If there was an award to be given for the unsung hero of kitchen appliances, it would without a doubt be given to the garbage disposal.
Loyal, hard-working, and always there to help get rid of the evidence when our most recent cooking experiments have gone horribly wrong, the garbage disposal is a real kitchen helper. The sad truth is that we don’t give any mind to this indispensable household hero is when it starts to fail or worse yet dies.
If it’s time to say goodbye to your current garbage disposal and get a new one, you want to make sure that you are buying the best possible unit for your needs and budget. After all, these are not cheap items even on the economy end of the scale, and you want to make sure that the disposal that you purchase is worth the money and will provide you with reliable service now and for a long time to come.
Let’s take a moment and look at some of the most popular budget-friendly disposals on the market.
Our Rating of the Best Cheap Garbage Disposals
1. Waste King Legend Series 1 HP Garbage Disposal with Power Cord – (L-8000) – Best 1 HP Model
- Perhaps the easiest install of any of the models being talked about on this list, and among the easiest installs of any disposal on the market. Even people who have limited to no experience when it comes to plumbing or electrical systems can install this unit easily thanks to the very clear instructions and the use of basic household hand tools.
- Virtually unheard of with disposals at this price range, or even near this price range, this unit offers full lifetime coverage on all parts. Even better is the fact that all service needing to be performed on the unit is also fully covered when you choose to get it serviced by a Waste King authorized repairman or service center.
- The processing chamber does have a tendency to get overfilled and this can lead to food getting stuck. This is a relatively minor complaint that can be alleviated by remembering to put food into the opening of the chamber slowly. Related to the first concern listed above, the unit can get clogged leading to the blades jamming. If this occurs a wooden broom handle or better yet a disposal clearing tool (which you can buy at any home improvement retailer) can be used to unjam the processor and clear the clog. This situation can be prevented by making sure that you give the unit plenty of time to process before adding more items to the chamber.
With a real power cord, an awesome warranty, and one of the easiest installs around, this is one of the top choice disposals in the budget-friendly category.
The powerful motor is a little louder than others on this list, but it’s worth it to have the ability to power through almost any load without having to worry about clogging or jamming. Part of the highly acclaimed Waste King Legend Series, this disposal is consistently the recipient of positive reviews from both consumers and testers.
This is a highly recommended best buy for those who are looking for a more powerful disposal but are still looking to stay in the Waste King product family.
2. Waste King Legend Series 1/2 HP (L-1001) – Best Mount Quality
- Easy installation for a single person with standard hand tools
- Very strong mount. Other lower-end models tend to have mounts that are made of lower-quality materials. The mount is often overlooked when talking about disposals, but no matter how good the quality of the unit is, if the mount fails, then the unit will fall from the sink and lead to all sorts of unpleasantness. This unit has one of the best mounts on the market, and in fact, it’s kind of surprising to see such a great mount on an economy disposal
- Louder than others on this list. This isn’t really unexpected though, the simple truth is that with any unit possessing a higher power motor the noise level is going to be higher. This is a trade-off for having the extra power you need to plow through the toughest of food items such as steak or the occasional chicken bone that managed to slip past you
- This one is on the higher end of the price scale for this list, and that may be an off-putting thing for some buyers, but remember this, while you are in the market for a budget-friendly disposal, you get what you pay for when you choose to purchase a slightly high-quality unit with a more powerful motor
- The instructions for the L-1000 were a bit clunky to understand, but they were completely reworked for the L-1001 to make them a lot easier to read and understand. Still, the installation can be a little cumbersome at times, so this is one time when you may want to have an extra pair of hands around to help out. The installation itself is fairly straightforward, just not extremely easy to undertake solo.
This is one of the best disposals on this list and in truth one of the better disposals on the market at any price level, not just the budget-friendly category. In fact, this quality of disposal offered at this price level is quite surprising considering the high-quality construction, high level of performance, and long life expectancy.
There are some people who have reviewed this disposal and have not been positive about it, but in most cases, those reviews were for the previous model, the L-1000. The L-1001 addressed virtually all of the shortcomings that its previous incarnation was plagued with, and now this disposal is more than worthy of being part of the acclaimed Waste King Legend Series.
3. Waste King Legend Series 1/2 HP (L-2600) – Best 1/2 HP for the Money
- High power motor that is very durable to provide years of usage without issues.
