How High Should Garbage Disposal Be? (Ideal Garbage Disposal Positioning)

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Garbage Disposal Height

Garbage disposals are a favorite item in many kitchens. If you’re looking to give your kitchen an upgrade and install a garbage disposal, it’s important to figure out how to configure this appliance properly.

While the exact setup will depend on your existing piping and cabinet size, you should allow space for all the key components.

Your garbage disposal should be installed directly under your sink’s drain. You’ll need enough space in the sink’s cabinet to connect a p-trap to the drain outlet of the disposal that then connects to the main drain pipe that leads to the sewer system.

In the rest of this article, we’ll take a closer look at the best specifications for garbage disposal setups. We’ll see where the disposal should be in relation to the stub-out drain and the p-trap. We’ll also cover some important tips to help you with your kitchen sink renovation.

Ideal Positioning for a Garbage Disposal

When you install a new garbage disposal, you should first connect the disposal directly below the drain of your sink. On the side of your disposal, you’ll find the drain outlet where the food waste will be.

From that drain outlet, either a p-trap can be connected directly, or piping that will lead to a p-trap. Beyond the p-trap, you’ll want to configure a series of pipes and elbows to allow everything to flow into a drain pipe that connects to the sewer system.

The exact setup of your garbage disposal will depend on your existing sink and where the connection to the sewer system is. The location of your p-trap may also vary depending on the number of sinks in a single cabinet.

When it comes to the ideal height of your garbage disposal, there isn’t an exact numerical answer that can be applied universally. Your garbage disposal will be connected directly to your sink, and from there, you’ll have to see if there’s enough room to connect all the necessary components.

If the space is too small, you might struggle to connect all the pieces securely. Ideally, your garbage disposal should be above the drain that leads to the sewer system. This positioning allows space to connect the p-trap securely to both the garbage disposal and drain pipe.

You could use a series of pipes and elbows to manage the configuration. However, if it seems your garbage disposal would be installed too close to the bottom of the cabinet, it may not be wise to put it so far below the drain pipe.

For more information and a guided tutorial on ideal garbage disposal positioning, you can check out this video on YouTube:

Can a Garbage Disposal Be Lower Than Drain?

Garbage disposals are typically installed directly below the drain of the sink. This positioning allows the larger food chunks to be ground immediately without a chance to get stuck in any additional piping. 

There are typically two styles of mounting systems on garbage disposals: 3-bolt or easy-mount. Both of these are connected directly to the sink drain. If you’re installing a new sink, it’s even possible to connect the garbage disposal to the sink before it’s installed in the cabinet.


Moen GXS75C Host Series 3/4 HP Continuous Feed Garbage Disposal with Sound Reduction, Power Cord Included


In relation to the drain stub-out, or the piping that connects to the sewer system, the garbage disposal works best when positioned slightly above this connection point. This gives the proper space for the p-trap to serve its function before connecting to the drain stub-out.

Does a Garbage Disposal Need a P-Trap?

According to the plumbing codes, all drains need a p-trap. It also includes drains using a garbage disposal. If your garbage disposal piping doesn’t include a p-trap, your plumbing won’t pass inspection. 

A p-trap is essential in plumbing since it keeps harmful sewer gasses from entering the home. This curved pipe resembles a sideways p and continuously keeps water in its lower portion.

This collection of water is important since it keeps smelly and hazardous sewer gasses sealed off and unable to enter your home. This water also becomes fresh whenever you use the sink, so you don’t need to worry about the still water getting smelly.

When you install your garbage disposal under the sink, the p-trap can be connected directly to the garbage disposal’s drain outlet. It’s the drain on the side of your disposal that’s responsible for carrying out the food waste ground up inside.

After the p-trap is connected to this drain outlet, you could use other piping to connect the trap to the main drain pipe that leads to the sewer system.

If you have two sinks side by side in your kitchen, you might consider using a single p-trap for both. In this instance, the p-trap would not be connected directly to the drain outlet of the garbage disposal.

Rather, you would run a pipe from this drain outlet to a tee where your other sink is also connected to. On the other side of the tee, you could situate your p-trap to service both of your sinks.

How Far Below the Garbage Disposal Should the P-Trap Be?

Where exactly you add your p-trap will depend on your existing plumbing and the size of your sink’s cabinet. However, you’ll need to make sure that your garbage disposal is connected to a p-trap to be up to code.

Your p-trap can be directly connected to the drain outlet of your garbage disposal. If you have multiple sinks in a single cabinet, you can also connect the two drains together before installing the p-trap. A single p-trap can be used for multiple drains and still meet plumbing regulations. 

Final Thoughts

When installing a new garbage disposal, you’ll want to make sure you have sufficient space in your sink cabinet for all of the necessary parts.


Waste King L-1001 Garbage Disposal with Power Cord, 1/2 HP


Your garbage disposal should connect to a p-trap that, in turn, will need to connect to the stub-out drain. The space needed for each of these components can help you determine the perfect height for your garbage disposal.


You may also be interested in… Do You Need a Special Sink for Garbage Disposal? and Are Garbage Disposals Hardwired or Plugged In?