The 10 Best Compost Tumblers

Updated November 09, 2017 by Quincy Miller

10 Best Compost Tumblers
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Whether you're trying to reduce your environmental footprint or you simply want a better garden, composting is a great way to deal with your biodegradable waste. Simply take your food scraps, paper, and yard trimmings and dump them into one of these tumblers. Over time, nature will take its course, breaking it all down into a nutrient-rich mulch that your lawn and plants will absolutely love. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best compost tumbler on Amazon.

10. Gardener's Supply Dual Batch

The Gardener's Supply Dual Batch has two separate compartments, so you can fill each side with separate compost materials. It also comes with a manual telling you which ingredients break down quickest. If you need a lot of fertilizer, however, this won't be big enough.
  • bins can rotate separately
  • made with recycled plastic
  • aerating holes don't keep out bugs
Brand Gardener's Supply Compa
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

9. Good Ideas Wizard Jr.

The Good Ideas Wizard Jr. is great for single users, or anyone who's just starting to get into composting. The heavy black plastic keeps it hot inside, so your potash is ready faster. That's good, because it's not very big, so you'll fill it up fast.
  • won't tip over in wind
  • easy to roll around yard
  • water gathers in base
Brand Good Ideas Wizard Jr.
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

8. Lifetime 60058

The Lifetime 60058 has a balanced design for easy rotation and optimal oxygen flow. It's also UV-protected, so the sun won't disrupt the process, making it a good choice for those without a covered storage area. It does tend to leave the compost wet, unfortunately.
  • mixes waste evenly
  • locks to stop rotation while filling
  • doesn't come with pre-drilled holes
Brand Lifetime Products
Model 60058
Weight 52 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

7. Mantis Compact

Despite its name, the Mantis Compact actually holds 88 gallons, so it can certainly make a ton of fertilizer. It's also very high off the ground, so loading and unloading it is convenient even for taller users. It is extremely expensive, though.
  • solid and durable construction
  • enclosed drums eliminate odors
  • needs 2 people to assemble
Brand Schiller Grounds Care
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

6. Good Ideas Wizard

The Good Ideas Wizard ships fully assembled, so you can get started making mulch without having to slave over an instruction manual first. It also holds up to 5 gallons of compost tea, and has an easy-to-use collecting base for it. It's hard to get the compost out, though.
  • good for smaller households
  • tea outlet threaded for garden hose
  • hard to turn when full
Brand Good Ideas Wizard
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

5. Jora 270

If you don't want to wait long for your mulch, then the Jora 270 can transform human scraps into plant food in less than six weeks. It holds 70 gallons of waste, so it's just as effective for commercial use. Be careful getting near it, though, as it can leak at the seams.
  • even children can spin it
  • heavy duty latches keep it secure
  • foam insulation wears down over time
Brand Jora
Model JK 270
Weight 52 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. Spin Bin 60 Compost Tumbler

The Spin Bin 60 Compost Tumbler is a compact, 60-gallon model, which saves space in your yard. Its internal walls are ribbed for optimal mixing and, as a bonus, the manufacturer includes composting instructions to make life easier for beginners.
  • dual mixing bar for better aeration
  • 20 drain slots to speed up process
  • impressive composting capacity
Brand Spin Bin
Model SpinBin
Weight 23.1 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

3. Joraform JK 125

The Joraform JK 125 has superlative insulation that allows for interior temperatures higher than 160 degrees, which means that your compost cooks - and is ready - faster. This tumbler includes a wall mount for space-maximizing storage as well.
  • rust-resistant galvanized metal
  • off-the-ground design prevents pests
  • easy to get compost out
Brand Jora
Model JK 125
Weight 62 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Yimby IM4000

The Yimby IM4000 is an eco-friendly choice, perfect for green-minded gardening enthusiasts. It's designed with a rodent- and pest-proof lid as well. The two separate chambers allow you to decompose waste in one and cure in the other simultaneously.
  • wide stance gives it great stability
  • has adjustable air vents
  • doesn't require turning every day
Brand Yimby
Model IM4000
Weight 27.2 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

1. Envirocycle Systems

This option from Envirocycle Systems is billed as "the most beautiful composter in the world," and it certainly won't be out of place on your balcony or patio. It's made of BPA-free plastic, so you don't have to worry about it rusting on you after a few years.
  • provides solid and liquid compost
  • rotates with little effort
  • no assembly required
Brand Envirocycle
Model E20C-BK
Weight 28.5 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

How Compost Tumblers Work

Compost tumblers work through the same basic principles of composting as other methods, with one difference: they offer the ease of a self-contained, self-aerating unit. This makes the process available to anyone with the space enough to house the compost tumbler.

