Garbage disposals are a convenient way to dispose of food waste. Rather than putting the waste into the trash, where it could potentially end up in a landfill, they grind the waste into tiny particles that can be flushed to the septic tank or sewer. The unit is installed below your sink, catching waste before it flows into the pipes. They can work manually or by the push of a switch. Most are completely unobtrusive, so you will not know they are installed from looking at your sink. They come in many sizes based on your needs, and many offer other features, such as quiet operation, at an additional cost.
Installing a garbage disposal costs from $250 to $400, with the average homeowner paying around $300 for a fully installed aluminum ½ HP unit with a new P-trap. You can install a ⅓ HP aluminum unit with existing traps for around $200. On the high end, purchase a commercial 2 HP stainless steel unit with a new P-trap and GFCI outlet for $1,500.
|Garbage Disposal Installation Cost|
|National average cost||$300|
One of the biggest decisions you need to make is the type of unit you want, ranging in price from $75 to $1,100. They are designed to work in one of two ways, both highly effective. The biggest difference is timing. They work either through a batch-feed, where the unit is filled and covered before turning on, or through a continuous feed, where the unit is filled while running.
|Feed Type||Cost per Unit (Materials Only)|
|Batch-Feed||$75 - $300|
|Continuous-Feed||$75 - $1,100|
Batch-feed options cost between $75 and $300 on average. This type is considered the safer type of unit. With batch-feed, you fill the unit, cover it, then turn it on. If it is full, it takes time to clear through the waste, and if you find you forgot something, you need to wait until it is done to put new waste in. Because it is covered when working, you cannot accidentally drop something in. You also cannot reach inside and injure yourself. Batch-feeds are good for people who do not frequently use the unit because it only runs when needed. Most units are priced according to size, horsepower, and specialty features rather than on the type.
Continuous-feed units cost $75 to $1,100 on average. Costs are driven by size, horsepower, material, and other features. Continuous-feed units work constantly and do not need covering. They require constant running water, which leads to extra water waste. Once the unit is running, you can keep adding more waste to it, and it disposes of large amounts slightly faster than a batch-feed unit. A continuous-feed is hazardous for fingers and dropped utensils because it is not covered. In most cases, continuous feeds are best for large families and users with heavy waste.
The final cost is heavily affected by the material used, ranging between $75 and $1,100. So, you should carefully analyze your options and choose the one that best fits your style and budget. Most units are made of aluminum or stainless steel. Both come in continuous and batch feeds and various sizes and speeds. The table below highlights the cost of the two different materials they are made of followed by an explanation of each.
|Material||Unit Cost (Materials Only)|
|Aluminum||$75 - $300|
|Stainless Steel||$400 - $1,100|
Aluminum models range in price from $75 to $300 and are much less expensive than stainless steel. However, they do not last as long because they are prone to corrosion and leaks. They last roughly 10 years before failing, so they are still a popular material, especially at their lower price point. These are good units for most families and single-person households. They are available in batch and continuous feed units.
Stainless steel units are more expensive, costing $400 to $1,100 on average. They last significantly longer than aluminum, with no risk of corrosion or leaking. In most cases, stainless steel units are primarily used by high-volume households of 8 people or more, where a highly durable unit is more desirable. They are also frequently used in commercial kitchens and other high-use settings. They are most often continuous-feed units.
A new model varies in price depending on its motor size, costing anywhere between $75 and $1,100. Motor sizes for these units are given in horsepower or HP. Larger motors cost more to purchase and run. They may also burn out faster over time, so purchase the smallest unit that accommodates your needs. These correspond directly to how much waste the unit can handle, and the suggested sizes are based on the number of users in the household:
|Motor Size||Family Size||Cost (Unit Only)|
|⅓ HP||1 - 2 People||$75 - $150|
|½ HP||1 - 4 People||$75 - $200|
|¾ HP||3 - 6 People||$100 - $250|
|1 HP||5 - 8 People||$200 - $500|
|2 HP||8+ People||$300 - $1,100|
Many different brands offer these types of units, with some of the most popular brands ranging from $75 to $400. Each company has attributes, costs, and features that could make one option better for your home than another. For this section, we will include a few of the most common ones. The table below highlights the cost of each brand, followed by subsections with an explanation of each.
|Brand||Cost per Unit (Materials Only)|
|Waste King||$75 - $400|
|Moen||$80 - $300|
|InSinkErator||$100 - $200|
Waste King’s units are designed to be easy to install and use. They cost from $75 to $400, depending on the unit’s size. They come in many sizes, each with a built-in plug so that you do not need to wire the unit. Most come with a minimum 5-year warranty, so the unit lasts and performs consistently. They offer both batch-feed and continuous models.
