Types of Compost Bins + How to Choose the Right One?

A women adding scraps into a compost bin

Composting is a fantastic way to reduce food waste while creating a valuable resource that will provide tons of nutrients to your plants. Learning the ins and outs of composting isn’t too difficult, so you can look forward to getting started soon! If you’re eager to begin composting, the first thing you’ll need is a reliable bin. 

Before you make your purchase, you may be wondering what type of compost bin is best. There is no simple answer to this question. There are way too many types of bins out there! So, let’s explore the different varieties of compost bins and how to determine which type is best suited to your lifestyle. In this article, we’ll cover:

Before we explore the various types of compost bins, here are our top recommendations. 


Our top recommendations for different types of compost bins

Once you’ve decided on which type of bin is right for you, you’ll need to find a reliable brand to purchase from. Here are some of the best compost bins on the market for each type we’ve discussed. This includes some of the best indoor compost bins, outdoor bins, an electric bin, and more!

  1. Best stationary compost bin: D.F. Omer Garden Composter Bin | $88.27
  2. Best tumbling compost bin: VIVOSUN Outdoor Tumbling Composter | $94.99
  3. Best worm compost bin: 5-Tray VermiHut Plus | $109.95
  4. Best in-ground compost bin: DIY | est. $10
  5. Best food waste digester bin: Green Cone Solar Waste Digester | $249.95
  6. Best electric compost bin: Lomi | $499

6 types of compost bins to upcycle your food waste

There are many different composting bins you could be using to dispose of your food waste! The best compost bins for you will accommodate your lifestyle and preferences. So you’ll need to learn about the various bins available to find the right fit. For your convenience, here are 6 varieties of compost bins for upcycling your food waste.


 


 

1. Stationary

Outdoor compost bin

Stationary compost bins are a good choice for people that want to dispose of garden waste and food scraps in one location. These self-contained units tend to be tall and offer enough space for the waste produced by the average household. They don’t take up too much room in small yards or in suburbs. 

The use of stationary bins is a popular method of composting for beginners, as they require little effort on your part. Just make sure you have a proper balance of brown and green materials and that you don’t let the pile get too moist. If you’re interested in purchasing a stationary bin, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding a decent one in stores or online. For those interested in zero-waste products, we should note that the stationary bin we recommend is built from recycled plastic!

Best for: Anyone who wants a central place to toss out their various yard waste, kitchen scraps, and other compostable organic materials. 


2. Tumbling/Rotating

Person pouring scraps into outdoor tumbler composter

Tumbling compost bins are standalone units with one or more chambers. Once you’ve inserted your food and yard waste, you can rotate the chambers by turning a handle. This allows oxygen to be evenly distributed throughout the pile, which helps to speed up the decomposition process. 

There are many benefits to using a tumbling composter to produce compost. It covers your pile of scraps, which helps deter rodents and prevents the elements from getting your pile overly moist. The action of turning the crank twice a week or so also takes less effort than regularly turning a compost pile with a shovel or pitchfork. 

Best for: People with enough outdoor space for a large composting device who intend on disposing of both kitchen and garden waste. 


 


 

3. Worm

A handful of dirt and earthworms for composting

A worm bin is a type of bin that’s designed for hosting worms, making them an essential component of vermicomposting. Vermicomposting is a composting method in which worms, usually red wigglers, are added to a pile of organic materials. Worms eat the scraps, which speeds up the composting process and helps to create healthier compost for your garden.

The key feature of worm bins is that they have a well-distributed and reliable flow of oxygen. If your worms aren’t able to breathe or get too cold, they may die rather quickly. That’s why many people choose to purchase a worm bin that can be brought indoors during the winter months. 

Best for: Gardeners who want to create nutrient-rich fertilizer for their plants and aren’t squeamish about handling worms. 


4. In-ground composters

A trowel digging through soil in a garden

Some people dislike the idea of having an exposed bin. This could be for aesthetic reasons or because they’re worried about odors. If you have these same concerns, you may like using an in-ground composter. In-ground composters are simply composting bins with lids and holes drilled into the sides that are buried partway into the ground. 

The holes drilled into the side of an in-ground composter are key, as they allow worms to enter the bin. As discussed above, worms help produce healthier compost and speed up the composting process. There aren’t many in-ground composters available for purchase online, but you can easily make your own with just a bin, a sealable lid, a drill for making holes, and a shovel for inserting the bin into the ground. 

