Name: Worm Factory 360 (left)
Name: VermiHut 3-Tray Worm Composter (right)
Rating: Weak Recommend*
It has now been one month since we started testing our new Worm Factory and VermiHut, and while it usually takes a few months for these types of bins to reach their optimum performance, we're going to rate them based on our experience so far. We'll update you again in the future, but for now we can say the more expensive Worm Factory 360 actually did perform better.
If you'll recall, the Worm Factory 360 was redesigned with a "Thermo Siphon Airflow" design to allow air, but not light, to flow through the sides and base. We initially didn't like the higher legs of this model, but over the past month have noticed that it does seem to make a positive difference. The compost has stayed at a moderate moisture level – not too wet, not too dry – and the internal temperature has been consistently five degrees lower than that of the VermiHut we tested.
The setup instructions for the Worm Factory were more complicated, requiring several different layers of material. It was also recommended that food be placed in just one corner of the tray. Whether it was the airflow, the bedding, the food location, or a delicate balance of all these things, the worms quickly acclimated to their new environment. Within a day they became actively involved in the processing of food and we swear they were fatter every time we checked.
We haven't had a chance to test the stacking tray system or worm tea spigot yet, but so far the bin has been sturdy, the instruction booklet has been informative and easy to follow, and the worms seem to be happy.
Alas, things have not been so rosy for the VermiHut. Alhough this is not unheard of, it took about a week for the worms to acclimate as opposed to the quick experience we had with the Worm Factory. We don't know whether it was the design of the bin, the simpler bedding instructions, or the placement of food in a layer rather than a corner, but it took several days for the worms to start eating. And even when they did, they never seemed to get fat like the ones in the other bin. (Note: We purchased our red wigglers at a local nursery and divided them up between the two bins.)
As mentioned above, the temperature stayed about five degrees higher than the Worm Factory, which proved to be devastating during an unexpected heatwave. Sadly, we came home one day and nearly all of the worms had died. (The ones in the Worm Factory were okay.) We quickly moved the bins indoors and separated the live worms from the dead, but the VermiHut was never the same after that.
We'd like to retest the VermiHut using the Worm Factory's instructions for bedding assembly and feeding. It would be interesting to see how crucial that is compared to the design of the bin itself. Perhaps it wouldn't be a problem for a more experienced vermicomposter, or in a location that doesn't get heat waves, but for the novice in summer, our experience with the VermiHut was disappointing.
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer or retailer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Images: Emily Ho)