The basic idea behind compost is that kitchen and yard detritus are miraculously turned into an excellent soil additive if you give it appropriate amounts of sunshine, water and air. While sunshine is a matter for nature and water isn't hard to supply, adding air to a compost pile is as easy a matter as it sounds.
If you tackle it by hand, you have to use a garden fork to lift and turn the pile, which takes more than a little muscle and energy. Gardeners can avoid this effort by purchasing a compost tumbler. These are closed compost bins with a built-in turning system. You just have to turn the handle every few days to bring in the needed oxygen. This shortens the time you need to wait for mature compost – sometimes only two weeks and more often a month or so.
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1. IM4000 Dual Chamber Tumbling Composter
This highly recommended composter is big enough to hold 37 gallons of compost and is super easy to use. No digging and no garden fork is needed. Just close the door to the tumbler and turn the crank a few times every two to three days. If the weather is warm and conditions are right, you may be able to produce mature compost for your garden in as little as 14 days.
- "Easy to use" is an overused phrase in most advertising, but in this case, it's perfectly appropriate. The openings are large, and the removable door allows super-easy access.
- Two is better than one when it comes to composter chambers, and "dual chamber" means a lot. The composter has two separate sides, which means you can fill the first side and leave it to mature while putting detritus in the second side.
- Built of BPA-free, UV-inhibited, 100 percent post-consumer recycled polypropylene. That means the product is safe to touch and doesn't fall apart in strong, direct sunlight.
- You have to assemble this composter, and some people find it difficult. However, others say the directions are easy to follow.
- At just under $90, it may seem too expensive to some people.
- It is truly handy to have a dual chamber composter, and this one, a tumbler, makes continuous compost production possible.
2. Miracle-Gro Small Composter
Some tumbler compost bins are huge and allow you to compost a lot at the same time, but if you have a small backyard, the Miracle-Gro Small Composter might be a better choice. It holds almost 28 gallons of detritus but can wedge into any patio or balcony space. There is an even smaller model available that holds just 18.5 gallons. This composter is loaded with attractive features and costs just over $60.
- Small and tidy, this is the perfect compost bin for small spaces.
- Accessing finished compost is a snap. Don't even consider scooping it out through the opening on top
use the sliding door, put a tub under it and turn the tumbler.
- There's no visible mess. In fact, neighbors may not even suspect that this cute machine holds compost.
- The tumbler is very easy to turn.
- Though it's perfect for small spaces, this composter doesn't hold as much as others.
- If you want a small and tidy tumbler composter, this is the one to consider. It can fit in any small space.
3. EJWOX Garden Compost Bin
If you are a small family and want to produce a lot of compost, you'll need a compost bin that holds at least 40 gallons. If you want it fast, look for dual chambers. The EJWOX Garden Compost Bin may be for you. It holds 43 gallons in two separate chambers so you can fill up one and then use the other while the first one is maturing. The entire composter turns easily on an axis.
- The bin is black with double walls. This means that it collects and holds the sun's warmth for faster composting.
- Stability counts when it comes to a leg-mounted composter, and this one won't fall over. The frame is constructed of sturdy steel that makes a solid base.
- The composter is raised on long, rust-deterring steel legs, placing it high enough off the ground to allow for a cart beneath it.
- The barrel turns easily.
- An aerated bar inside the composter mixes compost and allows in air.
- The sliding doors are large
over 10 inches long and over 6 inches wide, providing easy access.
- The aeration vents allow the composter to take in rainwater. Those who live in a wet area may have to cover the composter to keep it from getting too much water.
- At just under $90, it isn't cheap.
- Small families looking for a closed alternative to the compost pile will get all the compost they need quickly from this 43-gallon, dual-chamber composter.
4. Spin Bin Outdoor Compost Tumbler
OK, bigger families – here is the outdoor compost tumbler you are seeking. The Spin Bin holds a full 60 gallons of compost but turns easily even when full. Its spin design is unique since it turns end over end for better mixing. There are lids on both ends of the composter barrel that make it convenient to add material.
This is one big composter. At 26 by 32.5 by 45 inches, it will hold 60 gallons of compost but still turns easily.
This composter helps keep the air circulating with 20 ventilation slots that also serve to drain out excess water.
The machine is made of rugged, molded plastic and has very strong steel legs.
Assembly is required, but all hardware and easy-to-follow instructions are included.
Both lids are twist-lock for easy access.
- The price is quite high at almost $170.
- Some gardeners report that the lids are flimsy and come off at inopportune times.
If bigger is better, this is one of the best bins out there, holding a full 60 gallons of compost.
5. KoolScapes Wheeled Tumbling Composter
Have you ever dreamed of a composter you could wheel around, even when it is full? KoolScapes is well worth a look. It's a good-sized tumbling composter, weighing a hefty 43 pounds even before adding 50 gallons of compost, but thanks to the unusual stand, you can push it around like a baby buggy.
- Why should a composter be fixed in one place? The KoolScapes composter can easily be moved from sun to shade and from one side of the garden to the other thanks to its two wheels and an easy-push system.
- At 50 gallons, it holds a lot of compost.
- The lid twists on and locks, keeping the materials securely inside when the tumbling starts.
- The frame and support stand are made of heavy-duty steel.
- It's hard not to consider the price tag as a serious downside since KoolScapes costs close to $250.
- Some users found it difficult or impossible to assemble.
- If you want a composter that is mobile, this is the one with wheels.
As long as you know what you want in a tumbling composter, you are sure find it. There are small, big and bigger models as well as composters with dual compartments, composters that spin end to end and composters with wheels. Take a close look at what is available before you order one.