There are lots of benefits to making your own nutrient-rich compost. It helps the environment by cutting down on the amount of waste that goes to landfill and composting is a great way to turn your food scraps into a rich, chemical-free fertilizer for your soil. Best of all, it's totally free once you have your bin!

This guide to the best compost bins will help you decide which type is right for your needs, with suggestions for models that can be used indoors and outdoors. We'll answer the most common questions about composting and tell you the important features to look for when choosing your composter.

The Best Compost Bin

1. Full Circle Fresh Air Odor-Free Kitchen Compost Bin

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The best compost bin in our review is Full Circle Fresh Air Odor-Free Kitchen Compost Bin, which is designed to allow you to create compost in your kitchen without having to worry about any bad odors in your home. The decomposition process is slowed down by the flow of oxygen through the waste, which not only stops bad smells but helps prevent flies in your home too.

2. Mantaro Stainless Steel & Dishwasher Safe Countertop Compost Bin

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One of the best composting bins we looked at in terms of style is Mantaro Stainless Steel & Dishwasher Safe Countertop Compost Bin, with its lovely oak frame and stainless steel interior. Not only does it look good, but its rectangular shape makes it easy to scrape in kitchen scraps from a rectangular cutting board. It can be much more tricky to do this with cylindrical bins.

3. GEOBIN – 216 Gallon Expandable Compost Bin

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GEOBIN – 216 Gallon Expandable Compost Bin is an excellent composting bin for outdoor use, with a huge capacity. It comes with 5 closure keys to hold it together and is expandable to the size you want. It’s also tough, more than able to stand up to whatever the weather has to throw at it!

4. Joseph Joseph Compo Easy-Fill Compost Bin

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One of the best compost bins, if you’re on a budget, is Joseph Joseph Compo Easy-Fill Compost Bin, which has a slimline design that makes it easy to store on your countertop or in your cupboard. For extra versatility, it also comes with a door mounting bracket. The air vent is adjustable, so you can open it to allow oxygen to circulate and reduce the build-up of moisture and odors, or close it to create a barrier for insects.

5. YukChuk Under-Counter Kitchen Food Waste Bin

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If the thought of storing kitchen scraps on your countertop is unappealing to you, YukChuk Under-Counter Kitchen Food Waste Bin is the solution. They are specifically designed to be hidden away under the counter, giving you more space on your countertop and keeping decomposing food out of sight!

6. Miracle-Gro Small Outdoor Compost Bin

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We love Miracle-Gro Small Outdoor Compost Bin which is the best in our review in terms of value. Designed to give you years of service, these bins make composting easy and have a side locking mechanism, which makes loading and unloading a breeze. The durable construction of these bins means that the doors seal tightly, stopping unwanted critters from getting in!

7. Redmon Since 1883 8000 Garden Compost Bin

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These large, outdoor Redmon Since 1883 8000 Garden Compost Bins are perfect for both yard waste and kitchen scraps. Easy to move around as required, they feature 4 handy doors to get to the composted material and a variety of differently sized aeration holes, designed for proper breathing throughout the composting process.

8. Chef’n EcoCrock Counter Compost Bin

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Chef’n EcoCrock Counter Compost Bin has to be one of the cutest compost bins we reviewed, with a gorgeous contemporary design that will look great in your home. It comes with a replaceable natural charcoal filter, so you don’t have to worry about unsavory odors in your kitchen, and the inner bucket with its built-in handle is removable for easy cleaning.

9. Utopia Kitchen Stainless Steel Compost Bin

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Utopia Kitchen Stainless Steel Compost Bins have a twist – they may look like they’re designed for the yard but are actually for collecting food waste inside the home! Made from high-quality stainless steel, they are built to last – resistant to scratches, chips, and cracks. The charcoal filters ensure that your home stays smelling fresh and the bin is quick and easy to clean when needed.

10. Miracle-Gro Dual Chamber Outdoor Compost Tumbler Bin

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Easy to load and unload, these Miracle-Gro Dual Chamber Outdoor Compost Tumbler Bins are designed to make composting as simple as possible. No digging, turning, or mixing by hand is required as the tumbler system takes care of it all. These bins are also designed to speed up the composting process, with your nutrient-rich, finished compost available in just 4 to 6 weeks.

11. Hot Frog Outdoor 37 Gallon Quick Rolling Compost Tumbler Bin

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One of the best compost bins in the ‘premium’ category is Hot Frog Outdoor 37 Gallon Quick Rolling Compost Tumbler Bin. It has a unique rolling design that makes it super easy to get it just where you want it for quick curing. To achieve the perfect compost from your organic waste, all you need to do is add it to the bin, close the door and return to it every few days to turn the bin 5 to 6 times.

12. EJWOX Large Composting Tumbler Bin

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EJWOX Large Composting Tumbler Bins make loading and unloading easy because they are raised high enough off the ground to put a cart underneath, They are designed to mix very efficiently, with an aerated internal bar that allows the oxygen to flow. The black walls maximize the absorption of the sun’s heat and retain it too, allowing you to create nutrient-rich compost with ease. Best of all, these composters have two chambers, so you can begin composting a second batch before the first batch is ready.

