InSinkErator Badger 5 Review: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Badger 5 garbage disposal made by InSinkErator is one of the oldest and most popular models on the market. It has undergone many changes over the years, but the most recent edition is the best yet. It offers superb performance, excellent durability, and plenty of great features for its price.

Let me first give you a quick glance of the specifications of Badger 5;

  • Power: 1/2 HP
  • Speed: 1725 RPM
  • Motor: DuraDrive induction motor
  • Type: Continuous feed
  • Mounting: 3-bolt assembly
  • Chamber capacity: 26 oz
  • Warranty: 3-years
  • Power cord: Optional
  • Dimensions: 11.5 inch x 6.3125 inches

A few words about InSinkErator

InSinkErator is one of the leading manufacturers of garbage disposals in the USA. This company was started in 1938 by John Hammes, who was an architect. The company was acquired by Emerson in 1968, under which it now covers multiple continents.

InSinkErator is unique in many ways. Their products are made in the USA, while most of their competing products are manufactured in China. Another thing that differentiates InSinkErator from the rest of the brands is their availability; InSinkErator disposals and their accessories and parts are available in most local stores, so you don’t have to drive a long way to a national chain to buy its parts.

How well does Badger 5 grind

As you can see in the specifications above, Badger 5 is powered by a 1/2 HP motor. This horsepower rating is considered entry-level by many expert plumbers even though lesser powerful garbage disposals are available. And there is a good reason for this. The real entry-level disposals, which are 1/3 HP, are practically useless to be regularly used in households as they are too weak and jams often. So 1/2 HP disposals like Badger 5 are where one should start their research.

Working of Badger 5

Badger 5 uses a DuraDrive induction motor. This motor is directly connected to a flywheel. On this flywheel are two stainless steel swivel lugs that can rotate 360 degrees around their axis. The induction motors run these lugs at a speed of 1725 RPM. Around the flywheel, covering the walls of the grinding chamber, is a shredder ring that has sharp holes in it.

When food wastes are put into Badger 5, the lugs fitted on the fast rotating flywheel break the food wastes and throw them around. Once the foods are broken and small, they pass through the shredder ring holes and into the drain pipes along with water.

Badger 5 is a continuous feed-type garbage disposal. Unlike a batch feed type disposal, you can add food wastes into Badger 5 while running it. This is an easier and faster method to dispose of any leftover food.

The specification sheet of Badger 5 mentions that it has a grinding chamber capacity of 26 oz. The grinding chamber’s capacity is an indicator of how much food wastes you can stuff into a disposal unit at a time. However, this metric is not relevant for continuous feed type disposals.

What can Badger 5 grind?

Badger 5 is not the most powerful garbage disposal. In fact, it is far from powerful. It can handle soft food wastes, fruits, vegetables, and fish bones without a sweat but grinding tougher foods like chicken bones is a big no. That being said, it can handle one or two chicken bones. However, this is not to be done regularly.

Things it cannot grind

Badger 5 garbage disposal is not suitable to grind tough food items like chicken bones, ribs, fruit pits, and corn husks. Besides, you should avoid fibrous vegetables like celery and artichokes. While Badger 5 has enough power to grind these items, their long fibers will clog the drain pipes.

Here is a full list of items you shouldn’t put in a Badger 5.

Badger 5 also cannot process large amounts of food wastes at a time as 1 HP disposals can. 1/2 HP disposals units are recommended for a household with one or two people who cook sporadically. That is why they are considered entry-level.

Build quality

Build quality is what people look for in a garbage disposal after grinding power. As garbage disposals are part of the plumbing system (they are called plumbing appliances), they are in constant contact with water and chemicals. So appliances like these must withstand such corroding factors to last long.

To resist corrosion, the grinding components, like the shredder ring and the flywheel, of Badger 5 are made of Galvanized steel. The two rotating swivel lugs it has are made of stainless steel.

Badger 5 is not the best-built garbage disposal as galvanized steel is resistant to corrosion only as long as it retains the zinc coating on it. Accidently grinding spoons or glass can remove this protective coating and cause rust and corrosion after extensive exposure to moisture.

But that doesn’t mean this garbage disposal will die out in a few years. Some people have used these garbage disposal for over ten years. Even though it is not the best-built disposal, the build quality of Badger 5 is at par with all other disposal models in this power and price range.

I think it is relevant here to mention the build quality of its 3-bolt mount. This is a type of twist&lock mounting assembly that is used to hook up the garbage disposal with the kitchen sink. This 3-bolt mount is made of stainless steel. The sink flange that comes with Badger 5 is also stainless steel. That means these two components won’t rust or corrode even after many years of constant water exposure. Many competing models of Badger 5, like many Waste King models, use plastic mountings.

In summary; the build quality of Badger 5 garbage disposal is at par with any of its competing models. Customer reviews across multiple marketplaces and forums rate its build quality as one of the best in its segment.

