- 1 Top 7 Best Compost Bin Outdoor Compared
- 1.1 #1 FCMP Outdoor IM4000 – Top Pick
- 1.2 #2 Miracle-Gro Small Composter – Honorable Mention
- 1.3 #3 Algreen Products Soil Saver – Best Stationary
- 1.4 #4 GEOBIN Compost Bin – Best Budget
- 1.5 #5 Miracle-Gro Large Composter – Best Tumbler
- 1.6 #6 EJWOX Composting Tumbler – Best Quality
- 1.7 #7 Envirocycle Mini Composting Tumbler – Best Compact
- 1.8 How We Decided
- 2 Compost Bin Outdoor Buying Guide
To help you find the best outdoor compost bin, we bought the top 20 models available today and put them to the test. To start our process, we spent over 15 hours measuring ease of assembly, basic functionality and ease of use for each unit. We then started to compost at home so we could test how each bin performed at producing quality finished compost. This process took us a bit longer, but during this time, we tested for bin durability, ease of access, tumbler quality (when applicable), and final compost quality.
After testing each of these areas, our #1 pick for the best compost bins is the FCMP Outdoor IM4000 composting bin for its excellent eight sided design and durable construction, along with its overall ease of use. This is an excellent composting bin for anyone wanting to get into composting. Keep reading to learn more about the IM4000 and the other top picks on our list.
Top 7 Best Compost Bin Outdoor Compared
#1 FCMP Outdoor IM4000 – Top PickWHY WE LIKE IT: The FCMP Outdoor IM4000 features a unique eight sided design with a dual-chamber interior to create a fast composting process. It’s also incredibly user friendly, making this a great choice for beginners and pros alike.
The FCMP Outdoor IM4000 is one of the first outdoor compost bins to use an eight sided design rather than a simple cylindrical barrel shape. This tumbling design allows for deep fins within the unit to break up any clumps or grouping of your kitchen scraps. You’ll also get plenty of air vents that can be adjusted to your liking, or closed off entirely during rainy weather.
One of our favorite aspects of the IM4000 is its dual-chamber design, which allows you to continuously be cooking new batches of compost at the same time. When one side is done, you can dump it and start a new one while still having another batch going. You get a total of 37 gallons here, but with the dual chambers, you’ll only get 18.5 gallons in each chamber, which is a little small for larger families. We were also pleased with this dual-chamber tumbling composter’s overall durability, but had a little bit of a harder time getting it fully assembled. Check out the best riding lawn mower for your grass.
#2 Miracle-Gro Small Composter – Honorable MentionWHY WE LIKE IT: Miracle-Gro is one of the most well-known names in the gardening world, and this small composter reflects the reliability and quality of the brand. With tightly locking doors, you can be sure to keep pests out while creating small batches of compost for your garden.
The Miracle-Gro small composter is durable, easy to use and designed to prevent pests from getting into your compost batches. The biggest selling point of this unit is its tight seal from the outside world, which prevents pests from getting inside and ruining your batch. It uses a sliding door for added ease and convenience when opening and closing the composter. The door shuts tight and there are no other entry points. Thankfully, this doesn’t prevent air from getting in as it needs to, since the composting bin features a comprehensive aeration system for better oxygen intake.
The overall design of the Miracle-Gro is compact and durable, as well, making this a great choice for apartment living or smaller spaces. However, the downside here is that you only get about 27 gallons or 3.5 cubic feet. The small design also can get a little unsturdy when fully loaded. All in all, the Miracle-Gro small composter is great for smaller batches of compost in areas that have a higher likelihood of pests getting in. If you don’t need a large composter to use large amounts of decomposing organic matter as organic fertilizer, this product could work well for you. Your yard might also need the best charcoal grill.
#3 Algreen Products Soil Saver – Best StationaryWHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re looking for tons of capacity and a high-level of durability for outdoor use, you can’t go wrong with the Algreen Products Soil Saver. This heavy-duty compost bin is perfect for serious composters who need volume and versatility.
There’s no two ways about it. The Algreen Products Soil Saver is an outdoor compost bin for serious gardeners and green thumbs. With super sturdy construction and thick walls for excellent heat insulation, this compost bin can more effectively encourage household waste breakdown. This durable construction, including a locking lid that uses two separate knobs, also helps to prevent larger pests and other wildlife from breaking in. While we loved the locking aspect of the lid, we were even more impressed with its self watering design, which features holes to allow better airflow and environmental water to run through the bin.
When it comes time to harvest the compost, simply open one of the two hatch doors on the bottom of the unit. The only downsides we could find with the Algreen’s design is that it doesn’t feature a bottom to the actual unit, which can make for a little bit of a mess if you ever need to move the bin to a different location. All in all, if you need a large capacity bin that you can essentially “set and forget” (except for the occasional heap rotations), the Algreen composting bin is an excellent choice. Compost away and then enjoy the best portable grill.
