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 flowing into the pipes. They can work manually or by a switch. Most are completely discreet, so you do not know they are installed from looking at your sink. They come in many sizes based on your needs and offer many features, such as quiet operation, at an additional cost.
The cost to install a garbage disposal varies depending on the size, style, power, and materials. The national cost average to install a garbage disposal is $300 to $600, with most people spending $500 for a fully installed stainless steel batch-feed ½ HP unit. This project’s low cost is $200 to install a ⅓ HP aluminum continuous-feed unit with an existing outlet. The high cost is $750 for a residential ¾ HP stainless steel batch-feed unit with a new outlet.
|Garbage Disposal Installation Cost|
|National average cost||$500|
One of the biggest decisions is the unit type you want, ranging from $50 to $400. They work in two ways, both of which are highly effective. The biggest difference is timing. They work through a batch feed, where the unit is filled and covered before turning on, or a continuous feed, where the unit is filled while running.
|Feed Type||Cost (Unit Only)|
|Continuous-Feed||$50 - $300|
|Batch-Feed||$100 - $400|
Continuous-feed units cost $50 to $300. Costs are driven by the size, horsepower, material, and other features. Continuous-feed units work constantly and do not need covering. They require constant running water, leading to extra water waste. Once the unit is running, you can continue 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.
Batch-feed options cost between $100 and $400. This type is considered the safer unit. With batch feed, you fill the unit, cover it, and turn it on. It takes time to clear through the waste if it is full, and you need to wait until it is done to put new waste in if you forgot something. 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 the size, horsepower, and specialty features rather than the type.
The final cost is heavily affected by the material used, ranging between $50 and $400. 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||Cost (Unit Only)|
|Aluminum||$50 - $200|
|Stainless Steel||$100 - $400|
Aluminum models range from $50 to $200 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. The longevity makes them 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 $100 to $400. They last significantly longer than aluminum at 15 to 20 years, 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. Stainless steel is the most common in continuous-feed garbage disposals but can also be found in batch-feed units.
A new model varies depending on the motor size, costing $50 to $400. Motor sizes for these units are given in horsepower or HP. Larger motors cost more to purchase and run. In most cases, it is best to choose a size based on the number of people who use it or how often it is utilized. They may also burn out faster, so purchase the smallest unit that accommodates your needs. The low-end prices are typically for continuous-feed models because these are more budget-friendly. The higher prices are usually for batch-feed models. These correspond 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||$50 - $150|
|½ HP||1 - 4 People||$100 - $225|
|¾ HP||3 - 6 People||$175 - $300|
|1 HP||5 - 8 People||$200 - $400|
Many brands offer these units, with some of the most popular brands ranging from $50 to $325. Each company has attributes, costs, and features that could make one option better for your home than another. We include the most common ones for this section. The table below highlights the cost of each brand, followed by subsections with an explanation of each.
|Brand||Cost (Unit Only)|
|Waste King||$50 - $125|
|Moen||$125 - $275|
|InSinkErator||$125 - $325|
|Whirlpool||$135 - $235|
|GE||$150 - $300|
Waste King’s units are easy to install and use. They cost from $50 to $125, depending on the unit size. They come in many sizes 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 batch-feed and continuous models. Some models also include sound dampening.
Moen units costs range from $125 to $275 and come from a well-recognized brand. 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 to install the unit easily without an electrician. Most come with a minimum warranty. Many come with noise-dampening technology.
InSinkErator is one of the oldest and most well-known manufacturers, ranging between $125 and $325. If you owned a unit in the earliest years of use, it was likely an InSinkErator brand. They offer a full range of units, including specialty units with sound dampening and varying speeds for efficiency. Like other brands, you can find batch and continuous-feed units with InSinkErator.
Homeowners pay $135 to $235 for a Whirlpool garbage disposal. The disposals from this brand range in size, style, and design. Both batch and continuous-feed models are available, depending on the home’s needs. These garbage disposals often come with a warranty lasting 1 to 3 years. Many disposals have extra features like sound insulation, but more basic models are also available.
