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Garbage disposals are a modern convenience that many homes today have. However, if you need to purchase one, it can be difficult to know how powerful it should be. We have researched how to pick between a 1/2 or a 3/4 horsepower garbage disposal so you can have the most efficient appliance possible for your household!
Knowing precisely what your disposal's horsepower controls can help you make a decision. The pros and cons of both horsepowers are also important. Choosing the strength of your new garbage disposal depends on a few other things you'll need to consider.
- Household size
- Frequency of use
- Quantity of food
If your answers are on the smaller side of things, 1/2 hp should be fine. If they are larger, then you should consider a 3/4 hp disposal. The prices of the different garbage disposals might also have a big influence on your choice.
The right choice does entirely depend on your specific situation. That's why knowing exactly how to make the best decision for your household is crucial. Continue down below for the more in-depth guide you need!
Figuring Out Which Disposal To Choose
Garbage disposals are convenient because they let you worry less about cleaning your dishes off before they go into the sink. Most importantly, they help put less strain on your plumbing so you can be saved from possibly gigantic future amounts of stress and money.
What Does A Disposals Horsepower Control?
The amount of horsepower in your machine determines its grinding power. So, if it has a higher horsepower, it can more easily grind up the waste and food in it. But that doesn't mean that you need the highest hp available for this machine to work well for your household.
Pros And Cons Of Both Choices
A 1/2 hp garbage disposal has less grinding power, but it can still get the job done for you. The biggest pro for this choice is that it's cheaper than the more powerful choice. If you are wrong about how much waste it will have to deal with, its greatest flaw is that it can get overworked and wear out quickly.
The 3/4 hp allows for waste to be ground up more finely so it will pass through your plumbing easily. It also gives you more peace of mind that it can handle bigger jobs. A con for this choice is that with the extra power comes a greater price. That's extra money that you may not have had to spend if it's overkill for your home's amount of waste.
1. Household Size
Your household size is essential for this decision because it determines how many people will add waste to the garbage disposal. If only 1-2 people live there, then a 1/2 horsepower disposal should get the job done. A 3/4 hp is probably better suited for any larger household sizes to handle all of the potential food.
Something else to think about aside from the people that live there is how many guests usually visit? If you throw many dinner parties or have weekly gatherings with food, that's more waste. In these cases, you should consider going with the more powerful disposal even if only 1-2 individuals reside there.
2. Frequency Of Use
Do you find yourself only using your disposal a couple of times a day, or is it more than that? If you have to use it a lot, you should go with the 3/4 hp. Different types of food scraps can need more grinding to get them to go down. Because of this, even if there isn't a lot of food, you might still have to run your disposal a bunch to grind it up.
3. Quantity Of Food
Put simply, the more food that enters your disposal means you'll need more horsepower. Maybe you cook a ton or have children who put their dishes in the sink with excessive amounts of food on them. Either way, if you know that a lot of food winds up in your sink, then get the more powerful disposal.
4. Difference in Price
The cost of both of these choices can differ depending on other factors. These can include things like the brand, the materials they're made of, and where you go to purchase them. Because of this, some more high-end 1/2 hp disposals can end up costing more than some lower-end 3/4 hp disposals. So shop around.
The price range for 1/2 hp garbage disposals is usually around $75 to $125. For 3/4 hp disposals, the range is closer to $125 to $200 or more.
Other Horsepower Options For Garbage Disposals
Aside from 1/2 or 3/4 horsepower, you can also find garbage disposals with 1/3 or 1 hp. But for standard homes, either 1/2 or 3/4 are considered the most practical. An average household can easily overwhelm 1/3 hp disposals, and one hp are unnecessarily large for them. Usually, 1 hp disposals are for commercial use like in restaurants.
Are Garbage Disposals A Standard Size?
Unfortunately, there is not a standard size when it comes to garbage disposals. Even disposals that have the same horsepower can have different sizes. They might be similar but can vary by a few centimeters to a few inches. The size might differ because of their design, features, power, and manufacturers.
How Do I Know What Size Garbage Disposal To Buy?
As far as the unit's physical size goes, it mostly depends on how much space you have. It can be easy to forget about the size while figuring out what horsepower you need. However, it is important since an inch can be the difference between it fitting or not.
You should measure the cabinet under your sink after you determine how much horsepower you want to go with. Then consider that whatever the size of the garbage disposal you purchase is means you'll have that much less space available.
Are Garbage Disposals Easy To Install?
How easy the installation is for you greatly depends on your skill level. The process is pretty straightforward but does require some plumbing knowledge. You also have to be able to make sure that you've done the job well. Otherwise, you're going to have a big mess on your hands. Here's a look at how to get the job done!
What Is The Proper Way To Use A Garbage Disposal?
The first step in properly using your garbage disposal is always to use it in combination with running water. The water will help ensure that all of the food gets into the disposal and will help carry the ground-up food through the pipes so that it's less likely to get stuck. Cold water is recommended to stop grease from liquefying into the drain.
To properly run your disposal, you should also limit the amount of food that goes in it at a time. Too much at once can overload it. Also, keep your disposal on for a little bit after you hear the last bit of food get ground. This ensures that everything is ground up before it goes into the drain and causes problems.
Be Careful What Goes In Your Disposal
Ensure that all non-food items like silverware and small utensils can't enter your disposal and potentially damage it. Removing all food items that might clog it or damage it is also a must. The University of Wisconsin-Madison has a list of things that shouldn't go down the garbage disposal.
How Long Do Garbage Disposals Last?
The lifespan of a garbage disposal is around ten years. This assumes that it has good quality parts, isn't overworked, and the wrong things aren't put in it. Each of those will shorten the amount of time that your disposal will be working. The more cheaply made a disposal is then the shorter its lifespan is also expected to be.
The most significant factor for which horsepower garbage disposal you should get includes how many people use it, how much food goes in it, and how often it is used. You should also consider differing prices. Overall, if you can afford it, then 3/4 hp disposals are the safest way to go for any home with more than 1-2 people that won't use it a lot.
Click on the links below to get more garbage disposal know-how!