What Size Of A Garbage Disposal Do I Need?

by Shawn Anderson | Last Updated:  June 13, 2020

How Big Or Small Should My Garbage Disposal Be? How Do You Know What Size Should I Get?

Garbage Disposal Size

Garbage disposals come in diverse shapes and sizes. Finding a good one from the many that are available is hence never really a walk in the park. It is important though that you pick the right one for the sake of smooth compatibility with your systems.

Then, you also have to ensure that the one you settle on has the capacity you need to handle your garbage disposal issues. To make a good choice, you have to take care of several issues and factors. We have prepared this buying guide for the sake of giving this very insight. It seeks to explore all the issues you need to beware of.

8 Tips For Finding The Perfect Garbage Disposal

Below are some of the factors that inform the correct choice of garbage disposal. We have listed them in no particular order. This notwithstanding, you will find all of them critical in your ultimate selection of the most suitable kind of disposal for your use and applications.

1. Space Constraints And Considerations

Your first and foremost concern should the amount of space you have in your home. When all is said and done, the kind of disposal you will realistically lay your hands on will depend on a large part on this parameter. To go about this issue, take the measurements of the space that is available in your home.

Then, go ahead to look for the disposal that bears the selfsame dimensions. While at it, you should also factor the configuration of that space. That simply means the way in which space is shaped. In case you are in a position to make certain alterations to space, by all means, go for it.

2. Area Under The Sink

In most cases, these garbage disposals are installed under the sinks. You should hence pay keen attention to this space particularly. Ensure that the area that you pick and use is large enough for the disposal of your interest. This is a feat you can only achieve if you measure the length, width, and height of the area.

There is a direct correlation between the space requirement and the power of the disposal at hand. Yet again, you should take for the amount of power you purpose to make use of. It is only in this way that you will be able to settle on a good machine.

3. The Number Of Occupants Of Your Household

Obviously, the number of occupants of your household has a bearing on the amount of trash you may have to contend with at any given time. More people in your household definitely mean more trash. This calls for a higher-capacity garbage disposal. The converse is definitely true.

Fewer people in your household means a limited amount of trash. The disposal you choose does not need necessarily to be that powerful and large hence. You have to be as realistic with this parameter as possible. That is to prevent your gadgets from getting unnecessarily overwhelmed with heavy loads of trash.

On the basis of this consideration, there are three main kinds of households. These are:

a) Small Household

This is a household that contains no more than two occupants. For this family, a small and less powerful motor will suffice. You have the 1/3rd or the ½ horsepower motors for your considerations. These are smaller and more able to handle the limited amount of trash well. It is also cheaper to come by and maintain.

b) Medium Household

A medium household is defined as that which contains three to six persons. The amount of trash that such people deliver is obviously higher than that which may be generated by the members of the small household above. To handle those trash well, the ½ or ¾ horsepower may be necessary.

Needless to say, this kind of motor is slightly larger than the 1/3rd horsepower counterpart. By reason of bearing a higher horsepower rating, this disposal is obviously more powerful than the other one. It is also strong enough to withstand repeated use and applications.

c) Big Household

Lastly comes the big household. This is defined as an entity that contains more than six occupants under its roof. For this, you need the 1 horsepower motor. It is the most powerful and reliable enough to handle the huge amount of trash that the home produces.

Yet a more added benefit of this kind of motor is that it possesses multiple grinding features. With these features, it is possible to handle tougher bones that are elusive to the less powerful grinders. It, however, consumes higher levels of electrical energy and will inflict more utility bills on your part.

