What Size Garbage Disposal Do I Need?

This is one of the most common questions customers ask professionals, whether they want to install a garbage disposal system for the first time, or they want to replace their old unit. So, what size garbage disposal do I need? Well, there are no definitive answers for this question because different households have different needs. However, we developed the following list to help you do exactly that, determine which size you actually need. Keep in mind that when it comes to garbage disposal systems, buying a larger one is not necessarily the best thing to do.

What Size Garbage Disposal Do I Need

  1. Determine The Space Restraints

what size garbage disposal do I needIf you’re planning on replacing your existing garbage disposal system, or you’re planning on installing a new unit underneath an existing sink counter, you have to determine how large it should be.

Measure the length, width, and height of the space available under your sink. If you plan on getting new countertops for your kitchen, make sure you know how large the space under your sink will be before you order a garbage disposal system.


  1. Determine Your Household’s Garbage Disposal Needs

As you can see from our product reviews, when it comes to garbage disposal units, larger usually means more powerful. But you don’t always need a powerful unit. To accurately determine the size of the garbage disposal unit right for you, you should first determine your household’s disposal needs. The first thing you should take into consideration is the number of people living in your household. The larger the household, the greater power you’ll need.

  • Small Householdswhat size garbage disposal do I needIf only one or two people live in your household, you shouldn’t buy a large garbage disposal unit. A 1/3 or 1/2 HP disposal unit will provide more than enough power to cover your grinding needs.
  • Medium Households – If 3 to 6 people live in your household, you will need a medium powered garbage disposer. A unit with a 1/2 or a 3/4 HP unit will produce enough power for your disposal needs.
  • Large Households – If you live in a large household which usually has between 5 to 8 people in it, you should buy a powerful disposer. You garbage disposal needs could be covered by a 3/4 HP engine, but it would be better to buy a larger, 1 HP unit instead.
  • Very Large Households – If your household is larger than 8, you should buy a very powerful model. You could choose a 1 HP model, but households with higher disposal needs should buy 2 HP units.

You should always remember to read the manufacturer’s size recommendations for every garbage disposer. Most manufacturers will provide an accurate recommendation for different situations.

  1. What’s The Difference Between Motor Sizes?

So now that you read our recommendations about different motor sizes, you might be wondering what is the actual difference between them. How much of a difference is there between a 1 HP motor and a 3/4 one? Well, in this section we answer exactly that question.

  • 1/3 HP Units – These are the least powerful disposal units (for instance Waste King Legend Series L-111). They are suitable for smaller households, and they are able to grind soft components, like vegetables or fruit. Due to their low power, they tend to jam easily, especially if you’re trying to grind tough components.

what size garbage disposal do I needAnother disadvantage of this kind of disposal system is that most of its components are made out of plastic, not stainless steel. This can lower its durability, so you might change them more often than other units. Some of the advantages of using this kind of disposal system are that it’s cheap, small, and easy to install. Even if you have to change more units in a decade, you can still save some money in the long run.

  • 1/2 HP Units – These disposers (such as  Moen GX50C) are more powerful than their 1/3 cousins, but not by much. They are usually recommended for small to medium households, and they are cheap as well. Just like the 1/3 HP models, these ones are also easy to install, and you should be able to fit one under your sink without any problems

An advantage of using these disposers instead of the smaller ones is that they have more components made out of stainless steel. This will make them more durable, and you will change them less often. Another advantage is that the slight increase in power will make them more efficient at grinding soft food items, so they will jam less often.

  • 3/4 HP Units – These garbage disposal units (InSinkErator Evolution Essential for example) are usually recommended for medium to large households. They are very efficient at grinding soft foods, but you can also use them for tougher components, like small bones.

One of the advantages of using a unit this size is that they are usually designed with a sound protection feature, so they will generate less noise than some smaller units. Another advantage is that they usually have more stainless steel components, so they are more durable.

  • 1 HP Units – These units are usually recommended to large households, and they are more powerful. The extra power allows them to grind through tougher components, such as chicken bones or pork ribs.

One of the disadvantages of using this kind of unit is their larger size. You will need a larger space under your sink if you’re planning on using one, so you might have to rearrange your water feed and drain pipes. These units are better suited to kitchens with heavy use, so only buy them if you cook regularly for a larger group of people.

  • 2 HP Units – These are some of the most powerful garbage disposal units available on the market, but they are also larger than the other models. You won’t be able to install them under the sink unless you have a large countertop.

The major advantage of using this kind of disposer is that you can grind even tougher and larger components, and you don’t have to be very selective. You can grind chicken bones, thin pork bones, and other hard foods without harming or jamming it. These units are great for very large households or for small businesses. You should only buy one if your kitchen is always busy.


 We’re certain that after reading this article you can make an informed decision on which size your garbage disposer should have. Whether you plan on buying a small garbage disposal or a large one, you can find the right model for your home by reading our product reviews here.

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