Bruce owns a small farm and loves to grill since his early childhood. He’s a professional cook, but hiking and enjoying the great outdoors is his no less favorite part of life.
Last updated: August 28, 2022
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Compost is an essential way to add natural and organic nutrients to your flower or vegetable garden. If used regularly and correctly, compost can balance pH, improve soil structure and provide adequate material for soil organisms to feed on. That being said, creating an ongoing compost process can be hard work. To simplify the process, you should consider investing in a compost tumbler. How do you choose the best compost tumbler? The good news is that we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 models that will blend right in with your garden’s needs.
We’ve also included a convenient buyers guide that identifies the key features you should consider as you shortlist your potential favorites. Some of these specifications include the capacity, construction material, and whether or not your particular model is UV-protected. Understanding what features to look for will ensure that you pick the best outdoor compost tumbler for all your composting needs.
The VIVOSUN Outdoor Tumbling Composter features a 43-gallon twin chamber. With two chambers, it’s easy to compost in batches – one side decomposes while you add new material to the other side. This means that from the second batch, you’ll have a steady flow of healthy compost. Regarded as one of the best home compost tumblers, this unit is well worth considering!
We included this model on our list because of its creative tumbling design. This feature allows you to turn the compost with minimal hassle. It’s sturdy, durable as well as corrosion and weather resistant. This model boasts adjustable air vents and deep fins that provide superior air circulation. With the high volume of oxygen that flows through the compost, it only takes a few weeks to produce.
What stands out?
A feature that impressed us is the ease of spinning, which makes tumbling easier.
The plastic construction is a great combination of strength and flexibility. This makes it easy to move the composter around when it’s empty.
The unit is also very sturdy, even when it’s full.
The garden gloves that are included are a nice accessory. They’re great for all types of gardening work.
What cons did we manage to find?
Assembly can be quite arduous as the instructions don’t really match the screws and bolts provided.
Doors are exceedingly small and make emptying of compost difficult.
More features: dual doors, rodent-proof design, durable galvanized steel
The Jora compost tumbler is an extremely beneficial option for everyone with a higher compost demand. The Jora compost tumbler is raised off the ground, and you may not be required to kneel down to empty, fill, or turn it like you need to with other tumblers. For those who are old and have back issues and want to compost, they can easily do so with the help of the Jora Compost Tumbler 270.
The assembly, like with many other composters, is difficult and frustrates the users. So it will take some time to put the parts together. Also, some people said that it is not that rust-proof compared to premium models but still is capable of serving at least five years. This tumbler has handles that make the hand turning process easier. The temperature inside the chambers can be increased to more than 160 degrees Celsius, which turns out to greatly aid faster composting. With dual doors, the composter has two chambers, and the total capacity is a mammoth 70 gallons. Each chamber can be used independently, so you don’t have to stop the composting process.
Why are we impressed?
The temperature can be increased for faster composting
More features: easy to use, durable construction, 100% post-consumer recycled polypropylene
If you’re new to composting, the IM4000 is ideal for beginners. With its easy-to-use tumbling design, it’s so much simpler than digging, mixing, and turning a compost pile by hand. Deep side fins serve as ergonomic handholds, making the composter easy to carry to your garden for emptying out. The 37-gallon capacity size is perfect for starting with kitchen scraps and garden clippings.
We included this unit on our list because it’s durable, great for beginners, and even better for reducing single-use plastic. Its galvanized steel frame is both sturdy and corrosion-resistant.
The one feature that sets this composter apart from others in the same category is that it’s made from 100% post-consumer recycled polypropylene. This is great for reducing your carbon footprint even further!
Why are we impressed?
Two chambers make it easy to process two loads of compost in different stages.
The solid plastic construction feels durable and appears to be of good quality.
We also like that this model can easily be rotated for small quantities of waste.
What negatives must you be aware of?
This composter is too small for extensive composting. With such a small capacity, it can be difficult for the compost to reach enough heat quickly.
The doors are also small, so it can be time-consuming to get waste in and compost out.
More features: easy to turn, fast working system, two sliding doors, aeration system for oxygen inlet
This small compost tumbler from Miracle-Gro is ideal for small spaces. Despite being smaller than most other models in this category, this unit also features 2-chambers. With UV-protected plastic chambers, your composter is guaranteed to withstand the elements while processing your compost. It’s easy to see why this unit is regarded as the best dual chamber compost tumbler.
