Shortest Garbage Disposal – Your Ultimate Buying Guide

Last updated on November 20th, 2023 at 12:05 pm

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Sometimes, we don’t realize just how important something is until it stops working. This is the same case with garbage disposals and their overall utility in the kitchen. A garbage disposal makes the kitchen experience easier by reducing effort on your part. Imagine what you’d do with clogged pipes and smelly drains! Give it a thought and you’ll come to embrace the idea of these garbage disposals as the ultimate kitchen helper.

Table of Shortest Garbage Disposal

What Is Garbage Disposal?

Garbage disposals are devices that are used to wash away food leftovers and kitchen refuse with the aid of a switch. These disposers fit in a standard drain outlet, and the switch is installed at a distance from the sink according to the distance limitations put forth by the local safety codes. All the food that goes down into the drain is shredded into tiny pieces such that they won’t clog the pipes.

A garbage disposal needs to be run almost every day, and its regular cleaning is essential too! There is a chance of grease and oils clogging your pipes, which will eventually hamper the smooth functioning of your garbage disposal and require cleaning. Here’s a golden rule that you must keep in mind when using garbage disposals: if it’s not bio-degradable, don’t grind it!

Parts of Garbage Disposal

Before describing how exactly a garbage disposal functions, you must know all its parts. We have performed this dissection for you in the following list. These components are fixed into a garbage disposal in the top to bottom sequence.

  • Stopper
  • Mounting flange
  • Support flange
  • Support screws
  • Hopper
  • Stopper switch
  • Inlet for dishwasher
  • Clamping ring
  • Motor housing gasket
  • Shredder
  • Impeller
  • Drain chamber
  • Shredder housing
  • Drain
  • Power supply
  • Reset button

How Does a Garbage Disposal Work?

A garbage disposal functions by chewing up food scraps that you dump down the kitchen drain with running water. The disposer is mounted beneath the kitchen sink and runs with the help of an electric motor. This means you’ll need a power supply close to the sink to have a garbage disposal installed. The electric motor that runs this disposal must be plugged into a 12-volt socket that you may fix inside the sink cabinet.

The grinding chamber inside the garbage disposal system is where the shedding process takes place. This chamber comprises shredding blades that are powered on as soon as you turn on the disposal switch. The impeller arm and plate force the shredded food particles down the drain and a continuous water supply ensures that these particles are drained adequately.

You’ll find two different types of garbage disposals:

  1. Continuous-feed type
  2. Batch-feed type

The continuous-feed type activates through the switch as soon as water runs through the drain, while the batch-feed type functions with the help of a stopper that is turned after loading the garbage.

What Can You Dispose Of?

Now that you have some idea about how a garbage disposal works to grind the food and garbage it is fed, you must also know which items are safe to dispose of in the drain and which are absolutely unsafe. Given below is a list that you need to refer to before getting your house a garbage disposal system.

Safe to Dispose Of

  • Coffee grounds – Don’t dispose of too many of these as they could clog the pipe. Otherwise, they will have your drain smelling fresh.
  • Eggshells – These are particularly good for cleaning and sharpening the blades.
  • Cooked meat scraps – Large chunks must not be disposed into the drain, but smaller meat scraps will do.
  • Small bones – Make sure you dispose of only small bones.
  • Fruit scraps – Apples, oranges, bananas, berries, and grapes can help freshen the drain and are safe to dispose of.
  • Vegetable scraps – Other than the most fibrous veggies, the rest may be easily drained.
  • Citrus rinds – These may be used to provide a good smell to the drain and help with cleaning it.

Not Safe to Dispose Of

  • Grease –This tends to congeal into a nasty mess that will end up clogging the drain.
  • Corn husk –This super fibrous material is hard to grind through the drain, so avoid disposing of it in your drain.
  • Onion skins – Not only will these stick on the wall pipes, but they will also have the drain smelling nasty.
  • Artichokes –Their hardened leaves can break the shredder blades, so don’t put them down into the drain.
  • Potato peels –These are to be tossed into compost. The starch from these peels is not good for the garbage disposal.
  • Asparagus –This is one of the most fibrous veggies that are not safe to dispose of through the drain.
  • Pasta – The shredded pasta will expand and clog pipes after a good shredding, so avoid throwing it down the drain.
  • Rice –Similar to pasta, rice tends to expand too. You don’t want to take the risk of rice grains clogging your drain pipes.
  • Shrimp shells – These are tough to shred and leave behind an unpleasant smell.
  • Banana peels – These are fibrous and can lead to clogging.
  • Nuts –These are also tough to shred and may cause the blades to break. Hence, avoid disposing of nuts down the drain.

