Home composting is something many people try, and it can be frustrating to get your grass clippings and kitchen scraps are broken down into usable compost. Using a tumbler, you can mix your compostables and make sure they are broken down quickly and easily. But what is the best compost tumbler?
There are lots of options on sale which give you different sizes and shapes to give you a way to save your leftovers from the landfill. We’ve put together some compost tumbler reviews so you can choose the best one for your home.
Backyard Boss Top 5 Compost Tumblers for 2022
|Spin Bin Rotating Garden Composter||Check The Price!|
|FCMP IM4000 Dual Chamber Tumbling Composter||Check The Price!|
|FCMP Outdoor Half Size Composter||Check The Price!|
|Mantis Back Porch ComposTumbler||Check The Price!|
|Lifetime Compost Tumbler||Check The Price!|
Why You Can Trust Us
As the world moves towards more eco-friendly lifestyle choices, avid gardeners like the team at Backyard Boss are embracing the world of composting more than ever before. We know that composting is a great opportunity to cut back on waste going to our landfills while also giving our gardens an extra boost!
I have been composting for my garden for over a decade, experimenting with different options, until I found the best composter for my lifestyle.
In doing that, I have had the opportunity to learn about the different options available and am now using that experience to help you discover the best solution for your household.
Best for Compost Tea Collection
Why We Like It: This durable yet simple compost design can easily be filled by gardeners using openings available at either end.
Straightforward to assemble and made of strong plastic, the black color also helps conduct heat, which will rot down your compost materials quicker. When filled, it can then be mixed up by rotating the composter while the mixer bar inside works to break up the compostables. However, this composter is the largest on that list and might be bulky or challenging for younger gardeners or those with smaller statures to operate.
The composter features 20 ventilation holes designed to allow for better aeration. These slots also allow the compost tea to drain from the bottom of the unit, making it easy to collect by placing a tray underneath or simply allowing it to drain directly into the soil. The inside is ribbed, so it allows more oxygen to circulate. For those concerned about the use of plastic while working towards a more environmentally friendly lifestyle, you can rest assured that you are making a green choice as this composter has been made from 100% recycled plastic.
Who Should Buy It: If you are looking to maximize the benefits of your composter by collecting and using compost tea in your gardening, this may be the best choice for you.
Best for Dual Chambers
Why We Like It: Constructed with two chambers, the FCMP IM4000 Dual Chamber Tumbling Composter allows you to fill one side of the composter while the other side is allowed to set and cure.
The octagonal composter is made from heavy-duty, BPA-free, 100% recycled polypropylene that is not only strong enough to stand up to regular use over time but is also resistant to UV light. It means that you can leave your composter out in direct sunlight, allowing it to attract and absorb as much heat as possible to speed up composition without worrying about it cracking or breaking down. Adjustable air vents on each side of the composter allow for as little or as much aeration as your compost requires.
The composter has large openings with a removable door, making it easier to add your scraps without making a mess. At the same time, ergonomic handholds across the surface of the composter make it easier to turn regardless of your size. Turn your composter on the galvanized steel frame 5-6 times every 2-3 days to optimize the composting process. In the ideal hot sunny conditions, your compost could potentially be ready in as little as 2 weeks.
Who Should Buy It: The dual chambers make this a great choice for those wanting to actively compost large quantities while being able to access compost for use in their gardening.
Best for Small Yards
Why We Like It: The FCMP Outdoor Half Size Composter offers 19 gallons of composting space while fitting into a compact 12-inch by 24-inch space.
It is constructed from UV inhibited, BPA-free recycled polyethylene plastic, making it a durable and eco-friendly option that will stand up despite prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. Around the exterior of the unit, there are deep fins and ergonomic handholds, making it easy to grip the composter while turning it.
A large opening on the front of the composter coupled with a removable door makes it easy to fill the composter with your scraps and yard clippings. It also features a rolling design, which sets it apart from many of the other composters on this list, allowing you to move it easily from one location to the next if it needs to be moved. Leave your composter in a hot, sunny location, turning it 5-6 times every 2-3 days. Similar to the larger models, it can finish composting your kitchen scraps and yard waste into usable compost in as little as 2 weeks in ideal conditions.
Who Should Buy It: This composter is a great option for those who live in a smaller space, such as an apartment, condo, or townhouse, as well as those who simply don’t have a yard available for a larger unit.
Best for Worm Composting
Why We Like It: Offering the best of both worlds, the Mantis Back Porch ComposTumbler is a single barrel composter with the ability to hold 37 gallons of compost.
At the same time, it has been constructed with a surprisingly compact design, allowing it to comfortably fit into smaller yards and garden spaces. The fully enclosed design contains odors and keeps animals out of your kitchen and yard waste, eliminating the top concerns shared by many first-time composters. It makes it a popular choice for both urban and suburban locations.
Vented end caps can be seen on each side of the composter, allowing for optimal oxygen flow, speeding up the composting process. It also allows for much-needed drainage. If you’re interested in vermicomposting (using earthworms), this improved drainage is an important feature as worms can become sick and die if kept in soil that is too wet. By adding earthworms to your composter, you can combine the benefits of a tumbler-style composter with vermicomposting, optimizing your compost efforts.
