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8 Best Compost Bins of 2022, According to Sustainability Experts

Shop our top picks for indoors, outdoors, kitchen and yard.

best compost bins

We updated this article in February 2022 to remove items that were out of stock as well as update our recommendation for the best compost bin for kitchen waste to the Vitamix FoodCycler. The other top-rated picks from the Good Housekeeping Institute remain the same.


Composting is the act of breaking down biodegradable waste into a nutrient-rich fertilizer you can use to give your soil a boost. It's a great habit even if you don't have a garden or a yard, since it helps reduce food waste and produce less trash overall. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), food scraps and yard waste account for more than 30% of what we throw away, and composting these materials reduces the methane emissions that occur when they're sent to landfills.

Since you already have the raw materials — food scraps, paper waste, etc. — you need only one piece of equipment to get started: a compost bin. Bins control temperature, moisture, oxygen and bacteria to produce compost, all while keeping critters and odors at bay. “I keep a compost bin on my countertop for used coffee grounds, which stink up my regular pail. It allows me to throw away my trash less often,” says Nicole Papantoniou, Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Culinary Innovation Lab. To put together our list of the best compost bins you can buy, our pros relied on their deep knowledge of sustainability and home products, meaning they know what to look for when it comes to buying: a good price, durable material, easy to use and a strong seal to control odor and resist pests when required.

Our top picks

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    Best Outdoor Compost Bin
    Tumbling Composter
    FCMP Outdoor
    FCMP Outdoor
    Now 19% off

    • 37 gallon capacity with dual chambers
    • Designed for outdoor use
    • Tumbling mechanism speeds up decomposition

    • Some reviewers comment that it's difficult to assemble

    This outdoor tumbling bin holds 37 gallons of organic waste and it has two chambers, so you can let one side break down while you fill the other (alternating sides ensures a steady stream of usable compost). A light push every couple of days is all you need to get it spinning to mix the contents. Lab pros like that it also sits high off the ground, which helps with rodent control and that the UV-resistant black plastic construction includes recycled content and helps to attract and retain heat to aid in the composting process.

    Best Indoor Compost Bin
    Compost Bin
    Utopia Kitchen

    • 1.3 gallon capacity
    • Designed for indoor use
    • Stainless steel construction and charcoal filter lock in odors

    • High-volume composters will require frequent emptying

    This affordable bin is ideal for composters looking to start composting food scraps for community drop-off or for transfer to their larger bin. It holds 1.3 gallons and is small enough to fit on a countertop or under the sink.

    By nature, the stainless steel construction doesn’t hold odors and is easy to clean. It has a handle for easy transport, and our pros love that the lid includes a charcoal filter to help prevent smells from dominating your kitchen.

    Best Compost Bin for Beginners
    Good Grips Easy-Clean Compost Bin
    OXO
    OXO

    • 3/4 gallon capacity
    • Designed for indoor use
    • Removable lid for easy emptying

    • Lid can be loud when it drops closed

    This 0.75-gallon model is perfect for beginners who want countertop access to their bin. Its sturdy, hard plastic design is ideal for under-sink storage as well, while its handle makes it easy to access. It has a small footprint, and the lid prevents odors in your kitchen. It works with or without compost bags, but our Lab pros liked that the smooth interior and removable lid make the bin easy to clean when you don't use bags.

    Best Compost Bin for Kitchen Waste
    FoodCycler FC-50
    Vitamix
    Vitamix
    Now 19% off

    • Controls odors
    • Reduces the volume of food waste in hours, according to manufacturer
    • Internal bucket is countertop friendly

    • Main unit is large
    • Pricey

    The Vitamix FoodCycler is the high-tech way to compost your food waste. It's a great option for kitchens because though the unit is large, it can be stored under the sink, in the pantry or in the garage while the countertop friendly inner bucket stands ready for your food scraps as you prep, cook and clean up after meals.

    When you're ready to process your waste, pop the bucket into the FoodCycler and press one button. The machine dries, grinds and cools your waste, eliminating odors and reducing the volume by up to 90% (according to the manufacturer). You can then mix the processed waste with soil as a natural fertilizer. Our pros look forward to testing the FoodCycler in our Labs soon.

