Best Composter - 2021 Reviews
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The Best Composters for Your Backyard

Composting is great for the environment because it’s the best way to stop food waste from going to landfills. So finding the right composter is really important to make it easy and fuss-free to recycle your garden and kitchen waste.

Finding the best composter on the market is no easy task. There are so many different types of composters available – everything from tumblers to worm farms to straightforward bins for your backyard.

We’ve put together a selection of the best composters looking at different types and designs so you are fully informed when you make the choice.

Backyard Boss Top 5 Composters for 2021

PRODUCT FEATURES
Urban Worm Bag - The Best Composters for Your BackyardUrban Worm Bag
  • Capacity: 120 pounds of compost
  • Location: Outdoors
  • Warranty: 30 days
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EPICA Stainless Steel Compost Bin - The Best Composters for Your BackyardEPICA Stainless Steel Compost Bin
  • Capacity: 1.3 gallons
  • Location: Indoors
  • Warranty: Unavailable
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Geobin Compost Bin - The Best Composters for Your BackyardGeobin Compost Bin
  • Capacity: 216 gallons
  • Location: Outdoors
  • Warranty: Unavailable
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Exaco Aerobin 400 - The Best Composters for Your BackyardExaco Aerobin 400
  • Capacity: Similar to 3-4 110 gallon composters
  • Location: Outdoors
  • Warranty: Unavailable
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FCMP Outdoor Composter - The Best Composters for Your BackyardFCMP Outdoor Composter
  • Capacity: 37 gallons
  • Location: Outdoors/indoors
  • Warranty: n/a
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Why You Can Trust Us

Backyard Boss is serious about helping you get the most out of your backyard. Over the years, we’ve come to understand just how confusing it can be to get the best product for your backyard needs. Composting is no different. From a smelly heap held together with reclaimed wood to flow through worm bins with a “worm tea” dedicated spigot, your options are endless. We’ve tested them all.

The average backyard boss doesn’t have the time, means, or interest to test everything on the market. So we’ve mixed up a special cocktail of personal experience, product reviews, and customer stories to help you find the best product for your needs.

Best Worm Composter

Urban Worm Bag
    Easy to use worm composter that eliminates the need to manually sort worms from compost

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Why We Like It: For fuss-free vermicomposting, this product may be what you need. It snaps together in less than five minutes. With the flow-through design, you won’t have to separate worms from your finished compost when harvesting. This worm composter may be a great entry point for those of you who aren’t too sure about vermicomposting.

Who Should Buy It: If you’re new to the whole vermicomposting idea, this composter might start you off on the right foot. Assembly is seriously easy, and once you’ve introduced your worms to their new home, you won’t have to deal with them again. This could be really helpful for people who like the idea of adding worms to their composting setup but are a little bit squeamish around worms.

Best for Kitchen Waste and Scraps

Epica Stainless Steel Compost Bin
    The stylish and odour-free compost bin for your kitchen counter

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Why We Like It: The Epica stainless steel compost bin is designed for indoor use. The airtight lid has a charcoal seal inside to control odors which means this bin can sit on your kitchen worktop or in a cupboard without causing unpleasant smells. It has a sleek design and the stainless steel construction makes it easy to clean.

It is made from one piece of metal to prevent leaks and the metal won’t leach harmful chemicals into your waste. It can fit several days worth of kitchen waste inside and the compact size means it can fit under a sink or in a cupboard out of sight. The carry handles make it easy to move and empty in your outside bin.

Who Should Buy It: People who need a sleek, stylish, smell-free storage solution for a few days worth of kitchen scraps. Keep it right there on the kitchen counter. Nobody will know it’s filled with food waste.

Best for Yard Waste

Geobin
    The largest composter on the market. Big enough to handle anything from yard waste to kitchen scraps.

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Why We Like It: The Geobin has a huge capacity and is one of the simplest composters on the market. It stands around 36 inches tall and its diameter can reach up to three and a half feet. It is easy to assemble and is made from 50% recycled plastic.

