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Best Compost Tumblers For Effortless Home Composting

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Composting at home is a great way to reduce your home’s waste and convert it into nutrients for your plants. But without devices like the best compost tumblers, many may feel reluctant to adopt this practice.

Manually mixing kitchen scraps with a garden fork or shovel isn’t always fun for gardeners. It’s slow, and the results can be too messy.

If you like the idea of composting but don’t want too much hard work, check out the tumbling composters we’ve rounded up below at Growingherbsforbeginners.com.

Best Compost Tumblers For Composting At Home

From here, we will review the top Best Compost Tumblers and reveal which one is the best product.

PICTUREPRODUCT'S NAMENUMBER OF CHAMBERS

CAPACITY (Gallons)

MATERIALPRICE
RTS Home Accents Rainwater BarrelFCMP Outdoor IM4000237

Plastic
Good Ideas IMP-L50-SAN<br /> Miracle-Gro Small Composter118.5

Plastic
Good Ideas RW65-GRN Rain WizardVIVOSUN Tumbling Composter243

Plastic
Enviro World EWC-10 FreeGardenSpin Bin 60-Gallon Composter160Plastic

#1. FCMP Outdoor IM4000 – Best Overall

FCMP Outdoor IM4000

  • Number of chambers: 2
  • Capacity: 37 gallons
  • Material: Plastic
  • Overall rating: 4.5/5

FCMP Outdoor is the go-to choice for any experienced gardener who wants to take care of their compost at home. In particular, its IM4000 dual-chamber model is the best choice for most people.

This tumbling composter features a sturdy yet sleek construction. Made of UV-inhibited and BPA-free recycled polypropylene, the IM4000 does not degrade fast under sunlight. It won’t be an eyesore in your yard. The back exterior looks good outdoors and can fit nicely anywhere.

The galvanized stainless steel frame can withstand corrosion too. This durability isn’t just great when it comes to longevity but also can protect the material against animals like rodents. Typical composters can attract bugs and flies. Surprisingly, during our test, we had no issue with this product.

The doors kept the animals out but didn’t block us from easy access. They had labels telling us where to add each type of scrap.

Easy to slide, those doors were convenient to use. It was true even when we carried and added the food waste with one hand. We could also have a peek to see if our scaps had been broken down.

In total, the FCMP Outdoor IM4000 provides a 37-gallon capacity. It makes the composter compact enough for a small backyard but still able to handle a decent amount of waste.

It has two chambers, meaning you can start a new batch while the old one is still decomposing. You don’t need to find a new place to store the collected material. This is a simple process, even for beginners.

The IM4000 is no slouch at aeration. Designed for better circulation, it features adjustable air vents. You can take advantage of them to introduce more oxygen into the chambers. The deep fins are also a big plus. They can break up the clumps and mix air in, further accelerating the process.

The real-life performances in our test could back up those designs. The FCMP Outdoor IM4000 produced compost more quickly than any product we’ve ever tried. It did a better job than non-tumbling models, but the tumbling itself didn’t require a lot of effort.

We didn’t need to dig and mix our scraps and grass clippings with a shovel. Instead, we could just load our leftover food and turn chambers once or twice a day. This top composting tumbler took care of the rest.

However, you may struggle with its complicated setup process. It took us almost two hours to put every part together. And while its 37-gallon capacity isn’t terrible, many households may need a bigger composter.

Pros

  • Two chambers for uninterrupted workflow
  • Sturdy construction
  • Odor isn’t a problem
  • Sleek look that doesn’t degrade quickly
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Time-consuming assembly
  • Only average capacity
  • Not portable

Verdict: The FCMP Outdoor IM4000 composter is an amazing choice if you want to switch to a more sustainable lifestyle. It can last for several years and do a fantastic job.

#2. Miracle-Gro Small Composter – Budget Option

Miracle-Gro Small Composter

  • Number of chambers: 1
  • Capacity: 18.5 gallons
  • Material: Plastic
  • Overall rating: 4/5

If you have a limited budget, there is no need to settle with a low-quality composter. The Miracle-Gro delivers outstanding performance for light use without compromising quality. In fact, the 18.5-gallon volume is a perfect fit for a rooftop garden, patio, porch, or balcony.

It can’t match the capacity of the dual-chamber design. But for newcomers interested in home composting with a modest-sized lawn or garden, it can live up to their expectations.

Other than the smaller capacity, the Miracle-Gro comes pretty close to the FCMP model in terms of quality and performance. The UV-protected plastic and steel frames put it on par with more expensive models. Throughout our decomposing process, we didn’t notice any sign of degradation.

Equipped with mixing bars, the tumbler transformed our yard waste and food scraps quickly. You can expect your compost as soon as 4-6 weeks.

It got the job done without much intervention from our side either. Miracle-Gro recommends users turn (or “tumble”) it one or two times a day.

The catch is you may see some debris falling through the vents while turning. The manufacturer could use some improvement to secure those holes.