    Best Compost Bin for Yard Waste
    Compost Bin
    Geobin
    Geobin

    • Expandable capacity up to 246 gallons
    • Designed for outdoor use
    • Adjustable size

    • Open pile is exposed to pests; not suitable for kitchen waste

    People dedicated to gardening or yard maintenance will appreciate this customizable, simple alternative to an open compost pile: The plastic material comes in a roll that you can form into the size that you need. It includes “keys” that lock the form into shape and allow you to open the bin when you’re ready to use your compost.

    Our pros love that users can create everything from an efficient cylinder to a square bin by affixing the sides to garden stakes. The material is perforated for excellent ventilation, and the bin is both easy to fill and to stir. The bin will be open to rodents and pests, so it’s best to stick to yard scraps only.

    Best Worm Compost Bin
    Worm Factory 360
    Nature's Footprint
    The Worm Factory

    • Includes three 16" x 16" x 5" trays; more can be added for expansion
    • Designed for indoor or outdoor use
    • Fast and effective composting

    • Must be kept between 40˚F - 80˚F

    The aptly named Worm Factory includes a base, bedding material to set up a nice home for your worms, and three stackable layers. As your worms process your biodegradable waste, you can add on another layer to continue the composting process. The base includes a spigot so you can harvest the organic liquid fertilizer as the compost is formed.

    The company recommends one pound of worms (about 1,000 worms), which can eat up to half a pound of food a day. You can feed the worms once a day or once a week, with the target being 50% food scrap and 50% fiber, such as leaves and paper. The worm farm should be kept between 40˚F and 80˚F, so if you live in a cold climate or on very hot days, you’ll need to keep your little workers indoors.

    Best Compost Bin for Apartments
    Sort & Go Waste Bin
    Brabantia
    Brabantia

    • 1.6 gallon capacity
    • Designed for indoor use
    • Wall or door mountable

    • Wall mount instructions are unclear

    This 1.6 gallon Brabantia model comes with an optional wall mount, which lets you hang the bin on the wall or on the inside of a cabinet door so that it stays accessible but out of the way. The bin can also be used on the counter or floor. The lid and lid holder are completely removable, which makes loading (and cleaning) easy and helps secure bags.

    Our experts loved that the bottom of the bin includes a grip so that you can maintain control when tipping it upside down for emptying, and that the plastic construction with matte finish is easy to clean.

    Best Countertop Compost Bin
    Composter
    Bamboozle
    Now 10% off

    • 1 gallon capacity
    • Designed for indoor use
    • Attractive with a small footprint

    • High-volume composters will require frequent emptying

    The Bamboozle model is — dare we say — an attractive compost bin, which stood out to our testers. The cream color and bamboo handle look right at home on the kitchen counter, making it a seamless way to add composting to your kitchen.

    It holds one gallon of waste and has a tight-fitting lid with replaceable charcoal filter designed to minimize odors. (The filters are dishwasher safe and can be used for up to two months each, according to the manufacturer.) Our experts found that it's easy to clean after emptying.

    How to choose the right compost bin for you
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    Compost bins can live inside or outside; they can be big or small. They can look like a trash can or like something you’d pull Bingo numbers from. They can make use of probiotic additives or be enhanced by worms, and many communities have compost drop-off locations like farmers’ markets; some even have mandatory composting or city pickup. Here's what to consider when shopping, depending on your needs:

    ✔️ Worms: Worm composting, or vermicomposting, is extremely efficient. Worms break down organic material for a living in the wild: you’re just bringing the natural instincts of worms into a controlled environment. Worm composting is a great choice for those doing indoor composting, because it controls odor well. (It can also be done outdoors, if the climate is worm-friendly — about 55˚F to 77˚F for the common red wiggler worm.) One difference between traditional and vermicomposting is that worm composting does not require turning, so it's a fairly hands-off way to compost. Worms love food scrap, so it's a good solution for those looking to reduce their kitchen waste.

