the power cord is pre-installed. If you have a septic tank, the L-5000TC is compatible.
If you’re a smaller family that doesn’t create a lot of waste, this is a great option. It’s also safer since it won’t run without a cover. The motor is durable, fast, and powerful enough for whatever you need to grind. The only downsides are that it is a bit bulky beneath the sink and a little on the more expensive side.
- Stainless steel grind parts
- Compatible with septic tanks
- On the larger size
Waste Maid 58 Economy ½ HP – Our Choice as the Best Garbage Disposal for those Worried About Germs
If cleanliness is your primary concern when it comes to your kitchen and garbage disposal, you’ll be happy with the Waste Maid 58. It has unique Bio-Shield technology to fight germs and odors. It’s a good unit beyond that, too, with a TorqueMaster, ½-HP motor and affordable price.
Garbage disposals can be hothouses of germs and bacteria. Even after rinsing away food, some bits can get stuck and attract grossness. Waste Maid disposals are equipped with Bio-Shield anti-microbial material, which means it’s harder for gross stuff to grow inside. It also helps prevent odors. If you’ve had garbage disposals in the past that always seem to smell no matter what you do, this unit is a good one to consider.
What about the motor? It’s a permanent magnet motor with ½ HP and 2600 RPM. As a TorqueMaster, it’s been designed specifically for balance and high torque grind speed. 2600 RPM is on the fast side, especially for a relatively cheap disposal. The grind components are made of galvanized steel, however, which corrodes over time. The chamber, which holds 29-ounces, is supposed to be corrosion-free.
While perhaps not the most durable garbage disposal available, the Waste Maid 58 is a very affordable choice, and it boasts the unique Bio-Shield to prevent odors. It’s also designed to manage high speeds with a relatively low HP, so even though it isn’t the most powerful disposal, it grinds up food quickly and efficiently.
- Bio-Shield anti-microbial technology
- TorqueMaster motor designed for balance
- Fast speed of 2600 RPM
- Uses galvanized steel
- Installation can be tricky
Moen GXS75C GX Series 3/4 HP Garbage Disposal
Moen is relatively new to the garbage disposal world and eager to make a mark. The GXS75C offers fast grinding speed in a ¾ HP motor, a large chamber, and sound-blocking tech for a quieter grind. Time will tell if this continuous-feed Moen can play with the big boys, but for now, this model appears to be a solid option.
When it comes to grinding, the motor is the most important feature on all garbage disposals. The GXS75C uses a Vortex permanent magnet motor, which are known to be more efficient (though also more expensive) than the more traditional induction motors.
It has ¾ horsepower and 2700 RPMs, which makes this a high-speed disposal. Unfortunately, the chamber is galvanized steel, so durability is an issue. In terms of chamber size, 30.8-ounces is on the larger size, which is good for larger amounts of waste.
The only unique feature this disposal has is its metal sink stopper. Most come with rubber ones. Beyond that, you’ll find the relatively common removable splash guard, which helps with easy cleaning and prevents objects from falling into the chamber. The Moen also has soundshield sound insulation, though some users are disappointed by it. There are much quieter disposals out there.
The Moen GXS75C isn’t anything special, but it’s solid. It has a good, fast motor, a large grinding chamber, and other features you would expect from a garbage disposal of this price. However, if you’re concerned about noise and durability, there are better options out there.
- Fast 2700 RPM speed
- Permanent magnet motor are more efficient
- Metal sink stopper
- Sound insulation isn’t great
- Uses galvanized steel in the chamber
General Electric GFC520V 1/2 Horsepower Continuous Feed Disposal Large Capacity Food Waste Disposer
With its extremely-fast motor, good-sized chamber, and quiet operation, this continuous-feed GE garbage disposal is a good pick for most families who want reliability. It also comes at an affordable price, so if you have budget limits, this is one to consider.
The GFC520V garbage disposal has a permanent magnet motor, making it efficient and consistent. While it only has ½ HP, it’s very fast with 2800 RPM, which is the most RPM in any of the models in our garbage disposal reviews. If you have a septic tank, this disposal is compatible with proper installation. The chamber holds 27-ounces.
