How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Garbage Disposal?

Replacing a garbage disposal can seem like an intimidating task, but it is actually a fairly straightforward home improvement project that most homeowners can tackle themselves. The cost to replace a garbage disposal will depend on the type and size of disposal you choose, whether you need to upgrade your electrical wiring, and if you hire a professional to install it or do it yourself. On average, expect to spend $250 to $500 to have a garbage disposal replaced by a professional. With some handy skills and the right tools, you can replace it yourself for $120 to $350.

Here are the key factors that influence the cost to replace a garbage disposal:

Type of Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals range from basic models that grind food waste to higher-end models with advanced features like quiet operation, corrosion resistance, and jam-sensor circuitry. Basic models start around $75 to $150, while heavy-duty disposals with more power and features run $200 to $350. The more sophisticated the technology, the higher the cost.

Basic Models

Entry-level garbage disposals have a motor size of 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 horsepower. They can grind soft foods but may jam or stall with harder items. These basic models typically cost between $75 and $150. Brands like Waste King, GE, and Moen offer standard disposals in this price range.

Mid-Range Models

Mid-range disposals have 1⁄2 to 3⁄4 horsepower motors and grind most food waste reasonably well. Their sound dampening and grind features represent a step up from basic models. Expect to pay $150 to $250 for a mid-level garbage disposal from brands like GE, Waste King, or KitchenAid.

Premium Models

For $200 to $350, you can get a high-end garbage disposal with a 3⁄4 to 1 horsepower motor that can pulverize even tough food scraps quickly and quietly. Brands like InSinkErator excel at premium disposals packed with soundproofing, jam-free operation, corrosion resistance, and other features.

Size and Capacity

Along with the motor power, the size and capacity of the disposal chamber influence cost. Light-duty disposals have smaller chambers and motors best suited for a 1-2 person household. Medium disposals can handle a 3-4 person household, while heavy-duty models have the largest grind chambers and motors designed for big families.

Light-Duty: $75 to $150
Medium: $150 to $200
Heavy-Duty: $200 to $350

Make sure to get a disposal sized for the demands of your household. Generally, 3⁄4 HP or higher is best for a family of 4 or more.

Electrical Upgrades

If you’re replacing an old disposal, the existing electrical wiring and connections may need upgrading to support a new unit. This would involve installing a new dedicated outlet and grounding the disposal properly. Factor $50 to $100 for potential electrical upgrades or repairs.

Specialty Disposal Types

There are some specialty garbage disposals designed for specific needs:

  • Septic-safe disposals: For $50 to $100 more, you can get a disposal specially designed to grind food to a pulp that won’t clog septic tanks. Look for septic-safe models from Waste King and InSinkErator.
  • Batch feed disposals: These disposals have a cover that allows you to load food waste in batches before grinding. The cover helps prevent accidental hand injuries. Expect to pay $50 to $100 more for this safety feature.

DIY vs Professional Installation

With some basic mechanical skills and tools, you can install a garbage disposal yourself in 2-3 hours. The DIY cost is $120 to $350, depending on the disposal model and parts needed. Hiring a plumber usually costs $250 to $500 for removal of the old unit, installation of the new one, and any repairs needed.

Additional Costs to Consider

  • Garbage disposal mounting assembly ($25)
  • Dishwasher drain hose ($15)
  • Plumbing tools like wrenches and cutters ($20)
  • Extension cord and electrical supplies ($15)
  • Discharge tube, drain fittings, and gaskets ($15)

In total, plan a budget of $250 to $500 for a full garbage disposal replacement. The specific total will depend on the disposal type, size, installation method, and your unique requirements. Let’s dive into the step-by-step process and costs in more detail.

Cost Breakdown: Professional vs DIY Replacement

Here is an overview of typical costs for a garbage disposal replacement:

Professional Replacement Cost

  • Removal and disposal of old unit: $50 – $150
  • New garbage disposal unit: $75 – $350
  • Electrical work if needed: $50 – $100
  • Installation of new unit: $75 – $150
  • Parts like drain tube, fittings, wire: $25 – $50
  • Total for professional replacement: $250 – $500

DIY Replacement Cost

  • Removal and disposal of old unit: $0 (your labor)
  • New garbage disposal unit: $75 – $350
  • Electrical work if needed: $50 – $100
  • Installation tools/supplies: $20 – $40
  • Parts like drain tube, fittings, wire: $25 – $50
  • Total for DIY replacement: $120 – $350

As you can see, DIY replacement can save $130 to $350, but requires you have the skills, tools, and time for the project. Professional installation ensures it’s done right, but costs significantly more in labor.

Step-by-Step Guide and Costs

Replacing a garbage disposal involves removing the old unit, installing a new mounting assembly, securing the new disposal, attaching plumbing and electrical connections, and testing operation. Here are the step-by-step tasks and costs:

Step 1: Turn Off Power and Water

The first step is to locate the circuit breaker for the garbage disposal and switch it OFF. This ensures the power is disconnected. Next, turn OFF the water supply valves under the sink so no water is flowing during the replacement. If you need a valve wrench to access the shutoff valves, this costs $10 to $15 at a hardware store.