Is Badger 5 loud

Badger 5 belongs to the ‘Standard Series’ of InSinkErator garbage disposals. This is a budget garbage disposal. Therefore, no attempts are made to add any noise insulation to this garbage disposal. If you dismantle a Badger 5, you can see that it doesn’t come with any noise insulation foams, something you can find in some premium models.

But that doesn’t mean Badger 5 is very noisy. As mentioned before, it uses an induction motor. Induction motors are less noisy or at least more pleasing to hear than a permanent magnet type motor.

A standard garbage disposal like Badger 5 makes approximately 80 decibels of sound, which is as loud as a lawnmower. But since people run these machines only for a few minutes, this noise shouldn’t be an issue. I believe the noise of garbage disposal is made much overrated so companies can easily market their pricey quiet disposals.

The sound made by Badger 5 is the same as its competing models by Waste King, Moen, or KitchenAid. The garbage disposals by any brand in this segment are made to be cheap, so none of them have any noise insulations.

Ease of installation

Badger 5 garbage disposals are installed using a 3-bolt mounting assembly which is standard across all InSinkErator garbage disposals. This is a stainless steel-made twist and lock assembly, with three long bolts to tighten the disposal to a kitchen sink. This mounting assembly makes the installation of Badger 5very easy. It not only firmly connects the garbage disposal to the sink but also lets you slightly rotate the disposal to make the plumbing connections effortlessly.

The Badger 5’s 3-bolt mount also makes it easy to swap it out with any InSinkErator garbage disposal. All you have to do is disconnect the old one and twist and lock in a new one!

The installation of a Badger 5 garbage disposal is something that any homeowner can do. I am not going into detailing the steps of installing a Badger 5; for those who are interested, here is a video below showing the full installation.

Wiring a Badger 5 garbage disposal

Badger 5 garbage disposals do not always come with a pre-installed power cord. You can opt to buy one, but normally you will have to install a power cord separately. In some cases, you will have to hardwire the unit to the mains.

Wiring a Badger 5 is not difficult. When you look at the bottom face of Badger 5, you can see a cover plate securing its wires. Unscrew this cover to expose the two wires from the garbage disposal. There is also an attachment called ‘Romex connector’ through which the end of the power cord is inserted into the disposal. Connect the corresponding wires of the garbage disposal to the power cord and secure them with wire nuts. Replace the cover, and you are done. You can also hardwire your garbage disposal to the mains this way.

Removing the wiring compartment of a garbage disposal

Here is the complete step by step guide to wiring a garbage disposal for further reading.

Is Badger 5 compatible with all kitchen sinks?

Badger 5 garbage disposal is made to fit all sinks that come with the standard drain hole size of 3.5 inches. The default sink flange that comes with it lets you install the disposal on any sinks with up to 0.5-inch thickness. Suppose the sink’s thickness is more than that; you need to use an extended flange instead. You can buy such extended flanges from your local store or marketplaces like Amazon. Here is an example of such a flange: https://amzn.to/2QqmaPH; it can be used to install Badger 5 on any sink with 3/4 to 1.75-inch thickness.

Is Badger 5 compact enough for farmhouse sinks?

Badger 5 garbage disposal has a height of 11.5 inches and a width of 6.3125 inches. The height of its drain connection from the sink is 6 inches.

Why are these dimensions relevant? They are relevant because you need a compact size garbage disposal to be installed under deep sinks like farmhouse sinks. As these types of sinks will take up a lot of space under the countertop, there won’t be much room left to install a garbage disposal. The height of the drain outlet for the disposal shouldn’t be too low either, as it can clog the pipelines.

Badger 5 is compact in size, and so you can install it under any sinks. One of the most important features that make Badger 5 unique is that its drain outlet sits pretty high close to the sink; this way, chances for clogs are eliminated!

Check specifications

Price & Warranty

Like I mentioned before, Badger 5 is an entry-level garbage disposal. Therefore it is priced wallet-friendly. The price of this product changes from time to time, so you can check the current pricing here on Amazon. If you opt to buy the disposal without a preinstalled power cord, then that saves even more money!

But if you want a cheaper 1/2 HP disposal, Waste King L-1001 is a good choice.

Badger 5 comes with a 3-year warranty. Its older version was covered for 2-years but the new version is given an additional year of warranty. Even though a warranty is an indication of the longevity of a product there are people who have been using Badger 5 for over 10-years.

This garbage disposal’s warranty is called We Come To You In Home warranty as it covers the costs of both labor and parts. The technician will come to your house to replace or repair your Badger 5, all costs borne by the company.

