Let’s find the best compost bin for your lifestyle.Should you use a Compost Tumbler, a static Compost Bin or try the fascinating world of Worm Composting? Whichever you choose, for a gardener, there are few things more satisfying than Composting. Nothing compares to taking waste from your kitchen and garden and turning it into rich, new soil for pots or garden beds.
- Kitchen compost bins
- Static Compost Bins
- Compost Tumbler Bins
- Homemade Compost Bins
Not to lose track of the fact that the things you grow in that new soil, be it fresh vegetables, fresh Strawberries in a hanging basket, or aromatic herbs to intensify your cooking, are all 100% totally guaranteed Organic produce.
We are going to look at some off the shelf solutions first.
If you are fortunate enough to have a few chickens in your garden, or access to clean animal manure, you can take your homemade Compost to a whole new level. If not, invest in a bag of organic manure from your garden nursery.
In this article, we are going to explore the varied, but extremely manageable elements of becoming a Composter. Everything from fencing off a small area of your garden and building a compost bin, from scratch, to Vermiculture (composting with worms). We look at managing Kitchen waste via a Kitchen Compost Shredder, (on the way to your main compost bin). You can also turn your small apartment balcony into a source of fresh food and pure enjoyment.Whatever your situation we think we have found the best compost bin for your needs.
Our Best Compost Bin and Best Compost Tumblers.
Let’s look at the simplest, least technical options first.
Static Compost bins sit on top of the ground, like homemade compost bays). They have a large opening at the top to deposit the materials into , and a small trap door at the bottom from which you can, in theory, remove the ready ,composted material for your gardens or pots.
You create the Composite in these bins the from a simple recipe, 2 thirds green material, one-third Dry material, and the magical ingredient, clean Manure. Replace the lid, but remember to keep it moist.
You continue to add kitchen scraps each day (considered GREEN material), cover with a little dry straw or leaves and add moisture each week or so as needed.
The material will rot down, BUT you really need to get in there and turn it regularly. Access usually becomes an issue here as there is little room for a large garden fork, and getting down into the bottom is not so easy.
To help this along you can get a Compost Turner that lets you drill down, aerating the mix and allowing it to breathe as it decomposes.
If all of this manual activity does not greatly excite you, the next option is to invest in a Compost Tumbler.
This is carefully designed Compost bin, usually made from heavy duty plastic. It takes away the labor required to turn the material inside.
The quality and size of tumblers vary enormously. A quality Tumbler allows you to simply open a hatch, drop in your waste, and manually rotate the bin on its access regularly, to mix the materials as they decompose.
The very best models collect the moisture which naturally seeps to the bottom, into a separate tank for harvesting. This is called “Compost Tea” and to many people use it as a form of natural organic fertilizer for use on garden beds or pots.
Worm Composting -The ultimate in renewable gardening?
Purists and “Vermiculture” enthusiasts will tell you that Composting with Worms, produces the only true, natural liquid fertilizer, and the resulting solids not only improve soil but attract nature’s only working soil enhancers “REAL garden worms” into your garden beds.
The beauty of garden worms is that they live on Micro-organisms in the soil. These come from the decomposing (Composting) materials. The channels they weave under the ground, increase aeration and moisture uptake. This enhances soil more than any artificial fertilizer ever could, without causing toxic runoff into our waterways. Lets look at the best compost bin options commercially available for each.
Our 10 Best Compost Bin Options.
(Click Images for Larger Views)
This is our best compost Tumbler bin. It occupies a space under 3 feet square, offers the ease of a rotating tumbling Composter, collects and syphons off Compost tea easily, contains no harmful chemicals and will never rust. This is the 35 gallon Model, a smaller (17 gallon) option is available, but at only 28 inches high by 23 inches wide and 29 inches deep we think the larger capacity unit is ideal. It is made in the USA and has a 5-year warranty read our review here
- Appealing Heavy Duty Design
- Collects Compost Tea
- Safe BPA free Plastic
- Produces Compost in 6-8 weeks
We love this dual chamber rotating Compost Tumbler. It mirrors the concept of our original “3 bay” system but produces workable compost in as little as two weeks in hot weather. It is also small enough for an apartment balcony. The two separate chambers mean you can fill one and leave it to “cook” while adding new material to the second chamber. This should lead to a continuing flow of fresh compost. Read our review
- Dual Chamber Design
- Corrosion Resistant Frame
- BPA free Plastic Bin
- Continuous flow of Compost
A larger version of the two chamber concept. Each of the two, 40 gallon chambers, is effectively a separate bay, producing compost in batches at varying rates. This heavy duty composter comes with a compost starter kit, a compost accelerator, and 19 inch long compost thermometer. As internal heat is a key factor in compositing, this allows you to readily check on the status of the material in each chamber. Arrives fully assembled, just position it in a sunny spot and you are done.
