You know you want the very best care for your garden. After all, it’s your passion — not just a hobby. Choosing the best compost bin for your garden will help you convert your food scraps and yard waste into nutritious fertilizer. Compost is an affordable way to keep your garden in bloom and your veggies bursting with health all season.
Your garden plants need more than just the right chemicals to stay healthy. You also need to add organic matter. Adding compost to your garden soil helps it retain moisture. It also gives your soil the right texture, so your plants can spread their roots. Compost also helps feed the beneficial microbes in your soil. These microbes make your flower and vegetable plants more resistant to pests and diseases. To make enough compost for all your plants, you’ll need the best compost bin to turn your leftovers and leaves into this nutrient-rich “black gold.”
Composting is an ancient practice, with evidence of primitive composting techniques going as far back as the Akkadian Empire in Mesopotamia, a millennium before Moses. Modern-day composting, however, owes much to a British scientist named Sir Albert Howard, who published his book “An Agricultural Testament” on his experiments with organic farming in 1940.
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What Goes into the Best Compost Bin
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Making compost at home is something that should be on every gardener’s to-do list. It is a great, affordable way to maintain your garden’s health. It is also an excellent way to help keep excess waste out of the landfills.
Everyone’s garden is different, so the model that will be the best compost bin for you might. The right choice depends a lot on the size of your garden and the type of matter you need to compost. To find the best compost bin for your garden, knowing what bins are available and how you are likely to use them are vital considerations.
Types of Compost Bins
Before you decide on the best compost bin for your garden, let’s take a look at what kind of bins are on the market.
Keep it going
Continuous composters are outdoor compost bins. Most designs are large boxes with a lid that allows you to add material in whenever you need to.
Over time, the lower layers of the bin become compost that you can then remove as you need it.
As long as you continue to add material to this type of composter, you will always have compost on hand, ready to go. However, the material does take more time to break down than in other composters, sometimes up to several months.
A little at a time
Batch or tumbling composters allow you to make compost faster, in as little as four weeks under the proper conditions.
For a batch of compost, you place your materials in the composter. You can then agitate the material using a tumbling or rotating motion, allowing for more even decomposition.
By batch cooking, you can make your compost faster than with other methods. However, it does take a bit more planning than a continuous composter.
Creepy, crawly composters
Every great garden has its share of wildlife. While some are pests, others are incredibly beneficial!
Perhaps the most beneficial of them all is the earthworm. These humble little creatures are every gardener’s best friend.
As they crawl through the dirt, they create tunnels, letting water and air get to the roots of your plants. But most importantly, their excrement, or worm castings, are full of vital nutrients that help your plants thrive.
Vermicomposting is the art of using worms to create your compost. Worm bins allow you to raise your worms. In exchange for food scraps and a warm place to live, you can reap the rewards of their castings.
Features to look for
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When you are looking for the best compost bin for your garden, you need to consider a few key features.
Bigger or smaller
When it comes to composters, you want a composter big enough to make what you need for your garden. Consider the size of your garden, as well as your available space, before choosing a composter.
Hands on or hands off
All compost is going to take some work to make, but some composters will require more work than others. Consider how much time you have (or want) to devote to tending your compost pile.
What a not-so-lovely smell
Compost is essentially rotting food and plant debris. While this will be great for your plants when your compost is done, living with the composting matter is not always everyone’s idea of fun.
If you have a yard, and room in it, to put your composter, you’re good to go. However, if you need to move your compost indoors, you need to consider some specialized features.
Vermicomposting is a good alternative for less-smelly composting. A tumbler style composter that allows you to cover your compost may also help lessen the odor.
The decaying matter in your composter is going to attract some critter attention. While some may be beneficial to your compost, like earthworms, scavenging animals indeed are not!
If you live in an area with rodents, raccoons, or other animals, consider an outdoor composter that has a locking lid and is off the ground. This makes it more difficult for animals to get into.
How We Reviewed
To find the best compost bin for every gardener, we looked for various types of composters, to suit a variety of needs. We made sure that each has a green thumbs-up from both professional and hobby gardeners.
We also looked at all of the features each composter had to offer. Finally, we also took a look at what gardeners had to say about these composters.
Choosing the Best Compost Bin for Your Garden
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When shopping for a compost bin, keep the size of your garden and the amount of material you expect in mind. You should be able to find one in your price range. The price range for our list of the best compost bin options for various gardening needs and styles is $30 to $450.
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The Yimby IM4000 Tumbling Composter is a large batch composter. It features two separate chambers, allowing you to make two batches of compost simultaneously. The composter has a 37-gallon capacity.
The IM4000’s unique, octagonal shape and tumbling design makes it easy to mix up your compost without the mess. All you need to do is close the door and spin it a few times, every few days.
The Yimby IM4000 Tumbling Composter has a 4 out of 5-star rating on Amazon. It is also rated 4.5 out of 5-stars on Walmart. It gets high marks from New York Magazine as well as Compost Guide for its ease of use and value.