13. OXO Good Grips Easy-Clean IndoorCompost Bin

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OXO Good Grips Easy-Clean IndoorCompost Bins are designed to make it easy for you to create compost indoors from coffee grounds and other organic waste, with a convenient stay-open lid that allows you to throw in scraps as you work. The smooth interior makes the bin very quick and easy to clean – you don’t even need to use a bag if you don’t want to. When it’s time to empty the bin, the cleverly designed lid comes right off to make things simple.

Features To Consider With Compost Bins For Indoors And Out

Air Tight

Whether or not you want your compost bin to be airtight largely depends on whether you are looking at indoor or outdoor bins. The process of composting requires oxygen - yard waste, coffee grounds, food scraps, etc will not decompose without air being present. So it's important for your outdoor composter to keep the mix aerated. Although some indoor bins have vents for aeration, this isn't always desirable, as they may allow pests to get in and bad odors to get out! If you are looking at an indoor composter with a vent, you might want to check that it includes some kind of filter to stop any unpleasant smells making their way into your home.

Design

Composting bins come in all different designs. Outdoor bins may feature some sort of turning system so that you don't need to regularly dig over the compost to mix it. Some have features that prevent wildlife from entering your compost pile, whereas other designs are more open. Take into consideration the wildlife in the area you live before deciding which kind of composter is right for you. You will also find a range of bins designed to start your compost indoors. Some are made to look attractive in your kitchen, whereas others are more functional and designed for under the counter use, out of sight.

Ease Of Use

You will be using your composter often, so you need to be sure it's easy to use. Outdoor bins should be easy to load and unload and the compost should be easy to access and to mix. Some of the best composters in terms of ease of use are those that sit off the ground at a level high enough to put a cart underneath. The best indoor composters are those that are easy to clean and preferably dishwasher safe. They need to be easy to empty and it's best if the lid can be operated with one hand, making it simple to pop in food scraps as needed.

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Size

The size of your composter is very important, so be sure to check the capacity listed within the specifications. The first consideration is the size of the space you have available for it - you will need a small composter for an area like a patio or balcony, for example. The same applies to indoor composters - they either need to fit comfortably on your countertop, or you need to find a model that you can mount on a wall or door. The second thing to think about when looking for the best indoor composting bin is the size of your family. Once you start saving your kitchen waste you'll be surprised by how much of it there actually is! If you have a large family - but a very small indoor composter - you will be forever emptying it. In that case, it makes sense to look for a bin at the outset with a larger capacity.

Tumbling Barrel

You need to decide if the best option for your household is a traditional composter or one with a tumbling barrel. Traditional composters tend to be open-bottomed, so the compost pile sits directly on the ground. These types of composters can't - of course - be moved. Composters with a tumbling barrel are usually designed to be stationary, although some do have wheels for portability. This can be a nice feature, as it allows you to deliver the compost directly to the part of your garden that needs it. Another difference with tumble-type composters is that they tend to be smaller. This is because they can become too heavy to turn easily when they are very full. But the main benefit of tumbler composters is that they can help you create compost more quickly and easily than by simply developing a compost pile in a bin. This is because the tumbling barrel aerates the mixture, which is the best way to get it to decompose quickly. What's more, it requires less effort than manually turning the compost with a spade.

Material

Outdoor compost bins need to be durable as they will be out in the elements, so look for a model constructed from a robust material. This will usually mean that the unit will be more stable too. Many outdoor compost bins are made of toughened plastic, but if you're considering one like this then the best option is to look for one that is UV resistant. This means that it is designed to stop any harmful chemicals leaching from the bin into the compost in warm weather. Indoor bins designed for your kitchen waste may also be made of plastic, or there are some more decorative ceramic models available. You might even want to consider stainless steel, often the best option for cleaning off food scraps and a material that looks great on your countertop too.

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Compost Bin For Indoors And Out FAQ

Q: What things should not go in an indoor compost bin?

A:

Don't put in food scraps like fish, bones or meat, or dairy items like milk. They will smell horrible and no filter will stop the odor pervading your home! Some kinds of fruit or vegetable peel shouldn't go in either as they might upset the PH balance of your pile and affect the composting process. These include citrus peels as well as food scraps from onions and garlic. Other types of kitchen waste to avoid putting in your indoor composting bin include baked foods like bread, as well as cooked rice or pasta. This is because they can lead to the growth of bacteria. And whilst coffee grounds are fine, coffee pods are not - nor are tea bags, which won't break down and have the potential to contaminate your whole pile.

Q: What things should not go in an outdoor compost bin?

A:

As with indoor bins, the main foods to avoid putting in your outdoor composter are dairy items, meat, fish, and bones. Not only will they smell awful, but they will also attract critters too! You also need to avoid oils and fats because they do not mix with water and will affect the water balance of your compost, which is likely to attract pests. Again, avoid baked foods, cooked rice and pasta, certain peels, and tea bags/coffee pods. Be sure to check your organic waste for labels or stickers and remove them. They won't break down and will cause contamination. When it comes to yard waste, avoid big branches, treated wood, poisonous plants, ash from the barbecue, and any plants that might have been treated with synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.

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Q: Do worms have to go in outdoor compost bins?

A:

You don't have to put worms in an outdoor composter in order to create compost. Although worms will usually find their way to your bin anyway, composting will still happen without them.

Q: Can you put hot things in a kitchen compost bin?

A:

Whilst hot organic waste can be added to an outdoor composter, it's not ideal to add it to your kitchen compost bin. They are not designed for hot food and it may encourage bad odors. The best option is to ensure any food waste is cool before adding it to an indoor composter.