It has an open top and the plastic used is durable, so it can be left outside in all weather. The bin itself is easy to move if you need to. Just unsnap the closure keys and unwrap your compost pile to move it to another spot in your backyard or your new home.

Who Should Buy It: If you have a lot of yard waste and nowhere to put it, this composter may be for you. Being one of the largest composters on the market, this composter can handle anything from yard waste to kitchen scraps.

Best for Extreme Climates

Exaco Aerobin 400
    A large, insulated compost bin suitable for all climates

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Why We Like It: The Exaco Aerobin 400 is one of the best composters out there. It’s a fully insulated bin that provides the ability to properly mix all the composting bits you toss in, and it even collects all the compost liquid (or compost tea) underneath with the nifty double bottom.

It’s constructed of a heavy, durable plastic and fully insulated with a polystyrene material that makes sure the compost remains hot and properly decomposes all the material inside. It has double doors to make it easier to access during cleaning and is pretty compact and streamlined. The instructions are straightforward, making this super easy to assemble, too. Lastly, due to its sturdy construction and heavy weight, the Aerobin stands up to bad weather and windy conditions.

Who Should Buy It: People who live in harsh climates. If you’re worried about your compost heap going dormant during the harsh winters, then this composter might solve that problem. This fully insulated bin will keep your compost decomposing all year round.

Best Tumbling Composter

FCMP Outdoor Composter
    A durable tumbling composter with two chambers and aeration holes that will help your compostables break down more quickly.

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Why We Like It: This tumbling composter takes the strain out of mixing your compost pile. Just close the door and crank the handle to turn it once every two to three days to make sure the compost breaks down quickly and easily. With hot, sunny conditions and a proper balance of ingredients, the manufacturers say you can harvest compost in as little as two weeks.

If you’re looking for the best compost tumbler, then you need to consider this product. Large openings and removable doors mean you can get to your compost easily and the separate chambers mean one side can finish composting while you add more to the other side. The holes along the body mean the composter is aerated and there are fins inside the chamber which help to break up the compost.

Who Should Buy It: This composter is perfect for beginners as it is simple and easy to use.

Best for Large Volumes of Waste

Envirocycle
    A well-built, high quality compost tumbler with separate compost tea collector

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Why We Like It: The Envirocycle is billed as “the most beautiful composter in the world” by the manufacturers. It is made from a food-safe, BPA- and rust-free plastic which means no harmful chemicals will get into the waste materials. It is made in the USA and has a five-year limited warranty to protect against things going wrong or breaking.

The composter comes ready assembled and it has a base which can collect compost tea which is used as liquid fertilizer. A snap latch means you can easily open the door to harvest your compost and this model has slotted air vents which make sure the compost is aerated. It will produce your first batch of compost in around four to eight weeks and the manufacturers recommend turning your drum once every three days.

Who Should Buy It: For those who are prepared to pay for quality. This company has been making composters for decades. With that experience comes quality. This composter isn’t cheap, but it comes pre-assembled, has a 5-year-warranty, and has been described as the most beautiful composter in the world.

Different Types of Composters

When it comes to composting, the options are endless. The goal is always the same: turn food scraps and yard waste into nutrient-rich compost for your garden. The method, however, changes based on what best fits your lifestyle. Let’s take a look at the different kinds of composters available.

Outdoor Bins

Wooden outdoors compost bin

There are several different types of home composters and all have their pros and cons. First, you can get a simple compost bin for the backyard. These are often made of strong plastic or sometimes stainless steel and they’re often in the shape of a large bin or barrel.

Some are completely standard and are hardwearing containers without a lid. Others come with an airtight sealing lid to keep out pests and encourage decomposition. Outside composters often have several access points like a door on the side or near the bottom so you can easily harvest your compost. This is in addition to a lid on the top of the bin where you can dump in your next load of vegetable scraps and waste.

