Composting at home is a no-brainer for gardeners or anyone who just wants to be a little more eco-conscious. By turning food scraps and yard waste into rich, fertile soil, composters cut down on the need for chemical fertilizers and prevent even more waste from finding its way into landfills.
Choosing a composter largely depends on two factors: How much compost you want, and how much space you have. Larger outdoor composters will require a good chunk of yard space, but they’ll also churn out more... compost to help your garden. Some smaller composters can be kept on patios or porches, or even inside the home; others even allow users to add worms to speed the job.
Ready to get started? Here are eight of the best composters on the market.
Buyers who want a sizable outdoor compost bin who don’t have a sizable budget will want to check out the Redmon Green Culture Compost Bin. Its 65-gallon capacity can handle a lot of food waste and yard scraps. Reviewers say there’s ample ventilation to keep encourage waste to decompose, while a lift-off top lid and four small doors on each side make it easy to load in new scraps and remove fully-composted matter. The bottom is open, allowing worms and other critters to help speed things along... too.
The Redmon Green Culture bin is made from a lightweight, weather-resistant plastic resin. Users say that at 15 pounds, it’s light enough to carry and reposition as needed. The bin is a cinch to assemble, with pieces that snap together quickly. A few complain that the tabs that anchor the bin to the ground are too flimsy to withstand windy conditions or curious wildlife, and it’s best to weigh it down using another method.
A smaller composter with a 37-gallon capacity, the Yimby Tumbler is a good pick for those with smaller yards, or smaller households that don’t generate as much food and yard waste. This tumbling composter comes with a steel frame, meaning it can sit unobtrusively on a deck or patio. It has two chambers and adjustable vents to keep air moving and waste breaking down, and users say it’s easy to rotate. Tumblers also work more quickly than simple bins like the Redmon, so this could good be a good... pick for buyers who prize speed.
Like the Redmon, the Yimby is made from weather-resistant plastic. Assembly draws mixed reviews: Some say it’s easy as long as you follow the directions closely; others complain the directions were unclear and the process took more than an hour. Some reviewers also warn that the ventilation holes may let in too much moisture, but they say the elevated design does a good job of keeping rodents and other pests out.
Families who want a top-notch compost tumbler that can breeze through waste quickly love the 35-gallon Envirocycle Composting Tumbler Bin and Compost Tea Maker. Also available in a “mini” 17-gallon version, the Envirocycle sets itself apart because it comes fully assembled, and it’s small enough for users who may not have huge outdoor spaces to work with.
The Envirocycle is made of weather-resistant plastic that reviewers say stands up to just about anything Mother Nature has to offer. They love... that it doesn’t require assembly. The fillable drum comes with a platform with built-in rollers that sits on the ground. There are also removable drain plugs that allow users to let “compost tea” —the liquid waste—to drain into a hole in that base. Most reviewers love the design, though a few say it’s hard to rotate the bin once it gets full; others wish for a dual chamber so they can start a fresh batch of compost while another is still decomposing.
A countertop compost bin is a great option for anyone who doesn’t want to constantly run outdoors to dump their food waste. Reviewers are big fans of the 1.3-gallon Utopia Kitchen Stainless Steel Compost Bin, which they say is durable and attractive enough to blend with high-end appliances. It has a built-in handle to make carrying easy.
One of the biggest concerns with most countertop compost bins is the smell, and reviewers report that the Utopia’s well-fitting lid and replaceable charcoal... filter keep odors to a minimum. Fruit flies are another concern. There are some mixed reviews here, but most users say they don’t see many flies, if any, unless they go too long without emptying the bin or forget to secure the lid during humid weather. The Utopia is made from 201-grade stainless steel, but a few users report problems with rust. Some do say the filters are tricky to change, however.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
Another countertop composting favorite, the OXO Good Grips Compost Bin is slightly smaller than the Epica with a 0.75-gallon capacity. At just 7 by 7 by 7 inches, it’s also quite compact, making it a good option for small kitchens where counter space is at a premium. Like the Epica, it has a carrying handle; it also features a flip-top lid that can be operated with one hand. It comes in white and gray.
The OXO is made of plastic, not stainless steel, so it doesn’t look quite as high-end as the... Epica. Most reviewers don’t mind this, saying the OXO still has a sleek, clean-lined design and seems stain-resistant. There is no filter, but users say the lid still does a good job of containing smells. As with the Epica, some users complain about fruit flies, and a few others say the bin is just too small.
If you’re serious about quickly turning out lots of quality compost, experts and owners say the Jora 70-Gallon Compost Tumbler is worth the investment. Experts with The Sweethome say it can turn out compost in less than six weeks, even during the winter. Reviewers love the durable galvanized-steel construction, which they say resists rusting and also helps keeps pests from making a mess.
The Jora composter features dual insulated chambers and a sturdy stand that makes the drum easy to rotate.... Experts say it’s easy to unload compost, too, with large doors that are a cinch to open. Ventilation holes keep waste decomposing. Assembly might be an issue for the less-than-handy, though; some say instructions are sparse, while The Sweethome’s experts caution that the process may require at least two people and a power drill. The Jora comes with a wall mount and is also available in a smaller 33-gallon version for composters who don’t need the larger capacity.
Say you want to compost but aren't ready for the commitment of a countertop or larger collector — then the Full Circle scrap unit might be the best way to dip your toes into composting. This bin can hang onto the edge of your counter while you are cooking so you can easily scrape in discarded vegetable tops and such. When you are done collecting place it into the freezer for when you are ready to compost. When it does come time to compost just hit the button on the bottom and the unit will... empty out. Just place in the dishwasher and you are ready with a clean bin. So no mess and no bulk!
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