10 Best Worm Composters | April 2017

We spent 32 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. If you're looking for an environmentally-conscious way to handle food waste, or if you just want a never-ending supply of bait for fishing trips, then one of these worm composters is the way to go. You simply dump scraps and other refuse into the soil, add composting worms, and the little creatures digest the trash. As an added bonus, they leave behind "tea" that's fantastic fertilizer for plants. Skip to the best worm composter on Amazon.
10 Best Worm Composters | April 2017
Overall Rank: 1
Best Mid-Range
★★★★★
Overall Rank: 9
Best High-End
★★★
Overall Rank: 3
Best Inexpensive
★★★★
10
Unlike many other options, the WormWatcher DIY Kit actually comes with little crawlers, so once it's set up, all you need to supply is bedding and soil. It's basically a big plastic storage bin with a faucet on it, though, so don't expect it to beautify your home.
  • company provides email coaching
  • good for families of up to 4 people
  • doesn't have individual trays
Brand WormWatcher
Model 01700
Weight 1.8 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
9
If you have a massive amount of food to get rid of - or if you need a ton of tea - then the Worm Wigwam is an industrial-sized solution. This giant can handle 10-15 pounds of scraps per day, and an equal measure of worms. It's way too big for home indoor use, though.
  • protected by 3-year guarantee
  • ideal for restaurants
  • extremely expensive
Brand Sustainable Agricultura
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.8 / 5.0
8
It may not look like it, but Uncle Jim's Worm Cafe is remarkably sturdy once assembled, with very little wobbling. It's great at keeping pests out, with ant caps on the the legs and a fly-proof lid. Be careful if you move it, however, as the spigot can come loose if hit.
  • designed to prevent leaks
  • side-ventilated to keep water out
  • not big enough for large families
Brand Uncle Jim's Worm Farm
Model pending
Weight 16.3 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
7
The Worm Inn takes a novel approach to composting, eschewing the bin design and using an elevated pouch made of the same material that's used to make backpacks. You simply undo the drawstring at the bottom to get your castings, but be aware you'll get dirty in the process.
  • keeps soil damp
  • breathable fabric cuts down on odors
  • have to build your own stand
Brand TWI Global
Model Green
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 3.5 / 5.0
6
The Chef's Star has 3 stackable trays made from terracotta polyurethane, making it extremely easy to use and assemble. You simply fill the bottom compartment with scraps, move it to the top, then rinse and repeat. It's a simple, hassle-free way to make your own compost.
  • doesn't take up a lot of space
  • fiber mat reduces fruit fly presence
  • instructions aren't complete
Brand Chefs Star®
Model pending
Weight 12.8 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0
5
If you want a sleek, modern-looking composter that won't stick out in your kitchen, then the Urbalive Indoor looks more like a small storage bin than a trash can. It's perfect for city dwellers or anyone who can't have an outdoor unit due to temperature fluctuations.
  • good for beginners
  • quick and easy assembly
  • prone to mite infestations
Brand UrbAlive
Model 1606965030
Weight 14.9 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0
4
The Exaco 610016 is a good choice if space is limited, and the bright neon color options ensure that it's more than just another boring piece of plastic. It has 6 wheels, so you can easily move it where you need it, and can keep it close by for easy food prep and cleanup.
  • unique round design
  • contains odors well
  • trays are generously-sized
Brand Exaco Trading Company
Model 610016
Weight 12.2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
3
If you're ready to do some heavy-duty composting, then the Redmon Green Culture is a 65-gallon behemoth. It has 4 doors for easy access and doesn't have a bottom to it, so you can either add your own worms or let them come up through the soil naturally.
  • made of weather-resistant plastic
  • good for handling dog waste
  • excellent budget option
Brand Redmon
Model Redmon USA
Weight 16.9 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
2
The VermiHut 5-Tray has great circulation, so the worms are constantly climbing through the unit - and munching on scraps along the way. The drawers are designed so as to make harvesting castings a breeze, so you'll always have plenty of rich nutrients to feed your plants.
  • helpful manual with color photos
  • can handle lots of refuse
  • universal lid works on all trays
Brand VermiHut
Model G900203-DG
Weight 16 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0
1
The Squirm Firm Worm Factory 360 comes equipped with 4 trays, but can be expanded to include as many as 8, making it one of the most spacious options on the market. The company also provides you with everything you need to be successful, including a moisture and pH meter.
  • lid holds trays while harvesting
  • helpful online tutorials
  • doesn't take long to put together
Brand The Squirm Firm
Model pending
Weight 17.8 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

What To Look For In A Worm Composter

When searching for a worm composter, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure the best user experience and that you buy the highest-quality unit. One of the most important aspects to consider is the build quality. A poorly built container on nearly any type of product can be problematic, but when the container is housing thousands of worms and decaying food matter, it is even more important that it not be compromised in any manner.

