Best Compact Garbage Disposals

Are you one of the many people looking to make life work in a small space with a household of one to three members? Then you may be in the market for a compact garbage disposal.

There is no reason to buy more capacity than you really need, plus some tiny homes simply don’t have adequate cabinet space to accommodate larger models. The following compact disposals are well suited to the needs of a small household making life work in a small home.

Best Compact Garbage Disposals – Comparison Table

Best Small Garbage Disposals Reviews

1. InSinkErator Garbage Disposal, Badger 5, 1/2 HP Continuous Feed – Our Best Pick

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This 7 x 7 x 13 inch unit comes with a 1/2 HP motor. With a 26 ounce capacity, it should be sufficient for the needs of a household of two to three people.

This is a continuous feed model with 1-stage grinding. It will not handle some of the heavier grinding jobs that some 2-stage models can tackle.

It does not come with a power cord. If you are planning to re-use the cord off a unit you are replacing, this may be a feature not a bug in your eyes. It saves a few dollars and it reduces waste going to the landfill.

This is a trusted brand name. InSinkErator invented the disposal in 1927 and still dominates the disposal market. In the US, there are more InSinkErator disposals out there than all other brands combined.

Although this is a smaller unit, it will fit existing InSinkErator hardware. If you are replacing an old InSinkErator model with a new one, the fact that it can use the existing flange will help make it easy to install.

Recommended if you intend to re-use the cord or have a plumber installing it. Also, recommended if you are replacing an existing Badger unit that has seen better days.

Pros:

  • Easy to install.
  • Continuous feed model.
  • Solid 1/2 HP motor.
  • Dimensions: 7 x 7 x 13 inches.
  • Comes with a 2-year limited warranty.

Cons:

  • Power cord not included.
  • Does not feature 2-stage grinding.

2. InSinkErator Garbage Disposal with Cord, Badger 5, 1/2 HP Continuous Feed – Best New Installation Badger

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Many continuous feed models do not include a cord. This 7.4 x 7.4 x 14.5 inch unit comes with a 32 inch long power cord, making it a great choice for a new DIY installation.

This is also a continuous feed model. These are popular for their low price, convenient logistics and general familiarity. However, they tend to be slightly less safe than batch-feed models and somewhat noisier.

This unit has a 26 ounce capacity and features 1-stage grinding. It should be sufficient for basic food waste disposal, but make sure to not put small bones or fibrous vegetable matter through it. Some 2-stage models can handle that, but 1-stage models cannot.

Recommended for a one to three person household processing moderate amounts of food waste. Recommended for do-it-yourself enthusiasts.

Pros:

  • 32 inch long power cord included.
  • Dimensions: 7.4 x 7.4 x 14.5 inches.
  • Continuous feed model.
  • Comes with a 2-year limited warranty.

Cons:

  • Does not offer 2-stage grinding.
  • Some people do not find the instructions satisfactory.

3. InSinkErator Garbage Disposal, Badger 1, 1/3 HP Continuous Feed – Best One Person Household Model

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At just 7 x 7 x 12 inches, this 1/3 HP model is the smallest one on our list. It would be ideal for a one person household, though some two person households would also be perfectly happy with it.

It is a convenient continuous feed model. This is the most commonly installed type of disposal, so you are probably quite familiar with how such a unit works. Just turn on the cold water first, then turn on the disposal and start feeding food waste through it.

Like most continuous feed models, this unit does not come with a power cord. You will need to purchase one or take the cord off the unit you are replacing.

It has a 26-ounce capacity and 1-staqe grinding. It won’t handle heavy-duty jobs or a large household, but if you want a compact model, then that probably doesn’t describe your situation anyway.

The unit boasts a Quick-Lock mounting system for easy installation. The small size also helps make it DIY friendly.

Recommended for a one or two person household that only needs a disposal for light use.

Pros:

  • One year limited warranty.
  • Perfect for a one-person household.
  • The most compact model on our list.
  • Designed to be easy to install.

Cons:

  • Power cord not included.
  • Only has a 1-stage grinding mechanism.

4. Waste King L-8000 Garbage Disposal with Power Cord, 1 HP – Best Compact Powerful Workhorse

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At 8.5 x 8.5 x 16 inches, this powerful 1 HP unit is the largest unit on our list, yet still more compact than most. If you have four or more people in your household or are downsizing but intend to entertain regularly, this is the unit for you.

This continuous feed model comes with a 20 Year Warranty. So you can rest assured that it will work reliably for years to come or the manufacturer will repair it on their dime.

It is well insulated to reduce noise. Although continuous feed models are typically noisier than batch feed models, proper sound proofing can help mitigate the sound issue.

It claims to be safe for use with a septic system. This is generally not true for any garbage disposal. Septic systems are not intended to handle food waste. Septic systems generally recommend against using any kind of garbage disposal in conjunction with them.

