It’s always tempting to go for a lower-priced appliance, including the cheapest garbage disposal you can find, but is this a good idea in the long run?
Certainly, there are some cheap garbage disposals out there that aren’t worth the little you pay for them. Some of the highest-priced models, on the other hand, seem designed for continuous use on an industrial scale. Buying either of these for an ordinary home would be a bad idea – the trick to being happy with your purchase is to carefully define exactly what you need and expect from your new garbage disposal.
Is a Cheap Garbage Disposal Really that much Less Convenient?
All garbage disposals aren’t created equal, or for the same purpose. Some high-performance models offer more power than you’ll ever need, but may still be unsuitable for a smaller family.
Your particular situation will determine the features you need to look for. In general, the more powerful and the more functionality a garbage disposal provides the more it costs, but this is by no means a universal truth. Quite possibly, for a bargain you can pick up a unit that does everything you want, as long as you understand the good, the bad, and the ugly of garbage disposals.
Many people think that the power output, generally ranging from ½ to 1 horsepower, is the most important thing to consider. There is some merit to this view, but a higher number here isn’t necessarily the Holy Grail of garbage disposal. More powerful units generally work faster and grind tough waste finer, making clogged drains much less likely. However, they also cost more, and the same results can usually be achieved with a little patience – although tossing in a pound of soup bones all at once is probably a bad idea.
Noise and Safety
More powerful units, unsurprisingly, also tend to be larger and louder. Noise is one of the most annoying features of a garbage disposal – or do you never do the dishes after your kids’ bedtime?
Something everybody who is looking for a garbage disposal should realize is that it’s designed to do just one thing – liquefy organic matter. It does not know or care whether this consists of some potato peelings or its owner’s finger.
If you don’t have small children in the house, and you’re the kind of person who never (for example) drops their wedding ring in the sink, you could consider a continuous feed model, as these are generally cheaper and can dispose of waste faster. However, if you’re not always to be trusted around sharp objects, the safer batch feed type may be more suitable, even if it costs slightly extra.
On the other hand, if you have a large family and cook often, or have special requirements, it might be worth your while to spend $100 or so more. If nothing else, it might save you the aggravation of frequently having to clear jams.
How Garbage Disposal Prices and Brands Stack Up Against Each Other in Durability
In most cases, you should expect your new garbage disposal to give good service for about a decade. However, most warranty periods are shorter than this, and how long the machine is covered doesn’t always correspond to the level of reliability you can expect.
InSinkErator and Waste King control much of the garbage disposal market, but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider other brands. Names like General Electric and Whirlpool, too, are known for generally high quality standards, while even lesser-known companies such as Kuppet have experience in producing everything from washing machines to Bluetooth headphones.
So, in short, while brands that are well-known for their garbage disposals are never a bad choice, whether or not your particular model will go the distance is as much “luck of the draw” as anything else. You could, if you like, pay more for a credible warranty that stretches for five years or more, but you can also probably find a similar unit costing half as much. The best recommendation is probably to focus on getting the features you want at a reasonable price. Claims of durability may be nothing more than hype; having a stainless steel grinding chamber, for instance, really doesn’t mean that it will be immune to wear and tear.
One hidden cost that many people don’t take into account is that of paying a professional to install your new garbage disposal unit. After all, the last thing you want to do is ruin a new appliance’s warranty with your mediocre plumbing skills. If you feel that you’re up to it, though, consider looking for a cheap garbage disposal that features a quick-fit nozzle. As the name suggests, this makes for an easier DIY experience, and if it also comes with an attached electrical cord you won’t require an electrician to wire it.
Importantly, though, an experienced installer will be able to advise you on other potential issues. For one thing, adding a garbage disposal to your kitchen can increase your water consumption by up to 1,000 gallons per year. This alone can place a septic tank system under strain, while an inadequate drain system might make it advisable to install a more expensive garbage disposal – one that grinds waste finer and makes blockages less likely.