5 reasons why you should buy Badger 5

The Badger 5 is not the only 1/2 HP garbage disposal available to buy. But then, what makes it one of the top-selling units in the industry? Here are five reasons why people are confident enough to spend their money on this unit:

1) It’s made by InSinkErator–one of America’s leading home appliance brands with a reputation for quality and engineering excellence – so you’re guaranteed an excellent product! InSinkErator has decades of experience building garbage disposals. They constantly refine their products to become better and better. They are also available in your local stores as well as chain stores so you won’t have to worry about parts availability or wait long for the parts to arrive

2) Durable mounting assembly: The Badger 5 has a durable 3-bolt mounting assembly which is better than other models on the market. This mount’s sturdy build makes it an excellent choice for any homeowner who wants to invest in something they know will last them many years down the line. It comes with stainless steel construction, so you don’t have to worry about rusting or corrosion over time! They also won’t break easily, and they look better and match your sink, unlike many of the plastic ones used by some competing brands.

3) Best in the segment warranty: The InSinkErator Badger 5 comes with a 3-year in-home warranty. This is longer than many of its competitors at the 1/2 HP level, and it even covers labor costs to fix it should anything go wrong within this period.

4) Value for money: Badger 5 garbage disposal offers value for money. Getting a strongly built, well-refined garbage disposal that is also covered by a 3-year warranty which covers costs of labor and parts within this price bracket, is hard.

5) Strongly built: The Badger 5 is the most durable garbage disposal in its segment because of its galvanized steel construction and few plastic parts. It can withstand accidents like grinding utensils or glass, which commonly damage competitor products.

Cons of Badger 5

With all its bells and whistles Badger 5 garbage disposals are not void of cons. Here are they;

1) Non-removable splash guard: Cleaning the splash guard of a Badger 5 can be a pain in the neck becuase it is not removable. If you consider competing Waste King models, their splash guard can be simply pulled out through the kitchen sinkhole and cleaned quickly with no fuss at all, but that won’t work for Badger 5. The culprit here is the 3-bolt mounting assembly. Here, the splash guard sits under the sink and can be removed only by disconnecting the garbage disposal from the sink. So to clean it, you have to lift its ribber flaps one by one and brush it with a toothbrush.

2) Slow speed motor: InSinkErator Badger 5 uses a DuraDrive induction motor which runs at a speed of 1725 RPM. But many competing models use faster motors that run at 2700 RPM. The higher speed improves the grinding ability of the garbage disposal which is sadly not the case here.

3) Rust and leaks: One of the most common problems with Badger 5 is it leaking from the bottom. After years of use, the plate that separates the grinding chamber from the motor’s chamber can rust and cause water to leak. This is an irreparable problem and replacing your garbage disposal with a new one is the only solution here. What you have to consider is that this happens after many years of use, which is far beyond the warranty coverage; this shouldn’t discourage you from buying a Badger 5.

Troubleshooting InSinkErator Badger 5

Even though InSinkErator Badger 5 is one of the best garbage disposals in its category, it cannot grind all sorts of food wastes. Putting the wrong type of food can cause jams and stop the disposal from working. If this happens you will have to unjam and reset it to get it working again. Here how to troubleshoot a Badger 5 garbage disposal;

  1. Switch off the garbage disposal and unplug it from the power source
  2. Look into the unit through the sinkhole using a flashlight to locate any debris or foreign objects jamming the disposal blades. If found, remove them using a needle nose plier.
  3. Use the Allen wrench that came with your Badger 5 and insert it into the hex hole at the center of the disposal’s bottom side. Rotate it to and from until it starts freely rotating.
  4. Push in the red reset button on the bottom side of the Badger 5. This pops out when the disposal is jammed.
  5. Plugin the Badger 5 and rerun it with plenty of water.
Troubleshooting a Badger 5

Badger 5 vs Badger 500

Badger 5 and Badger 500 are the same garbage disposals but the latter is available only through HomeDepot. The working, specifications, performance, and all other aspects are the same for both these disposal models.

You can read more about this here: Badger 5 vs Badger 500

Top competitors of Badger 5

Badger 5 is not the only garbage disposal you can buy. Here are some great alternatives to it;

Waste King L-2600

Waste King L-2600 is a strong competitor to Badger 5. It is better in some aspects like speed, warranty, and the build quality of its grinding components.

It runs at 2600 RPM and so it is expected to perform better than Badger 5 in reducing jams and clogs. It is covered by a 5-year warranty compared to the 3-year warranty of Badger 5. Its grinding components are made of stainless steel which is more durable than those of badger 5. It also comes with a removable splash guard making the cleaning easier.

Moen GX50C

Moen GX50C is another strong competitor to Badger 5. Similar to Badger 5 it uses a 3-bolt assembly for mounting. It also has a high-speed motor, a 5-year limited warranty, and stainless steel grinding components.

Besides, this garbage disposal comes with noise insulation which you don’t see in many other disposals in its segment. By all means, this is at par with Badger 5, if not better.

Conclusion

Badger 5 by InSinkErator is a strong and reliable garbage disposal that has been in the market for decades. If you are looking for an entry-level garbage disposal, by all means, go for it.

If you are not decided and still searching for a new garbage disposal, take a look at my list of best garbage disposals. This list is a collection of the top rated, popular garbage disposals from all power bands created to make your selection process much easier.