6 of the Best Compost Bins
Find a compost bin that suits your lifetstyle and your gardening needs
All About Home Composting
Created by the team at DIY Gardening
Home composting is an environmentally friendly way to recycle kitchen and garden waste; you’ll be rewarded with a quality soil conditioner or mulch to use in your garden.
Perfect for garden borders, flowerbeds, vegetable patches and containers, you can use your fresh and peat-free compost anywhere in the garden.
We’ve listed what we feel are the best compost bins below; some are perfect for larger gardens, while others are suitable for those of you with smaller gardens and balconies.
Our favourite? The HotBin hot composter is our #1 choice and it won product of the year at the Chelsea Flower Show 2019.
1) “Thermal” and “Hot” Compost Bins
Thermal or hot compost bins are constructed with either foam insulation or double layers of plastic; the purpose is to increase the temperature within the bin.
A warmer bin will break down the materials much faster, meaning you’ll get your compost in less time.
Hot composters can create usable mulching compost in as little as 30 days, way sooner than a traditional composter. They can even produce a fine, garden-ready compost in as little as 90 days.
There’s another noteworthy benefit to hot composters; the heat kills weeds, seeds and pathogens, all of which can survive a cold compost heap.
Also, the higher temperature means you can compost items that wouldn’t be suitable for a cold composter, such as animal-derived foodstuffs.
My favourite hot composter is the HotBin; it’s wrapped in 50mm of insulation and comes with these benefits:
- A built-in thermometer that takes accurate readings.
- A vent valve to control the temperature and keep it just right.
- A sloped floor and an exit valve for any liquid waste that can be used as fertiliser.
- 3-year warranty.
My only issue with the HotBin is the price, but you get what you pay for, and if you want a hot composter, this is the best of the bunch.
(More details and an honest review of the HotBin can be found in my guide to the best hot composters)
2) The Cutest Composter in the World
Envirocycle have produced a compost bin that in their words is the cutest composter in the world.
It’s actually just one of several tumbler compost bins on the market.
These devices look aesthetically pleasing and can be kept on patios, concrete or even decking, giving you more choices of where you can place the composter.
The Cutest Composter in the World isn’t cheap but reviews of the device have been positive and customer aftercare is noted by many as being excellent.
You can choose from either the 65-litre version which is perfect for small gardens or the larger 135-litre compost bin. The black version would look great in most gardens and there’s a pink version for those of you looking for a funky composter.
Don’t forget; Envirocycle is just one of many tumbler composters, there are similar ones priced more moderately.
3) Mega Compost Bin
Looking for something a little larger?
The 4Smile is one of the biggest compost bins we could find and can hold an impressive 300 litres.
Made from sturdy weatherproof and UV protected plastic, this robust composter also has a hinged lid for depositing garden and kitchen waste. If you’ve ever purchased a cheap compost bin with a loose lid before, you’ll know how annoying it is to see the cover fly off every time the wind picks up. That won’t happen with hinged lids.
There’s also a large door at the base of the product for removing the compost; it’s just about the right size for a shovel.
Measuring 83cm high and 60cm wide, this compost bin is perfect for medium-sized gardens.
4) Traditional Wooden Compost Bins
Traditionally, compost bins were made from lengths of slatted timber and while they not might be as aesthetically pleasing as some modern designs, they have many advantages, most notably aeration.
The slats also allow insects into the composter which helps to break down the material into usable compost.
Holding a whopping 860 litres, this compost bin is huge and best suited to large gardens.
Made from pressure-treated wood, this product is designed to last and comes guaranteed against wet rot for 15 years.
Assembly is easy and takes only minutes.
5) The Geobin
The Geobin is made from 50% recycled plastic and when not in use rolls up to a space-saving tube.
The size of this bin is adjustable so you can expand it fully or roll it up slightly if you’d like a narrower bin.
We loved the look of this product and felt it looked great in our garden. It also has plenty of holes for ventilation and being easy to move is a big bonus for us.
Pro tip: Secure the Geobin to the ground with stakes until it’s loaded with enough materials to hold itself in place.
6) Twin Tumbler Compost Bin
In our opinion, this is the best compost bin on the market for the following reasons:
- Looks stylish.
- Can be placed anywhere, grass, dirt, patio, decking etc.
- Has ventilation holes.
- Is a tumbler so no need to aerate with a fork or tool, just turn occasionally.
- Has two chambers so you can have two sets of compost on the go at any one time.
If you’re looking for a freestanding compost bin, this the best one for your money and is priced at the mid-range point.
Tools and Additives We Recommend
You’ll need to turn the contents of the compost bin occasionally, this will aerate the materials, speed up the decomposition process and also ensures the final compost is consistent. Some compost bins make it impossible to use a fork or shovel so use this tool instead, it’s designed specifically for compost bins.
Speed up the composting process in your bin by using this compost maker from Garotta which contains nitrogen and limestone. Just add water and 2 -3 tablespoons for every 8cm of kitchen scraps and green garden waste. This powder is harmless to pets, wildlife and children but encourages bacterial growth inside the bin.
Each packet contains twelve tablets and every one contains thousands of bacteria and fungi which help to accelerate the composting process. Just add the tablet to water and pour into the middle of your composting bin and turn the contents once a week. Each pack treats 1800 litres of composting material.
How often should compost be turned?
Once the bin is established, you can accelerate the composting process by turning the contents with a fork or tool every week. This improves the aeration inside the bin.
How wet should the compost be inside the bin?
If you squeeze the material in your hand and water seeps out, the compost is too wet, if it crumbles and won’t hold its shape then it’s too dry. Somewhere in the middle is just about right.
How long does a compost bin take to break down the materials?
If you regularly turn the compost bin, you can expect to get usable compost in 6 – 12 months. If you just leave it and make no effort to maintain your bin, expect the process to take 9-18 months.
Hot composters produce mulch-like compost in 30-60 days and fine compost in around 90 days.
How do I know when the compost is ready to use?
The contents of the bin will have shrunk by at least a third and will have an earthy odour. The compost should by now be soft and crumbly and roughly the same temperature as the outside air. All but the largest of items should not be recognisable.
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