Choosing the Right Garbage Disposal: Corded vs. Non-Corded Options

Most garbage disposals are meant to be hooked directly into your home’s electrical system and do not include power cords that go into an outlet. However, some models have cords and connectors that may be plugged into an outlet under the sink. With the purchase of additional plug-in cables supplied separately, versions without connected plugs can be changed into plug-in models.

What is a Non-Corded Garbage Disposal?

Non-Corded Garbage Disposal
Non Corded Insinkerator 777ss Garbage Disposal

Non-corded garbage disposal is a type of disposal that does not use an electrical cord to operate. This disposal works with standard household voltages and doesn’t require an electrical outlet. They are typically hardwired to the electrical system, and you will need an electrician to install them.

This type of disposal is often considered more convenient because it does not require an extra piece of equipment to be installed in your kitchen.

If you don’t have an outlet near your garbage disposal, you may want to consider purchasing a non-corded model. These garbage disposals work without an electric cord, allowing them to be placed virtually anywhere in your home. 

What is a Corded Garbage Disposal?

InSinkErator Garbage Disposal with Cord
Corded InSinkErator Garbage Disposal

Corded garbage disposal units are better if your kitchen has an existing electrical outlet, and this means you can use the disposal with any standard voltage, from 120 to 240 volts.

Corded garbage disposals are typically more expensive than non-corded models, but they can be more convenient because they have cords that you plug into an outlet. This means you don’t have to worry about finding an appropriate power source or your garbage disposal getting too close to an explosive object. 

Lastly, corded disposal is usually easier to install than a non-corded one. This means you won’t have to spend hours figuring out how to connect it to a power source.

Which is Better for Your Home – a Corded or Non-Corded Garbage Disposal?

Corded garbage disposal is the easier install, but a hanging cord under the sink might obstruct access to cleaners and other products and cause the plug to come loose from the outlet.

Most disposals that are professionally installed are non-corded garbage disposal, which implies the power cables are in a switchboard in the wall and reduces the likelihood that moisture may interfere with the connection. 

Even though it’s unusual, a corded garbage disposal might be harmed by a water leak that flows down the wall. If that happens, the outlet might short out, and the breaker might flip.

Although it is often up to the homeowner to decide whether to install corded or non-corded disposal, it is a good idea to consult your local building authorities in case there are limitations in your neighborhood.

Wiring a cord to a non-corded machine is quite simple if you have any wiring knowledge. Both the cable kit and the disposal come with instructions. Disposal should only be hardwired into your home’s electrical system by professionals as it is a far more difficult task.

While there are definite benefits to using a corded garbage disposal, there are also some drawbacks. Most notably, a corded system is more expensive than a non-corded one and may not be worth the added expense if you don’t plan on using the extra power or convenience it offers. Ultimately, it depends on your needs and preferences which garbage disposal type is best for you.

Hardwiring a Non-Corded Garbage Disposal 

If you purchase a corded garbage disposal, you must install the appliance and plug it into an outlet. But installing non-corded disposal is not that straightforward. Here’s how to hardwire the electrical connections for such disposal.

1. Take off the metal plate from the garbage disposal’s base.

2. Cut the green ground wire immediately before the slot where the cable enters the garbage disposal, and then use wire cutters to cut the white neutral, black hot, and hot wires adjacent to the connections.

3. Remove the electrical cord from the enclosure by pulling it.

4. Insert a cable connection into the access hole, then tighten the nut to secure it.

5. Insert the power supply wire through the connection from the wall and secure the connector.

6. Join the wires from the electrical source’s coordinating wire to the internal disposal lead wires. Using wire nuts, attach the white, black, and green ground wires and the ground lead (not included).

7. Insert wires into the garbage disposal, then reinstall the bottom metal plate. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Are plugs present on all garbage disposals?

Most recently manufactured disposals lack a wire and plug. If your previous unit had a cable and plug, you may take them apart and put them back together on the new one. (The new disposal comes with instructions.) Alternatively, you may purchase a new wire and plug when purchasing the disposal.

What kind of outlet do I need for a garbage disposal?

Typically, a garbage disposal is plugged into an under-sink 120-volt GFCI (ground-fault circuit interrupter) outlet. You’ll need to hire an electrician to install one if there isn’t already an outlet like this under your sink.

It has an integrated circuit breaker that trips if the current fluctuates, as would occur if you unintentionally touched an uncovered wire while standing in water.

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for a garbage disposal that doesn’t require an outlet, corded models might be the best choice. They are more compact and use less electricity than their non-corded counterparts, making them a good option if you have limited space or want to conserve energy. However, corded garbage disposals can be more challenging to install than non-corded models, so be sure to consult with a professional if you’re considering one.

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