It is also important to understand whether or not the system will come with worms. Compost requires a specific earthworm called Eisenia fetida, which has a different life-cycle and feeding pattern more conducive to compost than that of the typical earthworm. Where nightcrawlers or earthworms require soil to move through in order to fully live, Eisenia fetida thrives in areas rich in organic matter.

Another thing to consider is where the composter will be used. Most are perfectly designed for a garden or yard, but many can be equally as comfortable on a terrace or balcony. In some cases, people even put their composters directly in their kitchen with no problem, which, of course, requires that one buy a smaller unit that is very well-contained.

If you are one of the many people that know of the beneficial effects of worm tea, which is the liquid created by composting worms, a unit with a spigot to extract this compost tea is a smart idea. Choosing the right model comes down to having a good understanding of your particular needs, and finding a composter that has features which match those needs.

Benefits Of Worm Composters

Worm composter use is on the rise to help reduce the amount of food we waste. The Environmental Protection Agency has found that every single year, 133 million pounds of food is wasted, which is over 30 percent of all the food created in the country. This is a problem for those looking to conserve resources, and it directly impacts the amount of methane released into the atmosphere from landfills. By reducing the amount of food sent to landfills, much of this problem can be corrected. To reduce the amount of food waste, the EPA has set forth some guidelines in a food recovery hierarchy. A key aspect of this list is the use of composting to create nutrient-rich soil amendments out of food scraps. One of the easiest ways to do this is by setting up and utilizing a worm composter.

Many of the hurdles people quote as to why they cannot reduce their food waste by composting simply do not apply to worm composting. In many cases, these are actually the benefits of using a worm composter. For instance, opponents to composting say that the process smells foul. With a closed container worm composter, nothing could be further from the truth. The worms digest food scraps with no turning or rotating, and they do it quickly, so the food does not have time to rot.

People also seem to think that composting attracts rodents and roaches. While this is easily avoided through nuisance proofing, it is still seen as a hurdle. Luckily, worm composting kits are often in closed containers made of durable plastic. Many are also raised off the ground to prevent entry from common pests.

The most used excuse is the difficulty in starting the composting process and keeping it healthy. This argument goes out the window the second one realizes that worm composters themselves are very intuitive and extremely easy to use. If putting food scraps in a bin and closing a lid is too much work, a worm composter is not the right choice. However, after exuding that minimal effort, the worms do all the rest of the work.

Are Worm Composters Better Than Hot Composters?

The conversation of vermicomposting versus hot composting often comes up in very particular circles. When most people think of composting, what they are thinking of is the process of thermophilic, or hot composting. Thermophilic composting is as old as agriculture itself. The process creates heat through the metabolism of the millions of microbes in the compost heap. This self-heating process is enough to drive the temperature above 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once this temperature is reached, a new class of bacteria goes to work. These bacteria can withstand the high temperatures needed to help break down food scraps rapidly. Their own metabolic processes take the temperature further; piles often reach 170-180 degrees before running out of food for the bacteria. Once the matter is fully broken down, the bacterial metabolism slows, cooling the pile down and curing the compost into its most usable form. The rich smelling, dark brown to black soil amendment produced is high in soluble nutrients, which can be carried to the cells of plants to help their growth cycle. The basic pros of hot compost are that it kills weed seeds and harmful pathogens, and can break down compost quickly in ideal conditions. The cons are mainly that it is labor intensive, and that heating material can lead to nitrogen loss

With vermicomposting, or worm composting, this same soil amendment is produced with a twist. Namely, that worms are doing most of the composting along with bacteria. Both of the processes help oxidize organic wastes and turn them into nutrients, they just do so differently. Worm composting is a much cooler process, and is considered a continuous approach. Unlike hot compost, which requires composting in batches, worm composting can be added a little at a time; such as adding the food scraps from a meal every day.

Compost created this way is less labor intensive, and the cooler temperatures help to conserve nitrogen better than in hot composters. It also produces the previously mentioned byproduct, worm tea, which can be a beneficial to plants when added to soil. The cons of the system are that it will not kill weed seeds, and that care has to be taken to avoid killing the worms with temperature extremes or too much compost.

Because of the varying benefits, the best choice between the two is quite situational. For instance, in a situation where weeds will be composted, a hot composter will help to kill their seeds. But if it is nitrogen that the user is after, a worm composter is king.



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Last updated on April 21 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.