When it comes to keeping your garden healthy, composting is key. Not only does composting help to improve the quality of your soil, but it also helps to reduce waste and improve your overall carbon footprint. If you’re looking for the best way to compost in your garden, then you’ll want to check out the best compost bin for your needs. In this article, we will look at the results of our testing of different types of compost bins available and highlight some of our favourites. So read on to learn more about how to compost like a pro!
What to Look for in a Composter?
When it comes to composting, there are a lot of different options to choose from. And, with so many different products on the market, it can be hard to know which one is best for you. Here are a few things to look for when choosing a compost bin:
One of the most important things to consider when choosing a compost bin is its size. Not only do you need to consider the size of your garden and where you want to put it but you will also need to consider how much waste you are likely to generate.
There are also bins designed for indoor use, which are typically smaller.
Compostable bins can be made from a variety of materials, including plastic, metal, and wood. Each material has its own benefits and drawbacks. For example, plastic bins are typically less expensive than metal or wood bins.
But they can also be less durable and more difficult to clean. Metal bins are usually more expensive than plastic bins, but they’re also more durable and easier to clean. Wood bins are usually the most expensive option, but they’re also the most attractive option.
When choosing a compost bin, you’ll also want to consider its features. Some features to look for include drainage holes (to help keep your compost from getting too wet), handles (for easy moving), and ventilation holes (to help aerate your compost).
Ease of Use
Finally, you’ll want to choose a bin that’s easy to use. Some composter bins come with assembly instructions, while others require no assembly at all. You’ll also want to consider how easy it is to open and close the bin, as well as how easy it is to clean.
Best Compost Bin for Your Garden
See our list of the best composters available in the UK. We’ve tested them all at our nursery in the past year so you can be sure you’re getting a quality product that will suit your needs.
Top Pick – Wooden Beehive Composter
Our Rating: 4.6
Looking for a stylish, yet functional compost bin? Look no further than the Wooden Beehive Composter! This bin is shaped like a beehive and features a hinged roof for easy access, as well as a removable panel at the base to help with removing your compost. Additionally, the spaced side slats allow for excellent air circulation, ensuring that your compost decomposes quickly and efficiently. Plus, it’s a good size – just over 328 litres – so it will fit nicely in most gardens. Of the 25 or so we tested at the nursery in the last year, not only did this composter produce the best compost, but it is also definitely the best looking too so it makes it our top pick for home gardens!
Wooden Beehive Composter – Available at Amazon
Best Small Indoor Compost Bin – 4-Tray Worm Factory
Our Rating: 4.25
If you’re looking for a small indoor compost bin, the worm factory is a great option to keep in your shed or outbuilding. This eco-friendly unit can quickly turn your veg peelings and junk mail into nutrient-rich compost. Add a handful of worms to the bottom tray and they’ll start eating away. Once that tray is full, you add another on top. The whole process is quick, easy, and fun too, plus, it’s a great way to teach your kids whilst reducing your organic waste and helping the environment.
4-Tray Worm Factory – Available at Amazon
Best Large Compost Bin – Lacewing XL Outdoor
Our Rating: 4.1
Do you need a large garden composter? this 893-litre wooden slat composter is a great choice. This composter comes in an easy-to-assemble flat pack kit that simply slots together. The slats allowed for airflow and encouraged plenty of insects, therefore, creating high-quality compost. The traditional wooden build will blend naturally into any garden. The XL wooden composter comes in dimensions of 70 x 113 x 113 and a total volume of 893 litres, making it the perfect size for a large garden.
Lacewing XL Composter – Available at Amazon
Best Dalek Composter – Blackwall Compost Converter
Our Rating: 4.1
Exterminate, Exterminate! Yes, that’s right, the trusty Dalek compost bin. This bin is made of sturdy materials and requires no assembly, so you can get started composting right away. The wide base and decent 330-litre capacity make it easy to collect a large amount of compostable material, and the quick-acting design ensures that you’ll have rich, nutrient-rich compost in no time. If you’re looking for a bin that will help you reduce your household waste and create nutrient-rich compost for your garden, the Blackwall Compost Bin is a perfect choice.
Blackwall Compost Converter – Available at Amazon
Best Hot Composter – Hotbin Mini
Our Rating: 4.5
Now, this one was a no-brainer as it wasn’t very close to the other major brand out there. This for me wiped the floor with it so I am going to give it the nod here. Hotbin Mini really is a great composter! We were able to create organic compost in just 90 days, which is 2 – 4x faster than standard composting. The meat and bones that we added during testing decomposed very quickly and without any leakage or smell. We recommend placing this composter off the ground a little as the leachate drain hole is very low down. Overall, Hotbin Mini compost bin is an excellent product that lives up to its claims and the great thing is that it comes in different sizes.
Hotbin Mini Composter – Available at Amazon
What are the Different Types of Compost Bins?
From wooden barrels to whimsical bright colours and shapes crafted from stainless steel or plastic – the options for keeping organic waste out of our landfills are endless!
Plastic Compost Bins
Plastic compost bins are ideal for small spaces. The plastic sides and lid help retain moisture and heat so that decomposition can occur more quickly. In addition, the bin blocks out light, which prevents weeds from growing. For best results, plastic compost bins should be placed directly onto the soft ground so that worms, insects, and other ground-dwelling insects can gain access.
Wooden Compost Bins
Wooden compost bins are my preferred type of compost bin, and the biggest ones can produce hundreds of litres of compost. Wooden compost bins are usually open to the elements, which allows for better aeration and circulation of the composting materials. In the wetter months, you can simply cover or create a lid to improve its productivity. Wooden compost bins are also easy to replicate with pallets or other types of wood.
