Looking for a reliable and compact garbage disposal that you won’t have to pay an arm and a leg for but will offer years of continuous service? Look no further! The InSinkErator Badger 5 is one of the cheapest garbage disposals out there that will get the job done surprisingly well for the price. If you are a small household that plans to purchase a disposer for light use, the Badger 5 is the perfect choice.
So, now let’s get a closer look at this popular garbage disposal’s top features, performance, and design, before discussing some of the most common issues reported for this model.
InSinkErator Badger 5 Overview
The Badger 5 is a budget entry-level disposal manufactured by InSinkErator, one of the most reliable garbage disposal manufacturers in the country (with a U.S.A.-based plant) which has been in the business for around 90 years. The company’s Badger line was designed as an budget-friendly alternative to pricier garbage disposals which can still offer outstanding service for years to come.
The Badger 5 features a galvanized steel construction (don’t expect stainless steel from a $100 disposal), a DuraDrive induction motor, and the brand’s proprietary one-stage grind technology. Also, thanks to the quick-lock mounting system, installing this grinder is a breeze even by a non-plumber, but do ask the help of an extra pair of hands as the unit is a bit on the heavy side when trying to lift it and secure it single handedly in one place with the three connectors (more on that in a bit).
- ½ HP induction motor
- 12-5/8″ (H) x 6-5/16″ (W)
- 26 oz galvanized steel grind chamber and grind components
- Dishwasher drain connection
- 1-1/2 inch. drain
- Quick Lock installation system
- ‘We Come to You’ 2-year In-Home limited warranty
The ISE Badger 5 is a very compact and sturdy unit with components made of galvanized steel for extra durability. However, galvanized steel is just steel with a zinc coating which will wear off over time especially if chemicals are thrown down the drain or the disposal is not used continuously with the water flowing. This can render the unit useless after just 8-10 years even with proper maintenance. So, if you are looking for a really durable food waste disposer, upgrade to a stainless steel one. The InSinkErator Evolution Compact ¾ is a great SS alternative but it is twice as expensive.
The Badger 5 comes with everything you need to mount it onto the sink (including an angled pipe) and the device’s quick lock mounting system makes it very easy to install even by non-professionals. However, if you haven’t had a garbage disposal before, seek the help of a plumber as some piping work might be required. Fortunately, all Badger models come with interchangeable fittings. So, if you’re just replacing an older Badger, you should be able to do it by yourself in less than 1 hour.
The Badger 5 offers decent day-to-day performance at a great price, but don’t expect it to provide heavy-duty performance as the motor is not powerful enough. For small households (1-4 people) and light use, this unit will quickly grind anything small and non-fibrous. But if you want to get rid of bones and fibrous food waste (like hard raw veggies, stringy celery, beet greens), try a more powerful disposer with a 3/4 motor.
Most users have reported the unit exceeding their expectations when it comes to grinding regular food waste like apple cores and orange peels, fruit pits, vegetables, egg shells, and small bits of leftover meat (no bones). However, as one user has reported this unit’s Achille’s heel is salad while Consumer Reports has confirmed that the Badger 5 struggles with ‘stringy’ veggies. But for the price, we don’t expect it to match the performance of a heavy-duty model.
Also, it is worth noting that the unit is continuous feed, which means that the grinding components will operate continuously even when the stopper is in place. As a result, if hard things like cutlery fall into the unit the machine can get seriously damaged. A safer alternative is the batch-feed models, but those are much more expensive.
Depending on what model you had before this Badger and what you are grinding, the unit might seem a bit loud. You should experience a low ‘hum’ sound when the unit is turned on and some noise when it is operating. If the water is flowing at the same time as the disposer, you shouldn’t be able to hear it.
While there have been reports of very loud noise when the unit was working, that might have been caused by one of the metal pieces been blocked by food waste. A quick fix would be to run a handful of ice cubes into the machine to help the jammed piece break free.
All in all, this isn’t one of the quietest models out there as it lacks sound insulation. If you are looking for a whisper quiet unit, we recommned getting a more expensive model (the Moen 1/2 HP Garbage Disposal from GX Series is a good budget alternative) or the smaller version. And you can always check out our guide to the quietest food waste disposers here.
- Sturdy construction
- Good size and weight
- Easy to install
- No power cord and plumber’s putty included
- No stainless steel parts (rust issues might occur with time)
- No safety stopper
Common Topics in User Reviews
Many users have complained about leaks occurring at the unit’s red reset button after some years of use. The problem can’t be prevented as the Badger 5’s grinding components are made of galvanized steel instead of stainless. Therefore, the leakage happening near the reset button is caused by the corrosion of the metal plate between the grinding components and motor. If the plate is corroded the only solution is to replace the disposer.
But there are other factors that may cause the Badger 5 to leak like:
✔ The device not been properly seated (you’ll notice that the leaks stem from the drain seal)
✔ Loose plumbing pipes
✔ Dishwasher inlet plug was not removed prior to the unit’s installation.
Before rushing to replace the unit check the Badger for these scenarios especially if the device is new. Click here for more tips on fixing a leaky garbage disposal.
Keep in mind that you can greatly improve the service life of your disposer by not using highly acidic cleaners, as acidic chemicals will wear off the sync coating on the disposer’s steel components lightning fast. With proper maintenance and no abuse, the Badger 5 should work for around 8-10 years. Also, if you are not using the disposal every day, you also risk cutting its life down to just a few years as the rust will have more time to set in. If you are not using the unit daily, get a stainless-steel model instead.
The InSinkErator Badger 5 is an excellent budget food waste disposal that will fit most households if no heavy-duty use is required. It is a compact, reliable, and decent disposer that gets the job done at a fraction of the price of stainless steel models. We highly recommend it for small households that are looking for a great garbage disposal that is as tough on food waste as it is easy on their budget. For longer service life and quieter operation, we recommend upgrading to a stainless steel model with proper sound insulation.