Adding garbage disposal to your kitchen is an excellent idea and will help you reduce the time and energy used to dispose of that garbage.

You get your garbage disposal home and start looking for how to turn it on or off; you check all around it but can’t find a spot.

Well, buying a garbage disposal, you buy alongside a switch; while some come with their switch, others don’t

The location of your garbage disposal switch depends on how you want it, since it doesn’t have an exact location for placement. It can be found on the kitchen walls, beside the sink faucet, in a cabinet nearby, and even suitable under the sink.

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Does Garbage Disposal Have a Switch?

Where Is Garbage Disposal Switch

And you may still be wondering whether the Garbage Disposal does its work(disposing garbage) on its own without a means of control.

Well, for the garbage disposal to work, it must have a means of control you’ll use to tell the disposal when and when not to dispose of garbages.

Well, garbage disposals use a switch; you turn the switch on when you want to dispose of the garbage in the sink and turn it off when you’re done.

Well, only some garbage disposals use the switch; these disposals turn on immediately after you turn on a particular drain, and when you turn the drain off, the garbage disposal will also turn off.

There are two types of garbage disposal switch, which is classified based on their mode of operation; these are

#1. The Electric Garbage Disposal Switch

The switch typically works with electricity; without it, it won’t function. This switch is kept far from the sink because of the risk of an electric shock or fire outbreak.

It is kept from the sink, so you won’t be tempted to turn it off or on with your wet hands or a wet towel.

Do not ever fix your disposal switch close to a water pipe, or try to use a wet hand, towel, or cloth to touch the switch or turn it on or off to avoid electric shock.

#2. Air switch

This garbage disposal switch does not use electricity and can be used even when there is no electricity.

Since it’s not connected to electricity, this type of switch can be placed anywhere around the sink for easier access and to reduce the risk of shock from the electric switch.

The air switch works with pressure. When the switch is turned on, it pushes a large air mass down the tube.

This air goes to the control unit and then turns on the garbage Disposal. It is easier to use and saves time and energy, unlike the electric switch away from the sink.

However, this sounds quite interesting, but it’s costly to install. Besides being expensive, only some garbage disposals can use the air switch; only new models can use it.

Here are the differences between the electric switch and the air switch:

Electric SwitchesAir Switches
Are cheaper to installAre expensive to install
Are placed far away from The sinkAre placed close to the sink.
You cannot use it without electricityWorks without electricity
Have risk of electric shockHave no risk of electric shock

Where Is the Best Location for the Switch on a Garbage Disposal?

The location of the garbage disposal switch depends solely on choice and the cost of installing one on your sink.

Some people use the electric switch because of the less costly, and some use the air switch because it is convenient.

However, there are several locations where you can place your switch, whether it is an electric switch or an air switch.

#1. Wall

Only electric switches are placed on the wall. This switch is placed on the kitchen wall some meters from the sink.

It is placed far so water will not splash from the sink and pour on it, which might cause shock or fire outbreak.

It is also placed so you won’t use your wet hands after using the sink to attempt to turn the disposal on or off.

The only advantage of this is that it saves cost. But it’s inconvenient for people, especially aged people that find it difficult to walk and would want to use the sink and garbage disposal.

#2. Cabinet

Electric switches are also placed in a cabinet close by.  It is done by people who do not want their switch exposed.

It is suitable for houses with children that like to explore. To prevent your child from accessing your switch, you fix it in a cabinet and lock it.

When fixing this, you’ll have to make sure it doesn’t come in contact with a water pipe or any other electric wire in the house.

#3. Beside The Faucet of the Sink

It is an air switch. It is placed directly on the top of the sink for easier access. It will need an expert to fix the switch on the sink.

This disposal saves time and energy; you can sit in one place and control your garbage disposal without the risk of shock or anything.

#4. Beside the Sink

Air switches are also placed beside the sink in the kitchen. Again, there is no difference from that placed on the sink.

Both can be easily accessible by you anytime. Although installing garbage disposal on your sink costs more than placing it beside the sink.

#5. Under the Sink

For people who love their garbage disposal switches hidden, this is the best if you want to use an air switch for your sink.

It is installed under the sink and easily accessible because you just put your hand under it and can turn your garbage disposal on or off.

How Do I Wire a Garbage Disposal to a Switch?

Wiring a disposal switch might seem easy, but someone should do it with experience with electric wires to avoid the risk of electric shock.

To wire garbage disposal to a switch.

  • Turn off the circuit of that area or the whole house if possible
  • Check for studs using a stud finder until it beeps
  • Get your electrical box(2 – 3 inches deep)
  • Trace a position for your electrical box above your sink
  • Cut the traced part of the wall with a drywall saw
  • Run a 12/2 wire from the circuit to the switch outlet
  • Put a 12/3 cord in the holes of the electrical box for the switch and outlet
  • Put the 12/2 cord into the hole at the top of the box
  • Put one end of the 12/3 at the bottom corners and the other at the top so it won’t move
  • Screw the box to the wall

After doing this, you can call an electrician to connect the switch to your garbage disposal; you can also contact an electrician for the previous steps if you need to figure it out yourself.

What Are the NEC Requirements for Garbage Disposal Switch Locations?

The National Electric Code (NEC) requirements for the position of a garbage disposal switch is that it should be away from the water outlet and not come in contact with metal surfaces.

The NEC recommends the air switch because of the risk-free and saves time and energy at your home. But due to cost, some people go for an electric switch.

You can not use both switches on a sink. If you have two sinks, installing your garbage disposal on one that isn’t deep is preferable.

But for your reasons, you can fix the garbage disposal on any of the sinks and fix your switch wherever you want.


Your garbage disposal helps dispose of food or other substances from your sink to avoid clogging up the pipe.

It is preferable and advisable by the NEC to install an air switch instead of an electric switch.

In conclusion, always clean your sinks and maintain them in line with your garbage disposal so they will last longer and avoid troubleshooting.

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