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Last updated: May 16, 2021
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Compost is a great way to supplement the nutrient levels in your soil, but there is no need to buy expensive products if you have your own compost bin. Making compost is simple; you can transform your organic waste such as vegetable kitchen scraps in a matter of weeks.
Our team of researchers has reviewed 35 compost bins to assess how they perform. We’ve created a list of our top picks and our editor’s choice, the Hot Frog FCMP Outdoor 37 Gallon Chamber offers the flexibility to make compost and compost tea. We’ve also ranked other compost bin models at different price points and both indoor and outdoor models to ensure a good pick for everyone.
Our team has spent a great deal of time researching the very best options to discover which compost bin has the best features and design. The first thing we looked at was the material, as you need to ensure that your compost bin is sturdy enough to cope with years of use. However, the style was also important, as many people lack the space for a full-size garden compost bin and would prefer a countertop model. We’ve presented our research as a simple overview table coupled with a list of detailed review and we’ve also included a buying guide to help you find the best compost bin for your specific requirements.
To get the most out of your compost bin, you need to be able to turn it over and aerate the contents. For most people that means using a manual aerator that can be hard work. It where the design of this bin is exceptional as you can simply just turn the bin over and it does all the hard work for you. The result is a better quality of compost and a much quicker process.
Due to that design, the compost bin is much more attractive than other options out there. That’s aided by its green design. Despite that rotation, the bin is very stable so you don’t need to worry about knocking it over.
You may think that with that feature, it may be hard to move but it’s surprisingly easy to turn. This is aided by the there being grips all the way around. It has a capacity of 37 gallons and that will give you plenty of great compost season after season.
Perhaps the only downside here is that the bin can be a little hard to open at times and you may need a bit of force. Aside from that, there is very little to moan about. The build quality is very good which includes it being BPA-free and UV resistant. As a bonus, it’s also made from recycled materials.
Other features: multiple-chamber bin, adjustable ventilation for summer and winter, 3-phase system, unique “active” aeration system, large filling and removal flaps with Snap-On wind protection, hinged lid with turning handle “lock”
This composting bin is a vertical system that is designed to take up far less space compared to a traditional composting bin. This is a high-quality product that may be the best compost bin for small garden users. The unit is manufactured using 5mm thick recycled plastic making it more durable than many other three-stage composters. This is an excellent option for small scale composting using household waste and kitchen scraps. However, it is not well suited to large scale garden waste and grass cuttings.
The Exaco AEROPLUS6000 Compost Bin has an active aeration system to provide optimal airflow. This promotes the best oxygen transfer to support microbial function that is essential to create high-quality compost. This composter has a smart multi-chamber system that removes the need to turn the compost regularly. The lid can be locked to keep curious animals out and a large filling flap with wind protection.
The ventilation system can be varied to control the airflow during warmer and colder season. This is important to control the speed and intensity of the composting process, and the chamber system negates the need to separate existing compost from fresh material. This composter is designed to blend into your backyard and a two-year warranty is included for peace of mind.
The Exaco Trading Co. AQ187 Austrian Compost Bin is manufactured in Austria using recycled heavy-duty plastics. The walls of this composter are 5mm thick and it’s designed to last for at least 15-20 years of faithful service. This composter has a 187-gallon capacity and it is fitted with a sliding lock system to keep those pests out. This may be the best compost bin for beginners because it’s easy to assemble and designed to improve airflow with its unique “active aeration system”
This composter may be the best four-wall compost bins available on the market today. It’s designed to be stronger and more durable than many comparable composters. The hinged lid and sliding lock system are highly resistant to rodents and other pests. the Exaco Trading Co. AQ187 Austrian Compost Bin is held together with heavy-duty sliding clips making it easy to assemble or disassemble as needed. A pair of doors make it easy to remove the composet, and the microbial action is increased due to the superior airflow.
The Designer Kitchen Countertop Compost Bin may be the best countertop compost bin on the market and it’s certainly the most stylish. This 1.5-gallon composting bin is made from stainless steel with grey or black washed finish to suit your kitchen decor. It has a rectangular design for easier cleanup, and it’s an ideal shape to accept food waste scraped from a cutting board.
