A great compost solution is a near-necessity for the ecologically concerned. Rather than dumping all of your old food scraps and yard trash in a landfill, composting your organic waste and reusing it as fertilizer is a more sustainable option.

And if you have a backyard garden – or simply a few flower beds – you have many options for using your storage. You may now just use a conventional compost bin.

However, conventional compost bins need a significant amount of room and may take up to a year to yield good results. To assist you in expediting the process, we set out to discover the finest compost tumbler available.

Five of the best compost tumblers

Now that you know the pros and cons of using compost tumblers and the specifications you should look for in one, here are some of our recommendations to guide you in your purchase.

EJWOX Composting Tumbler

If you are looking for an inexpensive two-chamber tumbler, the EJWOX Composting Tumbler is the right one. The pricing is very cheap, especially given the robust design.  Rather than being constructed as a single, massive tub, each side is separately filled and drained. Fill one side first, followed by the other. Once the second side is filled, you may empty the first.

Features:

  • 43 gallons size for multiple times, periods, and seasons a year usage
  • Both sides have their sliding doors, but they are not self-closing. 
  • With a remarkably robust polypropylene shell and weather resistance.

Downside:

  • Assembling the EJWOX Composting Tumbler is challenging. 
  • Confusing instruction booklet.
  • Disorganized hardware.

Few reminders:

This implies that patience is required during installation and that no screws or bolts should be fully tightened until the device is completely completed. If you inserted the screws in the incorrect holes, you’d need to be able to remove and replace them quickly.

FCMP outdoor IM4000 tumbling composter

This Canadian-made compost tumbler is built to withstand even the most inclement weather, no doubt; the FCMP Outdoor IM4000 Tumbling Composter is a best seller. This is the best option in very cold conditions. If you live in a cold climate, this is an excellent tumbler.

Features:

  • With a cold-weather-friendly construction that makes it perfect for cold regions,
  • With a two-sided design. Both chambers are attached to a single tub by a separating wall; they rotate in unison rather than separately. 
  • Chambers share a single door that can be moved to either side for adding compost or emptying it into a wheelbarrow.
  • A thick, black polypropylene is used to build this composter that warms up rapidly under the sun, preventing your compost from freezing.

Downside:

Disadvantageous in hotter regions. Even though the plastic is UV-resistant and durable, leaving it in full sunshine will cause it to get excessively hot and dry. 

Few reminders:

Keep your FCMP in the shade or partial shade under these circumstances to keep it as cool as possible. Be sure to flip it every two to three days if you live in a hot environment.

Miracle-Gro large dual chamber compost tumbler

The Miracle-Gro Large Dual Chamber Compost Tumbler is an excellent option for anybody with back issues or limited strength since only half of the tumbler has to be turned at once. This two-chamber tumbler is manufactured by Scotts Miracle-Gro, a company known for producing high-quality seeds, fertilizers, and lawn equipment. 

Features: 

  • Chambers may be controlled independently. 
  • With 54 gallons overall capacity (27 on each side for a low weight rotation)
  • It can process compost more quickly than most bigger units.
  • Both the structure and chambers are constructed of stainless steel and polypropylene drums. 

Downside: 

There are concerns regarding the product’s long-term longevity, even if it seems very robust when initially built because the drums are secured to the frame using plastic clips rather than screws and brackets. 

Spin bin composters

The Spin Bin is a newcomer to the composting industry and the manufacturer’s only offering. Because this is a drum-style composter, the body resembles an oil drum rather than anything ecologically friendly, allowing enough circulation. However, do not discount this made in the US Spin Bid just because of its youth. It has a great deal to offer. 

Features: 

  • With a 60-gallon capacity for year-round usage 
  • Made of durable, heavy-duty polypropylene that can withstand a pounding. 
  • With vertically inclined drum for more aeration
  • With 20 ventilation holes on the outside for better aeration
  • With a two-year manufacturer’s guarantee. 

Downside: 

It may be rather hefty when filled and not ideal for those with back issues or limited arm power.

Jora tumbler composter JK270

The Jora Composter Tumbler JK270 is the only composter on our list with a metal body giving it a sleek, glossy, and new look for years. Because of its material, it is very durable and can withstand much more damage than a standard plastic tumbler.

Features: 

  • With a capacity of 70 gallons
  • This unit’s walls are insulated for added warmth.
  • With a door that closes well for stench containment.
  • Made of galvanized steel, you’ll notice only rust on the bolt heads that protrude from the frame. 

