Whether you're looking at limiting your carbon footprint or ways to get your garden thriving with minimal costs, compost bins are one highly recommended option. You get to recycle and reuse your kitchen and garden waste, which is great for the environment, plus you create some home-made soil conditioner at the same time! Unfortunately, not all compost bings are made equal, especially when there are so many options on the market.
That's where we come in. We searched the net to find the best compost bins out there. For example, FCMP Outdoor's Tumbling Composter is a versatile compost machine that lets you put new batches of scraps while "cooking" your previous batch in another compartment. And there's more where that came from! If you want to explore other options, we've included a buying guide reviewed by a master gardener and homestead blogger to help you decide on the type of compost bin that would best suit your available space, needs, and expectations.
The Squirm Firm
Stainless Steel Compost Bin
Fresh Air Odor-Free Kitchen Compost Bin
Worm Factory 360
8000 Compost Bin
Ceramic Floral Blue/White Compost Keeper
Oversized 1.3 Gallon Kitchen Compost Bin
Garden Composter Bin
Small Tumbling Composter Great for Beginners
Rust-Proof Kitchen Scrap Collector
Odor-Free Compost Collector With Biodegradable Bags
The Living Compost Bin
A Heavy-Duty Garden Compost Bin
The Moveable, Expandable, Open-Bin Compost Collector
A Stylish Yet Durable Compost Collector
A Great Compost Tumbler for Apartment Dwellers
The Dishwasher-Safe Compost Bin
The Large Continuous Composter for Kitchen and Garden Waste
|Capacity||37 gal.||1.3 gal.||1.5 gal.||1.5 gal. per tray||65 gal.||216 gal.||1 gal.||17 gal.||1.3 gal.||110 gal.|
|Dimensions||36 x 30 x 28 in.||7.6 x 11 in.||11.4 x 8.5 x 9 in.||18.2 x 18 x 15.2 in.||26 x 26 x 30.75 in.||Expands to 4 ft.||10 x 7 in.||19 x 18.75 x 21.5 in.||9 x 8.5 x 12 in.||32 x 32 x 5.5 in.|
|Type||Batch and continuous (tumbling)||Compost collector||Compost collector||Continuous||Continuous||Batch||Compost collector||Batch||Compost collector||Continuous|
|Material||100% post-consumer recycled polypropylene with galvanized steel frame||Rust-resistant stainless steel||Recycled plastic and partially recycled steel||Plastic||Recycled plastics||50% recycled plastic||Ceramic||Food-safe, BPA- and rust-free, UV and antioxidant protected materials||High-quality metal-carbon steel||Premium recycled plastic|
|"Cooking" time||2 weeks (hot, sunny conditions)||-||-||One month||Continuous||May vary||-||1.5-2 months||-||1-1.5 months|
|Added features||BPA free, UV inhibited||Air-tight lid, charcoal filters||Comes with 5 compostable bags||Expandable to 8 trays, comes with quick guide on the red wigglers' diet, "worm tea" collector||Snap-on lid, four doors for easy access||Expandable, customizable||Stainless steel handle, comes with odor-preventing filter in lid||Compost tea collector||With activated-charcoal filters, dishwasher-safe, rust- and stain-proof||Expandable|
Here are our 10 best picks for compost bins. We made our choices based on the points listed in the buying guide below, as well as reviewer comments when available.
