Garbage Disposal Horsepower and Sizes

One of the most crucial considerations you’ll have to make when it comes time to install or replace a disposal unit is the size of the unit to purchase. If you have a garbage disposal that is too small, you will have regular blockages; if it is too large, you will waste energy and money.

How Do I Know If the Garbage Disposal Size Will Fit?

1 hp kenmore garbage disposal

When deciding on the correct size disposal for your home, there are various factors to consider. This blog post will help you determine which garbage disposal is ideal for your home.

1. How Much Space You Have

The amount of space you have in your house determines the size of the garbage disposal you need. Get a tape and measure the space under your sink. Garbage disposals take quite a lot of physical space, so measure the length, height, and width.

The more power a garbage disposal has, the more space it is likely to occupy, so if you do not have a lot of space in your house or you don’t want a crowded sink, it is advisable to purchase a garbage disposal with a less powerful unit.

2. What You Need the Garbage Disposal For

The reason for garbage disposal is also quite necessary. Garbage disposals work with horsepower and grinding strength. If you are getting the garbage disposal for minimal household waste, you can get a small one with less grinding strength, but just enough to do the needed work. If, on the other hand, you need the garbage disposal for a lot of waste, then one with a bigger unit is likely to serve you well.

While choosing the size that suits your needs, it is essential to know what continuous feed garbage disposal is to help you choose the most suitable option.

3. The Kind Of Household You Have

To find out which garbage disposal you need, you should know how much grinding power your household requires. Think of how many people live in your household and how much waste you might need to get rid of.

Since there are different sizes of garbage disposals that cater to different needs, it is wise that the bigger your household is, the higher the grinding power your garbage disposal should have.

Buying a garbage disposal too small for your household can lead to drain clogs and jams, which can be frustrating. Getting a garbage disposal that is too big might mean spending more money than is necessary, which would be uneconomical and unnecessary.

4. Your Budget

The amount of money you are willing to spend on buying a garbage disposal may also determine the size you might get. Usually, the higher the price, the higher the power and the space required. So if you’re on a budget, go for a model you can afford.

Also, some models save more energy than others. If you’re on a budget with your utility bills as well, go with a model that is energy efficient. It is also vital to go with a brand that is reputable and that you can trust.

5. Noise Level

Garbage disposals grind food and take power, so there’s obviously going to be noise involved. Some garbage disposals are louder than others, so if you’re uncomfortable with noise, choose a model that grinds silently. 

Some disposals come with multiple grind stages. This helps to reduce the amount of noise that the disposal makes. Quiet disposals are great if you’re particular about the serenity of your home, but they usually come with a higher price tag. So, regardless of the space in your kitchen, you may end up purchasing small-sized disposal with an excellent sound-deadening feature.

What Are the Different Garbage Disposals Sizes and Horsepower Available?

Garbage disposal sizes are measured in horsepower units and grinding strength. The bigger the horsepower unit, the better the grinding strength and the bigger it is. The higher the horsepower, the more efficiently the disposal will operate. This means fewer jams and less stress on the water system.

1. 1/3 horsepower Garbage Disposal

1/3 HP Garbage Disposal
1/3 HP Insinkerator Garbage Disposal

The starting point for garbage disposal motors is 1/3 horsepower. If you plan on grinding soft foods, such as vegetables, are living in a studio apartment, or on a very tight budget, a 1/3 hp may be the best option.

Many purchase a 1/3 horsepower garbage disposal because it is the least expensive. However, they also have the least amount of power than any disposal on the market. This means that the unit will be more inclined to jamming, and you’ll need to be highly precise about what you put into the grinding chamber.

Another thing to think about is the build itself. Since 1/3 hp disposals are the most economical, they’re often built with the least expensive internal components, which results in shorter service life. 

If you are considering purchasing a 1/3 hp garbage disposal, your best bet would be to buy it from a quality manufacturer.

2. 1/2 horsepower Garbage Disposals

1/2 hp Garbage Disposal
1/2 HP Insinkerator Garbage Disposal

Many plumbers recommend the 1/2 horsepower garbage disposal over the 1/3 hp as it is better constructed and has a little more power. But you should remember that this is still lower-powered disposal and is only suitable for light use. 

The 1/2 hp disposals are likely budget-friendly and can often fit into tighter spaces due to their smaller size. They’re an excellent choice for vacation homes, condominiums, or apartments.

Manufacturers generally don’t put a lot of features on 1/2 hp garbage disposals, but purchasing reputable brands will help increase the quality. 

With 1/2 hp disposals, you must take your time feeding the food waste into the grinding chamber, being careful not to overload the disposal. You should also use a heavy flow of cold water.

3. 3/4 horsepower Garbage Disposals

3/4 hp Garbage Disposal
Moen 3/4 HP Garbage Disposal

The 3/4 hp garbage disposal is usually considered the high-flyer among disposals. It’s suitable for normal home use yet powerful enough to handle Thanksgiving dinner scraps. In fact, it’s likely the most common garbage disposal installed in single-family homes!

More horsepower means fewer jams and clogs since the disposal can finely pulverize. But like any disposal, there are things that you should never consider grounding.

Manufacturers also put more features in their 3/4 hp garbage disposals. Many are designed to operate so quietly that you’ll hardly know they’re even running, and stainless steel components avoid rusting and extend service life.

However, the larger motor size also means that they may not squeeze into small spaces as easily as the 1/2 hp, but this isn’t a problem in most situations. 

Plan for a higher price tag, although you typically get a longer warranty. So unless you plan on moving, it’s usually worth the expense.

4. 1 Horsepower Garbage Disposal

1 HP garbage disposal
1 HP InSinkErator Evolution Supreme SS garbage disposal

The 1 hp disposals’ are not only powerful, but they’re modeled for households with heavy use. They can even be effective in light commercial environments, such as offices since they tend to be more “forgiving” than other garbage disposals.

Still, just because you’ll have plenty of power doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat your disposal carefully. But you can rest assured that a 1 hp unit can handle some of your more challenging waste.

Generally, the 1 hp garbage disposal is the top-of-the-line model for most manufacturers. Many have stainless steel components, which practically eliminates rust. Their powerful motors make jams and clog extremely rare because they can pulverize the waste into fine particles.

It’s not uncommon for a 1 HP disposal to have all the fittings and technology a manufacturer can offer. Look for features like auto-reverse, multiple grind stages, and jam sensors. Also, in many cases, you can expect these disposals to run quieter than even the 3/4 hp units.

It’s important to note that the 1 hp disposal is larger in physical size due to its powerful motor. This may not be a concern, but if you’re short on under-sink space, you’ll want to take measurements before buying.

Be prepared; 1 HP garbage disposals are significantly more expensive. However, they come with a longer warranty and are unlikely to cause you any trouble for many years.

SizesDimensionsWeightMaximum number
of people 
1/3 HP‎‎6.34 x 6.34 x 14.76 inches13 pounds2
1/2 HP7.75 x 7.75 x 13.75 inches‎13.73 pounds 3
3/4 HP‎9.69 x 9.69 x 14.88 inches‎18.86 pounds 5
1 HP‎13 x 12 x 12 inches‎20 pounds 7


Knowing the different factors to consider when choosing a garbage disposal, you can thoroughly decide what size will best suit your needs. If unsure, don’t hesitate to ask a professional for help.

A plumber who knows these things best would be willing to assist. With a little research and guidance, you can find the perfect garbage disposal for your home. 

To ensure you buy the brand that offers value for your money, you can check our comparison of Waste King vs Insinkerator and Moen vs Insinkerator.

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