Garbage disposal horsepower is what actually differentiates between the least expensive and most expensive garbage disposals.
In general, the size of the horsepower is greatly dependent on how much you intend to abuse the machine. Garbage disposals usually come in 1/2, 3/4, and 1 horsepower models. The lesser motors are fine for one person or perhaps couple who only generate small quantities of waste. It is recommended that you go for light use, 3/4 horsepower for normal home use, and one horsepower for heavy home use or light commercial.
1) 1/3 HP Garbage Disposal
Power, at 1/3 horsepower is at the lower end of the scale. Although they may seem like a great economical option, their utility level is quite limited. This is because they get easily jammed and are usually designed with cheaper internal components that will rust out within the shortest time frame. However, they should be considered for very limited use and if you want to use your garbage disposal on a temporary basis.
2) 1/2 HP Garbage Disposal
A 1/2 horsepower garbage disposal is a light-duty unit and is appropriate for small households of not more than two persons or for locations not subject to frequent use, such as vacation homes where it does not get too much use. However, you need to remember to feed the particles slowly and run plenty of cold water especially if you have a special occasion or a large dinner party where you may need to dispose of a lot of food particles at a time.
3) 3/4 Horse Power Garbage Disposal
This is a medium-duty unit and it is appropriate for most single-family dwellings where the unit is frequently used. Make sure you understand what you can and cannot put down the garbage disposal especially if you have children. This will help avoid problems in future if everyone understands how to use the disposal.
4) 1 HP Garbage Disposal
Though more expensive, a garbage disposal horsepower of 1HP can take in bigger amount of scrap food. It is reliable and has the capacity of executing difficult tasks consistently – mincing up bone fragments and challenging food items scraps. This is because the disposal is a lot more forgiving with more power. It is perfect for offices or other places where a more powerful garbage disposal might be required.
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Apart from the ones highlighted above, there are also commercial grade garbage disposals for hospitals, restaurants, schools and other places of business that require more powerful disposal.
Actual capacities of disposers vary and compact models most often are adequate for families. They tend to provide an easier installation in especially restrictive or tight under-the-sink areas. The physical size of the disposal is an important factor to consider depending on the amount of room available.
For durability, look for multi-stage systems and stainless steel grinding parts for better performance. Also, the more grind stages your disposal has, the finer the waste will be when it is sent to your septic tank or sewage system. The type of waste you want to get rid of will determine your choice.
Each garbage disposal has its own capacity for hard objects. Even if the size of a grind chamber is large enough that does not mean you can throw a large amount of food waste in it all at once, but it gives a good indication of its intended capacity. The more expensive models of the same brand tend to have higher hardness capacities.
Whether you are looking to put one for a college food service kitchen or a large food producer, there is always a garbage disposal horsepower and capacity that is right for the task. Make sure you read our garbage disposal buying guide to know what to look for before buying one.