*Please note that these products were chosen after extensive research by mybest writers. The choices are not necessarily affiliated with or recommended by Amy Jeanroy.
|Dimensions||36 x 30 x 28 in.|
|Type||Batch and continuous (tumbling)|
|Material||100% post-consumer recycled polypropylene with galvanized steel frame|
|"Cooking" time||2 weeks (hot, sunny conditions)|
|Added features||BPA free, UV inhibited|
|Dimensions||7.6 x 11 in.|
|Material||Rust-resistant stainless steel|
|Added features||Air-tight lid, charcoal filters|
|Dimensions||11.4 x 8.5 x 9 in.|
|Material||Recycled plastic and partially recycled steel|
|Added features||Comes with 5 compostable bags|
|Capacity||1.5 gal. per tray|
|Dimensions||18.2 x 18 x 15.2 in.|
|"Cooking" time||One month|
|Added features||Expandable to 8 trays, comes with quick guide on the red wigglers' diet, "worm tea" collector|
|Dimensions||26 x 26 x 30.75 in.|
|Added features||Snap-on lid, four doors for easy access|
|Dimensions||Expands to 4 ft.|
|Material||50% recycled plastic|
|"Cooking" time||May vary|
|Added features||Expandable, customizable|
|Dimensions||10 x 7 in.|
|Added features||Stainless steel handle, comes with odor-preventing filter in lid|
|Dimensions||19 x 18.75 x 21.5 in.|
|Material||Food-safe, BPA- and rust-free, UV and antioxidant protected materials|
|"Cooking" time||1.5-2 months|
|Added features||Compost tea collector|
|Dimensions||9 x 8.5 x 12 in.|
|Material||High-quality metal-carbon steel|
|Added features||With activated-charcoal filters, dishwasher-safe, rust- and stain-proof|
|Dimensions||32 x 32 x 5.5 in.|
|Material||Premium recycled plastic|
|"Cooking" time||1-1.5 months|
Compost bins come in different shapes, sizes, and materials, and yield varying types of compost too. Choosing one could be a task, but this buying guide here should help give you an overview as you decide on a particular one.
Perhaps the easiest way to start composting is by getting a bin that collects your food or garden waste for it to be taken to a drop-off site, picked up by the garbage collector or sent to a recycling center. These often use special compost bags which are biodegradable and can be placed back into the soil.
Compost collectors are also used indoors and can be placed on top of a kitchen counter for quick dumping of food waste. These bins usually come with a lid that contains a charcoal filter to reduce odor buildup. You need to transfer collected materials at least once a week and to a recycling center or a designated compost bin outdoors.
What a compost collector does is makes things convenient for you because you don’t need to go back and forth everyday with your peels and scraps. We know that when an activity is within reach and requires minimal effort, it's easy to commit to.
Since we're talking about waste, it wouldn't be a surprise if flies or other bugs are attracted to the source. Fruit flies, ants, worms, and bacteria are of course essential to the waste decomposition process, but you don't want them indoors!
If you're working with a kitchen crock, most have holes to allow oxygen in. This actually reduces odor by slowing the growth of anaerobic bacteria, which break down waste but are really smelly! Some people store their kitchen scraps in the freezer to keep odors and flies away when they can't get to the outdoor bin frequently.
You can also put some mulch or vacuum cleaner dust on the top layer of your kitchen crock to make it hard for the flies to reach their destination.
Different types of compost bins require different levels of attention, care, and maintenance. They also differ in the types of compost yielded.
If you're a gardener who needs a place to store kitchen scraps, some weeds, and yard waste, go for an enclosed bin, whether a compost collector for the kitchen, a continuous bin outside, or both. This way, you can throw in your scraps and forget!
Batch composters are efficient compost machines which create the organic matter in the least amount of time. To help with the process, you need to induce oxygen in the bin by turning, mixing or poking the waste materials.
You can get compost bins with a handle that are designed to rotate for better aeration and to cook your batch faster. In hot weather, you can create a batch of compost in as little as four to eight weeks. Tumbling composters typically need to be turned every day for best results, and keep in mind that the bigger it is, the heavier it will be.
If you expect a yield periodically for your garden needs, then a batch composter is recommended. Go for the tumbling ones with dual function so you can get your compost in as little as one to two months.
What sets continuous composters apart from the rest is that you can add fresh scraps at any point in time. These are usually enclosed bins for outdoor use only and come in layers. It works by decomposing your scraps at the top and bringing the fine compost matter to the bottom for retrieval.