- Dual Chamber Design
- 80 Gallon Capacity
- BPA free Plastic Bin
- Arrives fully assembled
Perfect for a balcony, courtyard, or garden, this tumbler has a 65 gallon capacity. It rotates on its own axis and is completely sealed against odor and bugs.The metal frame is powder coated for longer life, and the well balanced Tumbler is easy to rotate. The large, hinged access doors provide easy access for depositing materials. With the Bottom of the tumbler some 30 inches above the ground, you can easily wheel in a barrow to collect finished Compost. This composter has a 5 year manufacturers warranty.
- Large Hinged access doors
- Powder coated frame
- Fully sealed against Rodents etc
- Room for collection container underneath
This is the biggest selling Compost Bin on Amazon. It has ventilation holes all around the bin for improved composting, and an access door on each of the 4 sides for easier removal of finished compost. The bin is 26 inches square at the base and stands 31 inches high. Tough, made from plastic resin so it can be left out in all weather and will not deteriorate. Comes with easy to follow assembly instructions.and a helpful composting guide. Excellent value. Read more
- Screened ventilation holes all over
- Access doors at bottom of all 4 sides
- Entire top comes off for easy access.
This Worm farm comes as a 4 Tray stack, which is certainly enough for most users. The base is designed to collect worm tea and has a built in spigot for easy harvesting. If you are new to Composting with worms, you can access the online training guide after you register your purchase (and claim your warranty). Ideal for courtyard or balcony. Because Worm Farms do not require heat retention, they can deviate from the standard black plastic of other compost bins. Available in Black Green or Terracotta.
- Lid converts to harvesting platform.
- Comprehensive Training Guide & Accessories
- Collect and Harvest Worm Tea
- Color options for your decor
The two compartments of this Tumbler provide a combined 37 Gallon capacity and allow you to continue adding material to one compartment as the other is maturing. Bin is easy to rotate and the system is made from 50% recycled plastic. Easily assembled. Dual compartments allow compost in one to mature as you are filling the other. Easy access to finished Compost access point in the base.
- Strong Recycled Plastic -inexpensive.
- Adjustable ventilation
- Light and easy to Rotate
- Easy to remove Compost.
8. Green Cycler Kitchen Compost Shredder
This small kitchen compost bin with its shredder is a perfect partner for your external compost bin. Smaller materials break down more quickly, so running your kitchen scraps through this means quicker access to the finished product. It also speeds up your worm farm production as worms covert smaller items more quickly as well. A small “1-foot” cube, this shredder is stylish enough for your kitchen, has a strong crank handle and a removable lid for easy viewing. The stainless steel blade cartridge snaps in and out for easy cleaning. Our thoughts After a month in use:
- Stylish, Sleek and small
- Turbo Charges your compositing
- Designed for easy Cleaning
- Doubles as a Juice/Cider Press
This larger, 60 Gallon tumbler, can be filled or emptied from either end. Its vertical design means that despite a larger capacity, its footprint is similar to other tumblers of smaller capacity. Comes with a 2 Year guarantee, and can be used anywhere.Has ventilation shafts and a ribbed interior for air circulation, and a dual mixer bar inside to help with mixing. Easy to assemble, hardware and step by step guide included.
- Easy to fill or empty at either end
- Internal Mixing Bar aids composting
- Large Capacity/Small footprint
- Manuafactures in USA for Quality.