Construction-wise, it’s insulated to help prevent noise, but it does have a galvanized steel turntable. The flange and impellers are stainless steel, however, so those are more durable. Installation can be a little difficult, because the mounting is different than other disposals. It might be best to ask an experienced friend or even a professional for help.
If you can get past the installation process, the GFC520V ½ HP disposal is a decent little workhorse with an affordable price. It holds a good amount of waste and grinds it up really quickly, and it can be used with septic tanks. Because the turntable is galvanized steel, it may not last as long as all stainless-steel disposals.
- Really fast 2800 RPMs
- Insulated for noise prevention
- Compatible with septic tanks
- Contains galvanized steel
- Hard to install
What to Know Before Buying a Garbage Disposal
Before considering any garbage disposal model, there are a few things you should sort out. First, find out if you are allowed to have one. If you use a municipal sewer system, call the local authority to find out its policy. Some require permits. If you can have one, make sure the septic tank is big enough.
Municipalities sometimes require upgrades if you want a garbage disposal. Next, decide if the increased water usage is worth it. Disposals increase your water bill. The last consideration is your plumbing. If it has problems, like clogs or backups, a disposal can make it worse. Before installing a disposal, have a troublesome septic system fixed or sized up.
Continuous feed or batch feed?
Once you know you want a garbage disposal, decide if a continuous feed or batch feed is best. Continuous feeds allow you to add waste on top of other waste as the disposal grinds it up. This makes them less safe because foreign objects like utensils can fall in while the machine is working, or you could get your hand caught.
If you’re careful, however, you can grind up large amounts of waste very quickly. These are also generally more affordable than batch feeds. If you’re on a budget, prioritize speed, and are committed to being careful, continuous feed disposals are a good pick.
Batch feeds only work when a stopper is over the hole. You fill the disposal chamber with waste, plug it up, and run it. These are safer and prevent food (or fingers) from getting caught. For this safety, however, you pay a bit more and it takes longer to grind up food scraps. If you’re okay with being patient and have had bad experiences with dropping stuff into a disposal as it’s running, this type is a good choice.
Features to consider
When checking out a garbage disposal, what features should you look at? There are six: the type of motor; power and speed; operation; construction; ease of installation and size; and noise.
You’ll find two types of motors in disposals: induction or permanent magnet motors. Induction motors are traditional and rugged. They are also cheaper because of their simple design. However, they are larger and not especially efficient. Permanent magnet motors, on the other hand, offer more efficiency in a smaller package.
They are generally more expensive, however, at least initially. In looking through garbage disposal reviews, it doesn’t appear that a disposal is better or worse based on its motor type. You’ll find induction motors in high-end, powerful disposals and permanent magnet motors in budget models. The disposal’s performance as a whole is more important.
Horsepower ratings + speed
The other aspects of a motor you should look at are its horsepower and speed. Disposals will range from just ½ to 1 HP. Even the least powerful motors are usually capable of handling soft and occasionally tougher waste like small bones and eggshells. However, if you’re grinding those on a regular basis, you want a disposal that’s at least ¾ HP. These will grind the food into smaller particles, making clogs less likely.
As for speed, disposals are measured in RPM, or revolutions per minute. Speed varies from unit to unit from 1700 up to 2700 rpm. As a general rule, the higher the rpms, the faster the disposal works. A fast motor combined with high horsepower results in a very powerful disposal that quickly pulverizes tough waste.
When we say “operation,” we basically mean what features does the disposal have that make the process safer or easier? Think auto-reverse modes, included wrenches, removable splash guards, and so on. These are common across disposal brands, but not always equipped, so be sure to double-check if you want a certain feature.
What a disposal is made of is very important because waste and water is involved. You’ll usually see galvanized or stainless steel used. Galvanized steel is typically found in cheaper or lower-quality disposals because it’s susceptible to corrosion. They’re not rust-proof.
Stainless steel is, so if you’re concerned about durability, go with a unit that uses as much stainless steel as possible. You’ll often see a combination. Still, stainless steel isn’t perfect, and tough waste like bones can cause damage over time.
Ease of installation + size
Setting up a garbage disposal is never fun, but it can be done quickly and without much effort, depending on the brand. Look for features like EZ mounts, pre-installed power cords, and so on. Think about the weight, too, because if the disposal is on the heavier side (20 pounds), you might need a friend to help.
