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Continuous Feed vs Batch Feed Garbage Disposal: A Comparison

Continuous feed and batch feed are the two types of garbage disposals. Whichever garbage disposal you buy will be of one of these two categories. So what are these?

Batch feed and continuous feed type garbage disposals differ from each other in how they grind food wastes. In a batch feed type disposal, the food wastes are ground in batches whereas in a continuous feed type disposal they are ground continuously.

InSinkErator Evolution Select Plus
A continuous feed disposal
A batch feed disposal

This specific difference leads to more differences between these two types of garbage disposals. Before we jump into that list, let’s see what batch feed and continuous feed disposals are;

What is a Continuous feed type garbage disposal

A Continuous feed garbage disposal is the type of garbage disposals to which food wastes can be added while they are running. This means that you can simply scrape off the food wastes from one plate after another without waiting for the disposer to get full.

Here is how to use a continuous feed garbage disposal;

As you can see in the above video, running a continuous feed type garbage disposal is very easy. First, run the water for around 5 seconds. Make sure that this is cold water. If you use hot water it will melt the fat and grease in the foods which will later solidify somewhere down the pipelines causing clogs. After running cold water simply switch on the garbage disposal using the wall switch or any other switch options available. Now while the garbage disposal is running, simply scrape off the food wastes into it. You can do this as many times as you want.

Continuous garbage disposals are very convenient to use especially if you have a large line of plates waiting to be cleaned, they are the perfect fit for a busy kitchen.

Here are two popular continuous feed garbage disposals;

InSinkErator Evolution Excel garbage disposal

InSinkErator Evolution Excel

Waste King 3200 garbage disposal

Waste King 3200

What is a batch feed garbage disposal?

A Batch feed garbage disposal is a type of garbage disposal that processes food wastes in batches. This type of disposals has to be first filled up with food wastes and then closed with a specially designed magnetic cover to run. One cannot add food wastes into them while they are running.

Here is how to use a batch feed type garbage disposal;

As you see in the above video, the disposer is first filled up with food wastes. How much food wastes you can add depends on the grinding chamber capacity of the disposer model you are using. This particular model, Evolution Cover Control, has a grinding chamber capacity of 40 oz, so you can add that much food wastes into it at a time.

Once the food wastes are added start running cold water. Then turn on the disposal using the magnetic cover as shown in the video. Now for this, the disposer has to be already connected to the mains, and many people control it using a wall switch. So flick the wall switch on, and turn on the disposer using the twisting the magnetic cover into position.

People often wonder if they should run water while a batch feed disposer is grinding. This is because they wrongly assume that the magnetic cover stops water. But it is not so, the magnetic cover comes with holes to let the water freely into the disposal.

Once the grinding is done, you can remove the cover and add the next batch of food wastes. As you can see, here the food wastes are disposed of in batches, and hence the name batch feed type garbage disposal.

The most popular batch feed type disposals are;

Waste King 8000 garbage disposal

Waste King 8000

Evolution Cover Control

Differences between batch feed and continuous feed garbage disposals

As mentioned before the primary difference between batch feed and continuous feed type garbage disposals is in how they process food wastes. Here is a list of all the general differences between them;

Continuous feed typeBatch feed type
Food is processed continuouslyFood is processed in batches
Food wastes can be added while the disposer is runningThe disposer can be run only after the food wastes are added
Activated by multiple switch optionsCan be activated only via a magnetic cover
Louder compared to a comparable batch feed disposerQuieter compared to a comparable continuous feed type disposal
Less safeThe safer option
Popular choiceLess popular choice
Many models to choose fromFewer models to choose from
Plenty of budget disposer models are availableCostly when compared to similar batch feed disposal
Less time consumingMore time-consuming operation
More convenient to useLess convenient to use
More compact in sizeGenerally bulky in size
Differences between Batch feed and Continuous feed type garbage disposals

Batch feed disposals process food in batches while continuous feed type units process them continuously

This point was explained in detail before. This is the primary and most important difference between these two types of garbage disposals.

This means that if you are using a continuous feed type garbage disposal you can grind any amounts of food wastes without stopping. For a batch feed type disposal, you have to stop once the grinding chamber is filled, grind that food, and add the rest of the food wastes again, to grind them again. This batch-wise disposing can be really annoying when you have lots of wastes to dispose of.

Food wastes can be added anytime into a continuous feed garbage disposal

In batch feed type garbage disposals the food wastes are processed in batches. So if you forgot to add some of the food wastes into the unit and you already turned it on, there is no way to add this extra food. Your only option is to wait until the disposer finished grinding.

