The 10 Best Worm Composters

Updated June 05, 2018 by Lydia Chipman

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We spent 44 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. If you want to close the food cycle and enrich your garden, or set up a live bait-farming operation, vermiculture is the way to go. Fill one of these composters with fresh bedding, add a starter crop of cocoons or mature earthworms, feed them a healthy diet of kitchen scraps, and soon you'll have all the liquid fertilizer you need, plus plenty of wigglers for your next fishing trip. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best worm composter on Amazon.

10. Worm Inn

Consisting of a breathable fabric casing with a drawstring bottom, the Worm Inn is made of the same material that's used to make backpacks. You simply loosen the string to get your castings, but bear in mind that you and whatever's underneath will get dirty in the process.
  • keeps soil damp
  • use outdoors or with drip pan
  • stand not included
Brand TWI Global
Model Green
Weight 1.7 pounds
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

9. The Worm Box

For the DIYer on a budget, The Worm Box includes all the basic components to set up a food waste recycling operation. Put it together with items from around the house or your local home improvement store, and critters and bedding, and it's ready to go.
  • comes with detailed instructions
  • expandable system
  • rather utilitarian-looking
Brand Worm Box
Model WBB
Weight 7 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

8. Can O Worms

If you don't want to invite any critters other than your wrigglers to the table-scrap feast, the Can O Worms has a fly-proof lid to keep pests at bay. The cover is also ventilated to allow plenty of air to circulate and avoid smothering the inhabitants.
  • can be set up in minutes
  • designed to promote healthy activity
  • plastic isn't very strong
Brand Can O Worms
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

7. Quest Farm

An affordable and compact option, the Quest Farm is a multilevel solution with a clear top compartment for keeping an eye on things, and a reservoir with a spigot at the bottom for collecting that nutritious liquid your plants crave.
  • easy to use and clean
  • measures 9x9x12 inches
  • not terribly sturdy
Brand Quest
Model B01NBG2Y9H
Weight 3.2 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

6. Hot Frog

Suitable for use indoors or on the porch, the sleek, modern-looking Hot Frog looks more like a small storage bin than a trash can, perfect for city dwellers or locations where outside temperatures fluctuate too much to keep the critters actively composting.
  • water retention channel
  • angled migration tunnels
  • expansion trays available
Brand FCMP Outdoor
Model HF-LC4000-GRN
Weight 15 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. Reln Garden Cafe

Featuring three aerated, rectangular trays with a collection unit on the stand beneath, the Reln Garden Cafe has instructions conveniently engraved on the underside of the lid, and a handy spout to dispense nutrient-rich tea for your plants.
  • user-friendly design
  • tap and sump in base section
  • good airflow to minimize smells
Brand Reln Garden Worm Cafe
Model 27
Weight 18.8 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. VermiHut System

The VermiHut System provides great circulation, encouraging its occupants to keep moving and turning food scraps into fertilizer along the way. The drawers are designed to make the contents easily accessible whenever your garden needs some nourishment.
  • helpful manual with color photos
  • can handle lots of refuse
  • universal lid works on all trays
Brand VermiHut
Model G900203-DG
Weight 17.5 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

3. Urban Worm Breathable Bag

Eschewing hard plastic in favor of an elevated canvas pouch in a rigid metal frame, the Urban Worm Breathable Bag takes a simple and straightforward approach to vermicomposting, giving wrigglers plenty of room as they go about their business.
  • leakproof zippered bottom opening
  • ventilated cordura material
  • maintains healthy moisture levels
Brand Urban Worm Company
Model pending
Weight 8.1 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

2. Squirm Firm Factory 360

From a base setup of four or five stackable drip-through pans with bedding and a lift-off lid, the Squirm Firm Factory 360 can be expanded to include as many as eight full trays in one tower, making it one of the most versatile and spacious options on the market.
  • all-inclusive system
  • helpful online tutorials
  • doesn't take long to put together
Brand The Squirm Firm
Model DS5TT
Weight 15 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

1. Hungry Bin

The Hungry Bin is a flow-through system, in which castings are continually compacted downward, and compost tea is extruded into a collection pan below, where it can be harvested without disturbing the little guys working their magic in the layers above.
  • wheeled container with hinged lid
  • very low-maintenance
  • no messy stack rotation
Brand Hungry Bin
Weight pending
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

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 June 05, 2018 by Lydia Chipman

An itinerant wordsmith with a broad constellation of interests, Lydia Chipman has turned iconoclasm into a livelihood of sorts. Bearing the scars and stripes of an uncommon diversity of experience—with the notable exceptions of joining a religious order or becoming an artist—she still can’t resist the temptation to learn something new.

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