GE garbage disposals range from $150 to $300 and are from a trusted brand. These disposals are available in a range of sizes to fit busy and slow kitchens. These disposals may be plugged or require hard writing and are provided in many colors, styles, and designs. Most are continuous-feed models, but batch-feed varieties are also available. Warranties are typically provided and usually cover the unit for 3 years.
Most master plumbers charge between $75 and $200 per hour, with most installations running $125 per hour for 3 hours total. This makes the cost of a plumber to install a garbage disposal roughly $300 out of the $500 total for a ½ HP stainless steel batch-feed garbage disposal. A handyman can also manage the installation process for $50 to $125 an hour for a total of $150 to $375. If electrical work is needed, an electrician should be used. The average labor cost to install a garbage disposal by an electrician is $120 to $360. The labor costs for installation are mostly time related. If everything is in good condition and the unit is ready and easily installed, the plumber may only need to work for 1 to 2 hours. 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.
Installing a unit usually takes about 3 hours. The time depends on if an outlet is installed nearby, whether the existing plumbing is set up for a unit, the condition of the 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 are removed and cleaned of putty. The new mounting ring is installed on the bottom, and the unit is readied for installation. This includes setting it for electricity and hooking it to the dishwasher. 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.
Installing a new kitchen sink costs $400 to $1,000 for a drop-in sink. Adding the garbage disposal’s cost makes installing a kitchen sink faucet and garbage disposal $700 to $1,600. Some plumbers may offer a discount if you install both to lower the sink disposal installation cost. When undermounting the sink, you may have an additional travel charge because the plumber needs to travel twice. However, this is individual to the plumber, so check beforehand. If this is the case, expect to add $25 to $50 for the food disposal installation cost.
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. You cannot install the unit on the same day if your sink is undermounted. Your plumber needs to return in 24 to 48 hours to hook up the unit because the epoxy needs to cure. The units can be hooked up the same day if you are installing a surface-mounted sink.
The most common professional who replaces a garbage disposal is a plumber. This professional charges $75 to $200 per hour. Expect to pay a professional handyman between $50 and $125 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 $40 to $120 an hour in labor cost to replace garbage disposals. If your kitchen is damaged when replacing your unit, you may need to pay more for handyman services. Some common tasks for these contractors may include repairing minor electrical connections, resurfacing walls or backsplash 1, and restoring/replacing your counters or cabinets. This may be needed if damage is caused by removing the old garbage disposal, but it rarely occurs. A leaking garbage disposal can cause moisture damage to the drywall or floors. A handyman or other professional can handle these things while replacing the disposal.
Most units last between 10 and 12 years before replacement. These units can fail for many reasons. If you notice issues, such as needing to press the reset button frequently or the unit clogs often, it may be time to replace it. Most plumbers remove the old unit at the same hourly rate when installing a new one. However, this increases the costs and time needed to install the new unit. This depends on the pipes’ condition and the difficulty of removal. In many cases, removal adds $50 to $100 to the average cost of installing a garbage disposal, but it may increase by $20 to $100 if additional 1½ pipes must be replaced. The cost to remove a garbage disposal and install a new one is $350 to $700.
Your unit comes with a mounting ring, but this wears and needs replacing. Replacing the ring costs $20 to $35. Your unit is mounted underneath the opening in your sink. When you look down into the sink, you see the flange and mounting ring on the other side. The ring is attached to your sink and screwed in place. The unit is installed on this mount. If the professional used putty for the installation, it is removed at this time. The garbage disposal may need the ring tightened or replaced if it seems loose.
The level of maintenance your unit needs depends on how often it is used, its age, and the items you dispose of. Run it frequently to keep it clear, and always run water before and after using it and during continuous feeds. Check frequently for leaks and clean the unit if necessary by pouring half a cup of baking soda followed by an equal amount of vinegar before running and rinsing with water.
Maintenance for a garbage disposal is handled by the homeowner. However, a professional can be brought in for repairs if there is a leak or another problem. One of the most important things to consider is which items should not be put down the garbage disposal. Avoid putting down bones, coffee grounds, or celery. Other items not to put through the disposal include potato peels, egg shells, fruit pits, pasta, and grease.