#4 GEOBIN Compost Bin – Best BudgetWHY WE LIKE IT: The GEOBIN compost bin is simple, large and incredibly easy to assemble, making it one of the easiest bins to use that we tested. This is perfect for anyone who wants to make a lot of compost without a lot of fuss.
When you first look at the GEOBIN compost bin, you might be surprised at how simplistic it is, especially when compared to the other outdoor compost bins on our list. It’s made of a flexible plastic with tons of ventilation holes that gives the appearance of not being very durable. Fortunately, it’s very durable and perfect for composting large amounts of kitchen and yard waste scraps. The best part about this design is how adjustable the bin is. You can expand it out to four feet to achieve a total capacity of 216 gallons. This capacity at this price offers tons of value.
However, with such an open design, you’ll need to worry about wildlife and pests getting into your compost bin. This can cause a mess for you, but won’t necessarily ruin the compost heap. You may also need to worry about some instability when the compost bin isn’t full, but this can be easily solved by a stake in the ground and some zip ties. All in all, if you’re on a budget and need large-scale composting capacity especially for yard waste, the GEOBIN is by far the best choice. Speaking of nature, the best mouse trap can help keep it outside.
#5 Miracle-Gro Large Composter – Best TumblerWHY WE LIKE IT: The Miracle-Gro large compost tumbler is designed specifically for rotation and it rotates well, keeping your compost heap well combined and aerated. If you’re looking for brand reliability and durability, the Miracle-Gro large compost bin is a solid choice.
Like the previous Miracle-Gro compost bin on our list, the Miracle-Gro large composter is backed by the reliability and support of a major gardening brand, which is certainly something you should consider. If you were to experience any defects or problems with your compost tumbler, you’d be able to get support quickly and easily, one of our favorite considerations when buying this unit.
However, you’re also getting a high-quality compost tumbler here, with durable parts and a lid that prevents wildlife from getting to your kitchen scraps. It also features a unique six-sided design that encourages better mixing after rotating your heap. We were pleased with the assembly process on the Miracle-Gro large composter. The included instructions were clear and easy to follow. This is a great option for anyone in a smaller space that wants something a bit larger to use for composting. Check out our patio lawn and garden section for more.
#6 EJWOX Composting Tumbler – Best QualityWHY WE LIKE IT: The EJWOX composting tumbler features a durable, dual-chamber design that allows you to compost two separate batches at once so you get continual access to fertilizer for your garden. It’s also easy to use and great at keeping rodents out.
The EJWOX composting bin features an eight sided tumbling design with a comprehensive aeration system inside that breaks up and mixes the compost every time you rotate the unit. This allows for greater airflow within the dual chamber tumbling composter. It also features double walls for greater heat insulation. The dual-chamber set up allows you to create two compost batches at any given time, or to stagger your batches so you never have to wait too long for more fertilizer.
The EJWOX is easy to assemble, but doesn’t include assembly instructions in the packaging. The instructions are easy to find online and easy to follow, but that’s just an extra, semi-frustrating step to have to do. We were pleased with the overall ease of use on the EJWOX. The doors are easy to open and close, and they do well to keep rodents out of your compost pile. We wish the product would have included some kind of handle to aid in tumbling, especially when full, but we were able to manage just fine without. Check out more of the best tools for the home. And learn about the best tool brands.
#7 Envirocycle Mini Composting Tumbler – Best CompactWHY WE LIKE IT: The Envirocycle Mini composting tumbler features a compelling design that is unlike any we tested. With roller wheels on the base, you can more easily rotate your compost pile inside the Envirocycle. This compost bin is an excellent choice for anyone looking for style and functionality.
The Envirocycle compost tumbler is one of the most uniquely designed products on our list. Rather than sit on a metal stand, the Envirocycle comes with a base that features roller wheels for easier rotation. This was one of the easiest tumblers to rotate, something that isn’t to be overlooked, especially when the composting bin is fully loaded at 17 gallons.
The base also doubles as a compost tea maker, which is another huge plus. This way, you get double the value with your compost pile and the leftover compost tea. And if you’re worried about assembly, you shouldn’t be with the Envirocycle compost tumbler. In fact, there isn’t any assembly involved with this compost bin at all. If you’re looking for extra value and style in your outdoor compost bin, you can’t go wrong with the Envirocycle Mini composting tumbler. For your pool check out the best pool vacuum robot.
How We Decided
When researching the best outdoor compost bins for your gardening needs, you first need to figure out how much bin you really need. Compost bins come in all shapes and sizes, and we scored larger bins higher than smaller. However, that’s not to say that small bins are bad. If you live in an apartment building or other area with minimal outside space, a small composting bin is probably a better idea. As you see on our list, we included bins of all sizes.