The main frame of this countertop composting bin is made from solid oak, making it stylish and durable. A pair of retractable handles allow the user to lift, carry and move this composter effortlessly as required. A set of four nylon guides on the base of the unit will protect your kitchen surfaces from scratches and gouges. This compost bin is easy to clean, simple rinse it after each use or place the steel pan in your dishwasher.
Many people are interested in worm composting bins because the worms work for the user to create compost naturally and they fit into a smaller space. This makes these types of composting bins a good fit for apartment living and smaller gardens. VermiHut have a number of different tray size models starting with the three tray unit. For many users, the five tray worm compost bin shown here would be the best value proposition.
For many people this could be the best indoor compost bin to create nutrient-dense compost. This composter is odorless, the comprehensive instructions show the user how to set the bin up and add the drain cloth fabric to ensure the worms are safe and happy. There are air holes in the lid of the unit to ensure that there is plenty of airflow available. The composting process is efficient, the process begins after only seven days and a three-year warranty is included for peace of mind.
The Spin Bin Outdoor Tumbling Compost Bin has an easy to turn mechanism to mix composting material and aerate without uncomfortable manual labor. A traditional composting pile is messy; a pitchfork or shovel is needed to turn the compost, and this activity attracts rodents and other pests. When compost is well aerated, it will decompose quickly and efficiently, and the spin bin makes the process easier.
This tumbler composter allows the user to add material at each end, it has a capacity of 60 gallons and there is no need to spin the unit before adding yard or kitchen waste. This is an ideal solution for people that don’t have excessive quantities of waste, but still want a larger composting bin with a smaller footprint. This may be the best small compost bin for users that want a little more flexibility for general home composting.
What stands out?
Fast, efficient composting
Easy to add waste
What cons did we manage to find?
Some assembly required
Not tall enough for direct transfer to a wheelbarrow
This is a compost bin tumbler with a 37-gallon capacity that’s space-efficient and easy to turn. There are two internal chambers, the user fills one side and the other side cures the compost. The composter is easy to use; simply load it with kitchen and yard waste, close the door slide and use the built-in handholds to tumble the contents.
Depending upon the outdoor temperatures, the carbon/nitrogen mix and the season the MaxWorks 80699 Garden Compost Bin Tumbler can produce finished compost in 2-3 weeks. If the user is located in a wetter or colder climate, this period could be significantly longer because the composter needs a certain amount of natural heat to complete the process. Each of the dual bins is slightly smaller than those found in other products, but they are thickly insulated, and this conserves the heat generated from decaying matter to speed up the composting process.
The MaxWorks 80699 Garden Compost Bin Tumbler is manufactured with 50% new and 50% recycled plastic. The plastic is strong and durable, and the composter is mounted inside a rigid steel frame for stability when loading and tumbling.
The Algreen Products Soil Saver Classic Compost bin is a great way to produce rich organic compost and reduce curbside pickup expenses at the same time. This composter features a large opening for yard and kitchen waste, a pair of sliding doors, and a lockable self-watering lid to keep pests at bay.
This is a very affordable composter and it may be the best garden compost bin for bargain hunters that don’t mind a little manual work. The composter has to manually turned to mix the material and this makes it a basic but functional option. This compost bin has a capacity of 12.5 cubic feet, making it slightly larger than other composters in the same price bracket.
Despite being a more affordable composter, the Algreen Products Soil Saver Classic Compost bin is made from tough and durable 100% recycled plastic. This composter speeds up the composting process with effective air circulation. Organic compost can be generated in around two months, and this can reduce household waste by 30% in many homes.
The Miracle-Gro Garden Compost Bin is designed for composting in smaller spaces. This is an outdoor compost bin with an 18.5-gallon capacity, and it’s the perfect size for a patio, porch, balcony or rooftop garden. This is the perfect way to quickly transform kitchen and garden waste into organic fertile compost to enrich your plants. The decomposition process is enhanced by a unique Miracle-Gro aeration system that improves the airflow. In many locations under normal conditions compost can be produced in just 4-6 weeks.
The Miracle-Gro Garden Compost Bin is designed for all year round composting. The composter is made from heavy-duty plastic that is UV protected to avoid damage by the sun. This plastic is also food grade and BPA free to ensure that the user doesn’t need to worry about toxins leaching into the compost. This composter has a slide loading mechanism for easier loading and unloading, and the lid seals tightly to prevent odors and deter pests.
