4 Types of Garbage Disposals | Popular Garbage Disposal Types

types of garbage disposal

There are four types of garbage disposals in the market: batch feed, continuous feed, under-counter, and manual.

Knowing the features and average cost of each type of garbage disposal will give you a clear understanding of which model to buy and whether it is a suitable kitchen appliance for your needs.

For instance, if you have a small space, you may prefer to get garbage disposal versus a trash compactor as it is placed under the sink, compared to the latter, which comes in a bin and requires extra room in the kitchen.

A nuanced understanding of the different garbage disposals available in the market, including their pros and cons, can illuminate which type to choose for your kitchen. 

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What are the different types available for garbage disposal?

The different types of garbage disposals are batch feed, continuous feed, under-counter, and manual.

The following list includes the different types of garbage disposals available in the market:

  • Batch feed garbage disposal

A batch feed garbage disposal grinds and disposes of food in small batches.

Batch feed garbage disposals are characterized by a stopper, which you put over the disposal opening. After placing small batches of food scraps into the unit, put a stopper over the opening and turn the switch on.

Stoppers makes the batch feed models safer than other types like the continuous feed garbage disposal as they prevent children from putting their hands or wrong items into the appliance. 

Batch feed garbage disposals have a higher price tag than continuous feed disposals.

  • Continuous feed garbage disposal

A continuous feed garbage disposal is continually powered, grinding large amounts of food waste.

Continuous feed model garbage disposals run when you turn on the switch and only stop working when you turn it off. 

You can put food scraps continuously as the unit runs. Some units carry features that prevent jams, such as auto-reverse, advanced grinding and special circuitry. Some also have splash guards to avoid food waste already in the disposal from splashing back up while you keep adding items.

This type of garbage disposal is easier to use and more budget-friendly than batch feed models.


  • Undercounter garbage disposal

Under-counter garbage disposal is one that you install directly beneath your counter. Most garbage disposals go under the sink.

  • Manual garbage disposal

Manual garbage disposal is a type that you manually grind by turning on the switch to power the appliance.

What are the different ways to use a garbage disposal?

The different ways to use garbage disposal include shredding food waste, getting rid of coffee grounds, grinding down banana peels, throwing out cooked meat, and getting rid of leftovers.

Making a garbage disposal work is straightforward, unlike other kitchen appliances with other creative uses. 

Here are five tips on how to use garbage disposal properly:

Don't forget to use the disposal with running water. It will help push food waste down your drain. With no running water, scraps could get stuck or clog your pipes.

Use cold water only. This ensures that any oil, grease, or fat are solid enough for the garbage disposal to grind and flush the pipe. Hot water can turn grease and fat into liquid, clog your pipes and jam your unit.

Avoid overloading your garbage disposal. Your model may only be able to handle small batches of food waste, so make sure that you don't overfeed it. Break large pieces into smaller ones before placing them at the disposal.

Run your model for an extra 30 seconds after it has fully ground and flushed out the last food item. This prevents buildup, jams, and damage to your garbage disposal.

Keep small silverware and other kitchen items from the sink that leads to your garbage disposal. This prevents unnecessary items from dropping into your unit and damaging its blades.

While there are many uses of a garbage disposal, especially around disposing of food waste, this kitchen appliance requires thoughtful operation and extra care to make it last longer.

What sizes do the garbage disposals come in?

Garbage disposals are designed in various sizes that range from one-third horsepower (HP) to one horsepower. Here are the different sizes and their corresponding capacity:

1/3 HP: suitable for a single user or a couple

½ HP: ideal for a family of three to six

¾ HP: ideal for a household of five to eight persons

1 HP: great for a household of eight and above

Because batch feed garbage disposals can only handle small batches of food waste, it can go from 1/3 to ½ HP. Continuous feed garbage disposals can work in various quantities and typically have motor sizes of ¾ to 1 HP.

garbage disposal types

What foods can be put into different garbage disposals?

