InSinkErator Evolution Essential XTR Specifications
With all of its imperfections, the InSinkErator Evolution Essential XTR 3/4 is still a viable option for what it does well. If you’re looking for a durable disposal that can deal with daily kitchen scraps while keeping things nice and quiet, you are onto something here. From avocado pits to cooked bones, as long as they are not as tough as raw meat scraps, the disposal can take them all on.
Yes, the disposal is bulky, its price tag is not the most inviting thing in the world, and you will likely need professional help for its installation. However, they’re fair compromises, especially when you consider the flexibility of the setup.
Things We Like
- Noise cancelation
- Vibration damping
- High-torque motor
- Strengthened chamber layout
- High capacity
- Stainless steel grinding components
- Included sink top switch
Things We Don’t Like
First circulated in the market more than 15 years ago, the InSinkErator Evolution Essential XTR is still one of the best-performing garbage disposals today. It’s a powerful grinder with quality craftsmanship and effective features that significantly improve the user's experience. The disposal’s noise control is what put it among the quietest models we’ve tested, second only to our Best Overall Garbage Disposal pick.
The disposal has been receiving positive feedback from all fronts. On Amazon, for example, more than 90% of customer reviews are four stars and higher, highlighting the disposal’s quietness. Product reviewers from various websites also praise the quality of the Essential XTR. All that said, there’s not much discussion regarding the extent of its grinding.
As we anticipated prior to testing, the Essential XTR dealt with daily kitchen scraps fairly easily. Though the disposal took its time in every test, it rarely showed signs of struggle. Most of the output from the disposal is drain-safe, up until the uncooked meat scrap tests.
The way the disposal took in the input was much more consistent than how the outlet turned out. The results we collected from its run were somewhat inconclusive as the disposal excelled where it shouldn’t have and fell short in what looked like its strength. Still, the Essential XTR’s overall scores do reflect how its overall operation felt, which was decent.
Having finished testing the Evolution Compact prior to this, the Evolution Essential XTR’s performance in this test was unsurprising. The disposal made quick work of the 90 ounces worth of scraps, despite its low rotational velocity. After about 2 minutes, everything was reduced to but a few shreds of fiber that weighed almost nothing.
On the other end, however, the output was underwhelming. Although most of it was heavily processed upon close inspection—even the cooked fish bones which had been tricky to other models, the filters caught a lot of materials. It could be that the crushed bone tissues had somehow trapped and clustered with the soggy fibers.
8.3Raw Fish Scraps
By contrast, the Essential XTR did incredibly well against the one type of scrap with which the majority struggled. The slippery soft tissue and the spongy cartilage tissue in raw salmon remains are extremely tricky to handle effectively. But judging from what remained in the chamber after the 3 minutes, which was literally one pin bone and one piece of shredded skin, the disposal nailed it.
The disposal’s grinding mechanism seemed to work exceptionally well against fish bones compared to the others in our lineup. No long pieces managed to escape the chamber intact. Though these results were not the best we had seen, mind you, they were impressive nevertheless.
7.8Raw Chicken Scraps
It was an entirely different story with raw scraps from chicken thighs when the Essential XTR struggled the whole way through. First, the chamber was too narrow which made one of the scrap pieces jump out at one point. Next, the disposal had a tough time breaking the bones down in time, so everything spun around for a while.
The disposal did finish the task in under 3 minutes, but the output was inconsistent with the amount of material left behind. It looked like the fibrous soft tissues were the main issues as the bones appeared adequately processed and most spongy tissues were as well.
The Evolution series from InSinkErator has some of the most well-geared models that the garbage disposal market has ever seen. The Essential XTR not only features advanced anti-vibration and anti-noise technology but also enjoys strong and quality components. Furthermore, the disposal comes with its own (corded) air-switch kit and an uninstalled power cord.
Although the machine works well in most aspects, it is rather large and heavy, which means it needs adequate cabinet space and a strong sink to hang onto. Plus, the disposal’s motor could really use some work to improve its efficiency.
In the Box
- InSinkErator Evolution Essential XTR Garbage Disposal
- 3-bolt mounting assembly
- Removable splash guard
- Elbow discharge tube
- Straight discharge tube
- Hose clamp
- Sink top air switch
- Power-cord kit
- Jam Buster Wrench
- Extra mounting bolts (x3)
The Essential XTR, like the others in the Evolution series, comes with an elbow tube and an additional straight tube for different setups. Instead of using bolts and flanges to connect the outlet tube, the disposal has a hose clamp for the same purpose. The disposal comes with its own air-switch kit and an uninstalled power cord. You’ll also find extra bolts for the mounting assembly.
All documentation, including a user manual and a registration slip, is available in English, French, and Spanish.
The InSinkErator Evolution Essential XTR is a little larger than most models in its power category, but it is a neat piece of machinery. It’s heavy, though, so watch out for that if you have an old sink with weak connections. Compared to the Waste King L-3200, the XTR is roughly 7.5 pounds heavier.