Downside: 

The metal body weighs 52 pounds which is considerably more than a typical plastic compost tumbler. Not a one-person job in assembling bolts. 

What is the purpose of a compost tumbler?

In its simplest form, a compost tumbler is a container that can be rotated to “tumble” or mix the compost produced within. It is called a compost tumbler because it “tumbles” what is inside. True to its name, compost tumblers can be rotated to blend and mix the contents.

There are many tumblers on the market nowadays. Despite this variety of available tumblers, they have a few essential characteristics in common. One is that these are usually opaque and black to generate heat within. Another is that these include one or two chambers for green and brown biodegradable materials. 

Why should you use a tumbler rather than alternative composting methods?

Because of the hype in advertisements and commercials, individuals frequently seek a compost tumbler after seeing advertising promising compost in two weeks or less. While it may be true under ideal circumstances, obtaining those ideal conditions may be challenging and usually takes longer.

Therefore, why should you use a compost tumbler rather than a compost pile, bin, or another method? What are its advantages compared to other composting methods? 

Its advantages are convenience, weather and season adaptability, animal protection, and visual appeal.

Convenience

The very first one is convenience. Different kinds of composting demand different methods. For instance, when using a fixed composter, you must stir the compost to aerate and mix it, which may be tedious. Composting using a “hot pile” involves creating a pile that produces heat, then sterilizes the compost, destroying any weed seeds or pathogens and making it safe to use in your garden.

However, compost tumblers make it very simple to mix your compost and maintain it well-aerated at all times. Spinning it just a few times each week for seconds is much more convenient than doing so for 15 minutes to half an hour.

Weather and season adaptability

Weather adaptability

Due to tumblers’ resistance to weather, they can effectively manage moisture and heat. In a conventional compost pile, the only method to keep the remaining water out of your cooking compost (such as snowmelt or heavy rain) is to drape a tarp over the top. Although stationary bins have a cover, their bases are usually exposed to the soil, allowing leachate to drain away.

However, the tumblers’ structure makes them resistant to varying weather conditions. Additionally, you may have an organic source of fertilizer for your non-edible plants from the “compost tea” or leachate produced by your kitchen waste. 

Season adaptability

The same is true in winter. Composting in a fixed composter may be slow-paced during the cold due to a lack of heat despite its insulation. That is why tumblers are placed inside a garage or shed over the winter and operated normally, creating regular batches of compost in preparation for spring.

This can be a hassle, especially if your composter lacks a compost tea collector, as you need to place something underneath it to capture drips.

If that is the case, during the winter, you may convert to bokashi or vermicomposting, but this needs a separate composter and a different procedure.

Hence, more expense and inconvenience on your part. That is why a compost tumbler is better to save you from further hassle and purchases.

Tumblers also heat up more quickly and maintain a higher temperature throughout the warmer months, which kills off any weeds or pathogens that would otherwise develop in your compost.

Animal protection and visual appeal

Piles of compost and animals straying in your yard can be an eyesore. Animals going near your property eyeing your compost can be pretty annoying. You may find that a raccoon, deer, or even the neighbor’s cat has made a meal out of the compost pile. Tumblers deter the majority of animals. While a few may still attempt entry if something smells very appetizing (bears are the most often reported to do so), the majority just pass by. 

Tumblers keep the compost in a single location and out of sight, preventing you from seeing decaying plant materials and animals preying on it.  A compost pile is nothing more than a mound.

Whether enclosed inside a frame or simply piled, a pile remains. Placing it in a secure tumbler compost can also prevent the pile from progressively spreading. It’s like several birds in one stone; using a compost tumbler can maintain your yard’s visual appeal, deter animals preying on your compost, and prevent further mold from spreading.

Disadvantages and limitations of using a tumbler

Despite all those advantages of a compost tumbler enumerated above, it has limitations and disadvantages. 

Significantly more expensive

Compost tumblers are often constructed of sturdier materials to accommodate moist, heavy composting ingredients. Additionally, tumbler-style composters have support legs or bases with rollers, which adds to their manufacturing cost.

This is not a problem with bin-style composters since the bins are open-bottomed and do not need support. 

Bigger models are harder to spin.

Smaller versions are easier to turn, which is why most tumbler-style composters have a capacity of 9.5 cubic feet or less. This is because a larger drum is more difficult to spin when fully loaded. There are. However, larger capacity spinning composters available that use mechanical assistance (such as a rod and gear system) to turn the drum. 

