Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
Composting is one of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint right at home. By collecting your excess veggie scraps, coffee grounds, and eggshells for your outdoor compost bin, you can immediately decrease the amount of garbage you generate. Then, you can turn this so-called waste into rich, organic garden soil. Seems easy enough, right? It can be—if you have the right outdoor composter.
You’ll want to select a backyard composter that is easy to set up, can withstand the outdoor elements, and will pretty much do the work for you. Of course, you can just build your own. However, if you want a bin you can just fill and forget, there are a lot of different options. Here are the best outdoor compost tumblers and bins that will help you reduce your overall waste and get great garden soil at the same time.
You can find a lot of backyard composters in this basic style, so make sure you’re reading the reviews and buying a quality product. This EJWOX model is big (capacity of 43 gallons), easy to use, and has great features like dual chambers and an aeration system. Plus, it won’t break the bank. It’s among the most highly rated and cost-effective composters on the market.
The sturdy steel frame will help prevent rust and deterioration over time, while the tumbler will help you keep a regular and even rotation. The bin is high enough to store a cart underneath, and the doors slide back and forth for easy access. For tumblers like this, you’ll want to keep the bin turning a couple of times a day, so whenever you go outside with waste, give it a roll. This design comes in all black or you can add a little bit of color with green or yellow doors.
Read Next: The 9 Best Countertop Compost Bins
The Miracle-Gro line of composters comes in an array of sizes, and they all get good reviews. This small, single-chamber bin (18.5 gallons) is perfect for anyone who is on a budget, has limited space, or just doesn’t need a large-capacity design. It’s slim at only 17 inches wide, so you can easily wedge it between other items on your patio or garden. It’s made from recycled plastic, which is toxin-free, and you can rotate it just like you would bigger bins of similar designs. During hot weather, you can expect waste-to-soil results that you can then use in your garden in just four to six weeks.
Read Next: The 9 Best Composting Services
Big, low-maintenance, and as inexpensive as possible, you really can’t find a better value if you’re tackling a lot of waste. Made of 50 percent recycled plastic content, you can expand this GEOBIN composter up to 4 feet, which means you can hold more than 200 gallons of waste.
Because of the design, it naturally has great ventilation. If you have a large yard, set it up and pile up your leaves, old plants, and even kitchen scraps. As the materials decompose, you’ll be creating a nutrient-rich area for a future growing area. Then easily take it down and assemble in a new area to keep the cycle going.
Several composters have dual load options these days. It’s a design that works well and gives fast results. The chambers are completely separated; not only can you have two different batches going at the same time, but you can also keep them on separate spinning cycles.
Together, the chambers are about 37 gallons, giving you 5 cubic feet of finished soil when full. The composter itself is made of recycled polyethylene and is BPA-free. This really is a good composter for beginners because you don’t have to worry about aeration. You pretty much add materials, give it a spin, and the composter does the rest.
Read Next: The 9 Best Countertop Compost Bins oof 2020
The MAZE heavy-duty composter has sturdy handles, so you’ll never have a problem keeping your waste rotated. The doors are nice and big for loading and unloading, and it’s high off the ground so you can easily put a bin or cart (sold separately) underneath to gather your newly composted organic soil.
This tumbler allows you to have one giant bin with 65 gallons of capacity (one of the largest in the tumbler category), or it also comes with a divider so you can have two compost piles going at once. It has adjustable air vents and is resistant to rodents, so you can feel confident it will hold up over weather and time.
Start vermicomposting and let the worms do the work for you. Created in Australia from recycled materials, this is one of the most stylish designs you can find. You’ll be able to have a little worm farm just about anywhere, including your patio or balcony because it’s only 15 inches wide.
You can find larger worm composters on the market, but this is great for when you’re just getting started. As a bonus, you can easily move it indoors in the winter when temperatures get too cold for the worms. The company is dedicated to developing innovative products, increasing environmental awareness, and fostering a sense of community.
This 158-gallon compost bin will blend right into your backyard with its wood-like look made from recycled polypropylene. It’s UV-resistant, weather-proof, and designed to hold heat inside so it can work its magic to turn your waste into rich soil. At 31 inches wide and nearly 40 inches tall, it’s big enough to hold a lot of waste yet compact enough to blend in well with your current space.
The entire bin is easy to put together with a snap design. The top has two flaps that open for easy filling, and then there’s an opening at the bottom so you can easily get to the end results. The overlapping boards allow for good ventilation, so you pretty much add your waste as you go, and that’s it.
The Green Cone is an innovative composter that’s been popular since the 1980s. It’s best to think of the cone as a second composter because it’s not necessarily designed to give you garden soil in the end.
The way it works is you find a partly sunny spot in your yard to give the Green Cone a home. You fill it from the top with regular compost material, and it breaks down directly into the ground underneath. It has added help from the sun, thanks to the solar component. The nutrients this composter generates naturally benefit nearby soil, so consider positioning it near your garden. The Green Cone is made from recycled plastic, and it can take up to 2 pounds of food waste a day.
Once you get the hang of composting, you’ll have a steady supply of nutrient-rich soil. Use compost for new containers and garden areas or to improve the current soil in your yard. Since quality soil is one of the most important ingredients when it comes to growing a successful garden, you’ll feel good knowing you’re creating this on your own while also reducing the amount of waste you produce.
Why Trust Treehugger?
Stacy Tornio is a licensed Master Gardener and director of content and digital engagement at Let Grow. She served as managing and executive editor at Birds & Blooms.