Who Should Buy It: Gardening enthusiasts that prefer working with the nutrient-rich “castings” created in the vermicomposting process should consider this option.
Best for Grass Clippings and Yard Waste
Why We Like It: With an impressive 50-gallon capacity, the Lifetime Compost Tumbler is one of the larger options on this list, but it has been designed in such a way that it will still fit conveniently in smaller outdoor spaces.
The composter is made from UV-protected, high-density polyethylene, a strong and durable material that will last over the years. If you’re concerned about just how true that is, the company offers a 5-year limited manufacturer warranty. Its dark color allows it to absorb heat, raising the temperature inside, while the double-wall construction helps retain the heat and speed up the composting process.
An extra-large opening with a removable lid makes it easy to load your composter with kitchen waste and yard trimmings. The rounded and well-balanced design rotates easily, even when it has been packed full. There is also an internal aeration bar which provides additional airflow inside and helps with mixing the compost. Some people do find that the smell of compost lingers around this unit, meaning that it isn’t ideal for a back porch or somewhere nearby a window, doorway, or heavy traffic area. However, its large size and clean appearance make it a great option for the backyard.
Who Should Buy It: If gardening and yard work are among your favorite hobbies, this is a compost tumbler that can keep up with your yard waste while still looking clean and simple in any yard.
What Is a Compost Tumbler and How Does It Work?
A compost tumbler looks a little bit like those tombola spinners you would get at a fair, but instead of colorful tickets and prizes inside, this is home to your kitchen scraps, dried leaves, and grass clippings. It works by mixing your compost bin thoroughly, so you get a well-mixed, and therefore well-rotted, final compost.
Many gardeners opt for a compost tumbler because they want to make sure the different materials they get in their compost are mixed without using a shovel or manually digging it.
When you compost, you need to have the proper ratio of brown and green compostables. Brown compostable material is classed as dried leaves or cardboard, whereas green is vegetable peelings and grass clippings. Having the right balance of these “ingredients” makes for the best compost, and mixing them thoroughly means your compost will be rich in nutrients and be fine enough to sprinkle on your garden or use in pots.
With the Environmental Protection Agency predicting that the average American generates over 4 pounds of waste every day, we are facing a major problem. As our landfills are filled, where is all this waste going to go? To cut down this number, most households have embraced the idea of recycling, but that’s not the only solution. By composting, you can remove one of the largest categories of waste – food scraps!
In addition to being the environmentally responsible decision, gardeners can also benefit from their composting efforts. By adding the compost to your soil, you can boost the vitamins and minerals that are present in that area, helping you to grow strong, healthy plants. This nutritional boost also attracts smaller critters, building an ecosystem that creates the ideal growing environment for your garden. In the end, you will save money on expensive fertilizers.
How to Use A Compost Tumbler
It is recommended that you turn your compost and mix it thoroughly, at least every four weeks. Some gardeners do this every two weeks, but you shouldn’t turn your heap any more than once every two weeks. It takes two weeks for heat from the rotting materials to build up in the center of your compost bin. This heat helps to break down the materials as well.
It is where a compost tumbler makes the composting process easier. Rather than digging in with a shovel turning your pile of compost to mix it up, you can simply rotate the tumbler and allow it to do the rest of the work for you. The action of being turned over will cause the organic materials inside to move, mixing them up with minimal effort. Some tumblers also include a mixing bar inside the compost compartment, making the mixing process even more effective.
How Long Does It Take to Get Compost?
On average, the quickest you can get rotted compost that is ready to use in your garden will be around three months. However, experts say that the frequency that you turn over your compost heap and mix it can speed up this process, meaning you will get compost quicker. Some of the compost tumblers on this list provide compost in as little as 2 weeks with the right conditions.
Another way to speed up the composting process is to combine a compost tumbler with vermicompost or the process using earthworms to break down the compost. Another thing to bear in mind is where your bin is. If it is in direct sunshine, you are likely to get compost faster as heat breaks it down quickly, so think about this when installing your garden compost tumbler.
Compost Tumbler Vs. Other Composting Options
Advantages of a Compost Tumbler
There are several advantages to having a rotating compost bin. The first is the ease of use. While filling a compost bin or pile isn’t a challenge, regardless of the composting style that you choose, the process of turning your compost isn’t as simple. The compost tumbler makes this process significantly easier and less physically demanding.
It is particularly important if you have rats or mice in your garden, and the thought of a compost heap seems like it would be swarming with pests in no time! Most of the compost tumblers on sale are on a frame suspended above the ground, which means they are more protected than a traditional heap.
Grass clippings and large quantities of this “green” waste can break down into a slimy, unpleasant mess if left on top of a traditional compost bin. But as a spinning composter adds in air and keeps the compost ventilated, you will see it break down quicker and without unpleasant smells or liquidy residue.
Many tumblers have holes, so any liquid simply drains away without build-up inside. Any smells that are created during the composting process are safely contained within the tumbler, helping to keep your garden or yard space free from unpleasantness.
