Having a high performing commercial garbage disposal is an integral piece to any foodservice business. Finding the right size is largely a balance between how many meals you serve in a day and your budget. But purchasing too small of a unit that's not able to handle the volume of food waste, will not only add frustration to your day, but also end up costing you more money in the long run.
This article will help you determine the features you'll require in a commercial garbage disposal. Our buyers guide will help give you the information you need to make an informed decision, and we'll even give you our 4 favorite disposals to help you begin shopping.
Commercial garbage disposals can help your business reduce labor costs, utility expenses, and the amount of waste your restaurant generates. But buying one can be confusing, especially since they are a little different from a residential garbage disposal.
This guide will help you find the right commercial garbage disposal for your establishment.
Determine the Right Size
Commercial garbage disposals, like residential disposals are rated by horsepower. The higher the horsepower, the more powerful the garbage disposal.
But that doesn't mean you should go out and purchase the largest garbage disposal you can afford. There are a few things you'll want to consider to help you balance the performance of your disposal with your budget.
You'll want to consider:
- The types of food you'll be grinding
- The volume of food you'll be grinding
The manufacturer should be able to provide some advice in this area, but it's also helpful when you begin shopping to have a rough idea of the size of disposal you're looking to purchase.
This will provide you with a good starting point which you can adjust up and down with the help of the manufacturer's recommendations to help with your final decision.
Type and Volume of Food
As a general rule, commercial garbage disposals fall into the 1-hp to 5-hp range. Restaurants with limited menus which primarily grind soft foods, such as fruits and vegetables can likely handle a 1-hp disposal.
But high volume restaurants, such as school/hospital cafeterias or buffets, often need to grind more challenging food waste like meats and seafood. This combined with the higher volume means these establishments may be better suited with a 5-hp (or higher) garbage disposal.
A good starting place to begin your shopping search is at the 2 to 3-hp range. These garbage disposals can handle both a reasonable volume of food, and the more challenging waste seen in the majority of full service restaurants.
When you start comparing garbage disposals, you'll find manufacturers offer a number of different features to set their models above their competitors.
Some features may be the exact thing you're looking for, others may not be something you'll need or even use. However, these three features are things we feel are must-haves:
Let's face it, garbage disposals aren't quiet, and depending on where your backroom/sink area is located, the noise may even travel into the dining room and disturb your customers!
Not to mention, a quiet atmosphere is a far more pleasant work environment.
Manufacturers often print the dB level on the packaging and communicate the features used to reduce the noise. In addition to gaskets and other components being used, quiet garbage disposals typically have more insulation to help reduce the noise and vibration.
Many lower-end models either don't have a reverse mode or only allow the user to put the garbage disposal in reverse manually.
Purchasing a commercial garbage disposal with auto-reverse is well worth the extra money as it will enable the unit to automatically change the grind direction if it detects a jam.
This feature will not only make food grinding easier, it'll also protect your garbage disposal.
Purchasing a disposal with a water-saving control package reduces the amount of water necessary to effectively grind the food.
With less water going down the drain each time you use your garbage disposal, you'll lower your overall water bill.
How to Install a Commercial Garbage Disposal
When it comes to commercial garbage disposals, there's plenty of installation options. If you're replacing an old disposal, you may want to stay with your current configuration, or maybe you want to try something different.
These disposals can operate as a stand alone unit, however, many large restaurants or cafeterias choose to install their commercial garbage disposal with a pre-rinse unit.
Either way, we recommend hiring a professional to ensure that your new garbage disposal is installed correctly and up to your local plumbing codes.
This video will show you how to install a InSinkErator commercial disposal, which will give you a good overall idea of what's involved for all models.
Watch the Video
As you can see from the above video, a commercial garbage disposal is installed differently than a residential disposal, and has a several different components. Here's a look at a few of the differences:
Control Panel - The control panel is how the garbage disposal is turned on and off. There's also typically a reversing switch which will allow for the grind direction to change.
Scrapping Cone - If you plan on installing your commercial garbage disposal under a dish-table or drainboard rather than a sink bowl, you'll need a scrapping cone. A scrapping cone may also be referred to as a cone bowl or a scrapping bowl.
Flow Control Valve - A flow control valve, or solenoid, is usually required during installation. Its role is to keep water flowing into the garbage disposal during the appropriate times.
Vacuum Breaker - Another commonly required part is the vacuum breaker. It prevents the back-flow of dirty water from entering your potable water supply.
How Much Does it Cost to Operate a Commercial Garbage Disposal?
Of course, operating costs vary depending on how the disposal is used, and the disposal itself, but here are a few basic guidelines:
Low-wattage garbage disposals are less costly to operate than high-wattage units. In addition, as you might expect the more frequently you run the unit, the higher the operating costs.
