Compost Bins Reviewed and Rated in 2019
What if we told you that you could be utilizing your food scraps in a positive and beneficial way? What if we also told you that doing so would pretty much cause zero inconveniences on your part? Well, you may call us crazy and we would then refer you to the concept behind what is known as compost bins.
Compost itself is rich in nutrients and is often used as a fertilizer. But, it is created from nothing and while there are ways to make DIY compost bins, you can also opt to buy one. And, this leads you to why you came here today. Buying one is not easy as there is a lot that goes into the buying process and many questions you will need to ask yourself along the way. By the end of this guide, it all should be clear.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 12.75 hrs of research
Equipped with two chambers
Has a 70-gallon capacity
Made with galvanized steel
- JORA JK270
- ENVIRO WORLD
- REDMON GREEN
- ALGREEN PRODUCTS
- GOOD IDEAS COMPOST WIZARD
- WORM FACTORY
- OXO GOOD GRIPS
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Frequently Asked Questions
OUR TOP PICKS FOR THE BEST COMPOST BINS
1. JORA JK270
Equipped with two chambers
Has a 70-gallon capacity
Made with galvanized steel
Really difficult to assemble
While there are many kitchen compost bins on the market, this is not such one. The JK270 is really optimized for outdoor use and is really designed to be a workhorse.Read more
This works really well if you assemble it right (more on that later). It sports dual chambers which means you can add new scraps and materials while compost is being made.
With a 70-gallon capacity, this is definitely made for outdoor use and can hold a ton of compost.
This is made with galvanized steel and while this is nice for longevity, this type of metal can rust. In fact, various users have had issues with this model doing exactly that.
Really, the best feature of this unit is the dual chambers. And, each one of them is equipped with a handle. Oh, and this entire unit is supported by a metal stand.
Ease of Use
Here is the problem; this is not easy to perfectly assemble and doing so is essential to ensure this performs up to par. You will most likely need some help when assembling this.
Does it seem odd that the top model on this list is flawed in this manner? Well, most compost bins are not perfect but assuming you can assemble this correctly, it works extremely well.
Two different capacity options are available
Built like a tank
No assembly is required
Needs enhanced airflow
The handling could be improved
Even though this model is not flawless in its design, it remains one of the best and most effective designs on the market. It is also not the cheapest, either.Read more
Overall, this does need some better ventilation but it works well thanks to the rotating drum. Additionally, you can collect the excess liquid to be used as additional fertilizer.
It is up to you what size you want as you are provided with a couple. You can either go with a larger option (35 gallons) or with the much smaller one (at just 17 gallons).
While maybe not incredibly durable and shatter-resistant, this is designed with food-safe materials that are protected from UV rays (which allows it to be safe in the sunlight).
Instead of being designed with a handle or deeper grooves, this is equipped with subpar grooves that make turning this harder than it should be.
Ease of Use
To eliminate any issues with assembly, this comes preassembled. Of course, if any issues do happen to arise then you can always reach out to the seller or company.
This is dubbed “the most beautiful composter in the world” and while this may be somewhat of an audacious claim, it is mostly justified by looking at the overall design of it.
3. ENVIRO WORLD
The upper body is adjustable
Comes with metal pegs
It can make crazy amounts of compost
The lid can be really difficult to get back on
It is pretty evident from the photos but in case you did not notice, this sucker is extremely large. Clearly, it will not work for those of you looking for kitchen compost bins but it is perfect for the outdoors.Read more
To ensure that this vents in the manner that it should, the upper body can be adjusted. However, do be aware that this bin does not come equipped with a bottom.
With an 11 cubic foot capacity, let’s just say that this thing is literally huge. In fact, it is so huge that the hardest part is going to be finding a suitable location for it in your yard.
The reality of the situation is this is a plastic can. However, all the plastic that has been utilized is recycled.
Coming with your purchase is a booklet and metal grounding pegs to keep this sucker secured. However, the twist locking lid, while great in theory, can be difficult to get back on.
Ease of Use
On top of the fact that no assembly is going to be required on your part, this is all but free of any required maintenance. Additionally, this comes with a booklet for your convenience.
There have been previous consumers who have felt that this was nothing more than an oversized plastic garbage can. Yet, it is a lot more than that and works really well as a compost bin.
4. REDMON GREEN
Sports weather-resistant resin
Equipped with four different doors
Can also be purchased with an aerator
The included spikes do not anchor well
Does not sport a secure lid
Being able to hold up to 65 gallons, this is much larger than what it appears to be. Also, it is designed with weather-resistant resin to handle the abusive nature of the outdoor world.Read more
When making compost, proper ventilation and airflow are musts and that is achieved well here. After all, there are ventilation holes that have been engineered all over the place.
As mentioned, this can hold up to 65 gallons of compost. The photos make this seem much smaller than it actually is but that is not the case at all.
