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Types of Garbage Disposals

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Types of Garbage Disposals

The familiar sound of the garbage disposal at work might be unsettling for some, but the practicality of such an appliance has made it a staple in most homes across the US. But picking the right garbage disposal isn’t quite as simple.

a type of garbage disposal unit under the sink

The best garbage disposal unit for your home depends on several factors. A small household will require something with less horsepower. A larger household is going to need the opposite. But before that, you need to figure out whether you need a continuous feed or a batch feed garbage disposal unit.

Continuous Feed Garbage Disposal

Continuous feed garbage disposal is probably a more common type of garbage disposal. It’s not only more affordable but in a lot of ways, much more practical. And there are many other advantages too. The speed at which the continuous feed garbage disposal works is one of the major reasons to purchase it. All you need to do is hit a switch and let it do its thing. And because this type of garbage disposal works continuously, it makes it very efficient.

Making sure that all of the garbage from the kitchen is gone is more of a multitasking operation. Once you need to dispose of something, all you have to do is throw it down the drain. This feature is what makes this unit a more popular type of garbage disposal. The continuous garbage disposal is often more suitable for a household where there’s a lot of food preparation and a lot residual clean up.

And there’s another reason this type of unit is preferred. It requires very little maintenance. [1] It doesn’t take much effort to clean. They usually come with several grinding chambers, so the risk of clogging is significantly reduced – that is considering you avoid letting certain items get in it. But there are some disadvantages to the continuous garbage disposal. The most relevant downside is that it’s not as safe as the batch feed garbage disposal.

That’s why it’s important to use it with caution, especially if there are small children in the household. Another reason why some may shy away from choosing continuous garbage disposal is that it uses a lot of water. Being mindful about water consumption is very important to a lot of people, and this type of garbage disposal is less preferable in that case. Accordingly, it could affect the water bill.

Most garbage disposals fit the standard drain outlet. Local safety codes may determine the distance the switch must be located from the sink—the farther away, the safer.

Don Vandervort from Home Tips

Batch Feed Garbage Disposal

The continuous feed garbage disposal is the standard option, the usual reference most people have when thinking about garbage disposals. But there is another, lesser-known and more expensive option – batch feed garbage disposal. This type of unit is also very efficient, but it requires more effort to use it. [2]

There’s no flip of the switch, and the batch feed garbage disposal has to have a stopper in order to work. And just as the name implies, this type of unit grinds food in batches. The garbage disposal chamber has to be filled up, and the stopper has to be in the right place, twisted and pushed for the disposal to turn on. This feature makes the model more complicated to use, but at the same time, it makes it safer.

There’s no risk of getting fingers stuck, as the stopper acts as a barrier. Also, in case you drop a utensil, there’s no risk of damage either. And for the environmentally conscious and those wary of the water bill, this type of garbage disposal uses far less water than a continuous batch type. Another downside might be that it’s larger in size and isn’t as convenient for a smaller kitchen.

But here’s the thing, it might take a while longer to grind all the food, and you’ll have to do it batches, but there’s no compromise in quality. It’s probably a better solution for households that don’t have that many leftovers and food to dispose of and are perfectly okay with waiting for the batch feed disposal to fill up. It’s a fair trade for saving water and having a safer type of garbage disposal.

It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t wait for too long for the batch feed chamber to fill up. This could lead to food starting to decompose and create all kinds of sanitary hazards.

Garbage Disposals – Power and Noise

Once you’ve made a choice between continuous and batch feed garbage disposal, there are other factors to consider. Garbage disposal power can range anywhere from 1/3 to 1 horsepower. And naturally, the more powerful garbage disposal will also be louder.

Ultimately, it’s up to the needs of a household. But regardless of what choice you make, there are certain things that should never go into disposal. Throwing in things like bones and wood could cause some serious damage. And even greasy and dough-like food in larger amounts can clog the pipes. [3]

When it comes to warranty, garbage disposals can range anywhere from a year to 10 years, and sometimes companies will offer a lifetime guarantee. Stainless steel grinding chambers provide a lot of durability.

The Right Type of Garbage Disposal for Your Needs

Both continuous feed and batch feed garbage disposal come with their own sets of pros and cons. But the important thing is that they’re both great for the environment because they reduce the amount of garbage thrown away every day. It’s just down to the personal needs of a household to figure out which one will serve them the best.

By the way. we talked about the cost of installing a new garbage disposal in case you’re wondering how much additional money you need to shell out.


  1. Vandervort, D. (2020, April 2). How a Garbage Disposal Works. Retrieved from
  2. How to Use a Batch Feed Garbage Disposal. (2010, September 30). Retrieved from
  3. Formisano, B. (2020, March 11). How to Repair a Clogged Garbage Disposal. Retrieved from
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