Recommended if you need serious power in spite of not having a lot of space. Recommended if excess noise is a concern.

Pros:

  • The power cord is included.
  • Powerful 1 HP motor.
  • A 20-year warranty provides protection for the life of the unit.
  • Soundproofing helps reduce noise.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Easy to install.

Cons:

  • While still compact, it is the largest unit reviewed here.
  • It says it is safe with a septic system, but that’s debatable.

5. Moen GX50C GX Series 1/2 Horsepower Garbage Disposal – Best Quiet Model

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This 1/2 HP unit is 7.5 x 7.5 x 16 inches. It fits most existing fixtures, including most InSinkErator fixtures.

The built-in sound proofing helps keep the kitchen quiet, so family members can sleep or can still hear the TV set while you cook. It runs so quiet that some customers initially panic because they think it isn’t working at all. If noise is a big concern in your household, this may be the unit for you.

The continuous feed unit comes with a removable power cord. Most continuous feed models do not include a power cord.

Having a pre-installed power cord makes a disposal easier to install yourself without having to hire a plumber. This unit also has other easy mount features to make installation a breeze.

If you are fond of Moen faucets, you may find yourself equally fond of the good design of this garbage disposal. In addition to being quiet, it also has low jam design features so it will keep on trucking.

They are so confident it will not jam they do not provide an Allen wrench compatible socket for the purpose of dislodging jams. On the downside, what if it jams anyway? You have no backup plan.

Recommended for anyone fond of Moen products. Recommended for anyone looking for a quiet continuous feed model in a compact size.

Pros:

  • Comes with a 4-year warranty.
  • The power cord is included.
  • Comes with soundproofing to reduce noise.

Cons:

  • Although it should be compatible with most fixtures, there may be exceptions.
  • Does not include an Allen wrench or socket.

Buyer’s Guide

Small homes are a big trend right now. This is being driven by a variety of factors, such as Baby Boomers hitting retirement age, younger generations being squeezed financially and general concern about the environment.

But having a small home doesn’t have to mean foregoing a comfortable lifestyle with modern amenities. In fact, the opposite truth is another driving force in this trend: Modern technology makes it possible to fit a full and comfortable life into fewer square feet.

A small kitchen may need more tech to make it bearable, not less. But that tech needs to fit within the allotted footprint.

Horsepower

The smallest motors start at 1/3 Horsepower (HP). This is for a one or two person household that doesn’t put a lot of wear and tear on the unit. Think of a household that eats out a lot and doesn’t do a lot of entertaining.

The 1/2 HP motors are for a one-to-three person household. They can handle a bit more capacity. Think of a household with one to two people that does more home cooking and entertaining or a three-person household that eats out a lot and doesn’t entertain much.

The largest motors on compact models are 1 HP. They can easily handle a household of four people. Alternatively, they can handle a household of one to three people who entertain somewhat regularly.

Dimensions

If space is at a premium, make sure to get the measurements of any models that interest you. Then check to see if it works in your kitchen.

Compact models will easily fit standard-sized cabinets and should fit smaller cabinets. But it’s a lot of hassle to purchase something, try to install it and then realize it doesn’t fit. So always check the measurements when designing a small space.

Most Compact Units Are Fairly Basic

You mostly won’t find a lot of bells and whistles with compact units. Some boast extra features like soundproofing, but you aren’t likely to find a 2-stage grinding mechanism or other fancy technology.

The general assumption is that you aren’t going to be using it that much. If you want a lot of bells and whistles, you probably need to make sure you can afford to devote the space to a larger unit.

Having said that, there are still some differences between units. Don’t forget that even in a small space, you can elect to install an air switch to improve safety and convenience.

If You Are On A Septic System

Generally speaking, garbage disposals are not compatible with septic tanks. If you are off grid and using a septic system, think twice before installing a garbage disposal.

Use of a garbage disposal with a septic system will tend to drive up maintenance costs for the septic system. Septic systems are not intended to be receptacles for food waste, no matter how finely ground it may be.

When you see garbage disposals claiming they work well with a septic system, this is a sales tactic. It is not actually a good idea to combine a disposal with a septic system.

Our Best Choice

We really like number 1. InSinkErator Garbage Disposal, Badger 5, 1/2 HP Continuous Feed. For the majority of small households, this will be the sweet spot for performance.

In most cases, a 1/3 HP motor will be inadequate. However, a 1 HP motor will tend to be overkill. A 1/2 HP will be just right. Plus, InSinkErator has a lot going for it, which is why it is the most popular brand in the US.

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Peter Mattson
Peter Mattson / Senior Contributor
A professional plumber. Spent 11 years helping people with their problems. The only author on this blog who wants to share his experience with people and help find the best answers for any question about garbage disposals.
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