Yep, the best part about this model has got to be the fact that it is made with plastic resin. Not only does this make the bin quite durable but it also allows it to resist the weather without succumbing to too much damage.
For the most part, this design is practical. It is designed with four different access doors and a lift-off lid. But, this same lid struggles to stay secure. Also, the included spikes do not work very well.
Ease of Use
First off, a composting guide is included with your purchase. And, to make things even easier for you, this bin is not very hard to assemble in the slightest.
This is a great example of a compost bin that is so close to being incredible but is hampered by a few design flaws. In spite of these, though, this is still a recommended option without a doubt.
5. ALGREEN PRODUCTS
Backed by a 20-year warranty
Thick in its construction
You can easily remove compost
The bad quality control issues lead to assembly problems
If you look past the fact that this was not designed in a user-friendly manner (speaking for the assembly), it really is an effective compost bin that definitely gets the job done.Read more
First off, the robust construction of this model allows it to better insulate to breakdown waste quicker. Also, the locking lid allows air to move through for proper ventilation.
With a capacity of 94 gallons, there is no other way to describe this then as incredibly large. You should have no shortage of compost, let’s just say that.
In addition to the fact that this is made with 100 percent recycled materials, the enhanced thickness adds even more to the durability of this model.
All sorts of features are integrated here such as easy lock handles, two sliding doors, large openings and the self-watering lid that was previously mentioned.
Ease of Use
Here is the deal; it is not a skill issue when it comes to assembling this unit. The reality is there are quality control issues and it makes the assembly much more difficult due to them.
Are you one of those buyers who will deliberately pass over a specific product because it is too hard to assemble? If so, you may want to look for other options. But, everything else is great.
It can expand to four feet
Very easy to assemble
Made with recycled plastic
It does not come with stakes
Really hard to move
With an expandable height of four feet, let’s just say that this is optimized to hold a boatload of compost. It is also properly ventilated to ensure optimal performance.Read more
You really can’t move this thing once it has enough compost in it. But, it is optimized with ventilation holes everywhere to ensure ample airflow.
At its peak, this can stand four feet tall and hold 216 gallons worth of compost. In short, this is ginormous.
No, this is nothing fancy in terms of its construction. It is made with 50 percent recycled plastic making this a solid if unspectacular, material choice.
For whatever reason, there are no stakes or anything to stabilize this compost bin with your purchase. It is rather mind-boggling as if this is not at least halfway full, moderate winds will knock it down.
Ease of Use
This is not only easy to assemble but also to reassemble if you wanted to store it away for a short time period.
Some features here and there could have amped this bad boy up. As it sits, though, this is a solid and reliable means of making compost. Just stabilize it and you will be good.
Includes an extra charcoal filter
Designed with high-grade stainless steel
The charcoal filters trap and control odors
It can rust
The carbon filters are not long-lasting
In a way, you could argue that this design is flawed due to the fact that it utilizes stainless steel (as moisture can cause it to rust). But, the stainless steel core does make for an exceptional aesthetic.Read more
What makes this design tick are the charcoal filters. These basically will both trap and control the odors that emit from the scraps to allow this unit to rest inside of your home.
Due to the fact that this is really designed for your kitchen, it has been optimized to be small. As such, it has a capacity of 1.3 gallons which pales in comparison to much larger options on the market.
As alluded to, the fact that this is made with 201 stainless steel is both good and bad. On one hand, this metal is nice to look at and is also durable. Yet, on the other hand, though it is resistant to rust, it can still rust when moisture comes into play.
Even though the carbon filters do not last very long, a spare one is included with your purchase. On another note, the lid can also be much harder to remove than it should be.
Ease of Use
Not only can the charcoal filters be washed when they need to be but you can also easily wash the bin itself (as stainless steel is known for its ease of cleaning).
Good but not great. That is the best way to describe this compost bin. What makes or breaks the decision for you, though, is if you want to deal with the possibility of rust forming.
8. GOOD IDEAS COMPOST WIZARD
You can use the excess liquid on plants
Designed only with recycled plastic
No assembly is required
It can slip off the track easily
This is one of the more compact units on this list and is also made with 100 percent recycled plastic. It also is specifically designed to be black to better absorb the heat from the sun.Read more
Yep, this is black to better absorb the sunlight. But, a neat little feature is that when you turn the drum, any of the excess liquid can then be used as it drains into the base.
With a base of four gallons, this is not the largest bin on this list nor is it the smallest. It does fall closer to the smaller range, however.
Yes, this is made out of plastic but not just some ordinary cheap plastic. Instead, this was made with 100 percent recycled polyethylene that also happens to be BPA-free.
The major issue with this design is the fact that the unit does not roll well on the track and tends to slip off once you have enough compost in it. This can become really irritating really quickly.