How to Choose a Garbage Disposer?

This buying guide will take you through a few essential questions that you need to ask yourself before going forward with investing in a garbage disposal.

Is It Needed in the Area You Are Currently Residing In?

Your local sewer authority will have a set of rules and policies laid out for the installation and use of garbage disposals in the area. You may be required to get a permit to have one installed in the house. Thus, reach out to them and ask about these policies and regulations. Don’t waste money on buying a garbage disposal system if you won’t be allowed to use it owing to reasons such as limited water supply in your area.

Is the Septic Tank Large Enough?

An upgrade is likely if you don’t have a large enough septic tank to install a garbage disposal system. You must check with the building manager or local authorities about the possibility of an upgrade. Otherwise, the tank may have to be emptied more frequently.

Can You Afford All That Extra Water?

With a garbage disposal system in place, you are most likely going to use 900 gallons of water annually on a minute-per-day basis if 2.5 gallons of water is used in a minute. Now, ask yourself, can you afford all of this water? Is there sufficient water available in your locality that can be diverted to a single house? Is a drought in place? Does a large water bill bother you? Ask yourself these questions, and you’ll know what to do.

Has the Plumbing Been Done Well?

If you have complaints about how the plumbing has been done in your house, especially under the kitchen sink, don’t take risks with installing a garbage disposal system. If clogs are commonplace and pipe leakage has been encountered often, you need to postpone installing a garbage disposal system. Have the plumbing fixed and secured before you make it even worse with a garbage disposal system in place.

Which Garbage Disposal System Suits You Best – Continuous-Feed or Batch-Feed?

Continuous-feed garbage disposal systems are simple and easy to use and are less costly as compared to the batch-feed models. Plus, batch-feed disposal systems require a long and complex installation process. However, if you are looking for a safe garbage disposal option, there is nothing better than a batch-feed model that has specifically been made for families with infants. Consider your budget and safety concerns prior to making a decision.

Features to Look For

Now that you have a solution to each of the questions posted above, you must be aware of the essential features to look for when purchasing a garbage disposal system for your home.

Grinding Power

This is quite a significant feature to consider when making a purchase decision. Power is a determinant of your disposal’s performance and durability. You must carefully invest in a garbage disposal that delivers minimum ½ horsepower or more. The optimal choice would be something like ¾ hp or 1 hp since this is the finest quality when it comes to grinding bones quickly and finely without clogging the pipes.

A lower powered unit will not perform as well and may cause clogging more often than necessary. These units are not reliable and have a lower life expectancy too.

Thus, decide on the ideal garbage disposal system based on its grinding power to ensure fine grinding and preventing the risk of clogging. You may be required to spend extra money on it, but it’s worth it!

Connections and Switches

Next up, a garbage disposal system is to be purchased with adapters and connection kits. These systems are hard-wired into a 120-volt outlet with the help of a cord, which may have to be ordered separately. These are then connected to the drain pipe.

Continuous-feed models have electrical or wall-mounted switches. Air pressure switches are preferred by most households since they are safe for preventing shocks and easier to retrofit. Batch-feed models are not run using switches. A special drain plug is inserted into the drain to turn on these garbage disposers. Know which cords, switches, and adapters are necessary for your choice of garbage disposal.

Noise Pollution

Large garbage disposal systems tend to be less noisy, while smaller ones may cause more noise around the house, which can be especially troublesome if you have toddlers living in the house. However, you must consider the size according to the space under the sink. The noise alone cannot determine the size of the disposal.

Try getting your hands on impellers made from stainless steel. These do not cause as much vibration and noise. A grinding chamber that is insulated and made from nylon tends to be resistant to corrosion and produces less noise than its counterparts.


You must purchase a garbage disposal system that will last for a long time. A high-quality garbage disposal system will last a long time, reduce clogging issues and ensure optimal performance. Check with your manufacturer about the warranty claims on the system. These may run from 1-year to lifetime warranties. Try to get lifetime mechanical and corrosion in-home replacement warranties. There might even be individual warranties on the unit and its replaceable parts. When buying a garbage disposal unit, make sure to get your hands on longer coverage to save up on costs in the long run.