    ✔️ Indoor vs. outdoor: Think about what you’ll be composting most — and where you want to keep the bin. If you’ll be focusing on garden and yard waste, you’ll want to keep your bin outside. But if you’ll be composting mostly food scraps, you can keep a small bin accessible within the kitchen? A smaller bin prevents odors since you’ll need to empty it regularly. An indoor countertop or under-sink model is likely best for those who want to store food waste prior to taking it to a compost drop-off. But if you want to empty less frequently — or to mix yard and food waste — consider an outdoor bin.

    ✔️ Material: Compost bins are generally made of plastic, metal or wood. If you’re going to keep your bin outside, it needs to be weather-resistant. Metal is a good choice, as it will withstand the seasons and combat pests, but it can be heavy. Plastic will be lighter and works both indoors and outdoors, but extreme weather could cause it to crack or warp over time. Wood can blend into outdoor spaces nicely, but it can house pests and rot if not properly cared for.

    ✔️ Tumbling vs. stationary: Compost bins come in two general styles: tumbling and stationary. Turning and stirring your waste helps it break down more quickly, and tumbling bins make this task a cinch: They feature a side crank or ability to spin a drum to help you mix your waste. All tumblers are elevated enough to spin, but many are high enough to provide a bonus benefit of being harder for animals to invade. Stationary bins are stand-alone canisters that require mixing by hand. That said, if you are taking your scraps to a drop-off point or a city collection, you won’t need to take on as much compost maintenance, making stationary models a good choice. Stationary bins are also a smart pick if you want to include worms in your composting.

    ✔️ Seal: Compost bins with tight-fitting lids will help contain odors, which is essential for indoor bins but is also beneficial with outdoor bins, as it makes it less likely that it will attract animals. A tight seal will also deter any rodents or pest who are curious about the bin even when scent is minimized. But you do want a bin that opens with ease. Tumbling bins in particular need smoothly opening lids so that you aren’t just rotating the bin when you try to lift the lid.

    ✔️ Filters: Some indoor models rely on a sealed lid to prevent odors. But many include a filter. Look for removable filters that can either be washed or replaced. Bonus if your version includes replacement filters with the purchase of the bin.

    ✔️ Bags: Many bins are designed to keep compost bags in place, but it's worth noting that some compostable bags will not break down in a home-composting environment. They require the higher temperatures reached more commonly in large-scale environments or municipal facilities. If you're composting at home, it's a good idea to avoid bags. If you want or need to use them, do some research to make sure yours will break down under home-composting conditions.

    How we chose the best compost bins
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    The Good Housekeeping Institute places a huge focus on sustainability, hosting our annual Raise The Green Bar sustainability summit, as well as our annual Sustainable Innovation Awards and Sustainable Packaging Awards. As part of this initiative, we also test all kinds of sustainable products to help consumers find the everyday items that can decrease their carbon footprint, including reusable bags, straws, water bottles and sustainable packaging alternatives.

    When compiling our list of best compost bins, our pros assessed material, size, ease of use, type of filter and effectiveness of the seal where applicable. We also considered whether the bins were designed to control odor and resist pests. Finally, we factored in products from brands we trust.

    Why trust Good Housekeeping?
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    Sarah Wharton has been applying her food knowledge to stories for more than 20 years. She is a graduate of the International Culinary Center and has been cooking professionally and testing kitchen gear since 2016. Prior to working at the Good Housekeeping Institute, she worked on the content team for a cooking tools brand, where she learned the behind-the-scenes reasoning about what makes a great gadget.

    For this story, Sarah consulted with Birnur Aral, Ph.D., director of the Health, Beauty & Environmental Sciences Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute and Nicole Papantoniou, director of the Kitchen Appliance and Culinary Innovation Lab. Birnur holds a Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering and is working on a post-graduate certificate degree in Sustainability Management at Columbia University. She is a lead organizer of Good Housekeeping’s annual Raise the Green Bar Sustainability Summit, and she oversees all Lab tests and applications for the Good Housekeeping Seal, the Green Good Housekeeping Seal and the GH Innovation emblem. Nicole has worked in product development for small kitchen appliances and tools since 2014. At the Good Housekeeping Institute, she oversees all testing related to kitchen and cooking appliances, tools and gear. She has a Grand Diplome in classic culinary arts from the former French Culinary Institute and a certificate in culinary nutrition from the former Natural Gourmet Institute, now both known as the Institute of Culinary Education.

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