Continuous Feed or Batch Feed: Which Garbage Disposal is Right For You?

garbage disposal is a kitchen appliance that grinds food scraps into small pieces so they can be washed down the drain. There are two types of disposals, and it’s important to know which one you have in your home to properly maintain it. 

Continuous Feed or Batch Feed: Which Garbage Disposal is Right For You?, Zazzy Home

The Continuous Feed garbage disposal sends waste through an opening at the top where water constantly flows over blades to chop up food before it goes down the drain. The Batch Feed type has a switch on the side to turn off the power when not in use and then turn it back on again when needed. This allows users to put batches of large items like bones or whole fruit peels down without fear of jamming up their unit. It’ll take longer than with a continuous feed unit, but the batch feed can handle the larger jobs.

What is the difference between Continuous Feed and Batch Feed garbage disposals?

Both disposals work similarly by grinding up food waste, eliminating foul odors, and keeping particles from clogging drains so that everything runs smoothly in your kitchen sink. However, one main difference between these two types of garbage disposals is their operational differences.

A Continuous Feed garbage disposal operates continuously, while a Batch Feed operates in batches. As a result, a Continuous Feed can process a large amount of waste with little to no interruption, while a Batch Feed would have to stop periodically in order to empty its insides.

The reason for these differences is the way that each of these disposals is loaded.

A Batch Feed has a container with a door on top, and it can be loaded like this:

Step 1: Install the container into your sink Step

2: Load food waste into the container

Step 3: Lock the container door, and you’re done!

Another way to load your food scraps is using an additional piece, usually referred to as a stopper. The stopper is placed at the bottom of the container before filling with scraps, making sure particles don’t fall through.

A Continuous Feed garbage disposal, on the other hand, has an opening that both receives food waste from above as well as expels processed waste. That means that you can feed your scraps into the disposal continuously as they are needed. A Continuous Feed garbage disposal can also have a stopper where particles and odor cannot escape while it is not in use.

When deciding between these two disposals, you’ll need to take several factors into consideration. For example, if your sink environment is smaller or has less space, a Continuous Feed might be better for you because its round shape allows it to fit in tighter areas.

Continuous Feed or Batch Feed: Which Garbage Disposal is Right For You?, Zazzy Home

Conversely, if your sink has more room, you may find that batch feed disposal bowls will be large enough to hold more waste before having to be emptied, so that won’t require stopping during their operation.

Additional differences include sound levels: Because of how each type of garbage disposal works differently and with different materials inside, the sounds are also different. For example, a Batch Feed can generate more noise than a Continuous Feed disposer because it has to stop periodically to empty its insides.

That said, both work with similar decibel levels, so unless you’re trying to run everything in your house’s plumbing at once, this shouldn’t be much of an issue for either garbage disposal type.

Although each type of garbage disposal works differently and typically has its own benefits, there is no straightforward “best” option out there. Instead, it all depends on what you’ll use it for most, how often you will use it, and what size sink or space limitations that you have in place.

The good news is that no matter which one you choose, we know that it will continue to work hard to keep your kitchen running smoothly.

Which one should you buy for your home?

Are you still deciding between the two? To help make it easier, here is a breakdown of the benefits and drawbacks associated with each type of garbage disposal.

Continuous Feed Disposals (Pros): 

-Slimmer design makes them better for smaller sinks.

-No extra pieces or containers are needed to load scraps into.

-Fewer parts involved mean that they are also generally simpler and cheaper than batch feed disposals.

Continuous Feed or Batch Feed: Which Garbage Disposal is Right For You?, Zazzy Home

Batch Feed Disposals (Pros):

-More space in their container means that they can hold more waste before having to be emptied.

-They have a stopper that allows you to fill the container without any of the particles falling through.

-Aesthetically speaking, they look a bit nicer than Continuous-Feed disposals because of their bowl-shaped design.

-Because there is no stopper, they are easy to insert and remove from the sink whenever you need them for repairs or other reasons.


