How Much Does It Cost to Install a Garbage Disposal?

updated Nov 19, 2019
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Credit: Cat Meschia

Ah, garbage disposals! While many people get along just fine without a whirring little helper in the sink, others probably can’t imagine cooking — and cleaning! — without one. Whether you’re renovating your whole kitchen from the ground up or just looking into little ways to make your cooking life a little easier, you might consider installing one yourself or having a professional help you out. But how much does it cost? I talked to a handful of homeowners, renovators, and DIYers across the country to find out.

First the disposal itself. David Schneider, an interior designer with PURE Home Design and former general contractor in St. Louis, recommends hiring professional help and knowing where not to cut corners. “In terms of cost, you can find a less expensive one for as little as $69, but I recommend spending about $250,” he says. “Buy a name brand like Insinkerator and don’t skimp on power — 3/4 horsepower is what I generally recommend.” Jen Wu, the owner of Cookhouse in San Francisco, also uses a disposal one from Insinkerator, but says she likes one from Franke much better for professional purposes. “It’s powerful enough to break down chicken bones, has never broken, doesn’t get smelly, and can be run quietly in the middle of an event — even though it’s located in the middle of our kitchen event space!” It’s smart to shop around or talk to your local hardware shop to find a disposal at the right price and size for your space.

Beyond the disposal itself, you also have to factor in installation, which could be totally free if you decide you’re up for a DIY project. Professional costs can vary enormously; based on the folks I talked to, I heard everything from $100 to $800 just for labor alone. Depending on your existing setup and the kind of help you call in, you might be looking at a combination of a plumber and an electrician. Alternatively, you might choose to go with a person from an app such as TaskRabbit or Handy, which allows handypeople to set their own rates for various tasks. When I checked TaskRabbit in Westchester, New York, I saw hourly rates for projects up to $108 and as low as $27 (!!!).

Credit: Cat Meschia

4 Real People Who Installed Garbage Disposals — And What It Cost Them

When you’re hit with a quote on the high end, you might decide to pivot. Homeowner Kiel Aaron was quoted a whopping $600 to $800 just for labor in Elm Grove, Wisconsin, before he decided to install the garbage disposal himself. “I was a first-time homeowner and had zero plumbing experience prior to this moment, but I work in the architecture field, so understand at least how things should work, and watched several YouTube videos to learn tips and tricks, and psyched myself into a place of feeling confident I could at least try to pull this off. My gamble with myself was that if it worked, I saved $600, and if I failed, spending $800 was meant to be,” he says. “I cleared the kitchen of all other tools and debris, dedicated a day to making it happen, took my time, read the enclosed instructions, and it really happened flawlessly. I was so proud of myself for making it happen, and every time we ran the disposal afterward I got that feeling of satisfaction all over again.” In total, he spent $240 on the disposal and parts.

In Memphis, Woody Hancock DIY’d his garbage disposal replacement and spent just over $100. “The disposal itself cost me $107, but that was the retail price — I’m sure they could be found cheaper,” he says. “It was my first time working with one and it took about an hour, but that was because the old one was an ancient model that required some finessing. The hardest part for the uninitiated would be wiring the power cable to the machine itself, and even that wouldn’t be too hard if you take the time to look up a how-to.” 

If the thought of a self-install makes you sweat (or if you’d rather just have it over and done with), then calling in a professional can really be worth it. Adria Saracino, the Seattle-based blogger behind The Emerald Palate, had one installed before moving into her new home, spending $350 including parts and labor. “The experience was super straightforward and easy-peasy: We got a few quotes, chose a company we jived with, and they installed it within about an hour,” she says. “The contractor even gave us a free sink-mounted button to use.”

In Chicago, sports journalist Matt Brown originally tried to handle a garbage disposal replacement himself, but when that didn’t go smoothly, he called in the pros. “I bit the bullet and paid for labor, given my messed up electrical system,” he says. For him, the labor was around $100 and the disposal itself was $70, so all-in the kitchen upgrade was a relative steal.

For most, it seems, the cost has been totally worth it. “It was probably one of the best decisions we made for our family,” says Lucy Harris, CEO of Hello Baby Bump in Queens, New York. “It has really allowed us to minimize a lot of waste and think more consciously about where our waste goes and the effect it can have on the environment.”

Have you installed a garbage disposal? How much did it cost you? Did you DIY or hire a professional — and would you do it again?