Safety Cover

This is another essential feature to consider because a safety cover is mandatory if you have kids in the house. A safety cover will effectively bar access to the unit if it is turned on unless required. The blades under your sink drain can be sharp, and you wouldn’t want kids playing around it under any circumstances. A safety cover ensures just that!

Best “Shortest Garbage Disposal” of 2020

If you are confused about which model to buy, the below-listed models from renowned brands have features that you may be looking for. Check out these top shortest garbage disposals for the year 2018!

1. InSinkErator Badger 100 Continuous-Feed

InSinkErator Badger 100 1/3 HP Continuous Feed Garbage Disposal by InSinkErator

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This continuous-feed model from InSinkErator is ideal for disposing of excess food. It comes equipped with an induction motor that delivers 1/3 hp, allowing your more than optimal disposal results. It works tremendously well with hard-shelled food.

It has been upgraded with Quick Lock technology which allows basic installation without the help of a professional. Its outer body is made from galvanized steel which makes this garbage disposal system resistant to electrical occurrences and mishaps in the house. Hence, the product comes with the necessary durability feature!

It comes with a 2-year warranty that claims to cover factory defects.

2. InSinkErator Badger 5

InSinkErator Badger 5 Garbage Disposal, Standard Series 1/2 HP Continuous Feed Food Waste Disposer,...

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Electrical pulses cannot damage the unit since it comes in a galvanized steel construction, which enables maximum resistance. Similar to its fellow model, it uses a Quick Lock technology, making installation all the more simple and easy. Simply follow the DIY installation process mentioned in the manual.

It comes with a 2-year home warranty, which means the company covers damages that are a direct result of malfunctions caused during the manufacture of this unit.

InSinkErator Badger 5 Garbage Disposal, Standard Series 1/2 HP Continuous Feed Food Waste Disposer,...
  • RELIABLE & EASY INSTALL: Badger Series disposers are a reliable & functional choice when...
  • DURABLE COMPONENTS: This garbage disposal features our exclusive 1/2 hp Dura-Drive Induction Motor...
  • AMERICA'S #1 DISPOSER BRAND: There are more American-built InSinkErator garbage disposals in US...
  • FASTER, CLEANER, SMARTER: From meal prep to cleanup, InSinkErator helps make it fast & easy to keep...

3. Moen GXP50C

Moen Prep Series PRO 1/2 HP Continuous Feed Compact Garbage Disposal, Power Cord Included, GXP50C

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With a ½-hp motor, this is one of the shortest garbage disposals available in the market. It enables universal mount installation that fits most 3-bolt assemblies better than its counterparts. It’s light, compact and just the right size to fit under any kitchen sink.

It features a powerful motor that can work up to its maximum speed instantly. The installation process is easy and quick since this unit does not require being hard-wired into the electrical circuit. Thus, you can simply follow the instructions laid out in the manual and have this small disposal system installed on your own.

It is compatible with septic tanks and does not produce as much noise since it features SoundShield technology. You can take home this sturdy garbage disposal unit with 3-year in-home warranty.

Moen Prep Series PRO 1/2 HP Continuous Feed Compact Garbage Disposal, Power Cord Included, GXP50C
  • PREP SERIES: Designed for those who slice, dice and peel as part of basic meal prep, and need a...
  • POWERFUL GRINDING: 2,600 RPM, ½ horsepower Vortex motor provides fast, powerful grinding of...
  • SIMPLE SWAP: Fits most existing assemblies, including other brands and includes pre-installed power...
  • SEPTIC SAFE: Safe to use with properly-sized septic tanks

4. Waste King Legend Series L-1001 Continuous Feed

Waste King 1/2 HP Garbage Disposal with Power Cord for Kitchen Sink Food Waste, L-1001

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Another reliable and durable garbage disposal model is this one from Waste King. It is made from anti-corrosion material and is not as noisy as other continuous-feed disposal models in the market.

It features removable rubber splash guards that prevent the food particles from flying out of the unit during the grinding process. With nothing more than slight vibration, this garbage disposal unit is quiet, making it a perfect fit for homes with babies.