We added a smaller-than-usual compost tumbler to our list to add an option for folks who don’t have the space for a larger unit. This unit is small enough to be placed on an apartment balcony. With its 37-gallon size, it’s ideal for two or three people who want to turn their kitchen scraps into compost.
This unit is different from most other models in that it features internal mixing bars that easily speed up the decomposition process. Miracle-Gro promises fertile, nutrient-rich compost in just 4 to 6 weeks.
Why is it special?
We appreciate that this model comes with rotation locks. It makes it less likely for compost to spill out during turning.
Another great feature is that this unit comes with aeration holes and mixing bars.
What are the flaws?
Aside from not having a handle for turning, its low height might be uncomfortable for some people to use.
More features: large clearance area, adjustable built-in air vents in a drum, 12-gallon cart
The RSI MCT-MC Maze Compost Tumbler is made from UV high impact plastic making it durable and weather resistant. Additionally, a geared handle makes it easy to turn the composter even if it’s fully loaded. It’s no wonder this handy model made it to the best outdoor compost tumbler list!
We added this model to our review because there’s so much to like with this unit. Adjustable built-in air vents in the drum make oxygen flow easy. A big clearance area under the drum allows for the cart to easily fit underneath, making it easy to slide the cart underneath.
Unlike the other models in this review, this model has a nifty cart with a low profile that makes it super easy to collect and transport compost to where it’s needed. The cart has a 12-gallon capacity. You can even use the cart to transport scraps to the composter!
What are our favorite features?
With this model, we like the adjustable built-in air vents.
Its 65-gallon capacity means you can “cook” a considerable amount of compost for your garden.
The durable framework is designed to avoid rusting and damage over time.
What could be better?
Our biggest concern about this composter is that its drainage slots are possibly big enough for pests to get into the compost.
Some users have reported that the tumbler doesn’t seal properly. This allows pests to breed inside.
Assembly is difficult and takes an average of 2 – 4 hours which seems a little excessive for a simple composter!
More features: easy to use, decent aeration, rolling design
Another unit that’s easy enough for beginners to master is the FCMP Outdoor HOTFROG Rolling Composter. Its unique rolling design makes it super easy to move the composter to where it’s needed. There’s no need to scoop compost into buckets or wheelbarrows. A large door makes it easy to remove and add new scraps and clippings.
This model made it to our list because of its round size, that’s different from the average octagonal type. The sides are also not completely smooth as the indents in the design serve to avoid material from clumping together as it’s being mixed. Its rolling feature is the reason many regards it as the best small compost tumbler.
Unlike the other models in this review, the HOTFROG doesn’t have a stand or frame. Despite its 37-gallon capacity, it’s compact enough to place on the back porch or even on an apartment balcony.
What are its best features?
With this little composter, we like that the doors close up quite tightly. This makes it very unlikely that pests can get in.
Deep fins on the outside of the unit provide nifty handholds that make turning the chamber a lot simpler.
What could be improved?
It can be difficult to spin when full.
Being so low on the ground could make it difficult for people with back problems to pick up.
More features: fast composting, made in the USA, easy to assemble
As one of the larger composters on our review list, the Spin Bin is exactly what its name implies. A bin that spins. With its 60-gallon capacity, this model features a single-chambered barrel. This barrel swivels to mix the compost material. Its bin-like feature makes it the best tumbler compost bin.
We added this model to our list for people who are looking for a way to make large quantities of compost for bigger flower or vegetable gardens. If your kitchen and garden produce a lot of waste, this unit is also worth considering.
Lids at each end of the barrel make it easy to add compost materials at whichever end is on top. Since the lids are tight-fitting, the contents are easily protected from rodents and bugs.
What are its best features?
An impressive feature is that there are an amazing 20 aeration and drainage holes. Having adequate drainage holes prevents moisture build-up.
Four ports provide space for thermometer testing.
This option is ideal for "batch" composting where you want to mix greenery, woody, and kitchen waste.
What could be improved?
The barrel gets quite heavy as it fills, and it becomes difficult to mix the compost. You’ll also have to swing the bin to gain enough momentum to flip it.