Best for: People that want to produce rich compost with the help of worms, and are willing and able to dig a hole on their property. 


5. Food waste digesters

Green cone food waste digester
Image Credit: Treehugger

Food waste digesters are quite different from the other bins mentioned on this list. The key difference is that they don’t actually produce compost. Most digesters are specifically to keep organic materials, like coffee grounds, eggshells, and vegetable peelings, from ending up in landfills. This makes them ideal for those without gardens who simply want to dispose of their food in an eco-friendly way. 

Not all food waste digesters are exactly alike. However, the one we recommend is meant to be used outdoors. The Green Cone digester relies on the heat from the sun to reduce food waste to water and carbon dioxide. If you intend on disposing of garden waste, you may want another bin to use alongside your food waste digester.

Best for: Anyone who wants a convenient way to dispose of their food waste and isn’t interested in using their compost as fertilizer. 


6. Electric countertop composters

Lomi filled with vegetable scraps on kitchen counter

If you want a kitchen compost bin that can break down everything from coffee grounds to meat scraps, you should look into electric compost bins like Lomi. Lomi is an excellent option for people wondering how to compost in an apartment. It breaks down your food scraps with aerobic decomposition, aided by oxygen, heat, and abrasion. 

As far as countertop compost bins go, this device is incredibly efficient, quiet, and low-maintenance. This versatile compost bin can break down kitchen and yard waste in less than a day, and with no odors! Without a doubt, electric composters like Lomi make it so easy to compost indoors. 

Best for: People who don’t have a lot of organic waste that want a simple, low-stress, and odor-free composting solution. 

 

Lomi by Pela

Lomi

★★★★★

Lomi allows you to turn food waste into plant-ready nutrients in under 24 hours. Boost your plants while reducing your waste.


 

Top 10 considerations when choosing your compost bin

So, how do you decide between all the different varieties of compost bins out there? You’ll need to take multiple factors into account. This includes everything from where you live to how much effort you’re willing and able to contribute. If you’re not sure where to start, no problem! Here are 10 important considerations to make when selecting your compost bin.


1. Are you composting indoors or outdoors?

Not all bins are equally suited to both outdoor and indoor composting. If you have little to no outdoor space and plan on composting indoors, you’ll want to avoid things like tumbling bins or large food waste digesters. Instead, you should be looking for indoor composting bins that you can fit beside your garbage can or on your countertop. 

If you do intend on composting outdoors, and have the yard space to do it, your options aren’t so limited. You could opt for a tumbling bin, an in-ground bin, a stationary bin, or a vermicomposting bin with multiple layers. If you’re interested in cold composting, you could also create your own outdoor bin out of wood pallets.


2. What are you composting?

A person chopping vegetables

What you plan on composting should have a major impact on what composter you purchase. If you think you’ll be composting a near equal amount of green materials and brown materials, whether they be food scraps or garden waste, most bins will suit your needs. 

That said, not all compost bins can take care of all of your organic waste. Meat scraps and bones, for example, shouldn’t be added to most composters. In outdoor stationary bins and tumblers, meat scraps can begin to rot, smell, and potentially attract rodents. However, you can safely dispose of meat and bones using an electric composting machine like Lomi. Lomi can quickly break down all food waste using just heat, abrasion, and oxygen. 


3. How much organic waste do you have?

You’ll want to avoid purchasing a bin that’s too big or too small. There are some bins, like tumblers and most indoor composters, that have a somewhat limited capacity. This capacity is fine for single users, couples, or even small families. However, they’re not always suitable for large families with lots of yard waste and food waste to dispose of. 

If you need a composting bin that can handle a large family, you may want to consider multiple stationary bins, a sizeable food waste digester, or a tumbler with dual chambers. You could also opt for cold composting outdoors, which allows you to dispose of considerable amounts of organic waste (though the decomposition process can be quite slow).


 


 

4. What is your compost for?

A person adding soil to a pot

Do you intend on using the compost you create to nourish your garden and plants? Or are you simply trying to do your part to reduce food waste and live a more sustainable lifestyle? If you’re creating compost to use as fertilizer, you can use most composting bins. This includes worm composters, tumbling composters, indoor composters, and more. 