You can get this garbage disposal system with a 2-year warranty which covers intermittent repairs and replacements as and when needed, handled professionally by experts.

So, choose one from among these shortest garbage disposals that provides more than just the ideal features. It should effectively deliver peace of mind!

Waste King 1/2 HP Garbage Disposal with Power Cord for Kitchen Sink Food Waste, L-1001
  • Size: 10.HIGH-SPEED MOTOR: The 1/2 HP, 2600 RPM (115v) permanent magnet motor jams less. Has...
  • EASY INSTALLATION AND CLEANING: EZ Mount for a quick and easy kitchen sink installation, removable...
  • 2 YEAR PROTECTION: 2-year Limited. Corrosion resistant grinding components
  • NO ELECTRICAL EXPERTISE NEEDED: Pre-installed power cord, no electrical work required

5. Kitchen Aid KCDB250G Continuous Feed

Kitchen Aid (84211643) KCDB250G 1/2 HP Continuous Feed Garbage Disposal

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This continuous-feed model from KitchenAid is the perfect size to fit under the kitchen sink with ease. It has a 1/2-hp motor that grinds all food scraps finely and effortlessly. Among the best shortest garbage disposal systems, this has been the top choice for both residential and small restaurant kitchens.

It requires simple installation and has an electrical connection that ensures ease of use and safety, especially to homes with young children.

Kitchen Aid (84211643) KCDB250G 1/2 HP Continuous Feed Garbage Disposal
  • Continuous feed allows for quick cleanup after meals
  • Motor rotates at 1725 rpm for effective grinding
  • Connected to an electrical switch for ease and safety
  • 1/2 horsepower motor. Height : 11 3/8 Width : 6 5/8

Garbage Disposal DIY Installation

Garbage disposal installation is not as complex as it may sound. If you are an inexperienced person, this easy DIY will help you with the installation process in just a few steps.

Step 1

The initial step requires gathering all tools and materials that you would require for this easy installation process. You would need a screwdriver, PVC saw, circuit tester, adjustable pliers, pigtail, utility knife, garbage disposal key, electrical tape, electrical caps, wire nuts, wide rubber band and plumber’s putty.

Step 2

Next up, prepare to install it. You need to turn off the power in the kitchen area from the circuit breaker. Then, remove the drain pipes from under the kitchen sink and block the drain with the help of a rag in order to avoid leakage. Remove the sink strainer from underneath and clean the sink spout or the opening.

Step 3

You will find mounting assembly with the garbage disposal unit kit. Turn it over and unscrew all of its screws. Now, you can access the snag ring, which must be pried off in order for you to remove all of its components easily. Do so with caution and avoid damaging the fiber gasket on the way.

Step 4

In this step, you must apply the plumber’s putty covering the sides of the sink opening and secure the fiber gasket and metal ring over the flange. Now, slip the mounting assembly over the flange, pressing it to secure the backup ring too. Secure a rubber band around the flange without covering the snap ring.

Step 5

Now, it’s time to install the snap ring. Once the mounting assembly has been screwed into place, take off the rubber band from around the flange and slide up the snag ring to have it inserted into the groove. Clean the area for any residues of the plumber’s putty.

Step 6

This step requires the removal of the plug. The drain plug needs to be pushed inside the garbage disposal with the help of a screwdriver. Now, carefully remove it from the disposal.

Step 7

Now, remove the whole cover from the beneath the unit and get hold of the wires. Connect the wire cords based on each one’s color. Secure them in place using electrical tape. The remaining wires must be secured back into the unit and the cover shut closed.

Step 8

Lastly, place the mounting gasket in the assembly, turning the lower ring all the way toward the right to close the mounting tabs. With the help of a wrench, lock these tabs and connect the discharge pipeline to the drain pipes. Now, test the unit as it has been secured in place. If you see no leaks, you have done the job well! It’s now time to pat yourself on the shoulder for this achievement.

You have successfully installed a garbage disposal unit under the kitchen sink without calling a professional or plumber.

Final Thoughts

With the help of this elaborate buying guide, you can easily choose the ideal shortest garbage disposal to install at home. When making a purchase decision, just make sure to look out for warranty claims and have them confirmed before finalizing the agreement. Products featuring a lifetime warranty may be a little expensive on the wallet initially, but they can get you substantial cost savings in the long run because replacement parts and maintenance can be quite lavish.

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