-Quieter when not in use, but they can still generate more noise during operation, especially if you feed larger amounts into it consistently. (The additional sound comes from the blade moving back and forth as it grinds through your scraps.)

-Debris can fall through the stopper and into your sink. The only way to correct this is to hold a dish or glass under the disposal while you run it. However, this does not happen every time, so it is not the end of the world if you do have a batch-feed garbage disposal.

-There are extra pieces that need to be taken care of (such as an additional container to catch scraps) which mean more cleaning on your part.

Batch Feed Garbage Disposal Won! Batch Feed Garbage disposals may seem like no-brainers after reading all of these points, but I can honestly say that I have used Continuous-Feed garbage disposals before and would never go back. They are just so much easier to use than if you can get past the additional sound and cleaning involved with them, then they really are worth getting over Batch Feed disposals.

The main thing to remember when deciding which one you should get for your home is that though Batch Feed disposals may seem like worthwhile investments, in the long run, Continuous-Feed garbage disposals are what really pays off.

Why it’s important to know which type of unit you have so that you can properly maintain it.

Since these two types of garbage disposals are so different, it can be hard to maintain them if you don’t know which ones you have. For example, continuous feed units need to be emptied regularly, while batch feed units only need to be emptied when they’re full. Since both have different maintenance requirements, it’s important to know which one you own.

When trying to figure out what kind of garbage disposal you have, pay attention to how it is mounted underneath your sink and whether or not the flange has any holes that go all the way through it. The most notable difference between continuous feed units and batch feed units is how they are installed, so if your flange seems like it is missing anything or doesn’t seem quite right, the chances are good that you have a unit with a removable splash guard instead of being attached directly underneath the sink as batch feed devices are. You can see an example of what I mean below:

You’ll notice in this drawing that while there is still a circular saw cutout, there is a hole that extends through the flange and into the disposal unit itself. This type of mounting is used for batch feed garbage disposals which have removable splash guards to make emptying them easier. You can also see that this model comes with an adapter kit designed to fit inside a sink mount unit, allowing you to convert it into a batch feed garbage disposal in cases where your current sink does not have any cutouts underneath and would otherwise block access to the disposal chamber.

Not all continuous feed units are this way, though! For example, if your sink has random holes or slots underneath, yours might come with a different attachment assembly altogether. Here is an example from another continuous feed unit:

In this case, the entire flange of the device is a saw cut out, but instead of being round like in the previous example, it looks more square. This is because it has been designed to fit inside a sink with specific mounting holes that run directly underneath the sink and are spaced close together. These flanges are also generally rectangular, which might make them harder to notice than their circular counterparts. Because this is mounted directly underneath your sink, you will not need any adapters for this unit, as it will work with almost any kitchen setup unless there are already existing holes from an old garbage disposal or other plumbing fixtures underneath your sink!

Another good way to tell what type of flange you have (and whether or not yours needs maintenance) is just by looking at where your power cable runs out of your garbage disposal unit. For batch feed units, you’ll notice that the power cable comes out of a hole on the side or underneath the unit and then continues into an outlet (or a “breaker box” if you have an older power system).

On the other hand, with continuous feed units, you’ll notice that the power cable simply disappears underneath your sink. If it just kind of “disappears,” then your disposal might come out of the bottom of a batch feed unit. On the flip side, if you can see where the wire goes into an outlet or breaker box from inside your garbage disposal, then yours is definitely a continuous feed unit!


This article has explored the different types of garbage disposals and which is right for you. We hope that our tips have helped you make an informed decision about your purchase! If not, feel free to leave a comment below with any questions or feedback.


When it comes to kitchen design and maintenance, nobody knows more than Shannon Frost. She's been blogging about her kitchen exploits for years, and has learned how to get the most out of even the smallest of spaces. Her tips and tricks are invaluable for anyone who wants to make the most of their cooking area. Shannon's posts are a treasure trove of information on everything from choosing the right appliances to maximizing storage space. She also has a wealth of advice on creating a functional and beautiful kitchen on a budget. No matter what your needs are, Shannon can help you make your dream kitchen a reality.

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