By Matt Gibson
If you have stopped using plastic straws and invested in reusable metal straws, started separating your trash from your recyclables and are now hauling your recyclables off to a recycle center, or recently invested in reusable grocery bags to help cut down on plastic bag use, you are taking steps towards a more eco-friendly lifestyle and are trying to lower your carbon footprint, and we applaud your efforts.
You can also invest in some reusable food containers, switch out your old cleaning products for new organic ones, and look into starting your own homemade composting system to start turning your kitchen waste into humus-rich compost which you can use to enrich your garden’s soil.
Compost is called black gold for a reason. For your garden, compost is as good as gold. It encourages healthy plant growth and helps your plants develop strong roots. Over time, adding compost to your soil can increase your vegetable yields, help your plants produce beautiful flowers, and boost the overall health of your garden soil. Plants require vitamins, minerals, and nutrients just like people, and compost is like a multivitamin for your garden plants.
Composting is not just good for your garden alone. It is also a great way to discard kitchen waste that would otherwise become excess garbage. You can purchase compost at your local nursery or gardening center, but why spend money on something you can easily make at home out of materials that you would otherwise just throw in the garbage? Why lug around a heavy bag of premade compost when you can create your own at home?
Composting takes a little bit of time and a good bit of work, but investing in a high-quality composter can make the task much easier. There are several different types of composters you can choose from. The one you pick depends on the amount of kitchen waste and paper waste you make, and the amount of time you are willing to spend turning that waste into garden gold.
In this article, you will find our recommendations for several different kinds of composters. There are open bins, worm composters, bokashi composting systems, and tumbling composters. There are even small kitchen composters that are made to fit right under your sink. Which composter type you pick is completely up to you. But once you know what type of composter you want, you can refer to this list to find the best available composter on the market for that type. Here are our top picks for the best composters of 2020:
Tumbler Compost Systems
The FCMP IM4000 Outdoor Tumbling Composter
This 37-gallon tumbling composter makes it easy to turn your compost pile for a quicker rate of decomposition. With dual chambers, the FCMP Composter allows you the option of letting one load of compost finish maturing while loading all of your new compost into a second chamber or leave the partition out to compost one giant load of compost all at once instead.
This composter stays elevated over two feet off the ground on a metal stand, which helps keep rats, and other potential foragers, out of your compost pile. Unfortunately, the plastic doors that allow access to the compost, have been known to freeze over in cold winter weather, making it very hard for owners to access their compost during the cold season. Aside from this one major flaw, this composter is a top of the line product.
It is the perfect size for the home gardener, and at just under $100, it is an affordable way to start your home composting system without having to use the old school pile and pitchfork method.
- Easy to assemble and easy to use.
- 37 gallons with dual-chamber or single chamber option.
- Metal stand elevates tumbler to two feet off the ground.
- $90 at most stores.
- Plastic doors may freeze shut in freezing weather conditions
- Perfectly sized to suit most small home gardening operations
Lifetime 60058 80-Gallon Compost Tumbler
If you are looking for a composter that can handle more organic waste and churn out large amounts of compost to use in the garden, the Lifetime 60058 Compost Tumbler is right up your alley. 80 gallons of space is a lot of room for excess kitchen scraps, paper waste, and yard waste, but if you think you have enough material to compost on a regular basis, you can’t beat the end result, which is lots of usable garden compost to reinvigorate your soil and provide the best possible environment for your garden plants.
Something to consider with a composter of this size is that it may become quite heavy, especially when fully loaded, and may take some extra effort to turn the compost regularly to mix the materials inside. Product reviews have suggested that the lid could use a few extra screws to add a bit of extra reinforcement. Also, users have complained that this composter occasionally leaks liquid during the composting process.
For a simple fix, place a large bucket under the leak to catch this valuable liquid, which is also known as compost tea, and put it to use in the garden by mixing it with water in your watering can before watering your plants. At $150, you don’t have to have a big garden budget to add a big garden composter.
- 80 gallons of space for all your kitchen, yard, and office waste.
- Elevated off the ground with a metal stand to help keep rats and other foragers out of your compost.
- $150 at most stores, a very reasonable price for a composter of this size.
- Is known to leak valuable compost tea.
- Might become too heavy to turn for some gardeners.
Spin Bin 60 Gal. Outdoor Rotating Compost Tumbler
The Spin Bin Rotating Compost Tumbler is a durable, high-quality, USA made, outdoor compost tumbler that breaks down compost twice as fast as a stationary compost bin. It has 20 ventilation slots to keep the compost inside well aerated. It has four compost thermometer ports so you can easily read the temperature of the compost inside without ever opening the lid. Instead of just tumbling horizontally, the Spin Bin rotates vertically, which keeps the contents inside the bin well mixed and helps them break down much quicker than your standard composter.
The Spin Bin sits elevated well off the ground on a high-quality steel stand, and its twist locking lids that are positioned on either end of the bin, keep rats and other foraging animals out of your compost. Holding up to 60 gallons of organic material, you would think that the Spin Bin would be tough to turn when full, but due to its vertical rotation and how it is elevated on a steel stand, it’s actually quite easy to turn over. The inside of the lid on each end of the Spin Bin is embossed with composting directions, so it’s easy to check just before adding contents, what should and should not be composted.
At just under $170, the Spin Bin doesn’t break the bank, but it is a solid investment for outdoor composting. Made from 100% recycled plastic.
- Large 60 Gallon Capacity.
- Black colored bin to help attract the sun’s rays for faster composting.