In that same vein, consider how much space the disposal will take up beneath your sink. Many disposals are compact, even ones with powerful motors, so it’s more than possible to have a really good model with limited space. Check out the product dimensions and do a little measuring before buying.
Garbage disposals can be really loud. They’re grinding up stuff, after all. However, lots of models now include sound-blocking technology that insulates the disposal, reducing both shaking and noise. If you anticipate cleaning up the kitchen and scraps in the evening, when you want to be quieter for whatever reason, look for those type of features. Lots of garbage disposal reviews include peoples’ experience with noise, too.
Maintenance and troubleshooting
Garbage disposals are used frequently, which means they need to be maintained in order to keep working at their best. There’s also things that can go wrong, whether it’s an electrical problem, a clog, or something else. In this section, we’ll describe how to clean your disposal so it stays in good shape and go over some useful care tips that also protect the disposal. Lastly, we’ll cover how to troubleshoot common problems.
Cleaning your disposal
Assuming your garbage disposal doesn’t have anything in it, like unground food, the first thing to do is rinse it out really well with hot water. Put a stopper in your sink and run the hot (not too hot to stick your hands in it) water until the sink is 2-4 inches full. Add some dish soap while you’re at it. Then, unstopper the plug and turn on the disposal, letting the water go through.
If you’re just giving your garbage disposal a quick clean, this is all you need to do. However, if you want to go further, grind some ice cubes and salt to remove stickier debris. Ice also sharpens your disposal teeth. You can even freeze white vinegar and grind those instead, adding both odor-eliminating, antibacterial, and sharpening benefits.
There are two parts of the disposal that are often neglected: the underside of the rubber baffle and the sloped area on top of the grinding chamber. The baffle is installed between the sink disposal and the disposal; it’s to keep food particles from flying out of the disposal when grinding. After time, they eventually need to be replaced. The image below is an example of a baffle from Podoy. As you can see, there are a lot of edges and angles where food could get stuck.
To clean, simply scrub under the baffle with the abrasive side of a wet, soapy sponge, getting around the different angles. That sloped area is right beneath the baffle, and when you’re wiping with the sponge, just be sure to not reach in too far. You don’t want to get your hands near the toothy blades.
How to reduce smells
If you notice your disposal smelling especially strong, there are easy ways to deodorize. The most common is good ol’ fashioned baking soda and vinegar. Sprinkle half a cup down into the drain and pour over a cup of white vinegar.
It will bubble and foam up. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes while the chemicals get to work killing bacteria and absorbing smells, and then run the disposal with hot water. You can also use a few tablespoons of Borax, though that should sit in your disposal for an hour. Rinse with hot water.
If you want to actually create nicer smells in your disposal, citrus fruit peels are an easy and natural way. Dump a bunch of peels (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, whatever citrus you have on hand) into the disposal and grind through your disposal with the water running. The citric acid is a powerful cleanser and it smells amazing.
Items to never put down your garbage disposal
A big part of good disposal maintenance is being careful about what you put in it or rather, what you don’t put in it. Lots of garbage disposal reviews and descriptions will say the disposal can handle foods as tough as small bones, but if you want to play it safe, here’s what you should avoid:
Coffee grounds – these can stick to the blades like a black, gritty paste
Potato peels – these are full of starch, which turns into a paste and sticks to everything
Most bones – when a disposal review says it can handle bones, it means fish bones or the smallest chicken bones, but it doesn’t mean it should happen frequently
Oatmeal – like anything with starch, oatmeal (especially raw oatmeal) expands
Fibrous vegetables – pumpkin, celery, and squash get all stringy when ground, and these strings can get stuck
Corn husks – speaking of fiber, corn husks are essentially only fibrous and once they get stuck, they catch and trap everything else that comes after it
Fruit pits – this should be a no brainer, as fruit pits are basically as hard as bones
Non-dish soap cleaners – don’t flush really harsh chemicals down the disposal, as they can wear down the components over time
Crab, lobster, shrimp shells – these are way too hard for your disposal in large amounts
Grease and oil – these are already liquid, so there’s nothing to grind, but once they’re down in the pipes, they harden and cause clogs
Troubleshooting common problems
When you use a garbage disposal for a while, odds are something will go wrong at some point. Here are the most common problems and how to respond:
Disposal won’t turn on
You flip the switch and don’t hear the motor running. It means there’s an electrical issue. The first fix is to make sure the disposal is plugged in. If it is, find the red reset button that’s located on the bottom of the disposal.