- Highly affordable, offering the power that you might find in higher-priced models at an economical price point.
- Very simple installation and ease of cleaning.
- The Rubber shielding is a little much and can sometimes prevent larger items from entering the processing chamber.
- Supplied rubber gaskets can be easily torn during installation, and it not be obvious. This can lead to leaks over time. (A simple fix is to use a higher quality gasket that can be purchased from any home retailer at the time of unit purchase).
This disposal is nice since it gives you a chance to own a Waste King Legend Series at a more affordable price. This popular series of disposals have been among the standard-bearers for years, and they have traditionally been reserved for those who were able to pay a premium price.
Now Waste King has started offering a few selected Legend Series models at a lower price point without reducing quality or power.
The powerful motor is a nice mid-range ½ HP, which gives it enough processing power to handle almost any standard household load without any trouble. The large processing chamber lets you get your disposal tasks taken care of quickly.
The 2600 RPM means that jams are far less frequent than slower units, and if they do occur, they are easily cleared. One of the most durable on the market in the lower-priced category, and with a full 5-year warranty backing it up, this is a smart choice for those who need moderately powerful disposal and are on a budget.
This is a medium on the scale of recommended buying from the disposals listed here but still a worthy contender compared to others in the marketplace.
4. InSinkErator Badger 5, 1/2 HP Food Waste Disposer – Editor’s Choice
- Simple to use
- Made in Taiwan with parts made in the USA
- Does not come with a stand
- Cannot use a dado
- A couple of flimsy parts
This is a powerhouse of a unit hiding inside a deceptively small motor. InSinkErator has long been known for excellence in this disposal category, and this Badger 5 is no exception. The latest generation in a legendary line of economy disposals, the Badger 5 offers a small motor with low noise while still providing you with effective processing of food waste and long life.
The Install on this unit is not as easy as with the Waste King products on this list, you will need an extra pair of hands, or better yet leave this one to a handyman.
Without a doubt, this is the top-recommended buy on this list. Seriously, it InSinkErator at a great price. It doesn’t get much better than that.
5. Waste King Legend Series 1/3 HP Garbage Disposal with Power Cord – The Most Quiet Model
- Very quiet compared to other Waste King disposals makes this ideal for apartment dwellers and for other environments that need to have a lower noise output, such as office break rooms.
- A low price point lets you enjoy the benefits of a top brand name and a highly acclaimed product series on a budget.
- Easy installation and high-quality mount make this one of the preferred lower power disposals on the market.
- Lack of Power compared to other disposals on this list.
- Small processing chambers and low RPMs mean that you will not be able to process heavy loads, and all loads will need extra time to process.
This is the lowest powered unit among those offered by Waste King in their Legend Series but that is not in any way to say that is it not still worthy of the name. At 1/3 HP this disposal can handle most light disposal tasks easily.
Ideally suited for apartment dwellers, and those who do not rely on their disposal heavily, the big advantage is that it does have the quietest motor of all of the disposals talked about on this list. A recommended buy for those who need quieter disposals or who can get by with less power and want to save accordingly.
When buying a new food disposal one of the most important things to keep in mind is that motor horsepower is directly related to noise output. Of course, it’s great to have a high-powered motor, but if you are in an environment where you need to have less noise, you will have to make a sacrifice.
A slower RPM rate means that you will have more chance of a clog or blade jam. This also means that you will have to wait longer before adding more food to the chamber during a work session.
Make sure that you choose a disposal that offers a built-in reset switch. This Can make resetting the disposal easier after clearing a clog or jam.
Choose a disposal with a built-in circuit breaker. While you should have your disposal installed on its own circuit breaker and with a GFCI outlet in place, it’s also a good idea to have the additional protection of a built-in breaker.
Perhaps the most important piece of advice that can be given in selecting a garbage disposal unit is that you choose one with a great warranty. Having a warranty that covers both your parts and labor repairs, and, if needed any shipping costs is the best way to go.
Remember that this is a major appliance purchase, and you want to protect your investment just as you would your washer, cooktop, or water heater. If possible, get an extended warranty and a service plan from the seller. These can be of great help should something get out of whack with your disposal unit.
It doesn’t matter what model you choose to go within the end. What matters is that you get the key features that you need for it to be the best fit for your needs. Making a wise decision now will not only lead to better performance, but also to money saved in the long run by not having to replace the unit in just a couple of years.
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