7 Best Compost Bins

Updated: Apr. 16, 2024

These quality products make home composting easier than ever.

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Compost BinMartin Poole/Getty Images

When learning how to compost, getting the right ratio of greens to browns is vital. So is knowing which items can’t be composted at home, such as pet waste. And buying the right composting tools, starting with the best compost bin for your situation, is the key to success.

Many organic materials can be composted at home to create nutrient-rich soil amendments for gardening. “By combining a mix of nitrogen-rich (green) and carbon-rich (brown) materials in your compost pile, you can create a balanced environment for decomposition and produce nutrient-rich compost for your garden,” says Randy Schultz, founder and editor of Home, Garden and Homestead.

Here are a few of the best compost bins for every situation.

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Compost Bin via walmart.com

Best Wood Compost Bin

Greenes Fence Multi-Stage Composting Bin

Sometimes simple is best. This traditional compost bin is made of naturally pest- and rot-resistant cedar wood and can be customized with additional segments. Shown here is a three-phase system made from Greenes add-on kits. Multiple sections allow you to separate compost based on its level of doneness.

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Compost Bin via wayfair.com

Best Small Compost Bin

Bamboozle Stationary Composter

This attractive little bucket is actually a compost bin in disguise. Its capacity is a little more than a gallon. Aeration holes, bamboo details and an included filter make it one of the best small compost bins available. It’s even dishwasher safe.

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Compost Tumbler via walmart.com

Best Two Stage Tumbling Compost Bin

Maze Two Stage Compost Tumbler

A compost tumbler makes it easy to turn and aerate your compost pile. This two-stage compost tumbler has a 65-gallon capacity, which can be split into two chambers for smaller, more frequent batches of compost. Walmart.com reviewers say it takes some effort to put together. But once assembled, it works well. This bin is suitable for composting in an apartment.

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Compost Bin via homedepot.com

Best Pest Resistant Compost Bin

FreeGarden EarthEnviro World Compost Bin

Like a traditional wood compost bin, this FreeGarden Earth compost bin requires manual turning with a pitchfork or compost aerator. But unlike a wood bin, this one is fully enclosed and pest resistant. The twist-locking lid’s adjustable vents allow airflow. The entire bin is made from recycled materials.

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Vermicompost Bin via amazon.com

Best Vermicomposting Bin

VermiHut Plus 5-Tray Worm Compost Bin

Some of the best compost bins use worms to speed up the composting process. This is called vermicomposting. It doesn’t take as long as regular composting, and vermicomposting bins are typically shallower. The VermiHut Plus Worm Compost Bin uses vertical space to produce more compost, stacking five vermicomposting trays.

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Compost Bin via amazon.com

Best Hidden Compost Bin

Tiyafuro Cupbord Compost Bin

If you want to make fewer trips to the compost pile, an under-sink compost bin is the way to go. This is one of the best kitchen compost bins because it doubles as a hidden trash bin when not used for composting.

It can be stuck to a wall, hung from a cabinet door or set on a surface like any other waste bin. When the bin is full, simply add its contents to your larger compost bin. You can purchase compost bags to line it.

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Compost tumbler
Family Handyman

Best DIY Compost Bin

Family Handyman Compost Bin Plans

If you’re up for a DIY project, Family Handyman has two compost bin plans. One explains how to build a traditional wood compost bin, the other how to build a compost tumbler. Both projects can be done in a day.

What to Consider When Buying a Compost Bin

When shopping for the best compost bins, consider where you’ll keep your compost, how much space you have and how much maintenance you want to perform.

When choosing a compost bin, there are several factors to look at, starting with size. “Consider how much compostable material you generate regularly,” says Schultz. “Choose a bin size that can accommodate that volume without being too large or too small.”

Next, consider what material the bin is made of. Schultz says most compost bins are made from plastic, metal, wood or recycled materials. “Each material has its pros and cons in terms of durability, insulation and aesthetics,” he says. For example, “a heavy-duty plastic compost bin will last for years, and it may be the best choice if it’s not in a prominent place where you see it all the time.”

It’s also important to consider how easy it is to add materials, turn the compost and access finished compost. Schultz recommends looking for features like removable lids, access doors and tumbling mechanisms that can make the composting process more convenient. 

Often, people place their compost bins in the backyard, garden or kitchen. According to Schultz, the key is to put your compost bin in a convenient location so that utilizing the finished compost is easy.

Why You Should Trust Us

As an assistant editor for Family Handyman, indoor and outdoor gardening are my specialties. In fact, tending to my balcony garden is one of my favorite hobbies. To help choose the best compost bins, I consulted the expertise of Randy Schultz of Home Garden & Homestead, a website dedicated to spreading the word about what’s new and trending for homes, gardens and homesteads. 

How We Found the Best Compost Bins

To find the best compost bins, we consulted with brands, retailers and manufacturers we know and trust. After searching through their offerings, we narrowed the list down to the top models regarding customer satisfaction and then researched their specs, from materials to design to practicality.

FAQ

What can be composted?

Organic materials can be composted, but not all of them. Schultz warns not to compost items like meat, bones, dairy products, oils, fats, pet waste (unless using a specialized system), treated wood and materials containing synthetic chemicals or plastics. He says these are the best things to compost:

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps:  Fruits and vegetables (including peels, cores and seeds) are compostable.
  • Coffee grounds and filters: Used coffee grounds, tea bags and paper filters are compostable. 
  • Eggshells: Crushed eggshells add calcium to the compost.
  • Grass clippings: Clippings from mowing your lawn are safe, but avoid clippings treated with pesticides.
  • Leaves: Fallen leaves are excellent for composting, but avoid large quantities of acidic leaves such as pine needles.
  • Straw and hay: These carbon-rich materials can be used to balance your compost. 
  • Shredded paper and cardboard: Non-glossy paper and cardboard can be torn into small pieces and added to the compost. 
  • Plant trimmings: This includes pruned branches, dead flowers and other garden waste. But, heavy branches won’t compost well unless they are chipped in a wood chipper.

How do I maintain my compost bin?

“Compost bin maintenance involves regular tasks to ensure that your composting system functions efficiently and produces high-quality compost,” says Schultz. Here are some key aspects of compost bin maintenance: 

  • Regularly turning or aerating the compost pile helps speed up decomposition by providing oxygen to microorganisms. Schultz recommends using a pitchfork or compost aerator to mix the materials and introduce air into the pile. 
  • In your compost bin, Schultz says you should aim for a balance of green (nitrogen-rich) and brown (carbon-rich) materials. “Add kitchen scraps, grass clippings and other nitrogen sources (shredded paper, leaves or straw) to create a balanced compost mix.”
  • Check the moisture level of your compost regularly. “The compost should be moist but not soggy,” says Schultz. “Add water if it’s too dry or mix in dry materials like straw or shredded paper if it’s too wet.”
  • Large items should be chopped or shredded to speed up decomposition. 
  • Remember to monitor for pests like rodents, raccoons or insects that may be attracted to the compost. Schultz advises using pest-proof designs, secure lids or deterrents as needed to prevent pest problems.