Hot Compost Bins
Hot compost bins are specially designed to allow for decomposition at a much higher temperature than other composters, resulting in fine compost in as little as 30-90 days. Hot compost bins are roughly the size of a wheelie bin and must be placed on a hard surface. They are insulated with a close-fitting lid to trap heat and promote decomposition. Hot compost bins are an efficient way to compost and produce high-quality compost that can be used in gardens and landscaping projects.
Wormery Compost Bins
Wormeries work similarly to compost bins but there are differences. Wormeries are designed for the composting of kitchen waste and use tiger worms to break down the material to make a compost and compost tea. These worms mix and break down the compost quickly and produce a liquid gold (leachate) for use as a fertiliser that your plants will love. Wormeries are not a full replacement for composters because not all waste is suitable for a wormery, so you’ll still need a traditional compost bin too.
What Can Go in a Compost Bin?
In order to get good, flawless hummus, you should only “feed” the compost heap with harmless material.
- Leftover fruit and vegetables: The exceptions are citrus fruits, the skin of which is often heavily treated with chemicals, and banana skins for the same reason.
- Tea leaves and coffee grounds: only in normal household amounts, as they have high zinc and copper contents, according to the University of Applied Sciences.
- Grass clippings (pre-dried is best)
- Tree clippings: preferably shredded
- Fallen leaves
- Leftovers from bedding and balcony plants
- Spent potting soil
- Sawdust (from untreated wood)
- Wood chips (from untreated wood)
What Cannot Go in a Compost Bin?
Diseased plant residues, such as fungus-infested branches (such as clubroot or fruit rot) go into the organic waste bin. According to the Federal Environment Agency, the high temperatures in composting and fermentation plants don’t reliably kill off plant diseases. On the other hand, plants that are affected by powdery mildew, rust or blackspot are harmless.
- Plants colonized by the box tree moth. Dispose of them in the residual waste bin.
- Wood ash (can be contaminated with heavy metals, and belongs in the general waste)
- Weeds that we want to get rid of that bear seed: the seeds can survive composting and continue to propagate. This includes, for example, the giant hogweed (keep your distance: the hogweed is so poisonous).
- Cut flowers: especially those from the supermarket, are often contaminated with pesticides and are therefore only suitable to a limited extent.
- Cooked leftovers: as well as bread, meat, sausage, fish, fish bones and bones – also found food for rodents. All of this can go in the organic waste bin if the organic waste is processed in a biogas plant.
- Charcoal leftovers
- Dust from the vacuum cleaner or dirt from the street
- Spent animal litter (hamsters, mice) and Cat litter
- Used paper handkerchiefs
- Fresh horse manure
Where Should I Put My Composting Bin?
It is a good idea to keep your compost bin in a semi-shaded area away from the house (preferably near where you will need the compost). The reason you want to keep it away from the house is that they can occasionally smell. Bad smells would often indicate that there is a problem, and you would probably need to add some more brown materials at that point.
You will also want to keep the compost bin out of the blazing sun, the too much heat can also be a nuisance and end up causing the compost to give off a foul odour. This doesn’t apply if you are using a hot composter as these are designed to break down the materials at a higher temperature.
Choosing the right composter can be a daunting task. There are so many different types, sizes, and shapes to choose from that it can be hard to know which one is best for you. That’s why we’ve tried out and tested some of the most popular composters on the market, so you don’t have to. From hot composters to large open bins, to small indoor wormeries – we’ve had them all! So, whether you’re just starting out with composting or you’re looking for an upgrade, one of our composters above should be perfect for what you need.
Garden Doctor Tips
“Make sure that any wooden materials you add are naturally sourced and untreated!”
“Even though hot composters will decompose meat and bones, we don’t advise it as the smell will undoubtedly attract pests that will want to break in!”
“Wormeries are specifically for household food scraps and waste along with vacuum cleaner dust, hair, wool, cotton and eggshells – DO NOT add any animal faeces!”
“Remember to dispose of any infested plant materials in the general waste, some pests and diseases will survive the composting process and you don’t want that anywhere near your veggies!”
Frequently Asked Questions
Is compost worm poop?
Compost is when microorganisms break down organic matter. Vermicompost is worm poop or castings, which is the result of microorganisms breaking down organic matter along with the help of worms.
Is compost the same as soil?
No, compost is decomposed organic matter, whereas soil is the natural medium in which plants grow. Compost can, however, be used to improve the texture and nutrient levels of soil.
Is compost acidic?
A compost pile in the process of decomposing will go through a wide range of pH levels, but as it matures, the pH will stabilize in the range of 5 to 8. This is a good pH range for most plant life. Compost that is too acidic or too alkaline can be corrected by adding amendments such as lime or sulfur.
What is Leachate in compost?
Leachate is a liquid that drains from organic matter, like compost or worm castings, and it’s composed of water, dissolved minerals, and plant nutrients. This is often referred to as compost tea or liquid gold by many gardeners.
Trevor Wright is not just a seasoned horticulturist; he’s the esteemed Garden Doctor. With a BSc in Horticulture and years of hands-on experience in the soil, Trevor has become a trusted mentor for all things gardening. As the founder of Garden Doctor, he’s committed to clarifying the intricacies of gardening, offering straightforward advice that’s rooted in years of practice. His writing is a garden of how-tos, savvy insights, and comprehensive guides that enable individuals to nurture and grow their garden dreams. When he’s not knee-deep in garden beds, Trevor is at his keyboard passing on his green-thumbed wisdom to budding gardeners, ensuring that the legacy of sustainable and joyful gardening blossoms far and wide.