We've run "Best Composts Bin" posts in past years, but they were a mixed bag between actual compost bins and attractive buckets for collecting up your scraps before you take them to your indoor or outdoor composter. Today I'm just going to focus on the very best indoor and outdoor compost bins, ie. the ones that really do the dirty work of breaking down kitchen scraps into delicious food for plant and garden.
First of all, before we get started, if you need any guidance at all, this is your book. "Worms Eat My Garbage" is what got me started and made me build my first compost bin under my sink with red worms.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN
There are a lot of options out there for apartment and home dwellers who want to compost inside, and like most things it's not as simple as one style fits all. It's about finding what works best for you. Here are two DIY solutions, one with worms and one without. Including red worms is by far the best, least smelly way to go, since worms are incredible and break down kitchen scraps and paper really quickly, AND they love to live in the dark under your sink.
- NatureMill NEO - $249
This is the top of the line retail indoor composting solution. With a power supply, it slowly turns food scraps and super charges the oxygen, allowing everything to break down swiftly. You can even add meat, fish and dairy to this guy. No worms are needed, and this will fit under your sink. Compelling video included below.
This is a great worm solution that won't necessarily fit under your sink, but you can put it in a closet or pantry and move it outdoors during the summer if you'd like. It has a tray system, which allows you to grow your compost upwards depending on how much kitchen waste you have. A little or a lot, it's all good.
- Odorless operation with Thermo Siphon Airflow design
- Recycles kitchen waste and junk mail into compost
- Use indoors during winter and outdoors in summer
- Improved lid and base design
- Holds up to 8 trays - largest worm composter of its kind
- Kitchen Composter by Eco-Outfitter - $54.99
As we get more affordable, this small system is interesting because it is an air-tight system which works without worms, but with Bokashi; "It is carried out in an air tight container using Bokashi Bran as a compost activator. Bokashi is a Japanese term meaning “Fermented Organic Matter”. It is a bran-based material that has been fermented with EM (friendly bacteria) and dried for storage. Bokashi is a pleasant smelling product which, when added to your Kitchen Compost Kit, aids the fermentation of organic matter. Bokashi Bran is to be stored in a cool, dry place."
Here's one more Bokashi based system that's even more affordable, from our friends at that small shop, Amazon.
- Compact design for easy storage
- No foul orders due to anaerobic fermentation process
- Perfect for kitchens, apartments, schools etc.
- Soil Saver Compost Bin - $99.50
Since my old favorite is no longer available (the Biostack by Smith & Hawken), this is my new top pick for outdoors on the ground. Designed and sold by Uncle Jim's Worm Farm, this is a simple, put it together yourself easily, insulated composter that allows you to put food and yard scraps in at the top and shovel out more decomposed soil at the bottom: "The SoilSaver's award-winning classic design has been in production for more than 25 years, longer than any other major compost bin. The quarter-inch thick structural foam, black recycled plastic is built to last and hold the heat inside. The sturdy insulated side panels bolt together, no snaps or plastic tabs to break or get clogged."
- Urban Compost Tumbler - $299.99
This is a bigger guy for the outdoors and what I use out in the country at my family's place. It allows you to easily turn your compost for quick and easy decomposing and to pour it out when it's ready, which is super nice. The only problem? It's none too attractive, so you'll want to hide it away behind a bush. "Revolutionary composting system makes compost in weeks, not months with its Patented Central Aeration System; Works 90% Faster, Requires 75% Less Effort. Aeration is the Secret to getting "quality" nutrient-filled compost fast. The Urban Compost Tumbler (UCT) features Ease of Use, Low Maintenance and is Fully Enclosed for kid's safety and pest control."
- The Earth Machine - $109
From Home Depot and highly recommended by The Sweet Home (see quote), the Earth Machine is a smaller scale but highly efficient outdoor composter that will fit into a smaller space and tuck out of site more easily: "If we were looking for a low-maintenance composter for your yard, we’d get Earth Machine (~$90), a composter that’s big enough for most households and often available at a substantial discount from local Public Works departments."