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3/4 HP vs 1 HP Garbage Disposal: Which One Do You Need?

If you’re looking for a new garbage disposal, you may be wondering what the difference between 3/4 HP and 1 HP units is. Obviously, the latter one is more powerful but which one of these is the best choice for you?

The size of the household and the frequency at which you cook will determine how large your garbage disposal should be. For two to four people, a 3/4 HP unit is recommended; if there are more people in your home and you have three meals per day, then 1 HP garbage disposals may work better for you.

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

3/4 HP or 1 HP garbage disposal

Things to look for while deciding between 3/4 and 1 HP garbage disposals

Garbage disposals are a great way to get rid of food scraps and other household waste. But before you buy one, it’s important to know what size is best for your home. Here are some things to consider when deciding on the right disposal size for you.

The number of people in a household

Garbage disposals are typically sized by the amount of food waste they can process in a day. The size of your garbage disposal will depend on how many people live in your house and what types of foods you prepare.

A 1/2 horsepower garbage disposal is sufficient for up to two people, but if you have more than two adults living at home, consider upgrading to a 3/4 or 1 horsepower unit.

The more food you waste, the more power your garbage disposal should have. Even though both 3/4 HP and 1 HP garbage disposals are good options for a large household, a 1 HP garbage disposal is recommended if there are more than four adults in the house. This is because more people waste more food, and the load on the garbage disposal increases accordingly.

Frequency of cooking

It is a no-brainer that more food is wasted when you cook more. Frequent cooking increases the volume of food wastes going into the garbage disposal. A 3/4 HP garbage disposal is good enough if you cook twice a week or even more. But a more powerful garbage disposal is recommended if you have more and more food wastes going into it. A 1 HP garbage disposal is more suitable than a 3/4 HP one if you cook regularly.

Types of food waste to grind

Not all food wastes can be put in a garbage disposal. Food items like celery, rice, corn husks, etc., are not to be ground in a garbage disposal for various reasons. Here is a list of what you shouldn’t put in a garbage disposal for more reading.

Even though many food wastes are garbage disposal friendly, some of them are not suitable for some garbage disposals. One cannot grind food wastes like chicken bones with small size 1/3 and 1/2 HP garbage disposals. The horsepower of the garbage disposal needs to be more to grind tougher food wastes.

You can grind tough food items like raw meat, chicken bones, fruit pits, etc with a 3/4 HP garbage disposal. However, if you plan to grind ribs, you better opt for a 1 HP garbage disposal.

Type of garbage disposal

There are two types of garbage disposals; batch feed and continuous feed. Batch feed disposals are safer to use since you need to cover the sinkhole with a special magnetic cover to run them. They are a good fit if you are worried about your child’s safety. This also prevents any utensils from accidentally falling into the running disposal. But this also means that you cannot put wastes into the disposal when it is running; you have to first fill it up and then run it. In short, the batch feed type disposal grinds food wastes in batches.

A continuous feed type disposal is the one you see in movies where people accidentally maim their hands and fingers. They do not have a safety cap, and you can add more and more food wastes into them as they are ground.

There are only a few batch feed models compared to continuous feed type models. So your choice is limited by the disposal’s horsepower you choose. For example, InSinkErator’s only batch feed model is Evolution Cover Control, which is available only with a 3/4 HP motor. If you are looking for a 1 HP batch feed disposal from InSinkErator, you will be disappointed. Luckily, Waste King, another leading brand, has a 1 HP model named WK L-8000TC. But as I said before, your options are limited if you choose to go for a batch feed type disposal while there are plenty of units to choose from the continuous feed type category.

Price & warranty

3/4 HP garbage disposals are cheaper than 1 HP garbage disposals across the same brand. So if you don’t plan to spend a lot of money on a garbage disposal choose a 3/4 HP model.

The warranties of garbage disposals get longer with higher horsepower ratings. 1 HP garbage disposals come with the best warranties in the industry, and 3/4 HP ones have the second-longest warranties. A 1 HP model like Waste King L-8000 comes with a lifetime warranty.

Features and build quality

The build quality of 3/4 and 1 HP garbage disposals are at par with each other. All of them come with high quality and durable construction. Their grinding components are made of stainless steel alloys to increase durability.

The features of garbage disposal belonging to these horsepower ratings are similar even though the 1 HP models have slightly better noise insulations and overall improved features.

1 HP garbage disposal recommendations

The most popular 1 HP garbage disposals are;

Waste King L-8000

Waste King 8000 garbage disposal
A Waste King 8000 garbage disposal

L-8000 is made by Waste King. It is often rated as the most value for money 1 HP garbage disposal. It was also once rated as the best garbage disposal by ConsumerReports.

I addition to its powerful and high-speed motor, this garbage disposal comes with decent noise insulation and a lifelong warranty. It comes with a pre-installed power cord and an EZ-mount to make the installation easy.

InSinkErator Evolution Excel

InSinkErator Evolution Excel garbage disposal

Known for its quietness, Evolution Excel is one of the top-selling garbage disposals by InSinkErator. Even though it runs slower than L-8000 it comes with an array of technologies that enable it to grind tough food items like beef ones with ease. It is pricey but its quietness and performance make it one of the best and popular garbage disposals in the market.

3/4 HP garbage disposal recommendations

Here are the most popular 3/4 HP garbage disposals;

InSinkErator Evolution Compact

InSinkErator Evolution Compact

Evolution Compact is very popular for its compact size which allows it to be installed under deep kitchen sinks. It is only 12/25 inches in height but it can accommodate up to 34.6 oz of food wastes.

It is also quiet but has a powerful grind enough to dispose of chicken bones and fruit pits. It comes with a standard 3-bolt assembly swappable with any other InSinkErator disposals.

Waste King L-3200

Waste King 3200 garbage disposal

L-3200 is a value-for-money garbage disposal with a 3/4 HP motor. It high-speed motor provides ample power to grind tough food items like chicken bones with ease. Its grinding components are made of stainless steel, and its grinding chamber is made of high-quality polymer.


Both 3/4 and 1 HP garbage disposals are good options. If you are not sure which one to buy, go for the 1 HP disposal model.

That being said, there are garbage disposals of other sizes as well. You can choose from 1/3 HP, 1/2 HP, 3/4 HP and 1 HP garbage disposals. Here is a detailed guide comparing different garbage disposal sizes for further reference.

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.