Indoor Bins

Indoor composting bin filled with food scraps standing next to cutting board with fruit and veggie peels.
Image credits: EPICA via Amazon

If you’re struggling with the idea of traipsing to the garden every time you make dinner or if you don’t have a backyard big enough for a compost bin, then a kitchen compost bin could make things a lot easier for you. These composters are compact in size and can be quite nice to look at.

They are either stainless steel or high durability plastic which can be easily rinsed clean. They range from very basic models which are made from one piece of metal and have filters in the base of the lid made from charcoal to trap odours or a high spec model which has moving parts.

Some kitchen composters have built in mixing devices or tumblers so the compost materials are kept moving and break down more easily.

Tumblers

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

Another composter type is a tumbler where the compost bin itself is barrel shaped and can be rolled or cranked with a handle to mix the materials inside. The benefit of this is you won’t need a shovel to mix your compost by hand as simply rolling the bin will mix your compost.

These composters usually have ventilation holes along the side so your compost is fully aerated. There are also blades or ridges inside the tumbler itself to help break the materials into smaller pieces so it turns into compost quicker. Some tumblers even come with separate chambers so you can split the waste between “nearly ready to use” and “freshly added”.

Hand-Rolled Tumbler

Two Plastic Hand Rolled Compost Tumblers

A type of compost tumbler can also be rolled by hand. These are barrel-shaped but rather than being mounted on a spindle and moved via a handle, the composter is low to the ground and is rolled by grabbing the sides, or by using molded handles, to mix and move the compost inside. These composters sometimes come with a tray or reservoir in the bottom to catch compost tea. Due to their low ground clearance, they can be difficult to use if you have back problems so think about putting these on a table or wall if you think you may struggle to harvest compost from it.

Ball-Shaped Tumblers

Ball Shaped Compost Tumbler

Some rolling bins are shaped like a ball and can literally be rolled out of sight! This is handy if you don’t want your compost bin to become a permanent feature in your garden or if you need to move it to cut the lawn or weed flower beds. The downside to this design is that if the compost bin gets too full, it can become difficult to move. Also, you may find it leaves unsightly patches of dead grass if it is left in one place for too long so don’t forget to roll it away.

Types of Composting

Vermicomposting

A pair of male hands holding soil with worms over a worm composting bin.
Image credits: Maze via Amazon

Vermicomposting uses worms to break down your food and garden waste. There are many worm composters available on the market today. You start with around 1,000 worms and as they chew through your materials, it leaves behind loam which is a type of soft, fine soil rich in nutrients. Worms love to use gritty textures like sand or finely crushed eggshells to help digest food scraps and dead leaves, so if you are planning to use these little creatures to help produce compost, you need to make sure you add some grainy textures to your compost bin.

Hot Composting

This is another great way to create usable soil from your leftovers. These compost bins have thick, insulated walls and an airtight lid which helps to retain heat from the sun and heat generated from the compost itself breaking down. These are great if you want to create a warm atmosphere. You can also use heat to quicken your compost production by putting your compost bin in direct sun.

Things to Consider

Location

When you’re looking for a compost bin for the backyard think about where it will be located. Compost breaks down quicker when it is warm so make sure it is in an area that will get some degree of sunlight. If you need to use a wheelbarrow to collect the harvested compost, make sure there is enough room around the composter for your wheelbarrow.

Resistance to Extreme Temperatures

Three Compost Bins Covered In Snow

If you’re getting an outdoor compost bin made from plastic make sure that it is UV and frost resistant. Bear in mind your composter will be outside in all seasons and it needs to be able to withstand changes in temperature. There are special plastics that are designed for outdoor use so make sure you know what your bin is made of.

If Using Wood, Protect It

You can use timber to create a compost bin. If you go this route, bear in mind that wood is essentially a compostable material so it will need to be treated or lined with a non-compostable material to make sure it stands the test of time. Having said that, a wooden framed compost pile lined with a plastic sheet is an inexpensive way to create your own compost heap. Remember that this design will not be moveable so if you decide to redesign your garden in the future it could be a big job to take down your compost heap and move it.