Step 2: Disconnect and Remove Old Disposal

Unplug the electrical cord and disconnect the drain line attached to the disposal bottom. Loosen the mounting ring holding the disposal in place from below the sink. You’ll need channel lock pliers ($15) and a pipe wrench ($20) for this. With the unit detached, lift it out and dispose of the old garbage disposal properly.

Step 3: Clean Disposal Mounting Assembly

Use a scouring pad and degreaser to clean the sink flange and mounting ring thoroughly, removing any old putty, food, or grime. A 4-pack of scouring pads costs $3 to $6. This prep ensures a tight seal with the new disposal.

Step 4: Purchase and Prepare New Disposal

Purchase a garbage disposal designed to fit your household needs and sinks drain size. Typically 1⁄2 HP disposals cost $150 to $250. Measure to make sure the new unit will align with your sink drain correctly. You may need metal shims ($3) to adjust fit. PTFE plumber’s putty ($5) will be needed to seal the sink drain flange later.

Step 5: Install Mounting Assembly and Disposal

Insert the fiber gasket and backup flange then slide the mounting ring over the sink flange. Use included bolts tightened from below with pliers or wrench to secure everything tightly. Next, apply putty around the sink flange opening. Carefully insert new disposal into the mounting ring, aligning the unit with the sink drain as you lower it. Rotate to engage the mounting lugs.

Step 6: Electrical and Drain Connections

If needed, use wire nuts ($5) to connect the disposal to an outlet with proper grounding as per codes. Attach the drain discharge tube and tighten with a screwdriver ($8). The tube should align neatly with the disposal bottom. Re-attach the dishwasher drain hose if disconnected earlier.

Step 7: Reconnect Water and Power

Double check the discharge tube is secure with no leaks. Turn ON the sink water supply valves and check for any issues under the sink. If all looks good, put the circuit breaker for the disposal back ON to restore power.

Step 8: Test and Confirm Proper Operation

With the water running, flip the disposal switch to confirm proper activation. Slowly add some food waste and run for 30-60 seconds to check the grind performance. Look and listen for any trouble signs like leaking, odd noises, vibration or backing up.

Bottom Line on Replacement Cost

The typical cost to replace a garbage disposal ranges from:

  • $250 to $500 to hire a plumber
  • $120 to $350 for a DIY replacement

Get quotes from at least 3 local plumbers before deciding on hiring a pro. For DIY, budget accordingly for the disposal unit, electrical upgrades if needed, tools, and miscellaneous parts. With reasonable skills and preparation, most homeowners can replace a garbage disposal themselves at significant cost savings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about garbage disposal replacement costs:

How much does it cost to remove an old garbage disposal?

Removal of an old disposal is usually included if hiring a plumber to replace it. For DIY, the only costs are your time and some tools like wrenches and pliers to disconnect it. Plan to spend about 1 hour removing an old disposal.

Can I upgrade to a more powerful garbage disposal for better grinding?

Yes, you can upgrade to a more powerful disposal. Going from a 1/3 HP to a 1/2 HP unit will improve grinding of harder foods. Expect to pay $50 to $100 more for a unit with a heavier-duty motor and blades. Just ensure your electrical supply can handle the increased draw.

Is it worth paying more for features like quiet operation or corrosion resistance?

It depends on your needs. For most households, a mid-range disposal with decent soundproofing is fine. If you frequently grind hard items or need an ultra-quiet unit, paying $75 to $150 more for premium features can be worthwhile.

How difficult is it to install a garbage disposal yourself?

The installation process is straightforward with some basic skills and tools. The electrical and plumbing connections involve the trickiest steps. If you feel unsure about any part of the DIY install, it may be wiser hiring a pro than risking problems down the road.

Can I upgrade my electrical wiring myself if needed?

If your wiring needs to be upgraded for a new disposal, it’s advisable to get an electrician to install a proper outlet and grounding unless you have experience with electrical work. Improper garbage disposal wiring can lead to serious issues. Expect to pay electricians $50 to $100 per hour.

How can I reduce the cost of professional garbage disposal replacement?

Get quotes from 3-4 plumbers to find the best rate. Ask if they have any discounts for multi-service bookings like combining the disposal install with a sink or faucet replacement. Selecting a lower cost disposal unit will also keep overall replacement costs down with a pro install.


Replacing an old or faulty garbage disposal typically costs between $250 and $500 if hiring a professional plumber, or $120 to $350 for a DIY job. The exact total depends on the disposal you select, whether electrical upgrades are needed, and other individual factors like your location and kitchen setup. With some basic DIY skills and tools, you can conduct the entire replacement yourself and save a considerable amount compared to pro installation. However, if any part of the process seems too complex, don’t hesitate to call in a waste disposal installation expert. With good planning and preparation for expenses, you can keep costs down and get your kitchen’s waste disposal grinding smoothly once again.