More features: easy to rotate, UV-protected, extra-large removable lid, easy to load
The Lifetime 60076 50 gallon is ideal for garden trimmings and organic waste. Since it rotates easily, you’ll have nutrient-rich compost in only a few weeks. Despite having only one chamber, this unit still made it to the best compost bin tumbler list.
This model also features an extra-large removable lid that makes it much easy to load and remove lawn and garden cuttings and trimmings. There’s a latch that keeps compost in a while rotating. It also keeps rodents and pests from nesting in the compost.
Since this composter has a larger capacity size than most of the units on our list, it’s easier to make larger compost quantities.
Why did it make our list?
The plastic section of this composter seems quite durable since it’s made of high-density polyethylene.
The unit is backed by a 5-year limited manufacturer warranty.
An extra-large removable lid makes it super easy to load and remove compost. A latch keeps the lid closed to keep rodents out of the compost.
What is not ideal about it?
This unit is exceedingly difficult to assemble. But this seems to be a common problem with composters!
Several users have mentioned that metal parts on this unit eventually rust.
More features: aerated internal bar, ingenious tumbler design
The largest capacity composter on our review list is the Lifetime 60309 Outdoor Double Bin Rotating Composter, and it’s easy to see why it’s regarded by experts as the best large compost tumbler. Since the unit is made up of two 50-gallon barrels, it allows for continuous composting. You can easily fill one side and start the composting process. While that’s going on, simply start the next batch. By that time, the second side is full, and the first side should be ready to use.
We added this unit to our review list as consideration for people who are serious about composting! If the smaller units on our list aren’t what you’re looking for, this larger, sturdier unit might be right u your alley. Unlike the other models in this category, this model has a spring-loaded pin to keep the barrel locked during rotation.
What do we love it for?
We like the ingenious tumbler design that allows the unit to turn on its axis, providing an easy and balanced rotation.
The barrel is set at a convenient loading height, making it easy to load and unload.
A handy how-to guide on composting is included, which beginners might find handy.
What were we disappointed with?
Instructions aren’t very precise; assembly presents a challenge.
Buckles that keep the lid closed seem flimsy and might need replacing.
More features: system rotating dual-barrel door, durable construction
The Barton Tumbler Composter features a twin-chamber design which makes it easy to compost in batches. As with the other units in our review, one side processes compost on one side while you fill the other side. This allows an uninterrupted flow of nutrient-rich compost. Made from high-quality plastic and galvanized steel, you’re guaranteed a sturdy compost tumbler.
While the 37-gallon capacity might not be as large as some of the bigger units on our review list, it still gets the job done! This unit features adjustable air vents as well as deep fins to provide superior air circulation. This also helps to prevent clumps from building up in the bottom of the barrel. The increased airflow aids in producing healthier compost in just a few weeks.
What makes it special?
We like that this unit is UV inhibited, which means the recycled polypropylene that it's made from won't degrade as it stands in direct sunlight all day.
Since it’s BPA-free, there’s no risk of harmful toxins being released when the plastic gets hot.
This unit is also weather and corrosion-resistant.
What cons did we find?
The barrel needs to be in an inverted position to fill.
Things to Consider
If you’ve only recently decided to add the composting process to your garden routine, a quick search of the available options can be a little overwhelming. That’s why we’ve compiled a buying guide to help you identify the features required to make composting easier. We recommend reading our guide to get an idea of the features to consider as you start shortlisting favorites.
Why Do You Need a Compost Tumbler?
If you’ve decided to add compost to your garden, the next question in your mind will center around the best method to process the compost. While you can do it manually in a corner in your yard, it’s considerably easier to use a compost tumbler. Some of the reasons you’ll benefit from using a compost tumbler include:
A compost tumbler eliminates unpleasant sludge and smells by introducing air into the compost.
Compost tumblers are considerably more durable than bins.
While a compost pile might attract animals and bugs, a compost tumbler prevents this because the compost is enclosed.
Tumblers also make processing smaller quantities of waste easier and more efficiently than an outdoor compost pile.
Tumblers make it a lot easier and faster to aerate and process the compost, saving you time.