If tripped, you can tell because the built-in circuit breaker function pushes the button out. Just press it back in, and the disposal is reset. Try running the disposal now.
If that still doesn’t work, check the main service panel to see if that tripped. Reset that if it has. At this point, if the disposal still doesn’t work, the next steps involve taking stuff apart. Unless you have no experience doing this, it’s best to call in a friend who has or a professional. You don’t really want to mess around with wires and electricity if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Disposal has a clog
The difference between jams and clogs is that a clog occurs once the food or item has gone through the drain. To deal with the clog, you actually get under the sink and work with the disposal from that angle. The best method is to use an Allen wrench or little wrenchette that comes with some disposals.
The very first thing you want to do is make absolutely sure no power is going to start up the disposal. If it’s hardwired, unplug it. It you just flip a switch on or off, make sure it’s in the off position. With your Allen wrench, turn the bolt found on the underside of the disposal back and forth.
Disposal is jammed
Some kind of obstruction has jammed your disposal. It might be a big junk of food or other debris. Like with clogs, you want to use a pair of tongs, because you should never stick your hand in a garbage disposal even if it’s turned off. A flashlight is also useful, so you can see down the drain.
Once your disposal is turned off completely, look into the sink with your light to see if you can spot the obstruction. If you can’t, just stick the tongs in there and see if you can remove the object easily. If you can’t, it’s time to get back under the sink.
Look for the hex socket and insert a hex wrench.
Move it back and forth a few times. Since this socket is connected to the impeller (disposal blades are held by rivets against an impeller plate), working it around can loosen the trapped object.
Once you’ve removed the object, plug the disposal back in and then press the reset button. If your disposal just uses a switch, just skip right to the reset. Now, test the disposal with the water running.
Disposal is leaking
Garbage disposals can start leaking for a number of reasons. Most fixes involve simply tightening various screws and bolts.
The sink flange leaks
The very top of the garbage disposal, where the disposal meets the sink drain, is called the sink flange. If this starts leaking, you should check the mounting bolts. There are usually three, and you should make sure they’re all tight.
It could also be because the plumber’s putty is breaking down. To add more, loosen the bolts to create a little gap, and then stuff the putty between the flange and pipe. Screw the bolts back tightly.
The dishwasher connection leaks
If your disposal is connected to the drain pipe of your dishwasher, a leak can start in the hose where the disposal meets the dishwasher. Check the clamp and make sure it’s tight. If there’s a crack or other damage, you’ll need to replace that part of the hose.
Discharge pipe leaks
On the bottom of the disposal, you’ll find a discharge pipe that goes into the sink’s drain. It’s connected by a flange and seal. Over time, both of these can get loose or wear down, if they’re old. If they’re just loose, you can use a plumber’s wrench to tighten the flange. If the pipe is still leaking, you’ll need to replace the seal.
The whole disposal is loose
It’s possible for the whole disposal to get knocked a bit loose, especially if you’re going in and out of the sink a lot and storing heavy items. If the pipes or disposal gets bumped hard enough, it can move. If there’s leakage occurring and you aren’t sure why, check the disposal. The problem might be obvious. Shift the disposal back into its normal position and tighten everything.
Interior shell is cracked
If the shell of your disposal is cracked, there’s nothing you can do. It’s time to get a new one. Cracks shouldn’t appear until the disposal is very old, so if it’s relatively new, go with a different brand next time.
There are a wide range of garbage disposals out there for everybody, no matter what your priorities or budget, but we believe the Waste King ¾ HP (L-3200) is the best of the best.
Before buying, think about a disposal’s motor, its construction, any anti-jam or clog features the disposal comes with, noise, and how easy it is to install. Every disposal will need some maintenance, and to keep the unit in the best shape possible, be careful about what you try to grind.
When something goes wrong, don’t call a plumber just yet; you may be able to fix the problem yourself with a little elbow grease and know-how. Hopefully this guide provided you with some advice that will come in handy!