Creating compost in the backyard is always a win-win situation for a gardener. You get rid of kitchen detritus and yard clippings while creating a wonderful soil additive to improve your garden beds and make your plants happy. There are lots of different kinds of composting systems, each with its own advantages. Composting in a closed bin means your yard looks neater, which is an especially important issue in a smaller space.
If you've never seen a closed compost bin, it is basically an open compost bin with a lid. The compost is stacked inside, where it decomposes into dark, rich humus. As an added benefit, the lid on the bin prevents pests from getting into the veggie or fruit peelings. Closed bins can produce finished compost faster than open bins, sometimes as fast as six weeks.
1. D.F. Omer's Garden Composter Bin
Some closed compost bins are just simply cute, but these can be extremely functional at the same time. This is the case with the composter offered by D.F. Omer, which is a 110-gallon model that looks just a bit like Darth Vader of Star Wars fame. This composter provides great access and is loaded with attractive features.
- No tools are required to set up this composter in your yard. This composter comes in one piece and is ready to roll.
- With its compact size, it fits well into small spaces.
- Accessing the bin couldn't be easier with the two-door lid forming the bin top.
- Even clever raccoons won't be able to figure out how to get into the bin when the doors are closed.
- Don't worry about getting the finished compost out through the top. Instead, use the slot at the bottom that is made just for that purpose.
- The composter is constructed of BPA-free recycled plastic, which is better for the environment. It maintains heat and regulates moisture for a shorter composting time.
- At just under $77, it's a little pricier than some others.
- With double doors on the top and a large access area on the bottom, this composter gives "easy to use" a whole new dimension.
2. Behrens 20-Gallon Galvanized Steel Composter
Complicated is not always better, and that is certainly true for many gardeners when it comes to compost bins. We like the Behrens composter because it is so very simple, essentially a galvanized steel barrel with holes poked into it to allow water to drain out. The built-in feet keep the bin a little bit off the ground for better air circulation. The lid fits tightly and keeps out rodents.
- This composter is built of very high-quality steel. That means it is durable and likely to last a long time.
- Nothing is flimsy about this model. The wire handles that let you carry it around are strong enough to make the composter securely portable.
- The lid fits snugly to keep in odors and keep out pests.
- It's a bargain at around $40.
- The bin holds 20 gallons, which is not insignificant but not a huge amount either. You may need two to allow one to process while you start a second.
- When you don't care about being trendy and all you really want is to compost detritus, this composter has what it takes without unnecessary frills.
3. Algreen Products Soil Saver Classic Compost Bin
It costs more than many bins at just over $80, but many gardeners think Algreen's compost bin is worth every dime. It's a big one, holding some 94 gallons of compost while weighing only 28 pounds when empty. That means it's easy to move into its site in the garden. The lid locks into place and, lid and all, the bin measures a compact 28 by 28 by 32 inches.
- This works its magic with kitchen and yard trimmings at top speed, going from raw material to finished compost in two months or less.
- The lid locks, preventing mishaps, but it is built to let rain and oxygen enter. It's called a "self-watering" lid.
- Access to ripe and ready compost is a snap thanks to the composter's two sliding doors.
- The heavy plastic construction insulates the heat, which makes composting quicker.
- The bin doesn't have a bottom, so if you have burrowing rodents, like rats, they might get in despite the locking lid.
- We like this bin because of its reputation. So many gardeners left reviews calling it the best composting bin they have ever seen.
4. Aerobin 400 Composter
If you like to buy the best and don't mind paying for it, check out the Aerobin 400 Composter. The "400" refers to the liters of compost it holds, but it is also relevant to the price tag. It's definitely a labor-saving device; thanks to its "aeration lung" technology, you never have to worry about turning the compost. Drop it in and let it be.
- This is a big composter that is 27 inches deep and wide by 47 inches high.
- The compost seems to transform magically thanks to the moisture recirculation system, making composting fans out of gardeners who had repeatedly failed to achieve a good result.
- The bin collects the liquid nutrients that usually drain away, allowing you to use the "compost tea" as well as the compost.
- Don't worry about putting weeds inside; the high temperatures at which this composter operates take out weed seeds with no problem.
- The two access doors put the compost within easy reach.
- Both the lid and the walls are insulated to keep in that heat.
- The price will not please everyone. It's priced between $400 and $600.
- What's it worth to avoid having to turn your compost and/or worry about whether the pile was too wet or too dry? This bin may be the solution.
5. ECOGardener Garden Compost Bin
This large outdoor composter arrives in pieces that clip together; no tools are required. This bin stands out from the others because of its leaf-green shade. Green seems appropriate for an earth-friendly compost bin, and the design makes composting easy, efficient and even fun. (It's also available in black.)
- This square bin is made from tough recycled plastic with a latch-on lid to keep your composting detritus out of sight and smell range.
- Assembly is quick; you snap together the four walls and then snap on the lid and hatch.
- The lid and sides have regular holes built in to allow for excellent aeration.
- It holds a full 80 gallons but is sufficiently compact to fit into small areas.
- Expect rapid action, with composting completed in as little as six or eight weeks.
- Getting out finished compost is a cinch thanks to the bottom hatch that opens easily and provides great access.
- It is about average in terms of price at around $80.
- Some gardeners find the plastic material too thin to allow for robust turning of the composting material.
- With lots of great closed bins out there, any little advantage can make you prefer one over another. We like the way the green blends in with grass and foliage.
A closed bin composting system works well in most backyards. The fact that there is a lid means that odor and unsightliness are not issues in determining where to place the bin. There are many nice ones out there that will do the trick.