Compost tumblers make for more efficient composting because they improve aeration and contain heat. The increased temperature and airflow breaks down food and yard waste more quickly than a traditional composter.
In this article, we will give you a rundown of some of our favorite tumbling composters, so you can have all the information you need to pick the right compost bin to fit your needs.
Our Top 3 Best Compost Tumblers
- Best Overall: FCMP IM4000 Dual Chamber Tumbling Composter
- Runner-Up: VIVOSUN Outdoor Tumbling Composter
- Best Budget Buy: Miracle-Gro Small Composter
How to Choose the Best Compost Tumbler
Each brand and model of compost tumbler has different features, capacities, and requirements. Finding the best compost tumbler to fit your needs can be a challenge. Ask yourself these four main questions to help narrow down your decision:
- What do I want to compost?
- Where will I keep my composter?
- What will I do with the finished compost?
- How much time do I want to spend composting?
First, think about what kind of material you plan to compost. Do you need a composter just for kitchen scraps? Would you want to compost yard waste too?
Some compost tumblers are designed for kitchen waste alone and have smaller capacities. Larger capacity tumblers are more suitable if you plan to compost yard waste along with your kitchen scraps.
Next, take a moment to think about where you will keep your composter. Do you plan to keep it inside your home or garage? Will you put it in the garden or on the patio?
Keeping an indoor composter has several advantages. Indoor compost bins are convenient and easy to access. Because you can keep them in any dry, dark area, they do well in basements, closets, or cabinets. Keeping compost bins indoors also allows you to use them all year long without worrying about temperature changes.
Outdoor compost bins are excellent options if you want to compost your yard waste as well. Keep in mind that you need to shield outdoor composting bins from the weather and heavy rain. They should be kept out of direct sunlight in the summer and insulated to prevent freezing in the winter.
Another thing to think about is what you want to do with your finished compost. From brewing compost tea to making your own DIY potting soil, finished compost has many practical applications. Will you use it for fertilizing your garden? Will you keep it for houseplants? Were you only composting to reduce your waste and don’t have any specific plans for it?
If you need large amounts of compost for gardening, picking a higher capacity model with a strong seal to hold in heat is a wise choice. With larger, heat-sealing compost tumblers you can quickly make enough nutrient-rich soil to keep your garden vegetables healthy and thriving.
Smaller compost tumblers will allow you to make enough compost to give your houseplants a nutrient boost. They also can help you to reduce your overall household waste. Even if you just plan on scattering the finished compost outside, small compost bins can help you reduce your carbon footprint.
Finally, think about how often you will fill up your compost tumbler. Do you have a lot of organic material to compost at one time? Do you have daily kitchen scraps that you need to add to your compost tumbler continuously?
Single chambered compost tumblers work well if you plan to fill up the container and wait for the compost to finish before adding more. Dual chambered compost tumblers are smart options for people that want a steady stream of compost. You can fill up one chamber, and while you are waiting for that compost to finish, keep adding scraps to the second chamber.
Now that you’ve had a chance to think about what kind of composter will best fit your needs, check out our recommendations for the five best compost tumblers on the market.
5 Best Compost Tumblers Review
FCMP’s model IM4000 tumbling composter features two chambers for continuous composting. It requires full assembly and includes detailed instructions. It weighs 28 pounds and takes up about seven square feet of space fully assembled.
The IM4000 has a total capacity of 37 gallons, with each chamber holding 18.5 gallons of compost material. The removable sliding door gives you easy access for both adding kitchen and yard waste and removing the finished compost.
The container is made from a durable plastic that doesn’t degrade when exposed to direct sunlight. Its solid black color helps to trap in heat for faster composting. The manufacturer claims that under the right conditions you can have finished compost in only three weeks.
The IM4000 requires regular turning for maximum efficiency. The deep indentations in the sides of the container act as hand-holds for spinning. You should spin the tumbler about five times every two or three days.
- The IM4000’s dual composting chambers allow for continuous composting.
- Its durable black plastic traps in heat and speeds composting time.
- Its removable door allows for easy loading and unloading.
- One 18.5 gallon capacity chamber might not offer enough space for large amounts of yard waste.
- The IM4000 requires full assembly which can be time-consuming.
The VIVOSUN Outdoor Tumbling Composter has the highest capacity of all the dual-chambered tumblers on our list. It holds 43 gallons total, with each chamber having a 21.5-gallon capacity. This larger capacity makes it an excellent option if you want to make more compost for gardening or break down excess yard waste.
The composter requires full assembly before use. The package includes detailed instructions and even a pair of free gardening gloves.
It takes up just over four square feet of floor space and weighs about 25 pounds when fully assembled.
The secure sliding doors make it pest and rodent-proof, and the chambers have adjustable vents to increase airflow. The door openings measure just over 10-inches wide and 6-inches tall.
You should spin the VIVOSUN Outdoor Tumbling Composter a few times a week. Its deep indentations make it easy to grab while turning.
It’s manufactured with both a durable BPA-free plastic container and a galvanized steel frame that makes it corrosion and weather-resistant.
- VVIVOSUN’s Outdoor Tumbling Composter has a generous 43-gallon total capacity.
- Its lightweight design and smaller footprint make it easy to place and store.
- It’s designed with sturdy materials to resist pests, weather, and corrosion.
- It requires extensive assembly before use.