The single-chamber nature gives the Miracle-Gro another competitive edge: an easy setup process. Fewer parts and tools are involved. You can look at the instructions and assemble them with ease. It should not take you more than 30 minutes and a Phillips screwdriver.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Compact design, suitable for limited space
  • Structurally sound
  • Easy to assemble and use
  • Fast decomposing process

Cons

  • Not suitable for any but a small garden
  • Waste may fall out of the vents

Verdict: As long as you don’t have too much waste to overwhelm it, the Miracle-Gro small composter is a great all-around purchase for the price.

#3. VIVOSUN Tumbling Composter – Best Aeration

VIVOSUN Tumbling Composter

  • Number of chambers: 2
  • Capacity: 43 gallons
  • Material: Plastic
  • Overall rating: 4.5/5

The VIVOSUN tumbling composter comes with two chambers and a 43-gallon capacity, which is slightly bigger than most. It offers a great environment for decomposing. And the best, you can benefit from its top-notch aeration despite the huge volume.

Poor airflow design is often a big issue for tumbling composters like this. VIVOSUN deals with its several adjustable ventilation holes to keep air circulating in and out.

This design allows for more oxygen when you have more compostable material to decay. Without it, it’s impossible to have nutritious compost within weeks. During the whole process, we found no foul odors unpleasant enough to complain about.

The VIVOSUN composter delivers on other counts as well. Made of high-quality PP plastic and galvanized steel, our tested unit did well against heavy rain and direct sunlight. There was no sign it wouldn’t keep resisting outdoor elements for a long time.

VIVOSUN provides a pair of garden gloves in the box. You can use them the right way for your first compost batch. They aren’t premium gloves but good enough for digging and mixing.

We did wish the doors would be a bit bigger (they were only 5.3 inches high). To be fair, they slid easily and allowed us to load new scraps or retrieve the compost without an issue.

Remember that it isn’t a small device with the dimensions of 26.25 x 23.6 x 36.5 inches. You will also have to stomach a bump in cost to get its bigger capacity.

Pros

  • Great air circulation
  • Larger-than-average capacity
  • Weather-resistant build
  • Dual chambers for continuous decomposing

Cons

  • Not compact
  • More expensive

Verdict: The VIVOSUN tumbler is a good buy if you want a slightly bigger compost compartment but worry about its aeration ability.

#4. Spin Bin 60-Gallon Composter – Best Heavy-Duty Model

Spin Bin 60-Gallon Composter

  • Number of chambers: 1
  • Capacity: 60 gallons
  • Material: Plastic
  • Overall rating: 4.0

An outlier in this list, the Spin Bin 60-gallon tumbler is certainly not for beginners or small households. Yet, it is a godsend if you have a large garden.

This composter is huge and looks like a long black barrel that rotates along its shaft. The upside is its huge capacity (60 gallons) means you can make a lot of compost at a time. There are no separate chambers inside. However, two mixing bars can break up clumps and help the yard and kitchen waste to break down.

We also liked the aeration system of this Spin Bin tumbler. There are 20 ventilation holes across the walls, which increases airflow and accelerates decomposition.

The wide doors at the ends of the bin have their appeal too. They can’t slide, but you can dump two hands of waste all at once.

To support this massive tumbler, Spin Bin uses powder-coated steel legs for the base. The walls are plastic, but they are ribbed to add strength to the whole construction.

It’d be better if the manufacturer added more reinforcement to the base. It wasn’t flimsy and not a deal-breaker. Still, the tumbler would become a little unstable when we turned the full bin.

Pros

  • Huge capacity
  • Wide doors for easy access
  • Good air circulation
  • Rugged interior

Cons

  • Only one chamber
  • Prohibitively expensive
  • Skinny legs

Verdict: When making a huge amount of materials at once is your priority, get this Spin Bin model. This heavy-duty tumbler is expensive, but it should give you a satisfying performance.

How To Choose The Best Tumbling Composters

Though a tumbler isn’t a complicated machine, it still comes with different components that can affect your home composting process. These criteria should help you narrow down the options and get the most competent product for you.

Size

The dimensions of a tumbling composter determine how much waste it can handle once at a time. Manufacturers measure the capacity of their products in gallons and sometimes cubic feet.

Both small, medium and large models are available on the market. Some only allow for 15 gallons of waste, while others feature a massive 100-gallon capacity. This choice is controlled by how much material you plan to transform into compost.

If your yard is small and you don’t have more than just a simple mulching mower, a too-large tumbler would be a waste itself. A compact design should do the trick without breaking the bank.

Also, consider the location you dedicate to your composter. Check its dimensions to see if it can fit into the allocated space. 

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Number of Chamber

It can take several weeks or even months for a batch to break down fully. Many gardeners don’t want to wait for this composting process to complete before they put in a second patch.

This is when dual-chamber models come in handy. You can gradually fill the second chamber while the first one is still in the works.

