With a decent patch of outdoor space, it’s fairly easy to start your own compost pile. And, if you’re itching for a DIY project, building a rotating compost bin isn’t terribly complicated. But if you don’t have time or the ability to make those options happen, buying a compost bin is relatively inexpensive and gets the job done. Food scraps and yard waste account for 30 percent of what we throw away, and composting keeps it out of landfills. Whether you have a compost bin on your countertop or a large one by the side of the house, every bit counts.
What to Consider
Of course, the first thing to nail down is where your compost will live. Outdoor bins are typically made from recycled BPA-free plastic and start at a 30-gallon capacity and go all the way up to 100 gallons or more. Indoor bins—usually set on the countertop or underneath the sink—have a 2- to 3-gallon capacity. Aesthetics, preventing fruit flies, and keeping odor under control are top considerations for something that’ll be in your kitchen. In terms of cost, most outdoor compost bins are usually about $100 or less, and countertop or under-sink versions typically run $40 or less.
How We Chose
Our selection includes top-rated compost bins for indoor and outdoor use. All of our picks have at least 4 stars, and the majority of what we feature below gets 4.5 stars or more. We chose kitchen bins in assorted styles and materials to suit individual tastes. Outdoor options include continuous compost bins — essentially large containers that let nature do the work and require very little maintenance — and batch bins, which include tumblers.
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Best Kitchen Compost Bin
Exaco Compost Bin
If you’re looking for a basic compost bin with good capacity for under $20, this one is an excellent choice. Made from dishwasher-safe polyethylene, it can handle 2.4 gallons of compost, with an easy-grip handle for emptying it out and a lid that snaps tightly shut. There are notches on the side of the bin if you want to mount it to the inside cabinet under the kitchen sink, and it comes with a carbon filter that’s already installed. Replacement filters are sold separately.
Farmhouse Kitchen Compost Bin
This countertop compost bin makes a lovely addition to your countertop, with bold, black, vintage-y lettering across the front that stands out against the stark-white background.
It has a stainless steel lid that’s rust-resistant and it holds 1.3 gallons of kitchen scraps. There’s a built-in carbon filter to help reduce odor, plus two extras thrown in. You can expect each filter to last approximately three to four months. The bin gets rave reviews, with an average 4.8-star rating from more than 2,550 customers.
New OXO Good Grips Compost Bin
You can always count on OXO to deliver on solid, well-made kitchen products. This countertop compost bin has a new design, with a stay-open lid that’s removable for easy emptying, and it can be used with or without compost bags. Oxygen seeps through the lid, but odors are kept in and pesky fruit flies stay out. It has an eye-pleasing oval shape and a slightly glossy finish on the outside, with a 1.75-gallon capacity. The bin gets high marks from more than 9,500 customers, who give it an average 4.7-star rating.
BelleMark Compost Bin
This modern countertop composting bin is a standout for sleek design and quality materials. It’s crafted from handsome sustainable acacia wood, with warm, honey tones and a beautiful grain. Inside, there’s a food-grade, rust-resistant stainless steel container inside to hold 1.6-gallons of waste. The lid fits snugly on top and there’s a notch on the side of the box to easily lift out the bin to empty it and throw it in the dishwasher.
The Squirm Factory Compost Bin
We bet your kids will be into this composting bin. It houses one pound of worms to eat through trays of food scraps, and the result is liquid fertilizer that comes out of a spigot at the bottom. The set comes with four trays and a step-by-step guide and instruction manual, plus there’s a refrigerator magnet with an infographic thrown to remind you of the worms’ food preferences.
Keep in mind that the wormery needs to be kept in temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Best for Backyard Gardeners
Algreen Classic Compost Bin
This durable and substantial bin is ideal for backyard gardeners who need more compost than an indoor model can produce. Fill it regularly and you can expect to get dark humus in roughly six to eight weeks. The bin’s thick walls retain heat, which traps moisture to speed up the breakdown process. It has a 94-gallon capacity, made from BPA-free recycled plastic with a lid that has holes for collecting water so the bin doesn’t need to be opened. The compost empties out of two sliding doors at the base.
D.F. Omer Composter Bin
If you need a large amount of compost for a landscaping project or an expansive garden, this option is your best bet. It has a whopping 110-gallon capacity and it produces compost in roughly four to six weeks or less in summer. It’s made from black BPA-free recycled plastic that retains heat well, with two top doors for emptying waste inside and a large panel on the bottom for removing compost. Assembly is as easy as snapping the sides together.
FCMP Outdoor Tumbling Composter
A tumbling composter allows you to make compost in less time—with a little elbow grease. Using a hand crank to mix the compost introduces more air, and keeps things moving to speed up the process. There are two chambers so you can work on composting one batch while adding fresh waste to the other, and fins inside help break up any clumps. You’ll only need to turn it five or six times every two to three days, which isn’t that heavy a lift. The composter is made from post-consumer recycled polypropylene, which is BPA-free and blocks UV rays.
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