They are convenient and handy but 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 buildup 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. They can clog your pipes if they are not properly cleaned and maintained. 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 others are not meant to be used with specific sinks or septic tanks, meaning there is a high learning curve for choosing the right model.
Corded and non-corded garbage disposal models are available. Both use electricity to run the disposal in the sink. The difference is the corded model is plugged into an existing power outlet while the non-corded model must be hardwired by an electrician.
A corded garbage disposal is best if an outlet is available. It is more convenient and requires no extra work. It can easily be removed from the outlet and plugged in again when needed. Or, it can stay in the outlet and be used whenever needed.
An outlet is not needed with a non-corded disposal. It can be hardwired, which is best through a dedicated circuit. The benefit of this garbage disposal is that it requires no power outlet. For those with many kitchen gadgets or other items, the disposal leaves an open outlet that can be used for another purpose. Below is the cost to add a garbage disposal when corded and non-corded.
|Corded||$300 - $450|
|Non-Corded||$400 - $600|
The primary difference between a trash compactor and garbage disposal is the method used to remove waste. Trash compactors create pressure that breaks waste into a smaller size to be disposed of using a trash bag. Garbage disposals process waste using liquid and send it down the kitchen plumbing to leave the home.
A second difference is in the waste each can work with. Garbage disposals handle food waste while a trash compactor breaks down any waste, including kitchen waste. A garbage disposal is installed in the sink drain and removes food scraps. Trash compactors are larger and can be found in cabinets or on counters to process waste.
Garbage disposals are convenient and help remove odors from the kitchen. They also have a lower cost than trash compactors and are useful for the environment. They use little space and last longer than the average trash compactor. The benefits of a trash compactor are the larger capacity, lack of clogging, and easy installation. The table below offers insight into the average cost to install a garbage disposal versus a trash compactor.
|Garbage Disposal||$300 - $600|
|Trash Compactor||$1,000 - $2,200|
Individual baffles cost between $5 and $20. Expect to pay $60 to $80 if you want to professionally install them. Baffles are designed from strong, sturdy rubber and are positioned around the unit. These pieces 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 that costs roughly $75 to $125 for the entire system and can be mounted on the counter, sink, or cabinet for convenience. You can purchase a push-button kit for $30 to $50 that allows for a sink-top switch button to operate your unit. These sink switch kits are made to be easily mounted and take less than an hour for your plumber to install, at average plumbing costs of $75 to $200 per hour.
You can route your dishwasher to the disposal for $10 to $20, ridding the pipes of debris and waste your dishwasher would 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 easy once the unit is installed.
Expect to pay $20 to $35 for a flange at home improvement or hardware stores. While not all units have a flange, this part holds the unit and reduces 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, 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 $120 to $200. They often run on a 120-volt GFCI that can be found under the sink. You can wire a dishwasher and the unit to the same outlet if they do not exceed the circuit capacity. If an outlet like this is unavailable under your sink, you need an electrician to install one.
Installing a garbage disposal is not overly challenging, but it can take time and effort on a DIY basis. A professional can easily install the device within a few hours. It requires some knowledge about plumbing to properly install.
It takes 2 to 4 hours to remove an old garbage disposal and replace it with a new one. The removal typically takes an hour, and the installation ranges from 1 to 3 hours.
Most people benefit from installing a garbage disposal. It is an excellent way to handle kitchen waste, such as bits of food, by breaking them into small pieces. This allows them to easily move through plumbing to be carried away.
Installing a unit costs between $300 and $600, with the average homeowner paying $500 for a ½ HP stainless steel batch-feed garbage disposal.
Putting some items into the garbage disposal can cause plumbing issues. Do not dispose of whole or solid items, bones, celery, or coffee grounds. Egg shells, fruit pits, grease, pasta, and potato peels should also not be introduced to the garbage disposal.
No, glass does not sharpen blades. If you think your blades need sharpening, consult a plumber.