Best Compost Tumbler – Buyers Guide
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.
- Spin Bin Composter 60 Gallon Compost Tumbler
- Yimby Tumbler Composter
- Good Ideas CW-2X Compost Wizard Dueling Tumbler
- Lifetime 60058 Compost Tumbler
- Good Ideas EZCJR-BLK 7-Cubic-Foot Compost Wizard Jr
A compost tumbler looks a little bit like those tombola spinners you would get at a fair but instead of colourful 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.
On average, the quickest you can get properly rotted compost which 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.
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 centre 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 quicker so think about this when you are installing your garden compost tumbler.
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. Most 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.
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 which spins around that 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.
Barrel Type Compost Barrel Roll Along the Ground
Barrel Type Compost Barrel with central axis
Handle Operated for Spinning
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.
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 material.
- Warranty: 2 years
- Simple to assemble and use with step by step instructions
- Openings at both ends
- 60 gallon capacity
The Spin Bin is a strong, sturdy composter which promises well rotted compost with no back breaking effort. 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. The inside is ribbed so it allows more oxygen to circulate.
Straightforward to build and made of strong plastic, the black colour also helps to conduct heat which will rot down your compost materials quicker.
- 20 ventilation holes and a ribbed interior
- Holds 60 gallons inside
- Side openings can be difficult to fill through
- Hard to empty without the use of gravity
- Warranty: Not available
- Two chambers to hold the compostables
- Adjustable air vents
- Made of BPA free, UV resistant plastic
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.
- Barrel made from UV resistant plastic and galvanised steel frame means it is weather proof
- Opens at the top and can be spun so it will empty into a wheelbarrow or bucket
- Relatively small capacity
- Takes a while to assemble
- Warranty: 1 year
- Can collect up to five gallons of compost tea in the base of the design
- Two chambers
- Low maintenance design
This seven cubic foot capacity tumbler is split into two sections – 3.5 cubic feet per chamber. It comes fully assembled so ideal for people who just want to get it out of the box and start composting. It has twist on lids which secures the compost and seals the bin.
The barrel itself is made from 100% recycled material which is BPA free. The good thing about this composter is that it has a base to collect up to five gallons of compost tea. This is the liquid produced when you compost your scraps and can be watered down to use as a liquid fertilizer.
- Comes fully assembled
- Has twist on lids so it is secure
- No crank handle – moulded grips on the barrel itself instead
- Sits on the ground so it could attract pests
- Warranty: Lifetime
- BPA free plastic construction
- Double walled panels which insulate and retain heat
- Internal bar to mix the compost
This rotating composter is made of high density polyethylene and powder coated steel to make sure it is durable and strong. It has an 80-gallon capacity which means you will get compost quicker and more efficiently.
The tumbler itself has double walled panels which absorb and retain heat which makes your compostables break down a lot quicker. There is an internal bar which helps to break up the materials as the composter turns around. It has an extra large lid which makes adding and removing your compost much easier. It also has a spring loaded pin which means it will stop rotating while you add compost materials. This product also includes a “How to Compost” DVD.
- Huge capacity at 80 gallons
- Turns easily on its axis for efficient tumbling
- Complicated to assemble
- Plastic is not UV resistant
- Warranty: 1 year
- Black colour to absorb heat
- Made in the USA with FDA approved plastics
- 12 inch wide twist off lid
This rolling composter is made from 100% recycled material and is BPA free. The recessed, moulded handles and a wheeled base make turning round the tumbler easier. The seven foot tumbler is child and pet safe as it is sealed to stop anyone getting into it. Black colour will help attract heat and keep it insulated.
Aeration holes are in both ends which brings air through the compost bin and helps to break down compostables quicker. The low profile design will keep it safe from tipping over in the wind and will stay out of sight. It comes fully assembled and the manufacturers say it can produce compost in as soon as 14 days.
- Moulded handles and wheeled base for easy turning
- Sealed unit so prevents pests getting in
- Rainwater can accumulate in the base
- Does not roll as easily as a freestanding design
So now we’ve looked at all the features and options in these compost tumbler reviews, the clear winner of the product reviews has to be the Good Ideas CW-2X Compost Wizard Dueling Tumbler.
This design has seven cubic foot capacity and it is split into two sections so you can break down compostables in two halves. The BPA-free plastic means that no harmful chemicals will leach into your compost and the twist on lids means the bin is sealed so even though it is on the floor it will still keep pests out. Moulded grips on the barrel make turning the tumbler easier and an added bonus is collecting compost tea which in most tumblers is lost through the ventilation holes.
It comes ready assembled so it is easy to use and maintain which means it is ideal for people who have never used a compost tumbler before.