If your kitchen is like mine, your garbage disposal switch is right next to the switch that shines much needed light over the kitchen sink. Nothing is more disarming than reaching over to flip on the light switch only to accidentally turn on the garbage disposal! That jarring, loud scream first thing in the morning is not for the faint of heart. For that reason alone, the concept of a quiet garbage disposal can be quite appealing.
Even if your garbage disposal switch is in a better location, it’s likely that every time you need to use it you wince just a bit as you brace for the loud noise it always makes.
Of course, there are also other reasons why your garbage disposal may be noisy, such as when the:
- grinding or "hopper" chamber is overstuffed with food debris
- shredder blades or impeller arm stops working
- electric motor begins to fail
Bear in mind, when some of these parts stop working, it may be time to replace your disposal.
So, whether it's time to replace an old kitchen garbage disposal or you're ready to install a new one for the first time, here are six tips that can help you shop online for a quiet garbage disposal that best suits your needs.
Tips for Buying a Quiet Garbage Disposal
It’s just about impossible for anything that has a motor to be completely silent, but it’s a good idea to check the decibel rating on the new disposal you want to buy. The decibel (dB) rating is the level of noise the disposal makes when it’s running. Look for a disposal in the 25 dB to 45 dB range to ensure you get more of the quiet you seek.
For dB rating context, if you have an iPhone, you now get warnings when your audio listening levels get above 60 dB. So, in the aggregate, it’s a good idea to keep the decibels for all of the devices you use under 45 dB to protect your hearing long-term. In fact, check out this list of Noise Sources and Their Effects, which includes the decibel rating that older model garbage disposals emit.
Good sound insulation reduces vibration, which reduces noise level. So, the decibel rating is directly related to the amount of insulation the manufacturer wraps around the motor in quiet garbage disposals. The insulation is called “SoundShield” or “SoundSeal” so look for either label as an indicator that the disposal’s motor has this technology.
- The more insulation, the heavier the disposal. Be ensure your kitchen sink can handle the extra weight.
- The size of the disposal itself also increases with more insulation, so be sure you have enough cabinet space.
The type of material used to manufacture certain key components, like the mounting system, also matters. Not only is a stainless steel or metal mounting system more durable, a metal mount vibrates less than a plastic mount, making the disposal less noisy. Be sure to check on the type of material the manufacturer uses for components in the disposal you buy.
The higher the horsepower, the more powerful the car, right? The same principle applies for your garbage disposal, so look for a one horsepower motor, especially if you use the disposal frequently. Be sure the model you choose is well-insulated, however (see above), otherwise you are in for some noise.
The car analogy also works for RPMs (revolutions per minute). The higher the RPMs, the faster a disposal can make liquid of food waste. Remember that higher RPM garbage disposals will also make more noise, so the amount of insulation and type of material used for certain components matters for it to really be quiet.
While higher RPMs means the garbage disposal can handle more food debris, remember that every time you use your new disposal, there are more things you cannot dispose of in it than things you can, so consult this checklist to safely use your garbage disposal.
One final tip: look for a new disposal based on your household needs. While horsepower and RPMs improve how effectively and efficiently food debris gets reduced to finely ground bits, the grinding capacity for newer disposals can range from light, medium, to heavy duty. So consider the size of your family and amount of food waste you have when making your purchase.
Protection for Garbage Disposals
Did you know that a First American home warranty can include coverage for a garbage disposal? Find out about the many other appliances and home systems you can also protect with a home warranty plan where you live.