10 Best Compost Tumblers

Updated: Apr. 05, 2024

Keep food scraps and plant trimmings out of landfills by using a compost tumbler. Let us help you find the one that's best for you.

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The Board of Supervisors for Santa Cruz County, CA, where I live, recently began requiring residents to separate food scraps from trash to control odors and reduce the plethora of seagulls who congregate in the county’s dump sites. The new rules sparked a renewed local interest in compost tumblers, which offer the easiest, most efficient way to dispose of food waste.

Compost needs a good balance of nitrogen and carbon to decompose. But it also needs oxygen, and the best way to aerate a compost pile is to turn it regularly. Gardeners who maintain large piles do this with a pitchfork, but homeowners who generate less waste are better off with a compost tumbler (AKA a batch composter). It can be as simple as rolling a drum on the ground, but most homeowners are better off purchasing a compost tumbler.

According to Sally Allsop, an avid gardener and founder of the online gardening site, All That Grows, if you’re new to composting, these are some basic dos and don’ts.

  • Do: “Chop up your waste that’s due to go into the composter as this will allow it to break down quicker,” says Allsop.
  • Don’t: Add meat or fat to your compost bin. It won’t break down quickly enough.
  • Do: Keep an eye on the moisture level in your compost bin. “If your compost dries out, it will take much longer to break down. If it becomes too damp, it will become unpleasant and smelly.”
  • Do: Add your waste in batches. “It will slow down the decomposition of what is already in there. This is where a multi-compartment tumbler can come in useful.”
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Im4000 Dual Chamber Tumbling Composter Ecomm Via Amazon
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Best Utility Compost Tumbler

FCMP Tumbling Composter

With its two internal compartments and 37-gallon capacity, the axel-mounted FCMP Tumbling Composter is the no-nonsense favorite of online reviewers. Constructed of black, UV-resistant, rodent-proof plastic, it features a sturdy panel that slides off the drum to provide access to both compartments at once.

This compost tumbler has a strong steel frame, molded hand grips for spinning and aeration vents. It requires assembly, but it comes with easy-to-follow instructions.

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Dual Chamber Compost Tumbler High Volume Composter Ecomm Via Amazon
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Best Garden Compost Tumbler

Miracle-Gro Dual-Chamber Compost Tumbler

The Miracle-Gro Dual-Chamber Compost Tumbler features two 18.5-gallon bins on a sturdy steel frame. Because the bins rotate independently, each one is lighter and easier to turn than it would be if they were connected.

The bins sit low to the ground, making it easy to load and unload them with a shovel. Each bin is made of durable black, rodent-proof plastic and has a sliding panel door. And this tumbler even comes with a pair of gardening gloves.

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Miracle Gro Small Composter Single Chamber Compost Bin Ecomm Via Amazon
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Best Compact Compost Tumbler

Miracle-Gro Small Tumbler

If you lack space in your yard for a full-size compost tumbler, you can probably fit the Miracle-Gro Small Tumbler.

Similar to Miracle-Gro’s garden tumbler, this one features a single 18.5-gallon bin with a sliding panel. Made from durable, rodent-proof BPA-free black plastic, it’s perfect for handling food waste and plant matter from a small yard.

Bonus: These are the best electric composters to turn your dinner scraps into rich plant soil in just a few hours.

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Mantis 570 Lbs Compact Composter Tumbler Ecomm Via Homedepot
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Best Metal Compost Tumbler

Mantis Compact Composter

If you prefer the dependability of metal, the Mantis Compact Composter is for you. It weighs 570 pounds when empty, so once placed in your yard it isn’t going anywhere. And despite its name, the bin holds 88 gallons of material.

Turning a heavy bin like this one can be difficult by hand, so the unit features a geared handle to make it easier. The lid swings open and detaches, making adding and removing material easier.

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Spin Bin 60 Gal Outdoor Compost Tumbler Ecomm Via Eirstm
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Best Aerating Compost Tumbler

Spin Bin Outdoor Compost Tumbler

The Spin Bin Outdoor Compost Tumbler features a single compartment with a 60-gallon capacity. The unit spins vertically on its axis rather than horizontally, allowing the compost to fall farther and mix more thoroughly.

The bin, with a twist-lock lid, is made from 100 percent recycled plastic. A central mixing bar inside the bin separates the compost as you spin. Vents on the lid and all sides offer complete aeration.

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Rsi 65 Gal Two Stage Compost Tumbler With Cart Ecomm Via Homedepot
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Best Ergonomic Compost Tumbler

RSI-Maze Two-Stage Compost Tumbler

The RSI-Maze Two-Stage Compost Tumbler comes with a single 65-gallon drum separated into two equal-size compartments. It sits high enough on a rugged zinc-coated metal frame to let you empty it into the cart supplied with tumbler.