- Low exit hole means must empty to a sheet, not container
- Can damage plastic with shovel or pitch fork
If you would prefer a large, static compost bin and can afford the slightly higher price, this bin offers a full 82 gallon capacity, a more attractive circular design, has a locking lid, and comes fully assembled (which you know is a blessing if you have previously assembled one of the square bins). Has a large opening on top with a twisting on lid and a generous opening for removal of Compost. The unit has no base, which allows access for garden worms as well.
- Stylish, Sleek Circular Design
- Large access points
- Locking Lid
- Comes Fully assembled
A Home Made Compost Bin
If you would to create your own Compost bays, here is a step by step guide.
In the old days of larger back gardens, all that was needed for this journey was an under-utilized space along a fence or a wall somewhere. Basically, any space where you could create 3 bays, side by side. Each bay with a solid back, and two vertical sides, and with each “wall” measuring around 1.2 meters (or 4ft) square.
Once filled, each bay gives you one Cubic meter of material, which matures into about a half a meter of beautiful, organic, nutritious soil for your plants overtime.
If you have enough space the old “bay” style might still be best compost bin for you. This video shows you how to build a durable and attractive set of compost bins from scratch. Alternatively, you can do the same thing using old wooden pallets or scrap materials if appearance is not so important to you.
If it helps, you can also Buy the Bays as a flatpack, delivered to your door. Each pack makes one of the three bays. These will take a little while to arrive, but you can start building up a mound of composting materials now and place the bin around it when they reach you.
Once the bays are in place, we can start the fun process of creating free, high-quality soil for your garden. Along with the composting materials, you will also need to add some patience. So let’s get started.
• Step Number 1
The idea is to fill the first bay (left side), with a combination of Dry materials, Green materials, and clean manure. (See recipe below). Day by day just add your garden and plant-based kitchen scraps (no meat products), as they become available, and cover with grass or straw.
To speed up the process, cover the pile with a heavy plastic sheet to help the sun build internal heat. Add a little water every few days so it stays moist, and in about 4-6 weeks it will be time to start moving things to the next stage.
• Step Number 2
At that time you can lay your plastic on the ground in front of the pile, and drag the most recently added, yet to decompose, materials onto that sheet. With a garden fork, move the remaining (partly decomposed) material over the dividing wall to your right, into bay number two. Cover the new Bay 2 with a second plastic sheet, and put the fresher material back as a base for bay #1
Now, refresh Bay #1 with some fresh green material (grass or veggie scraps), some dry material (leaves or straw) and on top spread some more clean manure. Water it in well, and cover it again. Continue to add fresh garden waste to Bin number 1.
Adding to Bin #1 becomes a simple, daily activity, and after another 4 weeks repeat step 2 again, adding decomposing material to bay 2 and freshening up number 1.
A little patience is required here, but as you repeat steps 1 and 2 the volume of material in Bay #2 slowly builds.You will need to turn this material weekly with a fork or Compost Turner, but, in a few weeks, you will notice that it changes into a loose, well “rotted”, sweet smelling blend.
Step Number 3
Depending on your climate, and the volume of raw material you have available, this process will likely have taken at least 3 or 4 months. However, you are now ready to move this well-composted material into bay 3. Anything that is not quite ready stays in Bay 2. Just continue to repeat from step #1 as material comes available.
The good news is that Bay #3 is now a ready source of sweet, new organic soil for your garden beds or plant pots.
Best of all it costs you nothing but your time, a little manure, and your fascination.
Speeding up the cycle- A simple recipe
The secrets in the composting process are twofold. Firstly a regular mix of 2 parts “green” material (including Kitchen Scraps), 1 part “dry material” (leaves, straw dry grass clippings) and we add clean manure on top. Secondly a combination of moisture (which draws the manure down into the mix), and heat, generated internally by the composting process which “cooks” the mix
That is pretty much the process, and those are our suggestions for the best Compost bin, be it home made, Static, Compost Tumbler or pre-compost shredder.
When choosing remember that Compost Bins last a long time, so whichever way you go it might be worth spending a little extra now, (if necessary) to get the features you want, rather than compromise. Be patient,enjoy the process, and your flower beds and veggie patch will never look back