Ease of Use
Even though this does come with two pieces, there is actually no assembly required on your part. Literally, in less than one minute you can be ready to start placing ingredients inside.
Outside of the fact that this does not stay on the base very well, it is a well-designed unit. Hey, everything has got something wrong with it, right?
9. WORM FACTORY
Comes with a manual
It is available in different colors
Features a multi-tray design
The worms need to be ordered separately
Tends to arrive with missing items
With this model here, worms will be hard at work to produce the compost that you ultimately want to create. But, do be aware that the worms themselves will need to be ordered separately.Read more
Basically, this is going to house several composting worms. And, while you will need to buy these separately, it will be worth it for the end goal.
Not only does this come with four trays but it can be expanded to up to eight trays. Thus, this gives you plenty of space to use up when making compost.
In terms of durability and materials, this does not set the world on fire. There has even one buyer who noted that the bottom leg bent on them when they had six trays inserted inside.
For whatever reason, many previous consumers have had an issue with some of the items not arriving at their addresses. So, you may need to expect to get ahold of the seller after your purchase.
Ease of Use
Okay, so the included accessory kit is designed to make managing this unit much easier. The problem, as just alluded to, is that you may not be provided with all the accessories needed.
Going through the hassle of getting all the accessories may not be worth it in your opinion. But, the efficiency and effectiveness on display here should make it worth it.
10. OXO GOOD GRIPS
It is very easy to clean
Equipped with a rotating handle
The interior walls are smooth
The lid is not well-designed
If you are looking for the best compost bins for kitchen use then you may want to look much closer at this model. It is not large but that is somewhat the point of its design.Read more
The lid is designed to close but not seal as this still allows oxygen inside. Additionally, the walls are smooth to prevent liquids and foods from building up.
As this is designed to rest on your kitchen countertops, it is small and there is no reason to sugarcoat it.
As you can tell from the photos, this has been made of plastic. So, nothing special or spectacular to talk about here.
While the lid could have been designed better (it is hard to remove), the rotating handle is nice to have and the contoured bottom is also a nice implementation.
Ease of Use
This is relatively simple to maintain and clean as it is a smaller model optimized for your kitchen.
Look, this is just not a good option for larger families or anyone who wants to use compost regularly. It is a really good smaller and more compact compost bin, though, for the right people.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
These are pretty simple tools but not all of them will be as effective as each other.
To be perfectly honest, compost bins are not complicated and are actually really simple. But, there are some different factors that can alter their effectiveness and how effective they are for you personally. No matter what, though, proper ventilation (among other factors) is going to be vital. Regardless of the style and shape you go with, the bin needs to be properly ventilated.
Now, these bins can actually come in different shapes. The most common will be square and these are the ones that many of you will stick with. These can fit nicely in your gardens and are easy to access the compost with. But, there are round containers available. However, these bins will be a bit trickier to reach with mixing tools.
You also have different designs altogether. Outside of just traditional bins, which will require manual aeration, there are also tumbler bins available. These are nice in the fact that they can be rolled for aeration (which basically allows air and water to penetrate through) to quicken up the process a bit. Heck, there are also even worm bins on the market and these utilize the concept of worm composting.
Bins range from a plethora of different sizes and choosing the one you want is up to you.
It is pretty incredible when you start to look at the different compost bins on the market as they can range in size and capacity greatly. It is often not a subtle difference, either, as these suckers can range from a few gallons to literally tens and hundreds of gallons. The difference is often astronomical but this then begs a very important question; what size are you going to need?
You know, this really comes down to what type of waste you have. If you have a large yard that is literally loaded with organic waste, you may want a larger bin to account for all of it. Most models that are optimized for outdoor use, anyway, will be quite large in their sizes. Typically, your square bins will range anywhere from 60 to 200 gallons.
On the other hand, if you simply want kitchen compost bins then you will want to aim for something much smaller. Clearly, if you plan on keeping the bin indoors then it should not be a behemoth. Compost bins for kitchen, for the record, are ideal if you have some appropriate kitchen waste to utilize.
Some models will be plastic, others metal and some may even be made of wood.
As with most anything else, the materials in which a specific compost bin is made with will play a vital role in the buying process. When talking about compost bins, a plethora of them will be made with recycled plastic. Now, yes, plastic is not often the most durable and optimal material in the world but here it works quite well. Also, most plastic utilized will be a darker tone (purposely) to better absorb heat from the sun.
But, not all models will be made with plastic and some will feature metal cores (oftentimes stainless steel). Stainless steel, in specific, will typically be the material of choice for kitchen compost bins. After all, stainless steel is durable, rust-resistant, and aesthetically pleasing. But, stainless steel is also not rustproof (it is the chromium that protects it from rust) so do keep that in mind.
