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If you can't stand washing dishes by hand, you've probably come to rely on your trusty dishwasher. But either you're always finding little bits of food left on the supposedly clean dishes, or you're handwashing everything first. If this is a constant battle, you might have considered a dishwasher with a food grinder or disposal system—but what dishwashers have food grinders? We've checked with manufacturers to find brands that offer grinders and offer you some specific models.
Food grinders or hard food disposers are common in many American-made dishwashers, but not all. Specific brands that currently offer models with food grinders include:
But, you might think, my friend has a dishwasher with a disposer, and it's not one of those brands! Well, some companies that used to offer food grinders seem to have moved away from the practice. We'll show you examples of some models that do have food grinders. Finally, we'll cover some basics—how they work, where they are located in your dishwasher, and problems that might occur. Keep reading!
Do All Dishwashers Have Hard Food Disposers?
Most dishwashers (but not all!) made in America today have hard food disposers—or, basically, miniature garbage disposals.
They aren't as powerful as a traditional, under-the-sink disposal system. The motor and grinding power in these dishwasher systems are reduced because, well, it's just a dishwasher.
But it's enough to remove your basic food gunk and debris from the plates without any additional assistance from you.
No, you're not going to want to shove a whole carrot in there—but honestly, was that ever on the table? It can handle most tasks and saves you from having to pre-wash. Just scrape your plates off before sticking them in the dishwasher.
European-manufactured dishwashers, on the other hand, tend to avoid hard food disposers. Instead, they use a filtration system.
Food is usually still broken down in the cleaning cycle, just by heat and water. However, that food debris is then swept away and collected in the filtration system.
As a result, these systems need to be checked and cleaned regularly. How often will depend on how dirty your plates are and how often you use the dishwasher.
But you can expect to check them every couple of weeks at most, or once a month at minimum.
And there's one final caveat—some American dishwashers are taking after their European cousins. Hard food disposers equal a louder dishwasher; not something every consumer is fond of.
So you'll still find American-made dishwashers that opt for a filtration system instead. In the end, you have to check the specifications of your model to know for sure.
Three Dishwasher Companies That Offer Food Grinders
This dishwasher by GE uses GE's very own patented Piranha hard food disposer. This is an anti-jamming disposer that's made of stainless steel so as never to rust.
This model also offers five cleaning cycles, a removable top rack, and a 4-level wash system.
Hotpoint is owned by the same people who own GE. As a result, some Hotpoint dishwashers have the same patented Piranha hard food disposer—like this one.
It also can hold 12 place settings. It runs in 5 cycle options, including a water-saver option.
If you're looking for a high-end dishwasher with a hard food disposer, this one is it. Made by Haier, it offers a ton of features.
Wash zones let you use sections of the dishwasher at a time, so you can run a partial load without wasting water. It has an "extra dry" option if you hate damp dishes—and hate hand drying them.
It comes with more common features, like a delayed start, and even has a steam/sanitize setting. Plus. it comes with WiFi capabilities, and a mobile app that lets you monitor the wash cycle.
How Does A Hard Food Disposer Work In A Dishwasher?
In your dishwasher, the hard food disposer works much like a regular garbage disposal. It's not quite as strong, but the principle is the same.
Essentially, the disposer pulverizes the debris. As a result, the food then disintegrates into very fine particles. These are so small that they can be flushed away just by the force of the water alone.
Since the particles are actually removed from the dishwasher, you won't have to clean anything out. And you won't have to worry about teeny bits of food recirculating back to your clean dishes.
Plus, there are no worries about dishes not coming clean because a bit of food clogged the sprayer arm.
Where Is The Disposer On A Dishwasher?
The disposer is actually a series of parts. However, most people think of the food macerator or food grinder as the "disposer." This is usually located at the bottom of the dishwasher, somewhere near the pump.
The food is ground up by the macerator. The pump then sends the particles out through the septic line.
It depends, of course, on the specific manufacturer—different models might be made in different ways.
However, the macerator is still typically near the bottom or "floor" of the dishwasher. Otherwise, it wouldn't be able to catch and grind all of the food as effectively.
Why Is My Dishwasher Making A Grinding Noise?
A grinding noise usually indicates something is wrong with the macerator or "disposer" or the related drain pump. The macerator might have a bent or warped blade.
Something might also be blocking the blade, like an errant spoon that fell. The drain pump may also have gone bad.
The macerator/blade/drain pump is the most common source of grinding noises. This helpful video can show you how to access these parts:
Occasionally, it can happen because there is insufficient water or "lubrication" in the machine. If the dishwasher is new or has been sitting unused for a while, this may occur.
You can help things along by adding a couple of quarts of water to the machine before running it. If this is a frequent issue, you may need to check for other signs of low water pressure.
One final cause of a grinding noise is a broken fan assembly. The fan is inside the dishwasher door. If this is bad, the only solution is to replace it.
Many American-made dishwashers come with a food grinder, which pulverizes food into small particles and then rinses it out through the septic line.
These tend to be a bit louder than other dishwashers, but you won't have to worry about bits of food continuing to circle around the machine.
Plus, you won't have food particles clogging spraying arms and other key pieces, leaving your dishes only half-clean. Companies like GE, Hotpoint, and Haier offer food grinders with most of their models.
Other companies (even some who used to have food grinders) use a filtration system instead. These are able to run quieter, which is a feature some consumers prefer. However, you then have to clean the filters regularly.
The best choice for you ultimately comes down to just that—would you rather have a loud dishwasher or one that requires extra cleaning? Either one is effective, but almost everyone has a strong feeling about which system they prefer.
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