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How Many Amps Does A Garbage Disposal Use?

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Last updated on September 26th, 2022 at 01:29 pm

It’s quite sad that you cannot measure the exact amount of electricity a garbage disposal unit uses to its last precise digit. This is because motors aren’t 100% efficient. However, the amount of current used solely depends on how loaded the unit is.

Despite this, a lot of people would love to have an idea of how much current this appliance utilizes.

A garbage disposal uses about 15 to 20 amps in a 120-volt voltage source. This is the minimum and maximum amount of current it uses. Nevertheless, when it uses 20 amps, it is better to add another appliance like a dishwasher.

How Many Amps Does a ½ Horsepower Garbage Disposal Draw?

A ½ horsepower garbage disposal draws 3.1 amps. How did we arrive at this number you ask?

Well, to know the amount of current in amps, you should understand that an ideal outlet or voltage source is 120 volts in every home. Although, some may have capacities around 240 volts. Power in watts measures the rate of energy transfer while the load here is the garbage disposal.

One horsepower is equivalent to 746 watts. Therefore, ½ horsepower is equivalent to 373 watts. From our knowledge of power, current, and voltage, you would agree with us on this-

Power (watts) = Current (amps) × Voltage (volts).

From here, we see that 373 watts = current (amps) × 120 volts. This leaves us with amps = 373 ÷ 120.

Therefore, current (amps) = 3.1

This means a ½ horsepower Garbage Disposal draws 3.1 amps of current.

How Many Amps Does a ⅓ Horsepower Garbage Disposal Draw?

A ⅓ horsepower garbage disposal draws about 2.0 amps.

This amount of current depends on the volt outlet. If the volt outlet is a 240 volts outlet, then it would halve the current measured. Again, another factor that affects the amount of current measured is how heavily loaded it is.

The more the load, the higher current. Therefore, for a full load, the current running for a ⅓ and ½ horsepower is about 8 amps.

Now, we know that 1 horsepower is equivalent to 746 watts, then ⅓ horsepower is 248 watts. Following the previous calculation, it would be easy to calculate the amount of current on a 120 volts outlet or 240 volts outlet. Feel free to do this if you’d like to confirm!

Again, because of its low power of just 248 watts, the ⅓ horsepower garbage disposal is economical. It could easily spoil, and only be used for a short period, and be limited in utility.

How Many Amps Does A ¾ Horsepower Garbage Disposal Draw?

However, if you live alone, then it could serve you well. But, if you have a family, this ⅓ horsepower garbage disposal is not for you!

A garbage disposal of ¾ horsepower draws 4.6 amps of current.

Knowing the current drawn is quite easy since a garbage disposal is an AC motor with a single-phase. Normally, the power is written on the load or the manual. So, a ¾ horsepower (560 watts) garbage disposal plugged into a 120 volts outlet will draw 4.6 amps of current.

Nevertheless, it is important to know that this amount of current is not constant. This is because, it depends on the amount of your volt outlet. However, the full load that runs current for this garbage disposal is about 13.8 amps.

A ¾ horsepower garbage disposal draws this much amount of current because it has more power for work. This garbage disposal is a good-sized one and serves better than others.

How Many Amps Does a 1 Horsepower Garbage Disposal Draw?

A 1 horsepower garbage disposal draws about 6.3 amps. This is for a 120 volts outlet.

Because this garbage disposal is considered the largest and most suitable for a large family or an individual that cooks regularly. It is also the best for tougher waste and is very quiet. This is because it has better insulation than other models.

The current which the 1 horsepower garbage disposal draws is higher than others because of the machine’s higher power, which is 746 watts. This is simple! The higher the power the machine produces, the higher the amount of current drawn and vice versa.

Does a Garbage Disposal Need a 20 Amp Switch?

A garbage disposal needs a 20 amp switch when the garbage disposal draws more than 15 amp, and else it just needs a 15 amp switch.

A 15 amp switch is okay for a garbage disposal. Normally, most houses are made up of a 15 amp switch, except for industries which have 20 amp switches.

Therefore, if your garbage disposal uses more than 15 amp, then you can use a 20 amp switch. However, a 15 amp circuit requires a 15 amp switch. Using a 20 amp switch is not wrong, remember when we said a garbage disposal uses 15 amp to 20 amp. Nevertheless, to be on the safer side, stick to the usual.

But if you use a 15 amp circuit on a 20 amp switch, there’s no need to be scared. This is because the circuit breaker would help protect the switch from too much current, thus tripping off to interrupt current flow. Again, reading the machine manual could be helpful.

Thus, if the manufacturer says you should use a 20 amp switch, then you should do just that. If it’s a 15 amp, then you should follow the instructions. Sometimes, both are given as options to choose which to use. In this situation, you should use a 15 amp switch.

How Much Electricity Does a Garbage Disposal Use?

A garbage disposal uses about 500 watts to 1500 watts of electricity.

A garbage disposal needs electricity to function. In fact, without electricity, garbage disposal is useless. Electricity enables the machine to work and carry out its task by shredding food waste and sending them to the plumbing system. This has helped avoid the blockage of pipes.

For electricity to reach our homes and appliances, they flow from power stations through transmission and distribution lines. From substations, voltage is increased and can be transmitted to long distances. Here, a step-up transformer increases the voltage.

From here, a transmission network helps transport the electricity from the substations to a distribution network. At this point, voltage is still high because it has a long distance to cover.

Before electricity enters our homes, the voltage needs to be reduced. So, it reaches the distribution network where a step-down transformer reduces the voltage. At this point, it is ready to enter our homes.

From the distribution network, electricity enters our area and passes through a smaller street transformer, thus, reducing the voltage again. Lastly, it is distributed to various homes and divided into circuits for all house areas. It is then transmitted into wires to our power switches or voltage outlets.

Consequently, the garbage disposal uses about 500 to 1500 watts of electricity to function and draws current depending on its power.


Having garbage disposal could be of great help to us in our homes. Knowing the amount of current it uses too is helpful. Therefore, the type of garbage disposal used should be known to know how to handle it when the need arises.

Different garbage disposals with different currents draw different amounts of current. These range from ½, ⅓, ¾, and 1 horsepower garbage disposals, and they all have specific amounts of current drawn using either a 120 or 240 voltage outlet. Their electricity usage isn’t too big as it’s just about 500 to 1500 watts.

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