When you have a high-performing garbage disposal, you can entertain large groups without fearing the cleanup that comes after. The best models are quick, quiet enough that you can still hear the TV, and grind food waste finely so there's minimal chance of blocking your drain or jamming the machine. They're also made of high-quality materials, including stainless steel grinding components, so they won't corrode or rust quickly. Paying for the best performance usually gets you the longest, most comprehensive warranty as well.
There's a lot of competition for the title of best garbage disposal, but no matter what kind of food scraps you need to grind or how many people you're cleaning up after, our Best Reviewed Waste King Legend 8000 (Est. $150) can handle it. Not only does the Legend 8000 feature stainless steel interior parts, but it's also backed by a lifetime warranty that covers in-home servicing and repairs. This kitchen powerhouse's 1-horsepower motor can grind up almost any food waste, though some users and experts say it has trouble completely grinding larger pieces of fruit rind like watermelon. All agree that the Waste King Legend 8000 is the best all-around disposal on the market.
Running a close second are the InSinkErator Evolution Excel (Est. $320) and the KitchenAid KCDS075T (Est. $250) , both of which cost more than the Waste King. While the InSinkErator has a 1-horsepower motor, the KCDS075T is slightly smaller at 0.75 horsepower and might be better for smaller households or homeowners with less space under the kitchen sink. Smaller units are usually easier for homeowners to install on their own, if that's a consideration.
Many garbage disposals are troubled by poor reviews when it comes to noise, but KitchenAid KCDS075T users say it produces little vibration or noise when grinding. However, it comes with only a five-year warranty compared to the Evolution Excel's seven-year guarantee and the Legend 8000's lifetime warranty.
When considering performance, these three disposals will all grind food scraps in home kitchens that see moderate to heavy use while requiring minimal maintenance. Yet thanks to its strong motor, relative value, easy installation and lifetime warranty, the Waste King Legend 8000 is a clear favorite among users.
Batch feed garbage disposals have the same basic inner workings as the units discussed above; the only difference is how they switch on. Most continuous feed disposers begin grinding when you flip a switch on the wall or countertop and keep running regardless of what you stuff inside. Batch feed disposals, on the other hand, activate only once the drain has been covered.
To operate a batch feed disposal like the InSinkErator Evolution Cover Control Plus (Est. $260) , users must line up magnets on the unit's cover and the mouth of the disposal. Since the disposal won't run while scraps are pushed down the drain, food waste must be ground up in batches. These disposers take more time to do the job than continuous feed models and aren't ideal for large families, but parents of young children have the peace of mind of knowing the disposal won't operate while fingers are in the drain. In addition, turning a batch feed disposal on with its cover means not having to touch any electrical switches.
On the downside, there are few batch feed garbage disposals available, and fewer still with very much positive feedback. The InSinkErator Evolution Cover Control Plus is a new model. Initial feedback is positive, but very limited. However, the InSinkErator Evolution Cover Control Plus is little changed from the discontinued (but still available at the time of this update) nSinkErator Evolution Cover Control (Est. $260) , which receives notable positive reviews. It's quiet and easy to install, putting it on par with some of today's higher-rated continuous feed models. Its seven-year in-home warranty covers parts and labor.
Homeowners with septic systems rather than sewers must always be careful about what they put down the drain. When using a garbage disposal in a home with a septic system, the ground-up food waste drains into the septic tank and it may fill more quickly, requiring it to be pumped more often. This process is expensive and time-consuming, although having a septic tank overflow is even worse. Because of this, many homeowners are told they shouldn't use a garbage disposal if they use a septic system.
A possible work-around is the InSinkErator Evolution Septic Assist (Est. $230) , which releases a solution called Bio Charge that helps break down solids flowing into a septic system. User reviews at sites like Amazon.com say it works as advertised, and minimizes or even negates the impact of a food disposer on septic systems. It also prevents accidental flushing of food waste down the drain. One Amazon.com post reads, "I'm really glad to finally have a disposal for this house that is on septic. No matter how diligent we were, some food particles always ended up in the sink and periodically caused drain line problems." One bottle of Bio Charge should last three or four months, according to the manufacturer.
Besides its unique Bio Charge feature, the Evolution Septic Assist is a solid disposal boasting a 0.75-horsepower motor and stainless steel components. Some reviewers say they've used other small-capacity garbage disposals while on septic tanks with adequate results. However, these cheaper 0.25- and 0.5-horsepower disposals don't have the benefit of the Bio Charge catalyst, and none were reviewed positively enough by experts or users to be included here. The InSinkErator Evolution Septic Assist's four-year warranty covers parts and in-home service.