Aesthetics

With an indoor composter, think of a design that is compact so it can be hidden in a cupboard or doesn’t take up much space on a worktop. The best kitchen composters should take aesthetics and odour control seriously.  If it will be visible in your home, design is important so it fits in with your interior decor.

Pesky Animals

Keeping pests like rats, foxes or even bears away from your compost is also a consideration. With pests like mice or rats, they can even make nests in your compost heap if it isn’t secure. If you live in an area where pests will be a problem, choose a compost bin that is sealed and ideally is located off the ground.

Dos and Don’ts

Also, brush up on a list of things you can and cannot compost. There are hundreds of items that can be put in the bin, but one wrong material such as meat or inorganic waste can seriously disrupt the whole process.

Features

If you go for a basic model, one of the best features to look out for is a charcoal filter. The natural absorbent properties of charcoal means any bad smells will be drawn out of the bin and into the filter. Although these need to be changed every six months, it is worth having them especially if you choose a home composter that is in your kitchen or basement. A sealable, airtight lid will also help prevent bad smells.

Some Make Compost Tea

Jar Of Compost Tea

Another great feature on a composter is the ability to collect compost tea. This liquid is what is collected when the compostables break down. Some models of composter allow this to be collected in a tray underneath or it can be drained off through a spigot. This is a really effective, natural fertilizer when diluted with water.

Indoor Models

If you want a kitchen composter, think about where it will go. If you have room inside a cupboard it won’t matter what it looks like. If it will be “on show” on a kitchen countertop then it is worth paying a bit extra for something that has been designed well and fits in with your kitchen decor. Automatic mixing is also a great feature of a kitchen composter as it eliminates the need for you to have to keep opening up the bin and mixing it with a fork. Plus, the fewer times you open it the better, as the smell will be kept inside.

Better Mixing and Aeration

Compost tumblers with ridges or bars inside work to break up the materials a lot quicker and easier. The tumblers with this added feature also aerate your compost which again makes it decompose more evenly.

Vermicomposters

Worm composters are usually easier to use when they have stackable trays. These trays mean your compost drops down through mesh layers so you get fine, ready to use compost at the bottom and you add your fresh food and garden waste in the top. This way, you also prevent loss of worms from digging out the compost as you can simply remove the bottom tray and harvest the compost while leaving the worms in the top trays.

Size Matters

Large Outdoor Compost Bin

It isn’t all about waiting for the compost to mature. Think about how you’ll harvest the soil once your vegetable scraps and other compostables have broken down. If your compost bin is too tall, or there is only a lid at the top, you might find it hard to dig out the good stuff. Look for features like a side opening door or more than one access point. Some compost bins have a sliding door that opens near the bottom so you’ll have easy access to the finished compost. You can also bring a wheelbarrow right up to the bin itself and easily shovel in your new compost.

How We Picked

With so many different composters to choose from, we tried to make this guide easy for you to choose the product that best fits your needs.

We picked based on the most common types of composters that serious backyarders consider. Some folks are looking to compost large amounts of yard waste with a few food scraps thrown in. Others are looking to add worms to supercharge the whole process.

Each type of composter needs to fit different needs. So we considered this carefully and only chose the top contender in each composting category.

Our Composting Winner Is…

In the quest to find the best composter, the clear winner has to be the Urban Worm Bag. It includes all the benefits of vermicomposting, without all the mess. This product is very easy to assemble (five minutes from start to finish). The updated version addresses all the biggest concerns that customers pointed out from the previous versions.

Now it’s possible for you to have all the amazing benefits of adding worms to your compost setup without having to sort through worms and unfinished compost (partly decomposed food – gross) from the finished compost. It’s small enough to fit into most backyards and might be the product that lets you get the most out of your food scraps.

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