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Trash Compactor & Food Disposer Buying Guide

Trash Compactors


Whose turn is it to take out the garbage? A question often asked without volunteers. So why not cut down on the trips to the curb (and a little aggravation) by installing a trash compactor or garbage disposal? You'll be saving your own energy and the environment by reducing the amount of waste your household sends to the landfill each week.

Compactors range in width from 12” – 15”, height from 34 1/8” – 35” and depth from 24” – 25”. Motor sizes vary from 1/3, ½, to ¾ horsepower. The unit will require a 120-volt outlet.

There will always be garbage, but it doesn’t need to be kept in an ugly can, overflowing or smelly. A Trash Compactor condenses garbage by using compacting ram force. Depending on the model, the ram force ranges from 2,000 to 5,000 lbs., reducing trash volume by up to 80%. A 1.4 cu ft. capacity compactor with a 1/3 horsepower motor generally produces a 5:1 compaction ratio – five 13-gallon bags of trash are reduced to one bag. That’s a lot less garbage, and since most compactors come with odor eliminating systems, the air will be kept fresh too.


Installed between existing cabinets and are available in different finishes for an integrated, upscale appearance. This option is also a space saver for small kitchens.

Built-In Compactors


Have finished tops and can be placed anywhere in the kitchen and used for extra counter space.

Freestanding Compactors


Has the ability to be installed freestanding or built-in for ultimate flexibility.

Convertible Trash Compactors


A Food Disposal has two major benefits. First, it makes your life a little easier since you can wipe food scraps down the drain. Secondly, it’s Eco-Friendly as the food you place in the sink drain opening falls into the grinding mechanism, where it is shredded into fine particles that are washed away with water - no trash bag needed.

There are two types of Disposals – differentiated by how you turn them on.


Grinds up your waste in batches.

  • Ideal for small amounts of waste.
  • Comes with a cover or stopper to prevent accidents.
  • Safer option because you cannot turn the disposal on until you insert the stopper over its entrance.

Batch Feed Disposals


Runs when you switch the power on.

  • Ideal for large amounts of waste.
  • Allows you to throw food waste down the sink as you work.
  • Usually cheaper than batch feed disposals.

Continuous Feed Disposals


The horsepower of the motor will make a difference in the performance. Select the horsepower based on your needs.

  • 1/3 horsepower – occasional user, soft waste, apartment or small family
  • 1/2 horsepower – moderate user, most leftovers, typical home
  • 3/4 to 1 horsepower – heavy user, difficult foods like bones, potato peeks, large family

High horsepower motors are less likely to jam and are quieter when running. These larger units will also take up more space below the sink, so make sure you have the room needed for installation. All disposals must be hard-wired or plugged into a 120-volt outlet with a 3’ – 6’ power cord. They are connected to a drain pipe. Multiple disposal units can also be connected directly to your dishwasher to dispose of that waste as well.

Look for a stainless steel grind chamber and components for lasting durability.