Moen units costs range from $80 to $300 and come from a well-recognized brand in the plumbing industry. If you ask your plumber for a unit, it is likely a Moen. Moen also has a full range of sizes, styles, and types. Features include sound reduction and power cords so that you can install the unit more easily without requiring an electrician. Most come with a minimum warranty.
InSinkErator is one of the oldest and most well-known manufacturers, ranging between $100 and $200 on average. If you owned a unit in the earliest years of their use, it was likely an InSinkErator brand. They offer a full range of units, including specialty units with sound dampening and varying speeds to efficiently run the unit. Like other brands, you can find both batch and continuous-feed units with InSinkErator.
Most plumbers charge between $45 and $200 per hour, with most installations running $50 per hour for 3 hours total. This makes the labor costs roughly $150, out of the $300 total for a new aluminum ½ HP unit with a new PVC P-trap. The labor costs for installation are mostly time-related. If everything is ready, in good condition, and the unit is on hand and easily put in, the plumber will likely only charge for an hour or two of time. If things need to be modified, replaced, or moved to accommodate the unit, this takes longer and increases the labor and costs. If you do not already have a unit, you may need a new P-trap to accommodate the unit.
The installation of a unit usually takes between two and four hours. The time depends on whether an outlet is installed nearby, whether the existing plumbing is set up for a unit, the condition of the current sink and plumbing, and the type and size. During installation, water and electricity are shut off to the area. The old plumbing and sink flange is removed and cleaned of any putty. The new mounting ring is installed on the bottom of the sink, and the unit is readied for installation. This includes setting it up for electricity and hooking up to the dishwasher if needed. The drain is connected, and the unit hooked to its mount. The rest of the plumbing is reconnected to the unit and dishwasher. The electricity is hooked up, and everything is sealed and tested.
The average cost to install a new kitchen sink is around $400 for a drop-in sink. Adding the model’s cost makes the project roughly $700. Some plumbers may offer a discount if you install both. When undermounting the sink, you may have an additional travel charge because the plumber needs to come out twice. However, this is individual to the plumber, so check beforehand. If this is the case, expect an added cost of $20 to $50.
When installing a new kitchen sink, consider adding or updating your unit at the same time. Kitchen sinks come in many shapes, sizes, and installation styles. If you have your sink undermounted, you cannot have the unit installed on the same day. Your plumber needs to come back in 24 to 48 hours to hook up the unit because the epoxy needs time to cure. If you are having a surface-mounted sink installed, the units can be hooked up the same day.
Expect to pay a professional handyman between $50 and $100 per hour for basic construction, plumbing, and cleaning tasks. A handyman can repair damage to your kitchen walls and restore counters and cabinetry. For larger electrical issues, only allow a licensed electrician to assess and resolve the situation. An electrician usually charges around $40 to $120 per hour. If your kitchen is damaged when replacing your unit, you may need to pay more for additional handyman services. Some common tasks for these contractors may include repairing minor electrical connections, resurfacing walls or backsplash, and restoring/replacing your counters or cabinets.
Most units last between 10 and 12 years before being replaced. These units can eventually fail for many reasons. If you notice issues, such as needing to press the reset button frequently or the unit frequently clogging, it may be time to replace it. When installing a new unit, most plumbers remove the old unit at the same hourly rate. But this increases the costs and amount of time needed to install the new unit. This depends on the pipes’ condition and the difficulty of removal. In many cases, removal only adds $25 to $50 to the costs, but you can expect to pay more if additional pipes must be replaced.