Many people consider the Miracle-Gro Garden Compost Bin to be the best apartment compost bin. This composter can produce compost in every season, but it’s fair to say that the composting process is much longer during the colder months. This is especially true if the composter is exposed to the elements.
The Goplus Compost Tumbler is made from robust Polypropylene mounted in a steel frame, making it a durable composter. The user loads the tumbler by opening the sliding door and placing the kitchen and yard waste into the drum. Then the user can tumble the compost in the drum every couple days to mix the contents using a series of handholds on the drum itself. This will produce high-quality organic compost in a few weeks during warmer seasons.
This composter has two chambers to process the compost and a capacity of 43 or 45 gallons depending on the exact model chosen. This is a smaller composter that’s easy to move when empty with a weight of only 24 lbs. There are holes in the surface of the tumbler to allow oxygen to mix with the compost to speed up the composting process. The smaller dimensions of the Goplus Compost Tumbler make it an ideal composter for users that have less space available.
Using this tumbler composter does require a certain amount of manual labor to get the best results. Every two days the tumbler needs to be rotated five times to circulate the material inside. When the ingredients in the tumbler are well mixed and sufficient oxygen is added the speed of the composting is accelerated significantly.
This is an interesting entry on our list and this composting bin works in a different way to many other products. Essentially, this is an eco-friendly compost bin with a capacity of 1.3 gallons, making it suitable for small scale composting. The package includes the compost bin, a roll of eco-friendly pail liners (100 count), and four compost pail charcoal filters to get the user up and running quickly.
This may be an attractive composter for many users that have less space, or they want to try out composting on a smaller scale. The Plant Based Human Eco-friendly Compost Bin really proves that anyone can make a difference to the environment. Creating organic compost on this scale is a great way to recycle kitchen and yard waste.
The charcoal filters ensure that the Plant Based Human Eco-friendly Compost Bin emits no unpleasant odors from the pail. The price point is also great for new users or to introduce children to composting as a project at home or school. This composting bin is made right here in the USA, it’s durable and it’s an indoor or outdoor composter that will last for years to come.
The Natural Home Cherry Ceramic Compost is a simple and stylish 1-gallon kitchen compost bin. A charcoal filter prevents unwanted odors from kitchen waste such as coffee grounds, eggshells, fruit and veggie scraps and tea leaves. Each charcoal filter lasts for at least four months and it could last as long as six months in some kitchens.
This kitchen compost bin is made from earthenware ceramic materials, it’s covered in a lead-free glaze and it’s free from BPAs and other harmful chemicals. Using the Natural Home Cherry Ceramic Compost is simple, place the kitchen scraps in the composter and let it do the rest. In as little as a few weeks, you can create small quantities of organic compost to use on your plants.
When it’s time to empty the composter scoop out the compost and place it in a safe place for use later. This compost bin is dishwasher safe, but it’s advisable to wash the bin by hand for the best results. Once the bin is clean, let it dry and then start using it to create more compost in your kitchen. The charcoal filters are easy to replace and they are very effective at removing any odors.
What are its best features?
Easy to clean
Charcoal filters prevent odors
What could be improved?
Only available in cherry red
Things to Consider
If you want a healthy garden and enjoy a greener home, a compost bin is a must-have. However, with different models, it can often feel confusing to make a purchase decision. Here we’ve created a buying guide with the things to consider, features to look for and answers to common questions to help you make your final purchase decision.
What is compost?
A compost bin is a receptacle for organic food and yard waste where these waste materials can decompose. This process turns the organic matter into a nutrient-rich fertilizer that you can feed to your plants or lawn to help them grow. Compost is a rich and dark clumpy earth mixture that you can use to improve the health and fertility of your existing soil. This can be a small or large scale operation depending on the available space, your compost needs and the capacity of the compost bin that you choose. There are many different types of compost bins available to suit a wide variety of needs.
How does a compost bin work?
We will discuss some of the different types of compost bins below, but broadly speaking, they all work on a similar universal process.
To make compost you need the correct mixture of carbon-rich materials such as straw, dead leaves and newspaper shreds, and nitrogen-rich materials such as coffee grounds, vegetable peels and fresh grass clippings.
It’s also important to add in a little garden soil and the mixture should be exposed to oxygen by turning the compost pile. Finally, it’s essential to add a little water to keep your compost mixture moist but not too wet. The composting time can vary a great deal depending on the time of year and the local conditions. Generally speaking, composting is faster during the warmer months and slower when it’s cold outside.
