The best compost bins

Photo of The best compost bins
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  • The simplest method of home composting is starting an open pile in a corner of your yard, but that can be unsightly, smelly, and attract insects and animal foragers. It may also be against the laws in your town.
  • A tumbling composter like our top pick, the FCMP Outdoor Tumbling Composter, makes it very simple to collect materials, speeds up the decomposition of organics by generating heat, and keeps the compost out of sight.

Compost is like gold for your garden, encouraging healthy growth, strong roots, and bountiful blooms. Plants need vitamins and nutrients for proper growth just as you do, and compost is like a multi-vitamin for greenery.

Not only is compost a great way to nourish your plants, it is also an environmentally sound way of disposing of materials that otherwise would go in the garbage. You can buy a bag of compost at the garden center, but why pay good money, then haul a heavy bag home in your car, when it's so easy to turn the scraps and rubbish you otherwise would throw away into compost at home?

Composting isn't difficult, although it does take some time and attention. The right composter makes it even easier, however. There are a lot of composters in many different forms, so we decided to sort through them and whittle the choices down to the top seven.

Here are our choices for the best compost bins:

Prices and links are current as of 5/21/20. We also added a selection of related gardening buying guides.

The best overall

Yimby

The FCMP Outdoor Tumbling Composter has double inner bins, holds lots of compost, and makes mixing easy.

Compost tumblers, such as the FCMP Outdoor Tumbling Composter, typically resemble a large sideways barrel on a stand. These composters are easy to use, and a great choice for the gardener who doesn't have a lot of extra space in the yard.

Fill the FCMP with up to 37 gallons of organic waste and give the barrel five to six spins every two or three days. The tumbling action aerates the compost, breaking it down more quickly for use in the garden — no need for digging, shoveling, or mixing the compost by hand. If it's warm enough, and you've balanced your ingredients properly, you'll have compost ready for the garden in as little as two weeks.

There are two inner chambers in the FCMP, so you can have two batches of compost in different stages of decomposition going at the same time. The large door makes it easy to add scraps and dump out finished compost. The composter is made of BPA-free, UV-inhibited, recycled polypropylene, so it won't break down in direct sunlight or leach harmful chemicals into your compost. The galvanized steel frame is corrosion-resistant.

Pros: Double chambers, air vents to increase oxygen flow, and a large door make this well-constructed tumbler very effective and easy to use

Cons: Difficult to assemble



The best rolling compost bin

Envirocycle

You can roll the Envirocycle Tumbler Bin to wherever you are working in your yard to conveniently load or unload the contents.

Rolling composters, such as the Envirocycle Tumbler Bin, are large plastic balls with a tightly fitted lid. The bin sits on a stand, making it easy to give it a roll or two each day, thus keeping the compost aerated and circulating for quicker decomposition. The Envirocycle Tumbler Bin, which bills itself as, "The most beautiful composter in the world," comes in two sizes: a 17-gallon bin for smaller yards and a 35-gallon bin for those with larger gardens. You also get it in black or hot pink.

What's great about rolling compost bins is that when your compost is completely "cooked," you simply roll the composter right where you want the compost, open it up, and dump or shovel the contents around your plants. No need for a bucket or wheelbarrow to transport the compost. It's fairly easy to roll the Envirocycle even when it's full.

The Envirocycle is made of BPA-free, food-safe plastic that won't fade, warp, or crack even in rough weather conditions. A small spigot in the base lets you pour out "compost tea" to use as fertilizer. Plants love this nutrient-rich liquid product of compost decomposition.

Pros: There's no assembly required, it's easy to turn, it rolls right to where you need it in the garden, and it's reasonably attractive

Cons: The composter comes off its base too easily



The best kitchen compost bin

SD Probiotics/Erica/Amazon/Business Insider

The SCD Probiotics All Season Indoor Composter Kit lets you get a head start on your compost making inside, while the Natural Home Stainless Steel Compost Bin is a good place to collect your compost before it goes outside.

While you can't complete the full decomposition cycle indoors, the SCD Probiotics All Season Indoor Composter Kit lets you get a head start on your compost making, and provides plenty of compost tea, as well. If you simply want an attractive container to hold food scraps until you have a chance to add them to your outdoor compost bin, the Natural Home Stainless Steel Compost Bin is effective and attractive.

If you don't have room for a full-size composter, or have a very small garden, you might find that the SCD Probiotics All Season Indoor Composter Kit is all that you need. This anaerobic composter is intended for indoor use, but don't worry — It won't stink up your kitchen, and it fits right under the kitchen sink.

The kit includes a 5-gallon airtight bucket with a handy spigot for releasing compost tea, but what really sets this system apart from traditional outdoor composters is the included gallon bag of Bokashi compost starter, which activates the anaerobic fermentation process. Just drop your food scraps into the bucket, add a layer of Bokashi, and fasten the lid.

The compost will not fully "cook" inside this composter, however, so when the bucket is full, you'll need to bury or scatter the contents in your outdoor garden to finish the composting process.

If you are just looking for a convenient, airtight container to hold scraps until you have a chance to empty them into your outdoor compost bin, the Natural Home Stainless Steel Compost Bin looks good enough to keep out on your counter, has a charcoal filter to prevent odor, and holds up to 1.3 gallons of kitchen scraps.

Pros: Kitchen composters make it easy to recycle food scraps

Cons: You'll still need to transfer the contents to an outdoor composter before your compost is ready to use

Natural Home Stainless Steel Compost Bin

Product Card Module: Stainless Steel Compost Bin
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SCD Probiotics All Season Indoor Composter Kit



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