This way, you will always have some compost available and don’t have to wait for a batch to finish “cooking” before adding a new one. Due to the process of slow decay, a continuous composter usually takes about six months to complete one batch. The upside is you don't need to turn or mix anything.
As an alternative, you can even get a tumbling bin with two compartments, one for your batch that’s cooking and another where you dump new waste. This way, you still get a continuous supply of compost. The rotating motion also helps in speeding up the process due to the oxygenation.
Outdoor compost bins can attract unwanted visitors if they contain kitchen scraps. If your yard gets a lot of wildlife, you need to carefully consider this.
For bugs, plant some dense shrubs around the container, which acts as a dining area for birds to snack on the insects.
If you're dealing with bigger animals trying to get into your compost bin, go for a compost tumbler because the constant oxygenation prevents the buildup of moist odors that are attractive to bears, raccoons, rats, dogs, and the like.
If you want to compost at home, there are two main types: those meant to be used indoors or outdoors. Outdoor bins are bulkier and perfect for bigger families or those with larger backyards. Meanwhile, indoor compost bins can only handle small amounts of kitchen waste.
Indoor and outdoor bins also differ in the types of compost they handle. Outdoor bins can accommodate large quantities of yard waste like leaves, cardboard, and kitchen scraps.
The yielded compost could then be placed back into the garden as fertilizer. Indoor compost bins can also produce fertilizer or soil for houseplants or a small garden and typically only compost food waste such as coffee grounds, eggshells, and other food scraps or skins.
An airtight bin can be placed indoors and does the full process even with the lack of heat and oxygen. Through a special fermenting system which uses microorganisms and other ingredients drizzled on top, your scraps are decomposed in an airtight container and turned into compost.
One of the most popular anaerobic composting methods is known as bokashi. The final result is very fine, garden soil-like compost. These composters can also work across all seasons because they aren't reliant on the usual factors such as hot weather to create compost.
Then we have a compost bin designed to maximize one of nature’s best composters: red worms. These can even be kept indoors because they make composting effortless and mess-free. What you typically get with a wormery are layers of trays to be filled with your scraps and the worms at the bottom.
With the right temperature, the worms dine their way up through the layers and leave you with rich compost and fertilizer for your soil.
The red wrigglers are readily available online, although do take note of the season because they are often unavailable in winter due to the freezing temperatures. Vermiculture is not only convenient for households but doubles as entertainment for kids.
Composting is great if you live in a hot climate because that's exactly what you need to break down the scraps. In drier weather, you may need to add moisture either by hosing it down, or adding more wet scraps. Decomposition can naturally cause high very temperatures, so make sure it stays damp!
Composting in cold or winter weather is still possible, albeit at a slower pace. For those composting during the winter, choose an outdoor bin with a focus on animal-proofing rather than ventilation as the latter is not really needed in this weather.
All you have to do is mix your pile when you get a warm spell to promote oxygen circulation, then proceed to a regular schedule come springtime. You can also opt for an indoor compost bin such as a mini tumbler or a wormery if you wish to get a yield during the cold months.
This is an important consideration for those with limited space who wish to compost indoors. Go for a stainless steel compost collector so it will never rust, scratch or chip while looking sleek, or perhaps one that is made of ceramic, plastic or bamboo fiber for a more classic look.
If you’re after a complete compost bin for a small space, you can go for a mini tumbling composter which works like the big ones found in a backyard but could easily fit on a balcony.
Included with the design of a compost bin is cleanup because we are dealing with waste, after all. For countertop bins, you can get those that are has a smooth lining for easy wiping and washing or one that could go straight into a dishwasher for optimal convenience.
With great compost, your garden can thrive! But you'll need other equipment to maintain it, too. Here are a few more links that might interest you.
This expert reviewed the contents of the buying guide for accuracy and provided factual corrections when necessary. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.
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