Compost bins: Which one?

Envirocycle Composting Tumbler Bin and Compost Tea Maker

Hello Readers,

Composting is a great way to recycle kitchen and garden scraps.  A lot of us would love to start composting, but there so many questions to answer about how to go about doing it.  Plus, the image of an unattractive, smelly pile of kitchen scraps at the end of the garden is definitely not ‘a-peeling’.

There are great compost bins in the market nowadays.  You don’t have to be stuck with a pallet as a compost bin.  Nor do you have to use a shovel to turn the compost ever so often.  The choices available are so great the problem will be on choosing which one. So here are the top rated compost bins in the market today:

Let’s start with the standard compost bin

This Algreen Products Soil Saver Classic Compost bin (2-(Pack))compost bin gets rave reviews from users who love the simple yet durable design.  A majority of the reviewers agreed it is a basic, fuss free and sturdy bin. It is so sturdy it survived a bear attack once!

A reviewer has had his over eight years and marveled at how fast the bin composts.  No turning or shoveling needed – you just chuck the food scraps, leaves and grass clippings on top and collect compost from the sliding doors at the bottom.   Algreen championed the fact that it is ‘first in, first out’ when you are composting this way. You don’t have to wait for all the scraps to ‘cook’ like you do with the tumbler type.

The Soil Saver Classic is made of recycled plastic, which is a big plus. It has a locking lid to keep out critters and no base, which should help the worms get into all that juicy scraps. Assembly is relatively easy.  One useful tip from those had bought one is to make sure the ground is level before you assemble the bin.  If the ground is not, there is a high chance the bin might tip or you may find it difficult to open the sliding door for the compost.

The budget alternative
Redmon Green Culture 65-Gallon Compost Bin

The Redmon Green Culture 65-Gallon Compost Bin is very similar to the Algreen Soil Saver. It is made from rugged, weather resistant resin, with a large top lid.  It has plenty of ventilation on top and has four access doors at the bottom, compared to the Algreen Soil Saver’s two.

The main complaint is to do with missing screws in the delivery.  Be sure to check thoroughly that you have all the parts necessary to assemble this product. The stakes at the bottom used to anchor the bin are too short.  Otherwise, the Redmon Green Culture does the job well at a lower price.

The ‘easy to move’ bin

The Compost Bin by GEOBIN is a little different. As composting bins go, it is a lot of fun. Made out of 50% recycled material, the Geobin comes as one sheet. You will need to unroll it before shaping the bin into the size that you need.  Large plastic keys will keep the shape whilst you fill it up with scraps, grass clippings, paper and compost.

The plastic is sturdy.  Once the composting had begun and you reached the top of the bin, you can easily unlatch the keys at the side and roll the sheet away from your compost heap.  The shape of your compost should hold.  Then it is a matter of shaping the sheet and starting a new compost heap elsewhere.

Reviewers love that the sheet can hold up to 216 gallons.  This product is definitely suitable for the serious composter with a lot of material to compost.  The bin has very good ventilation which helps with the composting and at the price point; it is good value for money.  However, since the bin and the compost heap is relatively in the open, it may not be suitable for gardens with a critter problem.

Top three tumbler composting bins

Assembly required

This 80 gallon Lifetime 60028 65-Gallon Compost Tumbler is a robust beast made of out of durable high density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic. The double walled panel means heat is retained which helps in the composting process. The large size is perfect for the serious gardener and composter. The large lid makes shoveling your garden waste a cinch and when the composting is done, you can rotate the tumbler and dump the black soil straight into your wheelbarrow.

The tumbler rotates around an internal rod, which also mixes and aerates the compost.  The stand is made of powder coated steel and sturdy enough to hold up the 80 gallon barrel. One reviewer noted why he opted for this style is he needed a compost bin that is off the ground to discourage rodents. It does, however, leak compost tea so it is recommended that you have something to catch the tea underneath or place this bin over dirt.

The main complaint about the Lifetime compost tumbler is how hard it to assemble the product is.  The instructions are not very clear.  Reviewers noted they had to drill extra holes into the product to line up the screws.  Otherwise, once assembled, the Lifetime composting bin gets two big thumbs up.


Two is the name of the game

The Yimby Tumbler Composter, Color Black comes with not one, but two composting chambers. The idea behind it is you fill the first chamber till full and you can leave it to ‘cook’, while filling the second one. Similar to the Lifetime Compost Tumbler, the Yimby has a barrel surrounding a central rod, on top of a metal frame.  The tumbling action is manually done by using the ‘fins’ to roll the barrel around the central rod.

Assembly is required; although judging by the reviews it is not as frustrating as assembling the Lifetime Compost Tumbler.  One reviewer gave a good tip of looking out for YouTube videos before you start assembling the product.  Another thing to note is the barrel is not one piece – it consists of eight separate panels fixed onto a two hexagons to make up the barrel.

While a number of reviewers found the two chambers very helpful, the busy gardener with a lot to compost may find the size too small. The overall size is given at 37 gallon so half of that for one chamber is probably not enough for someone who has a lot of composting to do.

And now, for something a little different…

Envirocycle Composting Tumbler Bin and Compost Tea Maker, certainly does not look like your average compost bin.  Do not be put off by how cute it looks; or by the hot pink color.  This sturdy compost bin earned rave reviews by customers new and old who are convinced Envirocycle compost bins are built to last.

It is described by the manufacturers as ‘built like a tank, the compost bin is made out of BPA, food safe and rust free material.  No assembly is required. The bin itself is a barrel which rests on top of eight rollers fixed onto the base.  The rollers make it easy to rotate the bin every three days.  The barrel shape also means you can take it off the base and roll the barrel over to where you need the compost.

You can opt to collect the compost tea for use.  There is one reviewer who stated that the tea was produced very quickly, far more than needed.  If you don’t need that much, it might be a better option to drain it.

What strikes me the most from the reviews is the stellar customer service that Envirocycle provide. Any issues with the product are taken care of quickly and it sounds like the company is very serious and very proud of their product. If the hot pink color is still making you doubt this bin, rest assured it also comes in black. The Envirocycle Composting Tumbler bin comes in two sizes – in the 17 gallon and 35 gallon option.

In conclusion, there are many choices out there to fit your composting needs.  It is just a matter of thinking how much composting you are going to do and which ones of these options suits your living arrangements best.  A two-person household with a balcony will definitely need a different type of compost bin that a bigger household with a large garden.

I hope the above options give you some food for thought. And if you finally settled on one type of bin, don’t forget to buy a compost starter like Jobe’s Organics Compost Starter 4-4-2 Organic Gardening Compost Accelerator, 4 pound bag to get that pile going.

Also, it might be useful to invest in a good kitchen compost bin like this highly rated Top Rated Epica Stainless Steel Compost Bin 1.3 Gallon-Includes Charcoal Filter bin.  It’s big enough to hold several days worth of kitchen scraps which means you don’t have to run out to the big compost bin when it’s raining or cold, and chances are that’s how this spring is going to turn out, with plenty of rainy days.

Thanks for reading,

-Junk Talk Web Team

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