Using a compost tumbler involves a basic understanding of composting principles. In its most basic form, composting is the practice of turning food and yard waste into nutrient-rich soil amendments. It is most dependent on one single factor: creating the right conditions for the diverse bacteria which will turn this waste into compost.

The process of composting begins by filling the compost tumbler up with kitchen scraps and waste matter from the yard. It is also important to add a sort of starter soil to the bin, such as fresh compost or garden soil, as this contains the microbes needed to begin the process. As the compost tumbler fills, the decomposition process is already underway. Once the tumbler is full, it is time to focus on the task of aeration and turning.

Keeping an eye on the internal temperature of the pile, rotate the bin to add more oxygen and help the microbes reach as much surface area as possible. You will also want to open the hatch every few days to check for moisture levels. Compost should be damp, not wet. It should feel like a wrung-out sponge. Luckily, keeping these factors in mind is much simpler in a compost tumbler, as the unit offers a controlled environment not afforded by many other methods.

The Science Of Composting

Regardless of the composting method, there is an exacting science to composting that will need to be understood. In a composting tumbler, this is especially true, as the limited amount of space equates to less room for error. The first thing to understand is what is known as the carbon/nitrogen ratio, which is a very important factor in composting. If the compost mix is too low in nitrogen, it will not heat up. If the mix is too low in carbon and too high in nitrogen, it may heat up too much, killing off the beneficial composting microbes.

The best way to avoid these scenarios is to keep the carbon to nitrogen ratio at 30:1 when starting out. Then, as the carbon gets converted into carbon dioxide through the composting process, the ratio will naturally level off to around 10:1. This is the ratio that should be used for the rest of the process.

It is also important to understand particle size and composting speed. As a rule of thumb, smaller particles will break down much faster than larger ones. This is because the microorganisms eating at the pile can only get to the outside surface of the compost. The more surface area they can reach, the quicker the process of composting becomes. The importance lies in the ratio of surface area to volume. Typically, particles with more surface area for their volume are desirable, as they speed up the process of composting, and result in a more even product.

Because composting happens through the action of aerobic bacteria, the importance of oxygen flow within a composting method cannot be overlooked. In compost tumblers, this usually comes in the form of various small vent holes and through the action of turning the compost barrel. This also keeps the temperature within the desired range; quickly preparing the compost for its journey to the garden.

Bacteria In A Compost Tumbler

A good pile of compost, and therefore a good compost tumbler, is full of bacteria. They are what is at the heart of every compost pile, and without these bacteria; the soil would be arid and lifeless. Understanding the bacteria in a compost tumbler helps to create a better understanding of composting and the bacteria themselves.

In the first few days of the composting process, the tumbler is overrun with bacteria known as mesophiles, which help to break down the soluble, easily degradable nutrients within the tumbler. Some examples of mesophilic bacteria include Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella, and Listeria monocytogenes. This is also the reason it is important to avoid foods such as meats, bones, and high-protein foods in compost tumblers; unfavorable mesophilic bacteria reproduce quite quickly on high-protein foods.

Mesophilic bacteria act to raise the temperature of the compost and set the stage for the thermophilic bacteria. These bacteria cause temperatures in the tumbler to rise even further; and many human or animal pathogens are destroyed in the process. These bacteria can take the heat in a compost tumbler too high, however. Temperatures of 65 degrees Celsius and above will kill many forms of microbes which are responsible for decomposition. This is why it is so important to watch the temperature of the compost tumbler closely.

After the bulk of their energy sources are spent, thermophilic bacteria begin to be replaced by beneficial mesophilic bacteria once again in a process known as curing. In a tumbler, this means leaving the vents open and leaving the tumbler alone; allowing the pile to mature itself and cool down its internal temperature.

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Last updated on November 09, 2017 by Quincy Miller

Quincy is a writer who was born in Texas, but moved to Los Angeles to pursue his life-long dream of someday writing a second page to one of his screenplays.

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