Disadvantages of a Compost Tumbler
The biggest concern voiced by many gardeners is the cost associated with purchasing their tumbler, to begin with. While it’s not impossible to create your DIY compost tumbler, it wouldn’t be an easy project. Not only could the materials needed add up, but it would take a lot of knowledge and expertise to create a tumbler that offered the right levels of aeration and maintained the heat needed for effective composting.
Another disadvantage is the capacity of your composter. If you are doing a lot of gardening or yard work, you may find that you fill up a compost tumbler quickly, leaving you with two options. You can either purchase a second compost tumbler (and run that cost up even further) or forgo the use of a tumbler, sending your waste to the landfill or creating a traditional compost pile.
Advantages of a Standard Compost Pile
A standard compost pile is a low-cost or no-cost solution to dealing with your kitchen scraps and yard waste. You can create a compost pile that is simple and basic, without the need for any framing or structure, or you can build out a compost area that better protects your waste from local scavengers. If you choose to build something, you can repurpose items that you already have sitting in your garage, creating a composter out of chicken wire, utility tarp, or old fence posts.
In addition to making a composter to suit any budget, you can also customize your composter to better meet your needs. Build a composter that fits perfectly into a space of any size or shape. It is a great advantage for those with uniquely shaped yards or those working with smaller spaces. Gardeners that plan on a large outdoor project can also build a larger composter to easily accommodate all of their yard waste.
Disadvantages of a Standard Compost Pile
Unless you’re a skilled handyman and engineer, creating an elaborate composter that can address these concerns, a DIY compost pile has a few key disadvantages. They generally fail to contain the smell that is created through the composting process. It can create an unpleasant environment in your yard or garden, as well as attract complaints from your neighbors. In addition to a questionable smell, they often attract visitors, including rats, snakes, and bugs. Your compost pile may also prove to be a bit of an eyesore, taking away from the aesthetic of your yard.
Another major disadvantage to consider is the work involved. Not only will you have to put the time and effort into creating the composter, but there is also the ongoing maintenance of your compost pile. It includes regularly turning your compost pile, as well as the potential work involved in moving the pile, if necessary, in the future.
Things to Consider When Buying a Compost Tumbler
Different tumblers are used in different ways, and there are a lot of diverse types on the market. Some tumblers are designed like a barrel that you roll along the ground. This motion mixes the compost inside the sealed unit. Some of them are designed like a barrel with a central axis that the composter spins around, and they can be rolled around by hand. The third kind is operated with a handle that later spins the container along the central axis.
Rolling Barrel Type Compost Tumbler
This type of compost tumbler rolls on the ground or in place on a base. They can be challenging to turn by yourself, especially when they can handle a large capacity and you fill them up.
Turning Barrel Type Compost Tumbler
These barrel-style composters sit on a central axis, either vertically or horizontally, and you have to turn them manually every once in a while.
Handle Operated for Spinning
These composters take up little space and are easy to operate. Look for models with a dual-chamber design and set up a rotation between active composting, where you add fresh waste, and passive storage for harvesting compost anytime.
Opening Size and Lid Functionality
The size of the opening on your composter and the ability to secure the lid open can have a significant impact on how easy it will be to load. A lid that can be removed eliminates any concerns that the lid may get in your way through the process. At the same time, make sure that the lid also closes securely to avoid any unnecessary messes while turning your compost tumbler.
If you have a larger yard or multiple flower beds, all generating waste for your composter, you may want to choose a unit that can easily be moved where needed. Some compost tumblers come with built-in wheels and comfortable handles for moving your composter safely and easily. Take into consideration not only the weight and bulk of the composter itself but also the added weight that will come as your composter is filled.
How We Picked
When creating this list of compost tumblers, we were looking for options that would not only compost your waste quickly but also keep unwelcome rodents and other pests at bay. Each of the compost tumblers included on this list is made from high-quality, durable materials. It was important to ensure that they would stand up over time.
Our team of experts also looked at the different options available to improve your composting efforts, including the use of darker materials to absorb and retain heat, proper airflow to provide oxygen during the composting process, and the ability to include earthworms to speed up the process.
Finally, we also considered the appearance of the compost tumbler, looking for units that would look clean and sharp on your deck or in your yard. After all, no one wants an eyesore ruining the aesthetic of their backyard space!
Which Compost Tumbler Is the Best for Your Lifestyle?
There are many factors to consider when selecting the best compost tumbler for your lifestyle, including the available space and how much waste you plan on composting. If you consider buying a compost tumbler, you want to make sure how it will fit best into your life. For example, if you want to use your compost in different areas of the yard, you may choose a unit on wheels.
However, for our team of experts, some factors stand out above the rest. It includes the efficiency of the composter in breaking down waste into usable compost and the quality of construction. We chose the FCMP IM4000 Dual Chamber Tumbling Composter. The dual-chamber design of this composter and its strong steel frame both stood out. It can produce compost quickly and is easy to use for first-time composters and experienced gardeners alike.