There are many items that you can place in a composter to eventually add to your garden. Making compost out of your kitchen scraps and garden cuttings will considerably reduce the waste you send to the landfill. Some popular items to add to your composter include:
Vegetable food scraps
Black & white newspaper (no glossy paper)
Yard waste such as leaves and grass cuttings
Wood shavings & sawdust
While the general principle of compost tumbling is the same, not all tumblers work the same. There’s also a difference in the material used to construct them, capacity, size, and the number of chambers. It’s important to know which features would suit your individual gardening needs. Are some features better than others? Are there specific features that you should highlight in your shortlisting process? Keep reading to get an idea of the key specifications to consider.
When you’re considering capacity, it’s crucial to first establish your composting needs. If you want to add compost to a thriving vegetable patch, you might need a larger tumbler. For a smaller garden, a regular size composter would work fine. Generally, the smallest composters hold about 15 gallons, while larger units can hold as much as 80 gallons. It takes about ten weeks to completely process a batch of compost.
For durability, it’s important to consider the material your potential tumbler is made of. Some models are constructed using steel, by most compost tumblers are typically made of a UV-protected plastic bin that rests on a tubular steel frame.
Plastic is ideal because it’s weather and corrosion-resistant. Opting for a plastic bin will allow heat to transfer slowly and won’t rust from the moisture or outdoor elements. Steel frames make it easier to hold the weight of the tumbler as it fills up.
When it comes to rotation, you want to consider a tumbler that’s going to be easy to use. Some tumblers feature handles for turning the barrel to mix the compost. Other types of compost tumblers have rotation locks to have the two parts close securely when you rotate the barrel up and down.
Pro tip: opt for the system that’s going to be easiest for you to use when it’s full of compost. Would you prefer to crank a handle or roll a barrel? Since compost needs to be continuously mixed, you’ll have to move the barrel around, and this includes when it’s full.
Since the tumbler needs to stand in the sun for the composting process to work effectively, extended exposure to the weather elements could cause wear on the materials. That being said, it’s recommended that you opt for a tumbler that’s made of UV-protected materials. In most instances, this means looking for galvanized steel or high-density polyethylene plastic. The Lifetime 60076 Compost Tumbler on our list is made from this type of plastic and is guaranteed to be UV-protected. The Jora Composter JK 270 is made from galvanized steel if you’re not a fan of plastic.
The size of compost tumbler you should look for depends on the space you have available to put it. If your composter is going to be in the way, it’s just going to annoy you, and you’ll end up not using it at all. Ideally, your composter should be out of the way but still in a place where it receives maximum sun. Always consider the space you want to dedicate to it before randomly choosing a potential favorite.
Opening size: If you’re planning to place large quantities of leaves or clippings into your composter, you’ll need a model with large opening size. In this instance, you could consider the Lifetime 60076 Compost Tumbler, which boasts an extra-large removable lid.
Accessories: Additional accessories that form part of the package can sometimes make using the particular composter so much easier. For instance, the RSI MCT-MC Maze Compost Tumbler comes with an additional cart. The cart easily fits under the tumbler and makes it considerably easier to move compost from the tumbler to the garden. This typically means there’s no need to invest in a wheelbarrow or separate bucket to move the compost around. Always look for accessories that make the composting process easier!
For your compost tumbler to work effectively, place it in a sunny location. Ideally, you want the sun to promote the fast growth of the composting microbes. Your tumbler should get between four to six hours of sun each day.
If you’re serious about your garden and the quality of compost that goes into it, then investing in the best compost tumbler is essential. That being said, we trust our extensive review of our top 10 compost tumblers will make it much easier to find the perfect model for all your composting needs. If you’re still on the fence about a favorite, recapping our three favorites might help make up your mind.
Our editor’s choice, the VIVOSUN Outdoor Tumbling Compost Bin, rated at 9.9, is durable and offers decent aeration, both crucial features needed to produce healthy compost. Designed with strength and flexibility, this model is easy to move around if needed.
The Jora Composter JK 270 made it to our premium pick with a rating of 9.7 features non-toxic food-grade insulation that allows temperatures to rise higher and make compost even faster.
Lastly, the IM4000 Dual Chamber Tumbling Composter is our best value option, and we rated it at 9.6 because it’s ideal for beginners. Fins that serve as ergonomic handholds make it easy to carry around when you want to empty the contents. This inclusive list of the top models we’ve chosen, in conjunction with our informative buyer’s guide, will make it so much easier to find the best compost tumbler!
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