Of course, even though there were none on this list, you may also see models made with wood. The concern here is that wood can rot so this makes it crucial, if you want a wooden model, to look for rot-resistant woods to be utilized.
While these are simple, there will be some features to look out for.
As said before, these “tools” are pretty simple in their designs. With that said, there are still some features that you can look out for. Of course, this all starts with the lid. Now, the reasoning to why you would want a lid is twofold. For starters, if the bin is outside, food scraps could end up attracting furry little nuisances (such as raccoons). And, even though such animals can be pretty crafty, a secure lid is going to stop them. Secondly, for indoor use, do you really want to smell the compost?
Now, continuing on, there are plenty of models on the market that are designed with subpar lids. Many of which can be really difficult to put back on and while, this is annoying, it is something you may have to deal with. The same could be said about the handling of certain compost bins. While most will be designed to be stationary, certain designs may be equipped with grooves (tumblers) or handles.
Let’s talk about kitchen compost bins for another second. The main feature that makes these optimal for indoor use is their ability to resist odors. Some will do so with charcoal filters as, after all, you really do not want to smell all the scraps inside, do you?
Ease of Use
Most compost bins will be easy to maintain and install but others may not be.
Making compost is easy, right? With the right tools it can be but what you need to realize is it could be harder depending on the model you go with. Even though larger bins can hold more waste, they will also be a bit more difficult to maintain as you will need to turn over the compost (unless you buy a tumbler).
But, there is something else to talk about and that is the assembly. For the most part, this is not going to be too much of a hassle. From time to time, however, you will come across models that will need to be assembled. This can either be pathetically easy or a pain in the butt and depends largely on the individual design.
With poor quality control and lazy engineering, the simplest of compost bins can be difficult to assemble. All it takes is one misaligned screw to ruin your day. In this case, it will not hurt to have some handyman skills. Again, though, this will not be an issue too frequently.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
In spite of the fact that making proper compost will come down to a number of different variables, owning a proper bin is going to be one of them (or at least can be). And, there are actually different types of designs on the market so there is something for everyone. One of the most important factors to consider, no matter which way you go, is adequate ventilation.
One of the most important questions you need to ask yourself (actually there are two) is how big of a bin you want to buy. The second question, which is somewhat of a byproduct of the first, is what waste do you have to work with? The two play off of each other as if you have organic waste, you will want a larger model. But, with just food scraps, a smaller one will suffice.
There are actually several different materials that you can choose from on the market. You will see recycled plastic, metal, and even wooden compost bins. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages, quite frankly, that you will need to keep in mind. As with most of the decision-making thus far, this will ultimately come down to you and your preferences.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Do you need to have a bin?
The short and simple answer to this question is no, you do not need to have a compost bin. It is not a necessary tool to successfully make compost but sure is a good one. And, you do not even need to technically buy one on the market. Plenty of people make DIY compost bins as, again, they really are simple tools. You can look up some ideas on the web if you are feeling somewhat creative today.
q: Can you compost all year round?
It all depends on geography, quite frankly, and where you are in the world. If you live in an area that does not experience below freezing climates at any point then you can compost non-stop, all year round. The same can’t be said for folks who live through colder winters as the rate of decomposition is going to slow down exponentially. In this case, the compost pile may freeze over. Then again, the same pile will be fine once the weather warms back up (if you keep adding scraps).
q: What should you avoid putting inside?
It needs to be said that you can’t simply throw everything you find in your bin. And, there are actually plenty of ingredients that you should stay away from. To start, just avoid any fats and oils. This can include anything from dairy products to meat. Additionally, avoid weeds that have seeds on them (though there are ways around this). Oh, and you should also avoid anything that may be contaminated in any way from outside sources.
q: What should you add?
Alright, so what can you add, then? Well, let’s just start off by saying there are plenty of items that you can use that will not be listed here. But, to give you a strong idea of the types of scraps and items that you can use for your compost, check some of these out. Any organic materials that are soft are usually fair game. This can include vegetable trimmings, stray leaves, fresh manure and grass clippings. Of course, you can also add “brown” ingredients such as hay, paper, and straw.
q: When is the compost finished?
Are you sick and tired of hearing the phrase, “it depends”? Well, that is the best answer to this question. But, here is the good news, you can often tell when your compost is ready just by looking at it. If you are looking at it and it appears that all the items have been broken down and it looks dark, then it is probably ready to rock. If you want another telling point, smell the compost (do not be disgusted by this) and if it smells like soil then you are most likely good to go.
q: Can compost be used as mulch?
For the most part, mulch is not the best use for compost. The main reason for this is due to the finished state of it. Instead of resembling mulch, the finished product of compost is going to resemble soil. If you have ever laid mulch than you know that this will not work the best. With that being said, if you just wanted to compost leaves this could do the trick. And, it is even better when the leaves are partially rotted.