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Garbage disposal replacement cost

A relatively easy job that typically costs from $250 to $625

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    garbage disposal under the sink with a man working on the plumbing

    While a garbage disposal may not be an essential kitchen appliance, for some it’s a small luxury that’s well worth its relatively low cost. However, even the best disposers won’t last forever and at some point need replacing. Fortunately, replacing a garbage disposal is a relatively quick job, and you may be able to do it yourself.

    On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $250 to $625, including parts and labor.

    Key insights

    • The average homeowner needs a garbage disposal with a horsepower of one-half to three-fourths.
    • In most cases, replacing a garbage disposal is a better choice than trying to repair it.
    • If you’re replacing a disposal with a new one of the same size, you might be able to perform the work yourself.

    Garbage disposal cost

    There are two main types of garbage disposals: continuous feed and batch feed. A continuous feed unit is turned off and on using a wall switch and allows you to keep adding food waste as long as the system is running. A batch feed system can only dispose of one batch of food scraps at a time, and the system must be covered with a plug for the grinder to work.

    Continuous feed models are the most common and are usually less expensive than batch feed systems. Both types are ideally connected to a dedicated outlet or hard-wired to your electrical system.

    A new continuous feed garbage disposal can cost anywhere from $90 to $450, depending on the grinding strength and brand, but you can get a reliable unit for around $165 as of publishing. Batch feed disposers, which are much less common and harder to find, cost an average of $300.

    Cost by garbage disposal strength

    The most important distinction between garbage disposals is their grinding strength, which is measured in horsepower. Most homeowners need a one-half- to three-fourths-horsepower unit for their kitchen sinks, but you can purchase models with one-third to 1 horsepower.

    Grinding strengthAverage cost for unit alone
    ⅓ horsepower $100
    ½ horsepower $130
    ¾ horsepower $200
    1 horsepower $325

    How much does garbage disposal installation cost?

    Installing a garbage disposal is a fairly simple job, but it still must be done safely and correctly. To gain more insight, we spoke with Kodi Wilson, a trained plumber, instructor and campus director at the National Technical Institute (NTI). Wilson said the two biggest factors in your total cost will be the specific model you choose and the route you go for installation.

    “A highly efficient DIYer could probably replace their own disposal with under two hours of labor (not including the time it takes to pick up parts and material) and under $200. That would be the low end of the cost,” Wilson said. Of course, not every homeowner will be up to the task of installing their own unit; in that case, you’ll need to hire a professional, which will increase your costs.

    A highly efficient DIYer could probably replace their own disposal with under two hours of labor (not including the time it takes to pick up parts and material) and under $200. That would be the low end of the cost.”
    — Kodi Wilson, trained plumber

    Wilson went on to say: “The high end would involve calling a plumbing service technician and having the company supply a high-end model disposal and install it for up to $1,000. Most replacements will be around $400 to $600 when you consider parts and labor.”

    What affects the cost of garbage disposal installation?

    If you don’t want to take on the work yourself, consider hiring a friend who’s handy. This might be cheaper than having a plumber do the work.

    Your installation costs depend on a few factors, such as whether you’re installing a new unit where there wasn’t one before, whether you’re switching out a same-size model or upgrading to a more powerful motor and whether the old disposal caused any damage that needs to be addressed. Another factor to consider is whether you’re hiring a general handyman or a licensed plumber to complete the work — plumbers often charge a higher hourly rate.

    What if you need to replace your faucet or sink?

    You shouldn’t need to replace your sink or faucet along with a garbage disposal, but you may choose to anyway. Almost all sinks with a standard drain hole can accommodate a garbage disposal.

    The more important consideration is the size of your under-the-sink area if you’re installing a disposal where there wasn’t one before or upgrading to a more powerful unit that takes up more space. You may also wish to replace your faucet or sink if your current one is old or damaged or if you’re planning to remodel your kitchen in the near future.

    » MORE: Home remodeling ROI: costs vs. value

    Garbage disposal repair vs. replacement

    Because garbage disposals are relatively affordable, it’s usually best to replace them completely. That said, there are a few issues that can be repaired inexpensively; some easy fixes include dislodging an object that’s stuck in the disposal or unclogging a drain or drain tube, both of which you can deal with yourself or with a quick visit from a handyman.

    However, if your disposal is leaking, frequently clogging or over 10 years old, you should plan to replace it.

    » LEARN: Annual home maintenance checklist

    DIY vs. professional installation

    Many homeowners with the do-it-yourself spirit can replace a garbage disposal themselves. This is most easily done when swapping out one identical unit for another and when there are no issues with the plumbing or electrical connections.

    The basic procedure for replacement isn’t complicated, and many homeowners will find they already have the tools they need. However, if you’re at all nervous about it, it may be worth hiring a handyman. Most simple replacement jobs can be completed in under an hour or two and may be worth the extra expense. And if you’re installing a disposal where there wasn’t one, or if you need to repair and replace pipes or electrical wiring, you should hire a professional.

    As far as tools go, you’ll need a hammer, Phillips and flathead screwdrivers, a wrench and a pipe wrench. You’ll also need to pick up some plumber’s putty, which you can grab when you buy your new disposal. As always, thoroughly read through and follow the manufacturer's instructions, or watch a video tutorial online.

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      How to save on your garbage disposal replacement

      The best way to save on replacement costs is to replace the disposal yourself, but this option may not work for everyone. If you do need to hire someone and the job is simply swapping one disposal out for another, a general handyman can do this. If more extensive work is required, you may need a licensed plumber or electrician.

      If you want to cut down on cost but don't want to do the work, the best thing to do is buy the disposal yourself.”
      — Kodi Wilson, trained plumber

      You can likely save money by purchasing the unit you need from a big-box store instead of depending on your plumber to provide it. Wilson advises his customers, “If you want to cut down on cost but don't want to do the work, the best thing to do is buy the disposal yourself.”

      You might also consider taking out a home warranty to help cover the cost of garbage disposal replacement. Linda of Florida, a reviewer on our site, was pleased with their coverage when their disposal failed: “Garbage disposal was leaking at the bottom and they replaced the whole thing. … I love this service. Gives me peace of mind that I don’t have to go bankrupt and pay a plumber or electrician [$100 an hour] for labor plus parts!”

      » CALCULATE: How much does a home warranty cost?

      In the long run, the best way to reduce future costs is to follow best practices for care and maintenance. This includes:

      • Running your disposal regularly (at least every two to three days)
      • Refraining from putting fibrous foods and greases down the drain
      • Running cold water for 30 seconds after each use
      • Cleaning your disposal every couple of weeks

      ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
      1. International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, “Garbage Disposals for Inspectors.” Accessed May 9, 2023.
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