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1/2 vs 3/4 HP Garbage Disposals: A Comparison

You must be wondering if you should buy a 1/2 HP or a 3/4 HP disposal. Trust me; you are not alone. Many people are confused when choosing the garbage disposal size for their kitchen. Which one should you choose?

3/4 HP garbage disposals have more grinding power than 1/2 HP ones. If you plan to use the disposal only once a week, a 1/2 HP disposal is the right choice. But if you want to use it more frequently, I recommend buying a 3/4 HP one.

If you are interested, here are some top garbage disposals in the 1/2 HP range (View them on Amazon) and some in the 3/4 HP range (View them on Amazon).

One should also understand that even if disposals use the same horsepower motor, their features and other factors affecting your buying decision can vary depending on their brands. For example, the 3/4 HP disposals by Waste King and InSinkErator brands differ vastly.

Here is a detailed comparison of 1/2 HP and 3/4 HP garbage disposals;

1/2 HP3/4 HP
Grinding powerLessMore
Build qualityGoodBetter
WarrantyShorter warrantiesLonger warranties
PS: This is a generalized comparison of 1/2 and 3/4 HP disposals. This may or may not be true when comparing individual disposal models.

Here are some popular garbage disposals within this power range;

Moen GT50C
View on Amazon
InSinkErator Badger 5
View on Amazon
InSinkErator Evolution Compact
View on Amazon
Moen GX75C
View on Amazon

3/4 HP disposals have more grinding power

3/4 HP disposals are more powerful than 1/2 HP models. Even though this difference is only a 1/4 HP, this significantly affects their grinding capability.

1/2 HP disposals are generally considered entry-level units by most plumbers. It can grind all kinds of soft foods; however, you shouldn’t grind any bones and fibrous food items with it. They are suitable for those who don’t cook very often.

3/4 HP disposals are the ones used in most households. They are good for regular use, and some of them can grind chicken bones and cooked meat in addition to soft food wastes. Some top-end models like InSinkErator Evolution Compact can grind fibrous food wastes as well due to a multi-stage grinding system it has.

Build quality of 3/4 HP dispsoals are better

Generally speaking, the build quality of 3/4 HP garbage disposals is better than 1/2 HP units. Most of the 1/2 HP disposals fall into budget models, so manufacturers try to cut the cost of production as much as possible. So the majority of the disposals with this horsepower rating are made with galvanized steel.

But the majority of the 3/4 HP disposals have their grinding components made of stainless steel. I think this is because since these disposals are expected to priced higher, the manufacturers can afford to use stainless steel in them.

Stainless steel grinding components last much longer than galvanized ones. Since disposals are constantly exposed to water there is a good chance that the galvanized steel components will rust once they lose their galvanized coating. Stainless steel is much more resistant to corrosion and the garbage disposals using it last much longer without failing.

3/4 HP disposals have longer warranties

The warranty of 3/4 HP disposals is longer than 1/2 Hp disposals. Again, this is when speaking generally. There may be a few 1/2 Hp models that have longer warranties than some 3/4 Hp models. But most 3/4 HP disposals have longer warranty periods than the other.

The length of the warranty can be easily linked to the build quality of the garbage disposal. Those with better build quality will last long, so brands are confident to cover them for longer periods. Since most 3/4 HP disposals are built better than their 1/2 HP counterparts, it is no surprise that they come with better warranties.

I think Waste King 2600 disposal model has the longest warranty among 1/2 HP disposals. It has a 5-year warranty. Among 3/4 Hp disposals, Evolution Compact (see in amazon) and Waste King 3200 (see in amazon) models have the longest warranty, which is 8-years.

3/4 HP disposals costs more than 1/2 HP models

1/2 HP disposals are cheaper than 3/4 Hp disposals. This is an obvious difference. As 3/4 Hp disposals have more grinding power and better build quality, they are expected to be priced higher than a 1/2 Hp disposal.

However, in many cases, their price differences are not that high. The prices of some closely resembling 1/2 and 3/4 HP disposals differ by only a few bucks. This is because some models use the same body but upgraded motor and grinding components. A good example of this is a Badger 5 and a Badger 5 XP. Both of them use the same body, but Badger 5XP has a 3/4 HP motor while Badger 5 is 1/2 HP.

There are also cases where the prices of 1/2 HP and 3/4 Hp disposals are far apart. Some brands like InSinkErator have a premium line of disposals comprising 3/4 and 1 HP disposals, and such models are priced much higher than the standard 1/2 HP units.

3/4 HP disposals are quieter than 1/2 HP

3/4 HP models are generally quieter than 1/2 HP ones. This is not because their motors are quieter but because many of them come covered in noise-insulating foams. Since 1/2 Hp models are built cheap, none of them have any noise insulations. But as manufactures can price the 3/4 HP units higher, they can afford to add some insulation layers into these disposals.

But not all 3/4 HP models come with noise insulation. So make sure to go through the specifications of the unit before buying. If it has noise insulation, the specifications will definitely highlight it. Since noise insulation is a big thing among garbage disposals, brands are eager to put their quiet models in the spotlight, so you will hardly miss it.

1/2 HP disposals are more compact

I can show you many examples where this is not the case. However, mostly, 1/2 HP disposals are more compact than 3/4 HP units.

This is due to the larger motor in 3/4 HP units. The disposal needs to be made bigger to accommodate the larger motor. Also, since many of the models in this category has noise insulation, its size is added to the overall size of the disposal.

There are definitely contradictions to this. If you consider some 1/2 HP disposal model by Waste King, for example, WK 2600, and a 3/4 HP disposal like InSinkErator Evolution Compact, the latter is smaller. But again, generally speaking, 1/2 HP disposals are more compact in size.

Conclusion: Which one should you buy?

If you are willing to pay extra, I recommend buying a 3/4 Hp disposal. They are more powerful, come with features like noise insulation, have longer warranties, and better build quality.

On the other hand, if you don’t plan to use the disposal much, go for a 1/2 HP disposal.

Additional reading:

My name is Thomas Anderson, author of DisposalQA. I have 15 years experience working as a plumber in CA, and this is where I answer common questions about garbage disposals.