Best Garbage Disposals From Consumer Reports' Tests
Five models grind their way to the top of our ratings
Garbage disposals are one of the most convenient appliances in the kitchen. These devices sit beneath the sink and pulverize food waste into tiny bits for the drain to wash away. Less food winds up in your trash can, helping to cut down on funky odors and pests.
The garbage disposals in CR's latest tests cost $50 to $500. “On the lower end of the price range, you’ll see disposal motors with ⅓ hp and a shorter one-year warranty,” says Larry Ciufo, the project leader for garbage disposals for Consumer Reports. “More money buys you a longer warranty, more power, less noise, sturdier stainless steel components, and auto-reversing grinders that help prevent jams.”
Residential garbage disposals typically last about 11 years, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. Your current one might be ready to be replaced if you notice it taking longer to grind or making louder-than-usual noises, or you’re pressing the disposal's reset button often.
Consumer Reports tests garbage disposals on a number of factors. For our speed test, we grind pieces of beef rib bones for 1 minute with cold running water and measure how much food is still left in the disposal. The more food that’s left, the longer it takes to grind, and the lower the score.
To see how well the disposals grind food, we toss a mix of bones and raw vegetable scraps into each model and run the resulting fragments through four different-sized sieves to gauge fineness. A garbage disposal that garners an Excellent rating turns out food particles fine enough to slip through most of the sieves. The bigger the bits left over means a greater chance the kitchen sink drain will clog—and a lower score in this test.
For noise, we measure the decibels emitted while the disposals grind a mix of bones and vegetables. In general, we find that the quieter models are heavier, due to more insulation.
Read on for ratings and reviews of five impressive garbage disposals from our tests, listed in order of CR rank. We find that how well a garbage disposal performs varies even within the same brand—you'll find models from a single manufacturer at the top as well as the bottom of our ratings. See our garbage disposal buying guide for more information, and for test results on almost 40 models, check our garbage disposal ratings.
CR’s take: This 1-hp GE garbage disposal earns a Very Good rating in our speed test and an Excellent rating in our fineness test, meaning this midpriced grinder will demolish your food scraps thoroughly without wasting lots of water. At a manageable 12 pounds and with its EZ-Mount sink connection, installing this model can be a one-man job. It is backed by a 1-year warranty.
CR’s take: Not only did this 3⁄4-hp Moen garbage disposal excel in our tests but it’s also the lowest-priced CR Recommended model in our ratings. The unit scores an Excellent rating for how finely it grinds food, but it’s quite loud, earning a Fair rating for noise. That might be due to the fact that it’s one of the lightest models we tested, weighing in at 9 pounds (heavier models are more insulated). It comes with a 7-year warranty.
CR’s take: This 3⁄4-hp InSinkErator disposal breaks down rib bones fast, earning it an Excellent rating for speed. This midpriced model scores a Fair rating for how finely it grinds food, but the pieces left in the sieves were still quite small. It gets a Very Good rating for noise. This 16-pound disposal comes with a 4-year warranty.
CR’s take: This 3⁄4-hp KitchenAid garbage disposal performs admirably in our speed test, garnering an Excellent rating. Like the InSinkErator above, this midpriced model gets a Fair rating in our fineness test and a Very Good rating for noise. This 16-pound disposal is backed by a 4-year warranty.