There aren’t a lot of things more satisfying than turning your home’s garbage into vegetables, or at least into the vital nutrients needed to plant vegetables. Creating compost begins with collecting a bunch of brown materials – e.g., fallen leaves, wood dust, the stocks and stems of uneaten/rotten vegetables – mixed together with a healthy portion of green materials – e.g., garden waste and grass clippings. Keep the mixture nice and moist, but not sopping wet, and there you have it! Free, organic compost!
The process sounds simple, but in truth, it’s actually a grueling process. The good thing is that with the help of a compost bin, you can reduce the decomposition time from several years to only several months.
Compost bins, simply known as composters, come in all shapes and sizes. They are specifically designed to make the composting process significantly more efficient. Faster decomposition means more organic compost for your plants, making it beneficial for both your garden bed and the environment.
What to Look for in a Composter
If this is your first time hearing about a composter, then you’re undoubtedly wondering what in the world it looks like and what features to consider.
The shape of the composter plays a significant role in how well the decomposition process will take place. Most composters are shaped similar to the traditional garbage can – cylindrical – so that there are no “cold corners” which are hard to access with a shovel or pitchfork. Cold corners prevent the potential compost from retaining heat, slowing down the decomposition process, infuriating you more than it should. However, there are also rectangular and cylindrical models that don’t have cold corners.
There is no one size that’ll suit every customer perfectly. You should choose the size of your composter – usually measured in gallons – depending on how much brown and green materials you can provide, how large your garden is, etc. However, larger bins tend to be more difficult to maintain and ventilate. As for smaller bins, they can dry out quickly as they are easily influenced by external temperatures.
Type (Tumbler or Static)
If you purchase a tumbler, you won’t require the use of a shovel or pitchfork to mix your compost. Simply close the doors and give the bin a spin. As it spins, the greens and browns will mix together, evenly distributing the microorganisms and cycling the air within. Static models don’t tumble, but instead, they require you use a pitchfork or shovel to manual mix the compost.
Heat Retention and Air Ventilation
Microorganisms in the compost chew on the brown and green materials, triggering the decomposition process. As this happens, the temperature inside the composter will increase, accelerating the decomposition process even further. These microorganisms also require oxygen to survive. Find a model with plenty of holes that allow for proper air ventilation but also has the ability to retain sufficient levels of heat.
Top 5 Best Composters
Now that we understand what a composter is and what features and specs to look out for, it’s time to decide which composter will work best for our gardens. Here are our picks for the 5 best composters you can purchase today.
5 Lifetime 60058 Compost Tumbler
The first item on our list is the 60058 from Lifetime. You can dump 80 gallons worth of compost materials into this tumbler. It’s made of UV-protected high-density polyethylene which blocks UV rays from piercing through the bin and killing the beneficial microorganisms. The 60058 is designed for easy loading, tumbling, and dumping.
The extra-large removable lid makes loading and unloading compost materials extremely easy to do. The stands are made of powder-coated steel which can withstand heavy-duty use for several years. It comes with dark, double-walled panels that which work much more effectively at retaining heat within the tumbler.
4 Redmon Green Culture 65-Gallon Compost Bin
The 65-gallon composter from Redmon Green is the only model on our list that isn’t a tumbler. This is a static, bottomless unit that sits atop the soil in your garden or yard. The bottomless design lets worms and other creatures feast on the contents of the bin, helping the decomposition process. It has a large lid on top which is easy to remove and dump in green and brown materials.
To remove the compost, simply open one of the four doors found near the bottom of the model. The wall panels are littered with holes to provide proper air circulation, accelerating the decomposition process. Because this is a static model, mixing the compost can be a bit tricky since you need to poke and stir the contents with a pitchfork manually.
3 Jora Composter Tumbler JK270
The JK270 from Jora Composter is another noteworthy tumbler. What makes this unit unique is that the entire bin is constructed of galvanized sheet metal. This means that you can use it for several years without worrying about rust. It has a 70-gallon capacity so you can constantly load the tumbler with organic materials with a reduced risk of overflow.
Opening the octagonal tumbler is also super-simple since you just need to unlatch the lock on either of the doors and pull it open. There are only four spots around this large 70-gallon tumbler with ventilation holes so it may not be the best at cycling air. However, because it’s made of steel, it can retain heat for much longer, and it even uses the power of the sun to help add to the heat within the unit.
2 Yimby Tumbler Composter
This composter from Yimbly is another octagonal-shaped tumbler. This 37-gallon tumbler is constructed with recycled polypropylene that will not deform or degrade under the heat of the sun. The stand is made of galvanized, rust-proof steel. This unit is different from the others on this list as it has two chambers – one for adding new grass clippings and rotten vegetables, and another chamber for ready-to-use compost.
Accessing either of these chambers requires a simple pull of a slide-out door, and the wide opening makes it easy to add materials or take out the compost. This tumbler features large holes that allow oxygen to enter the bin, and fins in the chambers mix the compost effectively, allowing air and oxygen access to every piece inside of the tumbler.
1 Envirocycle Composter
The final product on our list is the aesthetically beautiful composter from Envirocycle. Apart from looking great, it functions extremely well. Although the composter’s elegant design is it’s largest selling point, it truly is a functional unit. One unique feature of this model is the drain ports that let compost tea leak out.
Like the actual compost, the compost tea is beneficial for your garden soil and plants. Another notable feature is that this unit doesn’t require stands to tumble, but instead it comes with a base and rollers which, with a simple tug, rotate the bin and aerate the mixture. When assembling the unit, be sure that you install the rollers properly to ensure flawless tumbling.
If you’re sick and tired of purchasing compost – a product that you can make FOR FREE – then consider purchasing a composter. Placing both green and brown materials into a composter will produce nutritious compost for your garden and crops.
There are several features to pay attention to when shopping around for a composter, namely the shape, type, size, and the ability to retain heat and circulate air. There aren’t that many models that don’t fulfill the basic requirements needed for a “good” composter, but not many are easy or convenient to use. In addition, they can be an eye-sore when placed in your garden or garage.
Luckily, we’ve found five tumbler models that work and look great. Our list consists of four tumblers and a single static model which requires a little bit of elbow grease to begin the decomposition process. However, if you want the best and most beautiful composter model available, then look no further than the composter model from Envirocycle.
The unit doesn’t sit atop a steel mount, but instead, it sits on top of rollers which rotate the tumbler. It comes with a huge door for inserting and extracting compost materials. If you live in a studio apartment high off the ground floor and want to create your own compost, then this aesthetically-beautiful composter will fit right in with your apartment’s interior design.
Of course, these five models may be the best options for your own unique situations, especially considering the large-capacity tumbler bins which would only serve useful for people with large yards and plenty of organic matter to deal with. However, just make sure that your composter is easy to use, built to last, and provides proper aeration and heat-retention, and your compost will be good to go (in a couple months).