What Size Garbage Disposal Do We Need

When it comes time to install a garbage disposal or replace an old one, the most important thing to consider is the size of the disposal you’ll need. Buy one that’s too large, and it may not fit into the space under your sink. Buy one too small, and you’ll likely need to run it beyond its intended capacity to keep up with the demands of your busy household. But how do you decide which size garbage disposal is right for you? Below we’ll provide you with some common sense tips to ensure you get the garbage disposal you need.

Measure the Space

Before you waste your time looking at disposals that may or may not be right for you and your kitchen, you need to figure out how much space you have to dedicate to a disposal. So, take out the measuring tape and find out exactly how much space there is under your sink. As a general rule, the more powerful the disposal, the larger it’s going to be. So make sure you get accurate measurements of width, depth and height, and make a note of the size and location of any potential obstacles.

Determine the Number of People it Will Need to Serve

Now that you know how much space you have to deal with the next thing to do is ask yourself how many people it will need to serve. Do you have a large family that eats together most of the time? Or is there just one or two of you? Do you eat out a lot? Do you entertain large crowds for backyard BBQs and holiday parties? You don’t want to install a disposal that’s going to burn out from overuse.

Choose the Appropriate HP

  • If there are only a couple of people in the house, a 1/3 HP disposal should suffice.
  • If there are 3 – 6 people in the house you’ll want something in the 1/2 to 3/4 HP range.
  • If there are more than 6 people and/or you often entertain large groups a 1 HP disposal is what you should be looking for.
  • If the number of people you cook for is regularly more than 8 or 10, then consider a 1 or 2 HP disposal.

Keep in mind that different manufacturers offer different designs. So if you need a 1 HP disposal and the first one you look at is too big for the space under your sink, keep looking. You might well find a smaller one.


The process of determining the right garbage disposal for you and your home goes like this:

  • Determine the amount of available space.
  • Determine how many people the unit will need to serve.
  • Keep looking until you find a garbage disposal with the appropriate horsepower that will also fit into the available space.

Due to spatial constraints, you may need to compromise a bit on the horsepower. But if that’s the case, just make sure you get the closest HP to what you need.