If this was a continuous feed type disposal you could add those food wastes any time you wanted. It has no cover stopping you from adding that extra pieces of carrots into the unit. This is one notable advantage a continuous type disposer has over a batch feed type one.

Batch feed disposals are activated by a magnetic cover

Batch feed disposals use a specially designed magnetic cover to electrically connect them with the mains whereas continuous feed disposals can be started via wall switches, air switches, and many other options.

This is how the magnetic cover works. This cover, as said before, has magnets on one side. The neck of a batch feed disposer also has magnets on one side. When you put this cover in the drain hole, you have to twist it to a position where the magnets in the disposer’s neck and that in the cover come in contact with each other. This switches on the electric connection between the mains and the garbage disposal.

Don’t worry if you misplace this cover or it gets damaged. They are available in most stores so you can purchase another one easily.

Batch feed disposals are slightly quieter

Batch feed disposals are mostly quieter than continuous feed disposals. As you know one of the main sources of noise from a garbage disposal is the grinding noise ie, the noise caused by the grinding of food wastes in the grinding chamber. A good part of this noise comes out through the sinkhole of the disposal.

In the case of a batch feed type garbage disposal, the magnetic cover effectively covers the sinkhole muffling the grinding noise. So batch feed disposals are slightly quieter when compared to a similar batch feed type garbage disposal.

Additional reference: 10 quiet garbage disposals

Batch feed type disposals are safer to use than continuous type units

Safety is where batch feed type disposals come ahead. You need to use a magnetic cover to activate these types of disposals, right? This magnetic cover prevents any spoons or forks from accidentally falling into the disposal and damaging it. It also prevents children, and grown-ups, from putting their hands at the disposal while it is running. For these reasons, batch feed disposals are considered safer than continuous feed type disposals.

As you know continuous feed type disposal units don’t have a cover. There is always a good chance of something un-friendly ending up in the disposer when you are scraping off plates. Even though I have never seen a disposer cracking or breaking due to this, it is still not safe to do so. Some garbage disposals have plastic grinding chambers, and if a nail or two falls into them they will definitely damage the grinding chamber causing it to leak. All these can be avoided either by being careful or by using a batch feed type garbage disposal.

Continuous feed type garbage disposals are more convenient and less time consuming to use

Since continuous garbage disposals can process all the food wastes in your household in one stretch they are more convenient to use. On the other hand, batch feed garbage disposals are a good choice if you can regularly dispose of wastes in one go. But using a batch feed type garbage disposal is more time-consuming than using a continuous feed type disposer. Even though most people run a garbage disposal for only a minute or so, using a batch feed disposal takes twice the time as using the other type of disposals. This is because you have to spend time filling up the disposer as well as running it, these two can be done simultaneously with a continuous feed type disposal.

However, if you don’t mind spending an extra minute every time you run a disposal, batch feed disposals are not a bad choice. But trust me, not many favors this.

Continuous feed type garbage disposals are more popular than batch feed type units

Continuous feed type garbage disposals are more popular than batch feed type ones because they are more convenient to use. People favor them for their straightforward work. That is the reason why there are a lot of continuous feed disposal models available in the market whereas batch feed disposal models are only a few.

Another thing for its popularity is the availability of budget models. There are many budget choices for continuous feed-type disposals. Batch feed types, generally are a bit pricier due to the technology behind the magnetic cover, and so there are not many wallet-friendly models to choose from.

Continuous feed type disposals are more compact in size

If the space under your sink is short then it is important that the garbage disposal you buy is compact in size, not all garbage disposals fit under deep sinks. When it comes to compactness continuous feed disposals are miles ahead of batch feed type ones. There are many continuous feed disposal models that have heights less than 13 inches, which is a good size to fit under deep sinks. However, batch feed disposals are generally much taller, even the shortest one is over 16 inches in height, so unless you have plenty of space under the sink don’t buy a batch feed type disposer.

The main reason for the large size of batch feed disposals is the special magnetic collar they have which is needed to turn on the disposal. This makes the total height of the disposer considerably higher. Since run in batches, they also need to be bulky to accommodate lots of food wastes at a time. On the other hand, continuous feed disposals are simple in design and working, so they are more compact in size.

For additional reading:

My name is Thomas Anderson, and I have worked briefly as a plumber. Even though I am currently working on a different career path I still help out my friends and family with their plumbing issues. This is a hobby blog where I share my knowledge with the audience through random articles. Through this blog, I hope to address some common questions about garbage disposals.