What Size Garbage Disposal Do I Need?

What Size Garbage Disposal Do I Need? 2When choosing garbage disposal for your home, you want to opt for an adequately sized one to ensure it suffices your needs. With a wide range of available choices, it can sometimes be difficult to choose the right size. Therefore, knowing what size garbage disposal to get makes the task easier.

A garbage disposal that’s too small can easily cause clogs and jams in your drain pipes.  Larger garbage disposal on the other end is unnecessary as it makes you spend more without having to. In this piece, you will find a clear guideline of what size garbage disposal to get so you can enjoy optimal results and get value for your investment.

Garbage Disposal Size

The size of your garbage disposal is denoted in the motor’s horsepower as it focuses on measuring the grinding strength. Typically, you will find horsepower sizes that range between 1/3 HP to 1 HP. Generally, the bigger the garbage disposal is the more work it can do. This is because larger sized garbage disposal can accommodate a bigger motor than offers more torque.

For example, a 1/2 HP motor offers more grinding power compared to a 1/3 HP motor. With a larger garbage disposal, you will enjoy less clogs and jams with a finer pulverization of the food waste.

Fewer clogs and jams facilitate efficient discarding of your now liquefied waste in your home’s wastewater system.

What Size Garbage Disposal To Choose

Choosing the size of the garbage disposal depends on your home’s waste output. It may not be that easy to gauge how much waste you produce. Thus, the next best determinant of what size garbage disposal to get is the number of people in your household. As a general rule of thumb, follow this guide to find the right size:

  • 1/3 HP – 1 to 2 people
  • 1/2 HP – 1 to 6 people
  • 3/4 HP – 3 to 8 people
  • 1HP – 5 and more people

However, the above guide is merely a basic one. After all, you want to consider other factors in addition to the number of people in your household.  For example, you can find two different households with the same number of people. Yet, they may produce different amounts of waste due to their living patterns.

One family may host a lot of gatherings which yields a lot of garbage. Another family may not produce as much waste because most of its occupants are always on the road traveling. Thus, the traveling family may do just fine with a 1/2 HP garbage disposal whilst the entertaining one may need a 1 HP garbage disposal.

What Size Garbage Disposal Do I Need? 3

1/3 Horsepower

The smallest size garbage disposal you can find is the 1/3 HP one. This option is ideal for singles or couples who live in a small studio apartment. Garbage disposals of this size are also relatively budget-friendly. Due to their small motor power, 1/3 HP garbage disposals are ideal for grinding soft foods such as vegetables.

This means that you have to avoid adding hard food scraps such as bones because this can easily result in jams and clogs. Additionally, due to their relative affordability, these small sized garbage disposals are normally built with not so strong components which shorten their life span.

1/2 Horsepower

A 1/2 HP garbage disposal boasts significantly more grinding power than a 1/3 one. Many plumbers recommend investing in a 1/2 HP over a 1/3 HP garbage disposal. Nevertheless, this garbage disposal size is still ideal for light use only.

Thanks to their smaller size, 1/2 HP garbage disposals can comfortably fit tight spaces; making them ideal for vacation homes, apartments, and condos. Similar to a 1/3 HP garbage disposal, you want to gradually feed the waste into the grinding chamber of the garbage disposal and avoid overloading it – to prevent jams and clogs.

3/4 Horsepower

For a standard household, a 3/4 HP garbage disposal is a perfect option. This garbage disposal size can handle all household waste disposal needs including the holiday seasons when you have Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner scraps.

The best part about these garbage disposal sizes is that you will enjoy a noiseless operation if you invest in good quality ones. To give you more value for your money, opt for an option that is made from stainless steel components.

However, due to their relatively larger sizes, 3/4 HP garbage disposals don’t fit well in tight spaces. Additionally, if you want to invest in a good quality option with an extended warranty period, you may have to increase your budget a little.

1 Horsepower

If you have a household with heavy use and increased waste generation, a 1 HP garbage disposal is what you need. These garbage disposals are large enough and boast high torque motor power to handle heavy duty waste. In fact, in addition to using them in a large household, you can use them in light commercial environments such as offices.

Nevertheless, you still want to treat your garbage disposal gently to preserve its longevity and performing power. Therefore, the leftover turkey bones should be fed to the garbage disposal with the utmost care. Most good quality 1 HP garbage disposals are made from stainless steel components for maximum performance and corrosion resistance.

Furthermore, due to their incredible pulverizing performance, most of the waste is turned into fine particles for easy discarding and prevention of clogs and jams. You will enjoy quieter operation with 1 HP garbage disposals compared to 3/4 HP ones.  However, this comes at a cost. You will pay significantly more for this garbage disposal size.

Due to their large size, 1 HP garbage disposals take up some space. Therefore, you want to ensure that the space under your sink is high enough – take measurements before investing in one. Alternatively, you can designate a more convenient area.


This guide proves just how vital it is to know what size garbage disposal to get. After all, it affects the overall performance of the garbage disposal. You don’t want to end up with a size that doesn’t suffice your household needs. Following this guide, you are most certainly going to know what size garbage disposal to get for your household needs.

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