Two separate chambers going at once are the best way to utilize your compost tumbler in this case. Keep in mind that the dual design tends to be more expensive and bigger.

Material & Construction

Some models use an all-metal construction. There is no doubt those composters are more sturdy and can withstand harsh conditions.

But thanks to improvements in manufacturing, plastic can make up a high-quality tumbler too. Several great products feature a UV-resistant plastic bin on top of a plastic or tubular steel frame.

best tumbling composters
Plastic is a common material for outdoor composters.

This combination can work wonders in outdoor environments. Unlike metal-only design, it can stand up to both corrosion and weather. Additionally, the composting process can occur at a faster rate in a plastic bin. This material transfers heat slowly, preventing the internal heat from escaping in cold weather.

The major downside of plastic chambers is how they can retain odors. Constant sun exposure can crack many brittle plastic variants quickly too.

Aeration

The best tumbling composters should be able to maintain a stable airflow between their chambers and the atmosphere. Constant fresh air speeds up the decomposition process and reduces moisture too.

Examine your composter of choice and its aeration design. Look for built-in components like vents or air holes in the walls. Other structures like mixing bars, flat sides, and fins are of great help too.

The waste inside becomes compacted as it breaks down. Turning the composter breaks down clumps and loosens them. The existence of vents and air holes ensures the gas exchange in the decaying material and allows the excess moisture to get out.

Meanwhile, flat walls stop the material from sliding and force it to tumble instead. Other features like bars and fins provide additional texture, adding oxygen and helping stir the waste.

Pest & Odor Control

As beneficial as the decomposing process, it’s hard to deny the irritation caused by its foul odors. The problem gets worse if you decide to keep the composter next to your living space.

Luckily, many manufacturers have come up with several solutions for their products.

Good aeration is a good start. Vents and air holes should be able to keep unpleasant smells at a minimum. 

Also, an enclosed design helps prevent insects and rodents. The lids on those models usually slide, latch, or thread into tracks to keep pests out.

Extras

Many models have bonus features that you may find appealing. Some have wheels, for example. They can be important if you plan to move your tumbler around your large garden. A crank also makes it much easier to turn the chambers as well.

Many customers also pay extra attention to sustainability and country of origin. They may prefer more eco-friendly products, such as composters made from recycled materials.

Cost

If you’re new to home composting and still not sure about your commitment, there is no need to invest in an expensive tumbler. Begin with an affordable model with a small capacity first. There is a good chance it can last up until you need an upgrade.

But if constant, heavy use is in your plan, pay a premium to get high-quality manufacturing and robust materials. After all, it boils down to your needs, in particular the amount of material you plan to process each time.

Plastic is a common material for outdoor composters.
Heavy-duty models cost a lot more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Easy To Use A Compost Tumbler?

Yes, you have a firm grasp at home composting within a few days with these composters.

Organic matter should decompose by itself and turn into nutrient-rich finished compost after a few months. Most of the work just involves turning the chambers on a daily basis to speed up this natural process.

What Are Differences Between Compost Bins And Tumblers?

Compost bins don’t have rotating action. If you want to mix the waste, you will have to dig and mix it by hand.

Tumbling composters are more effective at this task. You can rotate their cylinder to mix and aerate the content inside. As a result, the material decays much faster with less effort. A tumbler is a great upgrade from a compost bin unless you have too little waste to worry about the work.

What Can I Put Into A Tumbler?

You can add most kitchen scraps into a composter. This includes bread, eggshells, coffee grounds, vegetable skins, banana peels, and apple cores.

Other common composting materials are shredded newspaper cardboard, animal manure, hay, wood shavings, leaves, and grass clippings. However, leave ash, charcoal, pet waste, or oil out of your composter.

Where Should I Place My Composter?

Put your compost in shade or under dapple sun. While most quality units are weather-resistant, constant sun exposure can distort their plastic and reduce its lifetime.

It’s also great to have a covering to protect metal parts from rain.

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Do Compost Tumblers Smell? What Can I Do?

Excess moisture in a composter can cause horrible smells. Pick a model with great ventilation and avoid putting eggs, dairy, and meat into it. Add more dry composting materials and turn the compost chamber to avoid smells as well.

How Often Should I Clean My Compost Tumbler?

You don’t need to clean composters in outdoor places very often. Once every few months is already plenty. On the other hand, you’ll want to wash the tumblers placed on your balcony or patio more regularly to prevent odors.

Conclusion

With the best compost tumblers, you can turn organic matter into compost with minimal effort. Your garden waste and leftover produce can improve the soil conditions of your lawn or garden. And you will have less garbage in the trash can to worry about.

If you’re a starter with a modest lawn, check out the FCMP Outdoor IM4000. It’s a great all-around device for an average waste volume you can help process once at a time.

And for keen gardeners in need of larger models, the Spin Bin composter is our recommendation. It should provide enough capacity for a big garden and withstand outdoor elements.

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