If you don’t have a garden and just want to reduce the amount of food you throw in the trash, there are plenty of bins for you. A food waste digester is a great choice, as it’ll serve as more of a disposal unit rather than a standard composter. Needless to say, you shouldn’t purchase a food waste digester if you’re looking to create usable compost for your garden. 


5. Do you mind odors?

Certain composting bins will elicit more odors than others. If odors really get to you, the best choice for odor-free composting is an electric composter. These devices have a tight seal and break down waste very efficiently. You don’t have to take any extra steps to prevent your electric composter from smelling. 

With other composting bins, a slight odor is somewhat inevitable. The good news is, it’s not too difficult to prevent and reduce odors, whether you have a tumbling composter or a stationary bin. Don’t let your compost pile get too wet, don’t add human or pet feces, and try to maintain a proper balance of green materials and brown materials. It’s that simple!


6. How much effort can you put in?

A person next to a compost heap

You don’t want to purchase a compost bin that demands more effort than you’re willing or able to put in. There’s no shame in wanting a simple, straightforward, and low-maintenance compost bin. If that sounds like what you’re looking for, you may want to buy an electric composter or a food waste digester. 

If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, you may enjoy an in-ground bin or worm composters. These require some maintenance on your part, especially the latter. You could also opt for cold composting, so long as you’re prepared to go outside to turn your compost with a shovel or pitchfork every couple of days. 


7. Are you comfortable handling worms?

If you’re comfortable handling worms, red wigglers in particular, then you should definitely consider purchasing a worm composter bin! Vermicomposting is a very underrated form of composting, It actually creates healthier and more nutritious compost than most methods. Of course, there’s a reason why worm composters aren’t the standard…

Does the idea of handling worms make you squeamish? If so, you’re not alone. Some people like the idea of vermicomposting but just aren’t able to stomach dealing with worms. If you know worms make you uncomfortable, don’t try to push yourself into pushing a worm composter anyway. Composting doesn’t have to be an unpleasant experience and there are plenty of ways to indoor compost without worms!


8. How fast do you want your compost?

Grabbing handle of kitchen waste filled Lomi

How long does composting take? The answer depends on the type of composting method and bin you use. The length of the composting process varies a lot based on whether you’re composting indoors or outdoors, using an aerobic or anaerobic method, and so on.

Cold composting, for example, can take anywhere between 6 months and a year, especially if you’re not turning it regularly. An electric composter, on the other hand, can break down your kitchen waste in under 24-hours. Make sure you select a bin that’s suited to your efficiency preferences. 


9. What’s your budget?

As you can see in our recommendations section, there are compost bins for every budget. If you’re willing to spend a bit more on a reliable, low-maintenance, and versatile solution, an electric composter like Lomi is a great purchase. If you can spend that much right now, you can instead buy a simple stationary bin for under $100. 

If you really want to save, you can always take a DIY approach. For those with lots of property and access to wooden pallets, you can easily create your own outdoor bin for cold composting. You can also make your own in-ground composting bin with just a bucket, a lid, and a drill for creating holes. 


10. Where do you live?

Ariel view of houses

We’ve already discussed how living in an apartment versus having lots of yard space will influence your choice of compost bins. However, the climate and typical weather of where you live is equally important to consider. Those living in warmer climates have little to no restrictions, but this isn’t the case for people in cold or rainy areas.

If you live somewhere that experiences a lot of rain, you may want an indoor composting bin or a covered outdoor bin like a compost tumbler. Otherwise, your compost pile could become overly moist, which can cause odors and slow the composting process. People living in areas that experience harsh winters may want to avoid worm bins unless they’re willing to bring their worm bins inside. The cold weather can be dangerous for worms unless they’re properly taken care of. 


    What type of compost bin is best overall?

    If you’re looking for the most convenient, fast, odorless, and space-efficient composter, Lomi is the best pick. Lomi turns your food waste into nutrient-rich dirt in hours, ready to add to your garden, houseplants, or lawn. Unlike traditional compost, Lomi requires only the push of a button to transform your food waste into a usable product–no maintenance, no smells, no outdoor space. It can also handle materials that traditional compost can’t, such as meat and bioplastics.


    By taking the time to select the right composting bin for your lifestyle and preferences, you’re setting yourself up for success. The research you’ve done will save you from purchasing something that’s impractical or requires more effort than you can give. Once you buy the perfect bin for you and your family, you can begin enjoying all the benefits of composting without any of the stress. 


    Written by: E Sawden