Composting with a pile isn’t the only way to compost these days. Compost tumblers not only speed up that rate of food decomposition, but they keep critters out of your compost too.
We’ve rounded up the best composter tumblers sold on the internet to help you make the best decision when it comes to composting. We’ve outlined the pros and cons for all the most popular compost tumblers on the market. We also go into detail to explain how compost tumblers work and why you might choose a tumbler for your compost as opposed to an electric composter or a compost pile.
We researched compost tumblers so you don't have to
Our staff and readers have done a lot of hands on research when it comes to compost tumblers. In fact, our staff has experience with all of these compost tumblers. Some are more popular than others. You should be warned though, just because something is popular, doesn’t mean it’s good. That’s why we’ve done the research to help you figure out which compost tumbler is a good buy, and which ones you should avoid.
This article goes into great detail to help you figure out the best compost tumbler to meet your needs.
We’ve pored over the data, consumer reports, and customer reviews to help you figure out the best compost tumblers for your needs. With so many compost tumblers to choose from it can be overwhelming to pick the best one.
Here are the top 5 compost tumblers with the best reviews.
Top 5 compost tumblers
Best All Around Compost tumbler
Easiest and Best Bang for your Buck Compost Tumbler
The Good Ideas Compost Wizard Jr. is by far the best all around compost tumbler. Not only does it have stellar reviews on Amazon and Walmart.com, we have personally used this model for years. The product requires no assembly and produces compost in as little as two weeks with the right conditions.
In fact, we love this particular model so much that we suggest buying two. This way you can have one rest for a while while you continue to put new compost into the other one.
Learn why the Compost Wizard is the best for critter-proof composting
Best Compost tumbler for cold weather
Best compost tumbler for cold weather
The Jora Composter Tumbler is insulated, making it the best call for colder climates.
The compost process is accelerated by high heat. While microbes and worms assist in making compost, high heat is a must. This makes it a little more difficult to compost in colder climates. While the Jora Composter Tumbler is a little pricier, it’s well worth it if you live anywhere where it snows.
FAQ About Compost Tumblers
What are the pros and cons of a compost tumbler?
Pros of Compost Tumblers
- The size makes it easy for composting in urban areas.
- Most are “critter-proof” which is great if you live in an area with bears, rats, or other wildlife.
- Most small ones are easy to turn. This is ofter easier to do than manually mixing a compost heap.
- Compost tumblers drain easily due to the holes.
Cons of Compost Tumblers
- While they are often advertised as being quicker than traditional compost heaps, they don’t actually produce compost any quicker.
- If you don’t have two compost tumblers, or one with a dual chamber, then you have nowhere to put your food scraps when your compost tumbler is full.
- Large ones produce better compost, but they are harder to turn.
How do you use a compost tumbler?
Compost tumblers are pretty easy to use as long as you have the correct ratio of browns to greens in your tumbler.
Browns are carbon heavy materials while greens are nitrogen heavy materials. You want a ration of 2:1 for all compost methods. Mix two parts brown materials (dry leaves, twigs, straw, cardboard, newspaper, and brown paper bags) with one part green materials (grass clippings, kitchen scraps, etc).
Compost Hack: If you don’t have enough dry leaves for your brown material, shred up brown paper bags and cardboard tubes from toilet paper and paper towels.
Read this post for more information on what you can and can’t compost.
How long does it take to compost in a tumbler?
There is no easy answer for how long it takes to compost in a tumbler. Most advertisements will tell you that it takes 2-4 weeks to produce compost.
While this is true, it’s a little misleading because you also have to fill up your compost tumbler. Buy a big enough one and it can easily take you 6 months to fill it up.
It take a long time to fill a compost tumbler because food decomposes down to about 10% of its weight. This means if you put 10 pounds of food scraps in your tumbler a week, it might be down to 5 pounds in a week, and down to 1 pound in a month.
Larger compost tumblers are more effective at making compost, but it takes longer to fill it. As a general rule of thumb, once your tumbler is full it should take less than a month to have useable soil.
The soil won’t be as pretty as soil made in a compost heap where worms are present.
How do you speed up compost in a tumbler?
Can you put worms in a compost tumbler?
Yes and no.
If you have a tumbler that is on the ground, yes you can add them. If you have a tumbler that is off the ground, then no, you shouldn’t add worms to your compost tumbler.
Why? Compost tumblers reach a very high heat. Too high of a heat for earthworms to survive. If they can’t easily get out through a hole on the side, then they will be trapped in the tumbler and die.
General rule of thumb for adding worms to a compost tumbler: wait and see if any worms naturally make their way into the bins. If so, order some red wigglers on Amazon and add some more to your bin. If you’ve never seen any in your bin, there might be a reason. Better to avoid it.