The best feature is its ratcheting handle that makes turning much easier than other models. Each compartment has its own door that opens vertically into the drum, and the unit features venting holes for aeration.

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Lifetime 100 Gal Dual Compost Tumbler Ecomm Via Homedepot
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Best Odorless Compost Tumbler

Lifetime Dual Compost Tumbler

The Lifetime Dual Compost Tumbler features two independently turning spherical bins on a single axis. Each bin holds 50 gallons, and the double-wall, black plastic panels retain heat and odors.

An internal aeration bar separates the compost when you turn the tumblers. After every complete rotation the bins lock back in place with the sturdy swinging doors at the top, where they should be. The large doors easily accommodate a shovel.

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Good Ideas Compost Wizard Dueling Tumbler Ecomm Via Hayneedle
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Best Tumbler for Compost Tea

Good Ideas Compost Wizard

The Good Ideas Compost Wizard sits on a base rather than hanging from an axel, and bearings in the base allow for easy rotation.

Each of the bin’s two compartments feature an eight-inch screw-on lid, which is more secure than a sliding panel. The hollow base collects up to five gallons of liquid that can be turned into compost tea, and the wheeled base permits easy transport to wherever you need it to go.

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Envirocycle The Most Beautiful Composter In The World Ecomm Via Envirocycle
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Best Splurge

Envirocycle Composter

Like the Compost Wizard, the Envirocycle Composter sits on a base that collects liquids for compost tea. But the design is more compact (only 28 inches high) and more appealing overall. You can even get it in hot pink! Of course, the extra style it adds to your garden or patio comes with a higher price.

This composter ships with a 35-gallon or 17-gallon drum. The door swings back to uncover a shovel-size opening, permitting easy addition and removal of material.

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woman adding leaves from a whellbarrow to a homemade Drum Composter in a backyard under a large tree
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Best DIY Compost Tumbler

DIY Compost Tumbler

If you’d rather save some money, this is our favorite DIY compost tumbler. You can usually find free 55-gallon polyethylene drums at food processing facilities, making this tumbler more affordable.

Cut an opening in a plastic barrel and mount the barrel on a wooden stand with casters for support and easy turning. Install stirring paddles made from PVC pipe and drill holes in the sides of the drum to aerate the mixture as you turn.

What to Consider When Buying a Compost Tumbler

When shopping for the best compost tumbler, consider the following:

  • Size: Volumes range from 15 gallons (two cubic feet) to 80 gallons (10.7 cubic feet). There must be air space around the organic material for it to properly decompose, so make sure your tumbler is big enough. However, if you’ve got a tiny yard and must do your composting on a porch or patio, a smaller one will have to do.
  • Pests: If you keep your tumbler outside, you’re guaranteed regular visits from raccoons, rodents and insects. The tumbler needs a secure seal to keep them out. A swinging door that locks, a panel that slides on a track or a cover that screws on all work. Make sure the door is sturdy, easy to operate and seals completely.
  • Ease of rotation: As the tumbler fills with organic material, it becomes heavier and more difficult to turn. Most tumblers have handles or handholds to make this easier. Ease of rotation is important, because if you don’t turn the tumbler enough, the compost starts to smell.
  • Material: Think about what material will work best for you. “Will it withstand being in the garden over the cold winter months? A plastic tumbler will be the cheapest option, but metal ones will be more durable in the long run,” says Allsop. “This also might be a point to consider if you are looking for a particular aesthetic for your tumbler. Metal tumblers look very different from plastic ones.”
  • Compartments: A basic tumbler features a single compartment, but better ones have two, allowing one batch to fully compost while you add material to the other one. Some models have a single bin internally separated by a barrier, while others consist of two bins rotating on a common axis.
  • Base: Some tumblers have a hollow base that collects the liquids leaching from the mixture. You can turn this into compost tea, a nutrient-rich brew for watering your garden.

Why You Should Trust Us

I have been building and designing homes, and writing about the process, for over four decades. I have worked as a flooring installer, landscape builder and residential remodeler. Since becoming a writer, I have published or consulted on more than 10,000 articles and served as an online building consultant for ProReferral.com as well as an expert reviewer for Hunker.com.

For this piece, we consulted gardening expert, Sally Allsop. Sally is the founder of the online gardening site All That Grows. She uses her gardening experience to teach others about growing fruit, vegetables and flowers.

How We Found the Best Compost Tumblers

To find the best compost tumblers, we started by researching what separates average tumblers from great, high-quality tumblers. Then, we considered the different materials, sizes, features and costs to curate a list with various options to suit every buyer’s needs. Finally, we took advice from industry experts and combed through user reviews to find buys that are worth your investment.