The foods that can be put into in different garbage disposals include:

  • Fruit scraps, pits and seeds
  • Vegetable scraps
  • Cooked meat
  • Fishbones
  • Corn cobs
  • Ice
  • Leftover meals

Certain food items should not be placed into garbage disposals as they can clog, jam, and damage this kitchen appliance. Here are things that you should not put down at your garbage disposal:

  • Seafood shells like clams or oysters
  • Artichokes
  • Eggshells in large batches
  • Corn husks
  • Oil and grease
  • Vegetable peels in large amounts
  • Non-food items like silverware and other kitchen tools

What determines the best garbage disposal type? 

The best garbage disposal type can be determined by the following: motor size, grinding chamber size and material, extra features, brand, and price.

Motor size. Small motor sizes like those with one-third or one-half horsepower (HP) can only handle small batches and soft food items, ideal for single users who like to eat soft food items like vegetables. Larger motor sizes like three quarters to one horsepower are great for a family that consumes large and more rigid foods like meat.

Chamber size and material. Garbage disposals that have chambers with higher horsepower, i.e. 1 HP, come in a larger size and can grind more food waste. Those with blades and chambers made of stainless steel are also more durable, efficient, and easier to clean than those of other materials such as plastic and pot metal.

Extra features. Some continuous feed garbage disposal models carry features that prevent jams, such as auto-reverse, advanced grinding, and special circuitry. Some units are also designed with splash guards and anti-splash baffles to avoid food waste from splashing back up and keeping your sink clean. More expensive models have insulated grinding chambers and sound baffles, preventing noise. Specific models come with an enzyme reservoir for users with a septic system, enabling the unit to work more efficiently.

Brand and price. The price of garbage disposals varies according to the type and brand. Recognized brands are known for quality and reliability but are typically more expensive than unfamiliar names. Batch feed garbage disposals come with a higher price tag than continuous feed disposals, as they come with stoppers, which is an added safety feature.

Are continuous garbage disposals safe?

Continuous garbage disposals are safe, especially with thoughtful and deliberate use. 

Continuous feed garbage models require extra precautions as they do not have stoppers like the batch feed units, which prevent wrong or unnecessary items from dropping down the drain. 

Watch out for small children putting their hands or the wrong items in when using a continuous garbage disposal.

What is the average price for a garbage disposal?

The average price for a garbage disposal ranges between $50-$600. 

Continuous feed disposals are more budget-friendly than batch feed garbage disposals.

What is the lifespan of different garbage disposals? 

The average lifespan of a garbage disposal is ten years. 

The frequency of use, material, disposal type, maintenance and upkeep of the garbage disposal affects its duration.  

What effect does garbage disposal type have on the environment?

Regardless of garbage disposal type, this kitchen appliance is considered environmentally friendly compared to dumping food waste in landfills. 

When food waste goes straight to landfills, they decompose anaerobically to produce methane and other harmful gases.

Garbage disposals prevent this by treating food waste. However, this depends on your local water infrastructure.

If your wastewater system is designed to treat food waste, converting them into energy, then garbage disposals are indeed friendly to the environment. If you live near bodies of water or in areas with water shortages, then using garbage disposals may not be ideal and can be harmful to nature.

How does garbage disposal type affect the trash removal process?

Garbage disposal types vary when it comes to the trash removal process. 

Continuous feed garbage disposals allow you to keep putting in food waste, even while it runs. This type is ideal for large batches of scraps and a household with more family members than a single or couple.

Batch feed garbage disposals require you to put in small batches of food waste, place the stopper on top of the opening, and switch the appliance on before it starts to run. The trash removal process is not as continuous as the other type of garbage disposal.

Is it better to use under counter garbage disposals or batch feed garbage disposals in the kitchen?

Deciding whether it’s better to use under-counter or batch feed garbage disposals in the kitchen boils down to kitchen space and functionality. 

Kitchen usability is considered when deciding between an under-counter or a batch feed garbage disposal. It refers to the function and structure of kitchen appliances that make them easier to use. 

Because both under-counter and batch feed garbage disposals are placed under the sink, there isn't much of a difference in kitchen usability and making room for other appliances. 

However, they may differ in motor and chamber sizes, affecting the unit's ability to dispose of food waste in terms of quantity and efficiency.

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