Best Compost Tumbler - 2021 Reviews
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The Best Compost Tumbler for Your Yard Waste

Home composting is something many people try and it can be frustrating to get your grass clippings and kitchen scraps broken down into a usable compost. Using a tumbler, you can mix your compostables together 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 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 2021

PRODUCT FEATURES
Spin Bin Rotating Garden Composter - The Best Compost Tumbler for Your Yard WasteSpin Bin Rotating Garden Composter
  • Capacity: 60 gallons
  • Extras: openings on both ends
  • Warranty: 2 years
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Yimby Tumbler Composter - The Best Compost Tumbler for Your Yard WasteYimby Tumbler Composter
  • Capacity: 37 gallons
  • Extras: Dual chambers
  • Warranty: n/a
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FCMP Outdoor Half Size Composter - The Best Compost Tumbler for Your Yard WasteFCMP Outdoor Half Size Composter
  • Capacity: 19 gallons
  • Extras: Wheels and ergonomic handholds
  • Warranty: n/a
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Mantis Back Porch ComposTumbler - The Best Compost Tumbler for Your Yard WasteMantis Back Porch ComposTumbler
  • Capacity: 37 gallons
  • Extras: Vented endcaps for airflow and drainage
  • Warranty: 2 years
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Lifetime Compost Tumbler - The Best Compost Tumbler for Your Yard WasteLifetime Compost Tumbler
  • Capacity: 50 gallons
  • Extras: Extra large removable lid for easy access
  • Warranty: 5 years
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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!

Personally, I have been composting for my garden for well 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

Spin Bin Rotating Garden Composter
    The Spin Bin is a strong, sturdy composter that promises well-rotted compost with no back-breaking effort.

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Why We Like It: Gardeners can fill the rotating composter through openings at either end and then tumble the contents. There are 20 ventilation holes so it has better aeration and a mixer bar inside makes sure to break up the compostables. These ventilation 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 allow it to drain directly into the soil. The inside is ribbed so it allows more oxygen to circulate.

Straightforward to build and made of strong plastic, the black color also helps to conduct heat which will rot down your compost materials quicker.

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

Yimby Tumbler Composter
    This dual-chamber tumbling composter lets you conveniently cure and harvest compost at the same time.

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Why We Like It: This Yimby composter is made with two chambers so you can fill one side while the other side sits and cures. This means you can load it up and then the manufacturers say it should be turned every couple of days. The plastic it is made from is strong and resists UV light so you can leave it in direct sunlight without worrying about it cracking or breaking down. There are adjustable air vents so you can give it as much or as little aeration as you want.

The manufacturers say it can produce compost in as little as two weeks. The handle design means you don’t have to mix it by hand, you can just crank the handle and mix it thoroughly and efficiently.

Who Should Buy It: The dual chambers make this a great choice for those that are wanting to actively compost large quantities while being able to access compost for use in their gardening. The ability to fill one side while the other sits and cures will allow you to create a working rotation.

Best for Small Yards

FCMP Outdoor Half Size Composter
    The FCMP Outdoor Half Size Composter is a space saver for those with smaller yards, while still providing all the benefits of composting.

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Why We Like It: The FCMP Outdoor Half Size Composter is a great option for those who are working with limited space in their yard or garden area. Its compact design is made from UV-inhibited and BPA-free polyethylene plastic, making it durable and eco-friendly.

This small but powerful composter will provide you with 19 gallons of composting space. With aeration holes strategically placed to maximize aeration, it will break down your kitchen, garden, and yard waste quickly. All you have to do is turn the unit over a few times every two to three days to mix up the contents.

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

Mantis Back Porch ComposTumbler
    This barrel style compost tumbler includes air ventilation vents and proper drainage to encourage your compost to breakdown quickly and effectively.

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Why We Like It: With one large barrel-style unit, the Mantis Back Porch ComposTumbler is able to hold 37 gallons of compost while remaining small enough for smaller yards. It has been designed with vented end caps to both allow for proper oxygen flow for the composting process but also provide drainage.

While you can put worms into nearly any compost tumbler, they can become sick and die if kept in soil that is too wet. With the improved drainage included in this design, it makes it easy for you to combine the benefits of a tumbler style composter with the added boost of vermicomposting (using earthworms).

The Mantis Back Porch ComposTumbler is made in the USA and backed by a 2-year limited warranty.

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

Lifetime Compost Tumbler
    This 50-gallon compost tumbler offers a large removable lid, making it easy to load grass clippings, yard waste and more.

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Why We Like It: The Lifetime Compost Tumbler is one of the larger options on this list, holding up to 50 gallons of compost. Not only is this large enough to hold yard trimmings and other waste from even large yards and projects, but it also includes a large, removable lid to make loading it easier.  Its rounded design rotates easily, even when it has been packed full.

Made from dark-colored UV-protected high-density polyethylene and double-wall panels, it both absorbs and retains heat, speeding up composting. 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?

how-does-Compost-Tumbler-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.

The reason many gardeners opt for a compost tumbler is to make sure the different materials they get in their compost are mixed without needing to use a shovel or manually dig it.

When you compost, you need to make sure you 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 together thoroughly means your compost will be rich in nutrients and be fine enough to sprinkle on your garden or use in pots.

How Long Does It Take to Get Compost?

turn over a compost tumblerOn average, the quickest you can get properly 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 together can speed up this process meaning you will get compost quicker.

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.

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 because it takes two weeks for heat from the rotting materials to build up in the center of your compost bin and heat helps to break down the materials as well.

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 you are installing your garden compost tumbler.

Advantages of a Tumbler

compost-tumbler-emphasize-the-holes

There are several advantages to having a rotating compost bin. The first is that it is fairly protected from vermin and pests. This 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.

If you want compost fast, then some gardeners say they’ve managed to get useable compost within just three weeks. While you might not manage this speedy output, anything that reduces the time from three months to a few weeks has to be helpful.

Sizes, Shapes, and Designs

Different tumblers are used in different ways and there are a lot of different 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 then 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.

Open Mantis CT08002 Back Porch ComposTumbler in the forground, with male gardener planting flowers in the background.
Image credits: Mantis via Amazon

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.

Dual chamber tumbling composter standing on lawn covered in yellow fallen leaves.
Image credits: FCMP Outdoor via Amazon

Features and Things to Look For

One of the most important things about a compost tumbler is that it must be easy to turn. If you have back problems or other mobility issues, a handle turner might be the best option.

While you might be tight for space in the garden, the bigger the tumbler the more efficient it will be as there is more space for the compostables to mix in together. This is important if you are considering combining garden clippings, yard waste, and kitchen compost all in one spot.

Try to leave your compost for as long as possible so it can rot properly. While it might be tempting to whip out all your compost as soon as it seems ready, leaving some in there can help to keep a level of bacteria in there and act as a “starter” for your next batch of materials.

How We Picked

When creating this list of compost tumblers, we were looking for options that would not only compost your waste quickly but would 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. This was important to ensure that they would stand up over time.

Our team of experts also looked at the different options that were 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 considering buying a compost tumbler, you want to make sure that you are considering how it will fit best into your life. For example, if you are planning on using your compost in different areas of the yard, you may want to choose a unit on wheels.

For our team of experts, however, there are some factors that stand out above the rest. This includes the efficiency of the composter in breaking down waste into usable compost as well as the quality of construction. We chose the Yimby Tumbler 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 empty for use.

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