- Four compost thermometer ports for easy temperature reading access.
- 20 Air ventilation slots located on all sides and lid to keep compost well aerated.
- The Interior center bar helps to mix contents up when tumbled.
- Sturdy, powder-coated steel legs help keep the tumbler elevated.
- Made in the USA from 100% recycled plastic material.
Stationary Compost Systems
Redmon 8000 Compost Bin
The Redmon 8000 Compost Bin has an impressive 65 gallons of storage space and an even more impressive price tag of around $60. This affordable home composting system is a stationary bin-style composter that reviewers claim is great for quickly heating up the materials inside and quickly processing large amounts of material.
On the downside, this composter does not have a stand or base, making it more susceptible to attacks from rodents and other pests (which largely depends on the type of materials you are composting). Also, some reviewers have complained that the lid blows off in high winds and may need some additional reinforcement to secure it in place.
- 65 gallons of storage space
- Quickly heats up and processes large quantities of organic material
- Very affordable at only $60 from most stores.
- Prone to foraging from rodents and other pests
- The lid may blow off in heavy winds
Algreen Products Soil Saver Classic Compost Bin
This large 94-gallon compost bin is perfect for those with large lawn and garden areas who plan to use the compost they create on their own property. This composting system collects water and air from the environment and mixes it with the contents you add from your kitchen, garden, and yard waste, creating usable compost in six to eight months’ time.
While the upper layers continue to create new compost, usable compost can be collected from the bottom tray and put to use immediately. The locking, self-watering lid keeps rats and other foraging pests out of your compost bin. Thick, sturdy construction helps to keep heat inside to help microorganisms break down materials inside. At just under $100, even beginning gardeners can afford to enjoy a professional-grade composting system.
- 94-gallon capacity is great for all your ongoing compost needs.
- Large opening and dual sliding doors make accessing your usable compost and adding waste materials an easy task.
- Creates a new batch of usable compost every six to eight months
- Under $100 price makes this an affordable investment
- Locking, self-watering lid keeps pests and foraging animals out.
Exaco Trading Co. Aerobin 400 Exaco Insulated Composter and Self Aeration System
If you’re ready to spend the big bucks on a composting system, (and I do mean the big bucks, at nearly $360, this composter comes with a hefty price tag) and you want to get the most state-of-the-art composter on the market, meet the Exaco Trading Co. new Aerobin 400. This composter is double insulated to protect against cold weather, self aerated, meaning you don’t have to turn it, and made with heavy-duty construction that will last for years to come. The Exaco composter has a reservoir at the base and a spigot that can be used to collect its valuable compost tea, which you can then dilute and use as an all-natural plant booster and fertilizer.
The easiest way to feed your plants with compost tea is to dilute it with the water that you are using to water your plants. The Aerobin 400 holds 113 gallons of organic material and can produce useable compost in just a few month’s time. With a price tag like that, you should expect nothing less than a system that requires no additional work after organic materials are added, and according to the product description and reviews, that is just what you get.
- $360 is a lot to pay for a composter, though one reviewer hinted that it was much cheaper when purchased at Costco.
- Heavy-duty construction means that it will not blow over or fall apart.
- Double insulated with polystyrene to protect against cold weather conditions.
- A patented Self Aeration system means that no turning is necessary.
- Produces useable compost in two to three months.
- Just load up the Aerobin 400 with organic materials and let the machine do the rest.
- Has a double bottom with a reservoir and spigot to collect compost tea
Indoor Composting Systems
Nature’s Factory Worm Factory 360
If you want to start your own indoor worm composting system, this is one of the best options on the market. The Worm Factory 360 is an expandable worm composting system that comes with four trays, which is perfect for small families of one to four but can be expanded to up to eight trays if you produce a lot of household waste.
This worm composter will work as an outdoor or indoor composter, but needs to stay in temperatures between 40 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, so it’s best to keep it sheltered inside of your garage if you don’t want to bring it indoors completely. Though it may take several months to produce compost, the more materials you put in, the more high-quality compost you will receive.
- At just under $120, this is a very affordable worm composting system
- Must provide proper temperatures, as well as adequate airflow, and moisture levels
- Functions indoors and outdoors, though indoor environments may be needed to provide proper temperature requirements.
SCD Probiotics All Seasons Indoor Composter Kit With Bokashi
If you are not a big fan of creating your own worm farm, the indoor composting method known as bokashi composting may be the best bet for your composting needs. This method involves combining microorganism-rich oat bran (which is included with the bin) with your food scraps to create a nutrient-rich compost to use in your garden. The bokashi compost system offers a low odor solution to indoor composting, using microbes and fermentation to turn kitchen and garden scraps into compost in no time. One advantage of bokashi composting is that you can compost just about anything in a bokashi bin. Unlike traditional composting methods, bokashi composters can take on just about any type of kitchen scraps that you create and turn it into high-quality compost.
- At just $52, this is a highly-affordable compost kit
- Includes an easy-to-access spigot for collecting compost tea
- You can compost bones, meat, fish, just about everything with bokashi that you cannot compost with traditional methods.
- People may avoid indoor composting due to the smell, but bokashi systems do not smell.
- Those that try bokashi composting out, tend to stick with the method. This is a low-risk way to give bokashi composting a try for yourself.
No matter what type of composter you want, be it a tumbling compost system, a stationary system, or an indoor composting kit, one of these six composters will meet your needs. Get started composting today and lower your carbon footprint with one of these affordable, eco-friendly composters.