- The sliding door opening size might make it difficult to load and unload larger amounts of materials and compost.
Miracle-Gro is a well-known name in gardening, and their Dual Chamber Compost Tumbler lives up to their reputation.
The composter weighs under 18 pounds and takes up just four square feet of space when assembled. It features a 37-gallon total capacity and independently spinning dual chambers that hold 18.5 gallons each. Each chamber has a locking door to keep pests out.
The containers are made from UV-resistant and BPA-free recycled plastic. Its stand is made from powder-coated stainless steel to prevent rusting and includes built-in stoppers to lock the container in place after turning.
Turn the Miracle-Gro Dual Chamber Compost Tumbler five or six times every two or three days. The containers also have aeration vents and feature internal mixing bars, which along with regular tumbling, can speed up composting time.
The package includes a free bonus pair of water-proof gardening gloves and assembly instructions with how-to videos are available online.
- Miracle-Gro’s Dual Chamber Compost Tumbler has independently rotating and locking drums for total composting control.
- It’s made with environmentally friendly and BPA-free recycled plastic.
- It has online instructions with easy-to-follow videos that make assembly easier.
- The online instructions require a QR code reader to access.
- Its smaller capacity might not be enough to hold yard debris.
- The aeration holes can cause fluids to leak out of the containers.
Miracle-Gro’s Small Composter is a single-chambered compost bin that holds 18.5 gallons of organic material for composting.
Its lightweight and compact design give it a footprint of less than three square feet, making it convenient for people who need to save space. This makes it a good choice for people living in cities or apartments as it can be used on balconies, rooftops, or patios. Many users even keep theirs indoors.
Made with both food-grade plastic and stainless steel, this small weatherproof composter is functional all year round.
It has both internal mixing bars and an aeration system to help improve airflow for speedier composting. The bin should be turned a few times each week and kept in a sunny area for the most efficient results.
Miracle-Gro provides online instructional videos that are easy to follow. Its small, single chamber design makes assembly quicker than other models.
- Miracle-Gro’s Small Composter takes up little space, making it the best compost tumbler for city and apartment dwellers looking to save space.
- It’s made from food-grade BPA-free plastic for toxin-free compost.
- Online instructional videos help to ease assembly.
- Its single chamber doesn’t allow for continuous composting.
- The small container capacity limits the amount of waste you can compost.
RSI’s MCT-MC Maze Compost Tumbler has the highest capacity of any model on our list. It features a sizable 65-gallon drum that makes it the best compost tumbler for heavy-duty compost needs. Fully assembled, it takes up nine square feet of yard space and weighs 65 pounds.
It is made with heat-trapping UV-resistant black plastic and a zinc-coated, rust-proof metal for continuous outdoor composting in every season.
The dual chambers let you keep adding compost material to one side while the other side cures. It’s easy to rotate and is the only model on our list to feature a sturdy geared crank handle. The handle, combined with a patented locking ratchet, are made for clean hands and easy turning.
The MCT-MC Maze Compost Tumbler has dual sliding doors for loading and unloading the container. It also comes with a 12-gallon cart to help you unload and move finished compost.
- The MCT-MC Maze Compost Tumbler’s handle keeps your hands clean and makes for easy rotation.
- Its high capacity lets you compost large amounts of organic materials at one time.
- It includes a 12-gallon cart for emptying and transporting finished compost.
- Its large size takes up more yard space than other models, making it potentially unsuitable for people with limited area.
- Its more complex and heavy-duty design can require more time to assemble than smaller and simpler models.
Are compost tumblers worth it?
In short—absolutely. Most compost tumblers require very little attention and effort, unlike traditional outdoor compost piles or even indoor worm bins. Simply add your kitchen scraps or yard waste, and remember to turn the composter as directed in the instruction manual.
Compost tumblers not only transform organic waste into a plant and garden superfood but can also help you reduce your carbon footprint. In our book, that makes the little effort they require totally worth it.
How often should I turn my compost tumbler?
On average, you can expect to have to rotate your tumbler 2-3 times per week.
However, each brand and model has different recommendations for how much you should turn the composter. Make sure you check your compost tumbler’s instruction manual for the proper guidelines.
What should you not put in a compost tumbler?
While composting can work wonders for many organic materials, there are some things you should avoid putting in your compost tumbler. These include:
- Dairy products
- Oils or grease
- Bread or cooked grains
- Treated wood
- Glossy papers
All of these things can either interfere with the composting process or are unable to be properly broken down. Save your composter, and look into other sustainable disposal methods for these items.
How do you make a good compost tumbler?
Making a compost tumbler that is cost-effective, efficient, and eco-friendly is probably easier than you think.
There are many different styles you can make in just an afternoon. Most require only a sealable container, some treated wood, wheels, hinges, and basic tools.
You can make our favorite DIY tumbling composter by using a 5-gallon barrel.
The first step is to cut a hole in the side of the barrel for a door. Then, reattach the cutout with hinges and pin locks, so it opens and closes easily. Drill half-inch holes into the sides to keep your compost aerated.
You can create a platform by attaching four wheels to a treated wood board. Place the barrel on top of the wheels and give it a spin!
Using a tumbling composter makes composting quicker and easier than traditional methods. From heavy-duty composters like the FCMP IM4000 Dual Chamber Tumbling Composter to space-saving compost bins like Miracle-Gro’s Small Composter, there are many different models available to suit your needs.