 Possible moisture issues

With a tumbler, you must maintain an appropriate material balance to avoid the compost from becoming soggy. This is disadvantageous compared to a conventional compost pile, wherein any extra moisture will simply drain out of the bottom of the pile and soak into the ground. 

Compost tumblers: three various types

Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of using a compost tumbler, among other types, it is time to familiarize yourself with the different compost tumblers to decide better which one works for you.

All compost tumblers are enclosed containers, usually barrel-shaped, and their contents must be turned regularly. The primary distinction between the various compost tumblers is the direction in which they spin. The tumblers spin in three ways: handle rotation, central axis rotation, and ground rolling.

 Operated by a handle

If you are looking for a tumbler that needs less physical strength exertion and is more appropriate for kids and the elderly or someone with diminished physical strength, this is the best option out there.

Tumblers with handles need less physical strength than other tumblers as it makes rotating the barrel simpler due to the usage of gears. The geared handle engages a gear incorporated into the bin’s end. When the operator cranks the handle, the bin rotates smoothly and precisely.

 Central axis

Central axis compost bins are an excellent option for people with back issues since they allow the user to load and unload the material standing rather than crouching. It is called the central axis because of its structure, wherein a central axis is constructed of metal and has an axle running through the center of the bin. The framework serves two objectives. 

So how does it work? And why is it an excellent choice for people with back issues? To begin, it raises the bin to a position that eliminates bending and stooping when filling, rotating, and emptying it. Second, the axle enables the bin to spin freely, which helps to aerate the contents.

Additionally, certain versions have wheels, allowing users to quickly move the bin to a new location in the yard or garden, thus an extra convenience and ease of movement.

Ground rolling

Ground-rolling compost tumblers are the best option for people who live in cold regions. It is called a ground rolling tumbler because it rolls on the ground and is composed of two distinct components: the barrel, or bin, and the base. The foundation has a curved top surface that cradles the bin and secures it without needing fasteners.

When pushed or pulled, rollers integrated into the curved surface of the base enable the loaded bin to rotate freely. Its container retains heat due to the decreased exposure to wind and cold, stimulating the activity of composting microorganisms.

Buying guide for compost tumblers

Choosing the finest compost tumbler is achievable only if you understand what to search for. It is not enough to know its type; you must also familiarize yourself with the specs and capabilities you should look for in a compost tumbler. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a helpful purchasing guide to assist you in determining which tumbler is the best fit for your specific requirements.

 Purpose and size

Before purchasing one, determine the purpose for which the bin will be used. For instance, would you mainly utilize it to dispose of kitchen scraps? Alternatively, will it process weeds, grass clippings, and other garden waste? Will it be filled on a sporadic basis, with more material supplied periodically until it is complete? Or will it be inundated with content regularly?

Once you determine your purpose, this is when the size of your compost tumbler takes into consideration. Although barrel-style tumblers are intended to be rolled along the ground, many modern versions are axle-mounted and designed to be spun by hand.

Other versions include hexagonal or octagonal shapes and ergonomic grips that simplify spinning. Both of these designs are sometimes dual-chambered. This design enables you to fill one side at a time, eliminating the need to keep your compost in a separate container while it finishes.

For small yard

Size is important for two reasons. First, if you have a tiny yard or are working on an urban roof garden, you may lack the room for a large tumbler. And in such instances, you are unlikely to need large amounts of compost in the first place. Compost tumblers in the 15- to 25-gallon range are ideal for digesting modest quantities of kitchen waste and occasional house plant detritus.

For big yard

On the other hand, if you have a big yard with a huge garden, you will need a proportionately larger composter. Not only will this enable you to fertilize a large garden, but it will also provide an outlet for some of the leaves and other waste that accumulate on your lawn.

If you need a bin that can manage larger amounts on an irregular basis, such as towards the conclusion of a gardening season, choose a big capacity 50- to 80-gallon compost tumbler. You may also opt for a twin chamber tumbler that will process and finish compost on one side while feeding fresh material on the other.

Finally, there is no such thing as a “correct” size. It’s entirely up to you and your lawn and garden size. Additionally, a big, single-chamber tumbler will be simpler to spin than a smaller tumbler.

Materials

Compost tumblers are constructed using three distinct kinds of materials.

Plastic

It is a great conductor of heat and is also very resilient. Simply avoid purchasing a plastic tumbler that is too thin. Investing in a robust, durable one will leave you considerably better off.

Metal

While metal is more difficult to pierce than plastic, it is often easier to damage. Ferrous metals are also susceptible to rust, which is not an issue with plastic.