You should also only consider compost bins that are sturdy and durable since they’ll spend 100% of the time outside in the elements. We only considered models that are made of hard, UV-resistant plastic and feature durable stainless steel frames. This is especially important if you’re considering tumbling composters, since they involve much more movement than traditional, stationary bins.
Finally, we only considered models that were easy to use and get started. The best part of a compost pile is the minimal maintenance it requires. You want to just be able to throw your kitchen scraps into the pile and go, so a compost bin that inhibits your ability to easily collect compostable materials is not worth your money. The models we included in our top picks are all easy to use and easy to maintain.
Compost Bin Outdoor Buying Guide
The Most Important Features to Consider
Perhaps the most important feature to consider when purchasing a new outdoor compost bin is its overall capacity and, by extension, the total amount of space it takes up in your yard. Compost bins come in all shapes and sizes and the size you should buy depends mostly on your own composting needs. Larger families will likely need a larger capacity compost bin since they’ll produce more waste, while the opposite is true for smaller households. Compost bin capacity is usually measured in cubic feet or gallons, and you can pretty much purchase any size you need.
When looking at new outdoor compost bins, you have four main styles you can buy: traditional, stationary compost bins, compost tumblers, worm compost bins (also called vermicomposting) and countertop compost bins.
- Traditional Compost Bin: This is the most common form of composting. This is a simple, large container that you can keep outside and just throw your scraps into when they come up. You can buy them with or without lids, but you’ll need to manually rotate the compost in order to introduce oxygen to the mix. These come in all shapes and sizes, including countertop size, and can be used as both outdoor and indoor composters.
- Composting Tumbler: Traditional composting can take a long time to be ready, but if you want fast fertilizer, you’ll want to invest in a composting tumbler. With this method of waste management, the compact space and reduced size of the organic matter then decompose faster and release carbon dioxide, thus becoming quick organic fertilizer. The fertilizer can then be returned to Mother Nature and spread on exhausted farming soils to replenish minerals and organic material. These are typically smaller than traditional composting bins, but are shaped like a cylinder and connected to a stand. This allows you to better rotate it so you don’t have to get in there with your hands and rotate the compost pile yourself. Rolling composters speed up the process so you can get fertilizer much faster than usual.
- Worm Compost Bin: Worm compost bins, also known as worm factories or simply worm bins, are smaller compost bins that are perfect for indoor gardening enthusiasts or for people who don’t have enough space outside for a traditional composting solution. The worm factory’s unique approach to fertilizer uses a colony of worms to effectuate the composting process with your food scraps. So the worms eat your food scraps and create compost soil that you then use as fertilizer. This way, if you don’t have a back yard, you can still create compost indoors using these worm bins.
Outdoor composters can be quite the investment, depending on the size and type you purchase, so you’ll want to be sure it lasts for a long time. This is especially true for outdoor compost bins since they’ll be constantly exposed to the elements. Stainless steel compost bins are highly durable and also very easy to clean. Be sure you purchase a bin that is made from UV-protected materials and that feature durable frames made from materials like galvanized steel.
Compost Bin Outdoor FAQs
How do compost bins work?
The purpose of compost bins is to create an environment where organic food materials can decompose and create a nutrient-rich fertilizer for your lawn and garden. Since compost piles can quickly become infested with vermin or over-exposed to wet weather, outdoor compost bins provide a protected place for you to create the richest compost possible.
How do you start a compost pile?
To get started with a compost pile, simply add carbon-rich items like fruit and vegetable peels, egg shells and grass clippings to your compost bin along with some of your garden soil. Continue adding organic waste and turn the compost pile over regularly to add oxygen and in no time, you’ll have the perfect compost for your garden.
What is the best location for an outdoor compost bin?
Choosing the best location for your compost bin relies almost purely on your personal preferences. If you’re adding kitchen waste to your bin, you’ll want a location close to your kitchen door. You should also have convenient access to a hose. You should also consider how close you are to your neighbors. You don’t necessarily want your compost pile as close to them as possible since it could bother them. In the end, we recommend you take the time to consider every spot and weigh their pros and cons against each other and according to your own personal preferences.
Do outdoor compost bins smell?
At its essence, a compost pile is just rotting organic material. As such, you might wonder if it smells bad. However, it’s actually quite the opposite. If you’re doing composting the right way, your bin shouldn’t stink at all. Instead, it should give off a more “earthy” smell. To avoid a smelly compost bin, you need to have a 1:3 ratio between green waste (food waste) and brown waste (Cardboard, sawdust, dead leaves, etc.).
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