Composting to feed your garden is a great way to turn waste into gardening gold, but should you opt for a tumbler or a bin? The right answer depends on what waste you compost, how much space you have and how often you add to your compost.
Compost tumblers can be attractive-looking and offer an easy way to turn your pile for aeration and mixing. On the other hand, bins generally have larger capacities and can handle waste that takes longer to decompose.
Both offer many benefits to gardeners. Compost tumblers are generally easier to use, while compost bins offer more space and are more versatile.
The main feature of compost tumblers is their easy-turning designs, whether by rolling the whole container on the ground, turning a crank or simply giving the container a spin. You can relocate them relatively easily, and their smaller size means you can put them near your garden.
They’re also a good choice if you don’t want to wait long for rich compost. Most tumblers take around a month to break down waste to form a healthy, crumbly mix.
Most tumblers range in price from $50-$250 depending on their size, number of drums and materials.
A tumbler is a good choice if you don’t want to turn a pile with a pitchfork or if you want a small and simple container.
While tumblers are convenient and tidy, they have some disadvantages compared to a classic pile or bin.
This simple dual-bin tumbler offers a smaller option with a sturdy design. In addition, the BPA-free recycled plastic offers peace of mind when you feed your vegetables with the resulting compost.
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Garden gloves are included with this plastic dual-chamber tumbler, which can be assembled as a single-chamber tumbler. Adjustable air vents offer ideal aeration.
For the space-limited yard, garden or porch, this 18.5-gallon tumbler can support a small garden or some potted vegetables. The hand-turned system is easy to use, especially with the smaller size.
One small step up from a ground heap, a bin keeps everything contained and allows heat to help with the process of breaking down your kitchen and lawn waste. Most bins also have an open-bottom design, which allows earthworms to find their way into the pile.
The biggest advantage of bins is their larger capacities, which make them ideal for anyone with lots of food waste or grass clippings. They’re also a bit less expensive with most bins costing from $50-$200.
A bin keeps things simple with a basic design that heats up for faster rotting. While they can take a bit more time, the result is a big, healthy heap of garden food.
The main drawback of compost bins is that they work a bit slower and can be less attractive, but there are a few other points worth noting.
This BPA-free composter is 80 gallons, which is large enough to support most households. It features a door on the bottom to easily access compost, and the black plastic helps to draw heat.
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This affordable, no-frills bin is adjustable to fit your capacity needs, topping out at 216 gallons. Vents cover the sides, and the open top allows you to add waste and turn easily.
If the look of your garden is important to you, this untreated cedar bin is a good choice with a large capacity. Multiple bins can easily be connected with straightforward construction.
A compost bin offers the best way to naturally break down organic waste with the help of earthworms and other organisms. They also have larger capacities, making them a more flexible option than tumblers.
However, a tumbler may still be a good choice if turning a pile with a pitchfork may be difficult for you. Besides the composting speed of a tumbler, a compost bin is the better choice for most gardeners.
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Peter McPherson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.