Wood

There, some tumblers are constructed entirely of wood. While wood is excellent at retaining heat, many inexpensive timbers may decay along with your compost over time. Consider a durable, rot-resistant wood such as cedar.

 Aeration

Choose a compost bin with built-in aeration features, such as air holes or vents in the walls, internal fins, flat sides, and mixing bars. With these features, it would be easier for you to reduce moisture and to have more air for compost, as these are essentials in decomposition.

Air holes and vents allow for gas exchange between microorganisms in decomposing materials and allow for the escape of surplus moisture. When faced with flat walls, such as those seen in a hexagonal form, the material is forced to fall rather than glide. The additional texture is provided by elements such as fins and bars that aid in stirring the material and adding oxygen.

Utilization Ease

When comparing compost tumblers, “ease of use” is a subjective term that varies according to the gardener. However, there are some advantages that compost tumblers provide over the traditional compost heaps, such as:

  • They’re tidy. 
  • They contain the clutter, creating a more orderly look. 
  • They are quick and simple to spin. They just need a minute or two to spin the tumbler instead of the garden fork’s half-hour. Outside hand grips or a hand crank make rotating the bin even simpler.
  • Gardeners may relocate them to a garden shed or garage for more effective winter composting, but a fixed pile will simply fall dormant over the winter.
  • To spread the compost, put it into a wheelbarrow from a good container. However, gardeners who process compost outside in cold weather may choose a bin near the ground.
  • A larger aperture facilitates loading and unloading, and sliding covers, unlike latches and threaded lids, seldom get blocked with dirt. 

Pest and animal control

Additionally, an enclosed compost tumbler assists composters in avoiding pests such as rats and insects. These units’ lids thread, lock, or slide into tracks, preventing rats and other tiny animals from entering.

Rodents have a tough time chewing through durable, heavy-duty plastic, and steel makes the bin practically impenetrable. Avoid adding animal favorites to the trash, such as meat scraps, bones, and high-fat foods. Doing so can also lead to a foul odor.

Odor control

Composting is similar to caring for a pet, except that the “pets” are millions of aerobic microorganisms. They need a constantly warm and wet atmosphere, as well as the proper kind of “food.” Initially, their diet is composed of about 30-parts carbon to 1-part nitrogen.

A pungent stench emanating from the bin indicates that the compost is either under-aerated or the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio of the compost components is out of balance. A fully functioning compost tumbler should heat up due to the microorganisms’ activity and have a pleasant, earthy odor. If the components are out of balance, the microorganisms cannot properly digest the compost, which may result in unpleasant smells. 

You may add a compost starter to your tumbler to jumpstart the composting process, including the microorganisms that naturally develop in a compost bin over time, which greatly speeds up the process. Following that, it is unnecessary unless you attempt to raise the temperature inside your tumbler.

For nitrogen-excess compost:

The nitrogen content is excessive if the combination is sticky or smells strongly of ammonia. Nitrogen is derived from “green” composting materials such as vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and grass clippings. This recipe calls for brown components. If the bin has excessive carbon, it will not heat effectively, adding green materials.

For carbon-deficient compost:

Carbon is derived from materials classified as “brown,” such as fall leaves, straw, sawdust, and paper. One method to guarantee that the kitchen wastes contain sufficient carbon is to add paper goods such as coffee filters, used paper towels, and tea bags. Cover fresh scraps added to the container with crushed newspaper or cardboard. 

If the tumbler emits an unpleasant odor or the contents seem mushy or soggy, you need to add additional carbon-rich browns. Brown garbage consists of dried and sometimes living plant debris, including wood chips or pellets, cardboard, old newspaper, and dried leaves. Brown trash is often carbon-dense and absorbent, adding bulk to the final compost.

If it produces larvae, you will also need brown excrement – and you must keep flies away unless you want maggots.

For nitrogen-deficient compost:

If it seems very dry or is not composting, you need to add additional nitrogen-rich greens. Green trash comprises organic items such as vegetable and fruit peels and rinds, apple cores, coffee grounds, fresh leaf or grass clippings from your yard, and manures. Green waste contains much more moisture and is often nitrogen-rich. Moisture may result in the formation of “compost tea” or “leachate.”

For oxygen-deficient compost:

If your compost smells like rotten eggs, it desperately needs oxygen. Compost tumblers can easily address this problem. Rotating the bin once or twice a week introduces oxygen into the mix and encourages the development of beneficial aerobic-composting microorganisms.

Last update on 2022-11-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API