Your unit comes with a ring, but over time, this wears out and needs replacing. Replacing the ring costs around $15 to $25. Your unit is mounted just underneath the opening in your sink. When you look down into the sink, you see the flange and a mounting ring on the other side. The ring is attached to your sink and screwed tightly into place. The unit is installed on this mount.
The level of maintenance your unit needs varies depending on how often it is used, its age, and the type of items you put in it. Run it frequently to keep it clear, and always run water before and after using it and during continuous feeds. Do not put large, whole, or solid items into the unit because it could clog. Check frequently for leaks and clean the unit if necessary by pouring in half a cup of baking soda followed by an equal amount of vinegar before running and rinsing with water.
They are convenient and handy, but they are not for everyone. Like all optional appliances, they have attributes and drawbacks to consider. Most modern units are extremely efficient, quick, and quiet. They eliminate odors caused by a build-up of decaying food in the waste and allow users to scrape and rinse a plate or dish straight into the sink before washing. In some cases, they can be seen as an eco-friendly alternative to putting more trash into landfills.
However, they are prone to clogs, particularly when misused. If they are not properly cleaned and maintained, they can clog your pipes. They may develop odors if too much food is left inside, and some cheaper models are also prone to leaks. Some models may be loud, while other models are not meant to be used with specific sinks or septic tanks, meaning there is a high learning curve with choosing the right model.
They last for years, but you may run into issues over time. Some of the most common problems and repairs include cracked mounts, clogs, or jams. These repairs cost from $65 to $150, depending on the part. Depending on the circumstances, it is often important to weigh the pros and cons between getting it repaired and replacing it. If the cost to repair is around the same value or higher, then it might make sense to purchase a new unit. It is also a good idea to replace your unit if you notice any recurring problems. These units last an average of 10 to 12 years.
Individual baffles cost between $10 and $20. If you want to have them professionally installed, you can expect to pay around $55 to $70. Baffles are designed from strong and sturdy rubber and are positioned around the unit. These pieces help to prevent items from falling into the unit, such as utensils. They also aid in reducing the noise.
Some units operate from a light switch, while others use a push button switch mounted nearby which costs roughly $100 for the entire system and can be mounted on the counter, sink, or cabinet for convenience. For around $40, you can choose to purchase a push-button kit that allows for a sink-top switch button to operate your unit. These sink switch kits are made to be easily mounted and usually take less than an hour for your plumber to install, at average plumbing costs of $45 to $200 per hour.
For around $12, you can route your dishwasher to the disposal, ridding the pipes of debris and waste that your dishwasher would otherwise push through. This reduces the strain on your plumbing from food particles and debris and prevents potential clogs and problems. Connecting the dishwasher to the unit is fairly easy once the unit is installed.
You can expect to pay around $30 for a flange at home improvement or hardware stores. While not all units have a flange, this part is responsible for holding the unit and reducing the risk of leaks. If you notice an odor or unpleasant smell coming from your unit, which is not uncommon, consider investing in a flange that seals and covers the top of the unit, where foul smells escape. These flanges are widely available and easy to install.
These units require a grounded outlet for power. These outlets can be installed for $141. They often run on a 120-volt GFCI that can be found under the sink. It is possible to wire a dishwasher and the unit on the same outlet only if they don’t exceed the circuit capacity. If an outlet like this isn't available under your sink, you'll have to have an electrician install one.
Installing a unit costs between $250 and $400, with the average homeowner paying around $300 for a ½ HP aluminum unit, fully installed with a new P-trap.
Installing a unit in your home is a great choice that plumbers would highly recommend doing to help deal with common kitchen waste that can easily pass through plumbing.
Most times, plumbers are qualified to install them, but if a GFCI outlet is needed, an electrician is required.
You can expect a typical unit will last between 10 and 12 years.
They should be replaced if they begin to leak or corrode, if they take longer to empty, or if you need to press the reset button often.
Do not put whole or solid items, bones, or inorganic matter into the unit.
No, glass does not sharpen blades. If you think your blades need sharpening, consult a plumber.
These untis should not be used with fireclay sinks because they crack.
It takes anywhere from 1 - 3 hours on average, depending on whether you need to modify the plumbing under the sink.