Learning to compost is an easy way to save money while improving the health of your garden at the same time. Composting is the process of allowing organic material like dead leaves or orange peels naturally decompose over time in order to create a nutrient-rich soil additive. Using compost on your garden provides your plants with a ton of nutrients that help them grow and keeps them healthy.
While traditional compost set-ups involve setting up an open compost area in your yard, the compost tumbler is a recent innovation that makes composting even simpler. Compost tumblers are containers that you place your organic material into, thus storing it all in one conveniently out-of-sight location. By using the tumbler, you can generate more temperature and oxygen than traditional composting creates while keeping your mix moist.
Today we’re going to be comparing three different models of compost tumblers to see which one offers the most in the following categories: design, capacity, and special features.
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Good Ideas CW-2X
The Good Ideas Dueling Tumbler is a versatile compost tumbler that actively makes it easier to provide your home garden with compost. The body of this tumbler is made of recycled Polyethylene that is BPA-free and approved by the FDA. This strong plastic is super durable, so you can leave it outside without having to worry about it. The tumbler’s body features ergonomic handholds that make it easier to rotate it on its base, further mixing your compost and exposing all parts to equal oxygen exposure.
The plastic body is black in order to better draw in and hold on to the heat from the sun. This higher temperature level increases the productivity of the bacteria that is breaking down the material, yielding faster results. While it can be placed in constant sunlight, Good Ideas recommends you leave it in indirect sunshine during the warmer months if you live somewhere with a traditionally hot climate.
This tumbler is composed of a high-density Polyethylene and sits on a base made of galvanized steel. The steel base has been powder-coated, which helps prevent rust and degradation from exposure to the elements. The Polyethylene is UV-protected, so it won’t melt if it’s constantly left in direct sunlight. Like the Good Ideas compost tumbler, the more sun exposure it receives, the better your composting will go. The plastic body is double walled and black in color. Both of these make it easier for the tumbler to hold on to heat, which helps the material decompose at a faster rate.
Its lid is extra large, making it easy to remove and allowing you the freedom to load larger batches of materials at one time. Because of this larger opening, it’s easy to use a shovel to lift and load piles of organic waste like leaves or mowed grass. While in use, the lid stays closed and locked with the use of a pin. To open your tumbler, you simply need to pull the spring-loaded pin and replace it when finished.
The body of this tumbler is made of recycled, BPA-free Polypropylene and sits on a galvanized steel base that won’t corrode or rust from exposure to the elements. The Polypropylene is UV-inhibited, meaning it won’t melt or lose integrity if left in direct sunshine. The body features a large, removable door for easy access to your compost pile. The large opening makes it possible to add bigger clumps of compost material like hay or fresh-mown grass. There are also deep handholds around the body that make rotating it simple, even when it’s full. Because it’s so easy to use, this is the perfect composter for beginners or for people with limited strength.
Good Ideas CW-2X
This composting system features a 52-gallon (7 cubic feet) load capacity that is split up between two chambers. By having two chambers, you can compost two batches simultaneously, or simply divide your compost up into smaller batches that will decompose sooner. The double chambers also allows you to separate your compost materials in order to create specific mixtures of nutrients for different plants in your garden.
Each chamber is opened and closed by using 8-inch twist lids, which help to secure them from leaking, spilling, or being broken into by pests. These lids are listed as 7” in diameter, so you likely won’t be able to use a shovel to load it and will need to break your organic material into smaller clumps to get them into the compost chambers.
This compost tumbler can hold 80 gallons (or 10.72 cubic feet) of compost, giving it the largest capacity of the three products we’re comparing. Unlike its peers, the Lifetime compost tumbler features a single chamber. This allows you to create larger batches of compost if you find yourself with larger loads of organic waste that you’re looking to convert. This single-chambered design is perfect for loading and leaving in the early spring, yielding a large batch of compost at the perfect time for planting and cultivating your garden.
There is a bar installed inside this Yimby tumbler that enhances the mixing of the compost and allows oxygen to flow through the entirety of your compost mixture. This helps everything break down more evenly, ensuring a more balanced and efficient decomposition process and preventing you from manually shuffling and rotating your compost by hand. This aeration bar runs through the middle of the tumbler and acts as the axis that you rotate it around. This helps stabilize the tumbler by providing a steady rotation to your composting.
This product comes as a box of unassembled parts, so you’ll need to put a little work in before you get started composting. This assembly process will ultimately take you anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half, so make sure to set aside some time to ensure a proper and sturdy assembly process. Although assembly is required before using, it comes with all the equipment and tools needed to assemble it.
Good Ideas CW-2X
This product comes pre-assembled, so you won’t need to do any work to get started using it. Simply unbox, and you can start composting immediately. It also features small holes at the end of each chamber that allows for better oxygen flow. Since decomposition is an aerobic process, this increased amount of air helps make composting more efficient. It also comes with a 1-year manufacturers warranty that will repair or replace any faulty parts or manufacturer’s errors.
One of its more unique features is a 5-gallon base for collecting compost tea. Compost tea is typically created by mixing your finished compost material with water in order to infuse the water with the broken-down nutrients from the decomposition cycle. This composter saves you a step by actively draining the liquid off of your compost pile and collecting it in the base’s reservoir. This liquid can later be diluted to create compost tea, which saves you from having to mix and filter your compost through the water messily.
Like the Good Ideas model, this compost tumbler features two chambers. This means you can get your finished compost sooner instead of waiting to fill its entire 37 gallon (or 5 cubic feet) capacity. This gives you a steady flow of compost, so you’ll never have to wait for a larger batch to break down once you’re in the thick of the growing season.
Yimby recommends that you turn this tumbler two or three times a week in order to get the most efficient decomposition process. The length of this process depends on what you put in your composter and how warm it is at the time. In the summertime, when it’s hotter and sunnier, it’s possible for this composter to finish within a two-week period.
The deep fins that help you rotate the tumbler also help to break your compost down into smaller portions, which accelerates the decomposition process. These fins increase aeration, which helps the bacteria responsible for breaking down your compost do their job better. The addition of small holes throughout the body allows oxygen to flow in, while further increasing the efficiency of the compost’s aeration. While you can take advantage of free shipping when ordering on Amazon, this product is currently unavailable for shipping outside the United States.
And the Winner is…
Because it contains a well-balanced blend of elements from the other two compost tumblers, the Yimby IM4000 Compost Tumbler offers you the best collection of features to enhance your composting. The double-chambered system allows you to quickly break down your compost, helping you maintain consistent nutrient-enrichment that will make your garden thrive.
The large mouth of this compost tumbler makes it easier to use a shovel for loading, which is more convenient and requires less work. While its capacity is the smallest of the three products that we examined, its built-in aeration accelerating features and heat-trapping black color maximize decomposition and speed up composting.