4. Different Types Of Motors

The motors power the garbage disposals. They are the ones that determine to a large extent the vitality and power that the disposals exude while tackling your trash. Below are the four main kinds of motors and their suitability:

a) 1/3rd HP Motor

This is the weakest motor in existence at the moment. On the contrary, the garbage disposals that bear this motor tend to be the cheapest that money can afford. This makes them very popular and good starting points for future incidences of use and engagement. You will find them good for cramped up spaces.

b) ½ HP Motors

Next, comes the ½ HP motors. They are suitable for use in slightly larger spaces like the condominiums, small homes, and apartments. That is because such environments do experience lighter usage and applications. One notable aspect of this motor is that it demands gentle treatment and handling.

c) ¾ HP Motor

The ¾ HP motor stands as the most popular option among the clients today. Many single-family sizes find it handy and relevant to their needs. Considering that most people reside in such families, the motor finds extensive use and applications as a result of this. You will find them particularly awesome for crushing foods and small bones.

d) 1 HP Motor

Rounding up the list of the motor options is the 1 HP motor. This is the motor you pick and use for those large home sizes and kitchens. That is because this kind of motor has that uncanny ability to handle and shred large pieces of garbage. It is also pretty resilient to the common agents of wear and tear.

PS: There is an interesting correlation between the motor power and the size of the disposal thereof. Motors that are too powerful tend to be larger in size. Conversely, those that are less powerful tend to be smaller and limited in size.

In your search for the right garbage disposal on the basis of the motor power, it is important to bear this in mind. As a general rule, the 1/3rd horsepower motor is good for single rooms only. The ½ horsepower motor is good for those rooms that are single but slightly larger.

As for the ¾ horsepower motor, you will find it awesome for the single unit household. The 1 horsepower rounds up as the one to use for sufficiently large installations like hospitals, hotels, and other large military facilities like army barracks.

5. Budget vs. Financial Resource Endowment

When all is said and done, the amount of money you have at your disposal determines to a large extent whether or not you will purchase or afford the disposal you have in mind. It is hence vital that you factor just how much money you may part with to afford yours.

Coins and piggy bank

But how does the budget correlate with the size, you may ask? Well, larger garbage disposals tend to be more expensive than their smaller counterparts, all factors considered. This means you will have to part with more money to afford them. Make the necessary arrangements hence to prevent missing out on your favorite gadget.

6. Utility Bills And Maintenance Costs

Acquiring garbage disposal is one thing. Maintaining and operating it are two different things altogether. In your search for the right garbage disposal, you should also consider the costs of the utility bills and the accompanying maintenance fees. Yet again, what do utility and maintenance costs have to do with the size?

The answer is more or less the same. Larger garbage disposals tend to draw in more power. If and when they break down, they also cost a lot more to restore to their proper original working conditions. These two means that you cannot pick and choose any at random. You must make provision for maintenance.

7. Building Codes

Different authorities and jurisdictions have in place building codes. These are sets of standards that exist to oversee the construction and installations of accessories in building facilities. It is necessary also that you consult and familiarize yourself with these standards. It could be that the disposal you have in mind is not accepted in that area.

Because you do not want to ruffle feathers with the existing authorities, you have to choose and stick only to that one which is allowed in that area. A visit to the website of your local municipality or city authority will definitely provide the insight you badly need to that effect.


To wrap it up, garbage disposal plays a crucial role in making your environment cleaner and more habitable. It also spares the landfill from the many wastes that pile up and choke its ambiance. For these reasons, you badly want to fit your home with it, as a matter of priority. That is why you have to be mindful of how plausible it is for your home to accommodate the equipment.

As you may have already noted, finding the right garbage disposal entails the incorporation of many factors. It is an undertaking you cannot get into anyhow. In fact, we recommend that you set out early so as to enjoy the benefit of maximum peace of mind as you make your search.

Though there are several factors worth considering, two of them particularly stand out. These are the cost implications and the motor power. The former determines the exact one you may lay your hand on all factors considered. Its motor power counterpart determines just how much utility you may derive from the gadget altogether.

Considering that the garbage disposal is not an item you will acquire every now and then, it is necessary that you choose the most powerful for the most affordable price. Moreover, such costlier gadgets are more likely to endure the test of time and bring down the costs of maintenance.

Still not sure how to proceed with the issue? Let us hear from you. We are very keen on the success of the readers of our posts. We have as a matter of fact assisted many others to make viable purchasing decisions. Simply post your concerns and request for support in the segment dedicated below.