The organic matter is eaten by microbes in the compost bin and heat is created. To make sure the heat is distributed and the mix is even, it’s necessary to turn the mixture from time to time. However, a simple compost bin will still work without turning but the composting process will take longer because the mixture is uneven. In a traditional composting pile the material would be gathered and turned manually using a pitchfork or a shovel. This can be hard work and the organic material needs to be turned every couple of days for the best results. But a compost bin is a better way to create compost for a number of reasons.
Features to consider when choosing a compost bin
With so many compost bin products, it can be tricky to determine the best one for your requirements. So, here we’ll delve into the features you should consider to help narrow down your choices.
Generally, there are three styles of compost bin.
The Countertop Compost Bin
The most basic type of compost bin is a unit that sits on the kitchen countertop. A good example of this would be the Natural Home Cherry Ceramic Compost bin. These are a great way to compost small quantities of material indoors at home. These types of compost bin are not turned and it takes a little longer to compost the material. They are often fitted with charcoal filters and good seals to ensure that unpleasant odors cannot permeate the kitchen area. These types of compost bins may even be dishwasher safe for easier cleaning but hand washing is often a better idea.
2. The Tumbler Compost Bin
This is usually a tumbling drum housed on a metal or plastic frame that allows the drum to be turned. These types of compost bins can vary in size, the smaller ones are suitable for a balcony or patio and the larger models need more space but they produce more compost. Many modern tumbler compost bins feature a dual chamber, this allows the user to fill one chamber and allow the other to continue making compost. This makes the mixing more even and efficient because you can work on two batches of compost at the same time. The best double compost bin on our list may be the Goplus Compost Tumbler in terms of price and features.
3. The Vermicomposting Bin
This type of compost bin uses worms to help process the organic material into compost. A good example would be the VermiHut 5-Tray Worm Compost Bin. The worms are placed into the compost bin with a fabric media that is wetted with water. The organic material is added, and the worms make their way through the composter to feed on the waste. The material that the worms excrete after they have eaten is nutrient-rich compost that the worms would create naturally outdoors. This is a very environmentally sound way to make compost, and the worms can do all of the hard work for you.
If you only have a small yard, or are new to composting, you may prefer to start with a smaller and more affordable compost bin such as the Miracle-Gro Garden Compost Bin. However, if you have greater compost requirements, this size of compost bin is not going to be adequate.
You also need to consider the physical dimensions of your compost bin. Whether you’re opting for a countertop bin or one for your yard, you need to know that you have sufficient space for the unit.
Although compost can be produced in a matter of weeks, you’ll want your compost bin to last for many years. Fortunately, there are many compost bin models, including ones we’ve listed here, such as the Exaco AEROPLUS6000 that are highly durable and designed to last.
How easy it is to clean it
If you have an indoor compost bin, you’re going to need to clean it to ensure that there are no unpleasant odors. So, it is important to assess how easy the unit is to clean.
No one wants to sit downwind of a nasty smell in a yard or find themselves exposed to bad odors inside their home, so it is crucial that your new compost bin has adequate odor containment. Some indoor models, such as the Natural Home Cherry Ceramic Compost have charcoal filters to prevent odors, but outdoor units require good seals, a lockable lid and a solid construction.
Generally, you can put any organic matter into your compost bin. This includes grass clippings, leaves, newspaper, paper, cardboard, and vegetable food scraps such as potato peels, coffee grounds and avocado skins. You can also put vegetarian animal manure from rabbits, horses, cows and hamsters into your bin.
Covering a compost bin helps to retain heat and moisture, which are both essential to create compost. You can cover with anything from plastic sheeting and wood to carpet scraps. Covering can also prevent your compost from being over watered when exposed to rain, as your compost should be moist not sodden and soaked.
However, the stand out as the best compost bin has to be our editor’s pick, Hot Frog FCMP Outdoor 37 Gallon Chamber. This model may be a little pricier than many others on the market, but it offers the flexibility and excellent quality to produce compost. The model has compact size, so you can accommodate it in smaller gardens or balconies. The interlocking design provides a seal to eliminate odors and there are three vents to encourage air flow. These features combine to offer a compost bin that will last for many years to come.