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If you want to look at vermicomposting, the Nature’s Footprint Worm Factory 360 is an excellent starting point. This kit includes four trays that you can make compost in. You can also purchase extra trays and expand it up to eight trays in total.
Aside from the trays, the kit also includes mineral rock dust, an accessory kit, a worm ladder, and bedding materials. All you need to do is assemble the trays, gather some food waste, and add worms!
The Worm Factory composter is available on Amazon for between $100 and $115.
It gets a 4.4 out of 5-star rating from Amazon reviewers. It earned a place on the Family Living Today list of recommended compost bins.
In general, reviewers tend to like how easy it was to use. Reviewers also mention that it is low-odor when used and also like that it is expandable.
A critical review was disappointed that one of the legs of their Worm Factory buckled under the weight of six trays, thus short of the stated maximum capacity. Other critical reviews mentioned possible missing items when they opened their packages.
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If you’re a serious gardener who wants a lot of compost but isn’t fond of compost piles, the Envirocycle may be the best compost bin for you! Marketed as the “Most Beautiful Composter,” the Envirocycle is a solid, batch composter that comes in 17-gallon and 35-gallon capacities.
The Envirocycle sits on a platform that has wheels, allowing you to rotate the composter easily. The platform also collects any leachate for you to use as a compost tea or to dispose of, as you see fit. The Envirocycle is ready to go with no assembly required.
The Envirocycle is available on Amazon for between $250 and $275 for the 35-gallon capacity. You can buy it in a choice of either black or pink.
This composter gets a 4.5 out of 5-star rating on Amazon. Positive reviews love this composter, with one report calling it the “finest composter in the world.” Overall, people found it very easy to use and also liked the customer service.
Critical reviews like the look of the Envirocycle but found the design to be lacking. In particular, the door latch was weak, and there needs to be more airflow. Also, some reviewers believe that it would be easier to turn if the Envirocycle had handles, rather than shallow grooves.
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The Algreen Soil Saver is a continuous composter. You can place food scraps and brown material in the top and then harvest your finished compost down below in about eight weeks.
The simplicity of the design may make this the best compost bin available for people with large gardens or hobby farms. It has a total capacity of 12.65 cubic feet or approximately 94 gallons. It features a locking lid where you deposit your food waste, with two sliding doors to access your finished compost.
Made from BPA-free, 100-percent recycled material; the Algreen Soil Saver is thick to help insulate the heat inside the container.
The Algreen Soil Saver is available for between $90 and $100 on Amazon, where it gets a 4.1 out of 5-star rating.
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If you are looking to make a lot of compost on a budget, this may be the best compost bin for you! The Geobin is a compost bin that is lightweight, expandable, and very affordable.
The Geobin comes as flat sheets of plastic that you can assemble and reassemble as needed. The unique design of the 50-percent recycled plastic sides provides superior ventilation for your cooking compost. It has a total capacity of 216 gallons.
The Geobin is available on Amazon for between $30 and $40. It has a 4.1 out of 5-star rating.
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Manufacturers make most large, outdoor composters from recycled plastics. However, the Jora Composter Tumbler is the exception. This handsome looking, galvanized steel tumbler is sure to look great in both urban gardens or a hobby farm.
Jora makes the outer shell of the composter from rust-resistant, galvanized steel with 2.16-inches of interior plastic insulation. This insulation helps to keep in the heat generated by your compost, reaching and maintaining degrees of around 150 to 160-degrees Fahrenheit. This helps your compost break down faster.
The Jora Composter Tumbler JK270 is dual chambered, with a total capacity of 70-gallons or 9.4-cubic feet.
You can find the Jora Composter on Amazon for between $415 and $460. It rates 4.1 out of 5-stars on Amazon.
Positive reviews love this composter for the ease of use and high quality of the build. One positive review calls it the “best thing we ever bought” and cites their ability to make compost throughout the year, even in cold climates. The reviewer notes that in the winter, they can see steam coming from the vent holes, a sign of the heat generated by the composter.
Several critical reviews note the composter starting to fall apart after around three years of use. Other reviewers also said that it was difficult to retrieve the finished compost.
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The Redmon Green Culture compost bin is an easy to use, continuous composter that is great for just about any garden. This compost bin is made from high impact plastic and holds 65 gallons, or 8.6 cubic feet, of material.
Made in New Zealand, the Redmon Green Culture has a lift-off lid, letting you easily add material to your compost pile. In addition to having plenty of ventilation, it also has four doors, allowing easy access to your finished compost from any side.
The Redmon Green Culture compost bin is available on Amazon for between $50 and $70. It has a rating of 4.3 out of 5-stars on Amazon.
The Finished Product
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Like making compost itself, finding the best compost bin is not that hard of a task, but it does take some time, effort, and research. Bringing together your garden’s needs as well as the time, effort, and space you have available, are your key ingredients.
Taking into consideration how much material you plan to compost, as well as how you plan to use it in your garden, are things you need to remember when you are comparing the best compost bin options.
No matter what you choose, your garden is sure to thank you for all your hard work!