- Backup flange
- Mounting ring
- Snap ring
- Fiber gasket
- Cushion mount
- Sink flange
- Removable sink baffle
- Lower mounting ring
The Essential XTR connects to 3-bolt mounting assemblies like most other InSinkErator garbage disposals. Compared to EZ mounts, 3-bolt sets are more challenging to disassemble and reassemble if you’re not used to the design. That said, if you’re switching from another 3-bolt disposal, you should be good from the get-go.
The removable baffle is a part of the anti-noise system that the disposal employs, keeping loud noises under the collar. The material of the Quiet Sink baffle—as they call it—is high-quality rubber that absorbs shock better than rougher cheaper rubber.
The disposal is not corded but it comes with a power-cord kit.
Accessories: Discharge Set
The hose clamp is a part of the Anti-Vibration Tailpipe Mount system; it clamps on the rubber outlet piece and secures the discharge tube. The elbow tube is 1.5 inches in diameter.
Accessories: Straight Discharge Tube
You’ll find an extra discharge tube with all models in the Evolution series. It’s more customizable than the elbow one. The tube is also 1.5 inches in diameter.
Accessories: Sink Top Air-Switch Kit
An air switch is a much more aesthetic option than a wall switch, which is perfect for stylish kitchens. It has a power cord (33 inches long) letting you position the parts under the sink more freely. You may need to drill a hole in the countertop for the button if you don’t already have one.
Accessories: Power-Cord Kit
The kit consists of a power cord, two plastic caps for the electrical wire connections, and a relief clamp to fit on the bottom of the disposal.
All InSinkErator garbage disposals go with a jam-buster wrench. The wrench helps with unjamming the grinding chamber and tightening the mounting assembly.
Accessories: Extra Mounting Bolts
There are three short bolts that replace the three already in the 3-bolt mounting set. These shorter bolts are used with sinks that have thick basins.
The grinding chamber of the Essential XTR is spacious (more than 30 fluid ounces) but is not very deep. Inside, the grinding assembly is made of stainless steel and its components are all modified to improve strength*.
The chamber’s design partially explains the disposal’s performance in the testing stage, where it dealt with most foods admirably but fell short against tough long scraps.
*Compared to basic InSinkErator garbage disposals.
The disposal runs on an induction motor; these motors are slow and are more susceptible to damage. The slow rotational speed is an open window for jamming to happen. Fortunately, the Essential XTR has somewhat high-enough torque that can break up most scraps without slowing down too much.
You can tell that the protective casing is well made by just touching and handling the body. The granular surface only improves the overall quality. Many garbage disposals in our lineup have lost their construction integrity after the performance evaluation phase. The Essential XTR, however, now still holds well together as if nothing has happened.
Moreover, the disposal enjoys one of the best sound and shock insulation technologies available on the market. Even if it’s a portable sink with no enclosed cabinets, the feature still works wonders.
When it’s not dealing with tough raw meat scraps, our experience with the InSinkErator Evolution Essential XTR was satisfying, to say the least. It was thanks to the disposal’s outstanding disturbance control, for a lack of a better term. The disposal is also highly competent against common scraps, which is to say it handles them quickly and consistently.
But the chamber can be too narrow for long pieces; it’s particularly frustrating with scraps that don’t break easily—bones, for example. The disposal is not DIY-friendly as there are several details that require technical knowledge.
9.0Ease of Use
Thanks to its efficient performance, the disposal reduces significant time in cleanup. From root vegetables to cooked bones, it can take care of everything for you. Of course, there are others that can do the same. But the Essential XTR stands out because it does so quietly. And if the customer reviews are true, you may not even notice it’s running if you’re too far away (which can be a double-edged sort of thing for those who are easily distracted).
The added convenience of a removable baffle is always a plus. However, the baffle bends out of shape very easily; that is to say, putting the thing back in the sink drain is much more difficult than it should be.
The disposal is considerably bulky but that’s mainly because of its weight. Despite its compact build, the Essential XTR is not the easiest thing to move around and install within the limited space of sink cabinets. Additionally, there are a lot of little details that require technical knowledge, like running the electrical wires or setting up the air switch.
It’s not rocket science, mind you. If you’re pretty handy yourself, these things should not take you long. But if you’re not, some professional help is recommended.
There’s not much to say about how smoothly the InSinkErator Evolution Essential XTR operates except praise. Although it struggled with output quality when processing raw meat scraps in performance evaluation, the disposal was considerably more stabilized than most others we’ve tested; its noise profile in those tests was also near the low end.
In the InSinkErator Evolution series, only the Excel can unjam its chamber automatically when needed. This Essential XTR (and the Compact) requires labor for such a task. Use the included wrench or any Allen wrench that fits the unjam socket underneath the disposal.
About your guide
Be Nguyen is a writer and product reviewer. Being naturally curious about technology and its real-world applications, Be spent several years in university studying engineering before joining the team at HealthyKitchen101 where he disassembles, tests, and rates household appliances.
Lap is Head of the Research, Testing, and Review Team (RTR Team) at HealthyKitchen101.com, where he directs and supervises the testing of kitchen gadgets and appliances.