If you're trying to keep your utility costs as low as possible, you may want to only run the garbage disposal after you collect a large amount of food waste. This would allow you to have one large batch of food to grind versus many small batches.
Although water usage varies, a good rule of thumb when it comes to commercial garbage disposals is the following:
- 2-hp or less disposals tend to use 5-gallons of water per minute (gpm) during operation.
- 3-hp or higher disposals, tend to use about 8 gpm of water.
Average Cost of Commercial Garbage Disposal
Because commercial garbage disposals are designed to handle large amounts of waste on a daily basis, they are much more expensive than your typical home disposal.
Like most commercial equipment, you can find a wide range of products built for many different levels of use, and this also means a wide price range.
As a general rule, commercial garbage disposals start in the 1k range and move up from there. Hobart has a model that sells for over 15,000 dollars!
But for most business owners, a disposal that falls between $1,000 and $5,000 will be more than adequate. Just be realistic about your needs and the performance of the unit.
Surprisingly, there are quite a few commercial garbage disposals on the market to choose between. These are some of our favorites:
InSinkErator SS-200-29 Commercial Waste Disposer
The InSinkErator SS-200-29 Commercial Garbage Disposal is a medium capacity 2-horsepower unit. It's made from stainless steel and has a grind chamber built to last for years of hard work. InSinkErator prides itself on creating the most potent commercial garbage disposals available on the market.
The InSinkerator SS-200-29 is equipped with an auto reverse motor which reverses the grind if the garbage disposal begins to bog down due to difficult food waste. The rubber mountings on the top of the grinding chamber help reduce vibration and noise, and the double-tapered roller bearings absorb shock and noise.
The SS-200-29 model has a triple-lip seal to protect the motor from water damage, and an additional oil seal keeps grease and water from going through the plumbing.
Unfortunately, the InSinkErator SS-200-29 doesn't come with some of the installation supplies, such as the water supply valve and solenoid. Although it's not a huge deal since they are easy to acquire. It also doesn't come with adjustable tubular legs, so if you choose to install it with legs, you'll need to purchase them separately as well.
But with that shortcoming aside, the SS-200-29 is easy to install, has powerful, long-lasting blades, and is simply an overall long-lasting garbage disposal.
Waste King 1000-1 1HP Commercial Food Waste Disposer
The Waste King 1000-1 has three stainless steel under-cutter blades to help handle tough food waste, and the stainless steel grind chamber helps prevent rusting and improves durability. This disposal offers extra good cutting power, which is something Waste King is known for, even in their residential disposals.
The high-speed motor on the Waste King 1000-1 uses 1725 RPMs with single-phase dual voltage. This powerful motor is actually pretty quiet to use, and the hush cushion keeps the disposer from making metal-to-metal contact.
The disposal also has two stainless steel swivel impellers that resist jamming, so you can keep disposing food waste uninterrupted. But despite the powerful motor and jam-free swivel impellers, the Waste King 1001-1 may not last as long as you might like. Although it will hold up well in a commercial kitchen, it is better suited for lighter use.
Waste King 2000-1 2 HP Commercial Food Waste Disposer
The Waste King 2000-1 2 HP Garbage Disposer has a dual-voltage 1725 RPM motor, three stainless steel under-cutter blades under the grind ring, and the extra cutting power you expect from a Waste King commercial garbage disposal.
The stainless steel grind chamber resists rust, and the two swivel impellers rotate out of each other's cutting path to help prevent annoying jams. A hush cushion helps keep the disposal quiet while it's operating and prevents metal-to-metal contact.
The Waste King 2000-1 is easy to install, works great for small to medium commercial kitchens, and comes with a 16-month warranty for parts and labor. Although, it should be noted that this particular model does not adapt to dual voltage apps.
Hobart FD4 500-1 Garbage Disposal
The Hobart FD4 500-1 Commercial Garbage Disposer has a 5-horsepower motor which provides enough power to chew through the toughest food waste, and comes with the stainless steel legs with flanged feet for extra support.
The Hobart FD4 500-1 has a shredder ring with 24 grinding teeth made of ductile steel alloy. Metal-on-metal contact is avoided with the use of a vinyl isolating ring located on the garbage disposer's cone mounting, which also helps reduce intense noise from vibration.
To prevent food from getting stuck in the grinding chamber, Hobart has installed a breaker blade on the center of the flywheel. An optional Electrical Control Group can be purchased which allows the disposal to achieve even better operation. In fact, the flywheel can be started in the opposite direction, this will stop jamming and extend the service life of the unit.
With a high capacity for clearing food waste the Hobart 4D4 500-1 can easily handle waste clean-up from up to 4000 meals a day.