Once you’ve learned the basics of how to compost, the next step is investing in a quality compost bin. Indoor compost bins are designed to simply store your food scraps until you can transfer them to an outdoor composter, which is where they will actually start to decompose. And having the right one is crucial to making this environmentally friendly practice a regular habit that gets the best results. Not only does composting provide you with a nutrient-rich treatment for your plants, but you’ll also significantly reduce the amount of food waste your household puts in the trash. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, there are also sustainability benefits: “Making compost keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.”
It’s worth investing in a dedicated bin for composting in your home or garden because these products much more convenient to use than an old bucket lying around your home. From easy-open lids to built-in filters to reduce odor, there are plenty of features that make these compost bins worth the money. But since there are so many different options available to buy online, it can be hard to figure out which ones are truly the best. To help, we scoured the internet in order to find the ones that are actually worth buying, including options from popular brands like Oxo and Miracle-Gro. Based on thousands of customer reviews, these are the best compost bins to buy in 2020:
Whether you’re looking for an indoor or outdoor compost bin, there’s an option here for any gardener trying to be more sustainable.
Related: Four of the Most Common Composting Myths, Debunked
Best Overall for Indoors: Oxo Good Grips Easy-Clean Compost Bin
The best-selling indoor compost bin on Amazon, this compact option from Oxo will neatly hold all of your food scraps until you’re able to bring them to your outdoor composter or local drop-off location. It’s available in two different sizes—0.75 gallons and 1.75 gallons—so that you can choose the right option for your home. Plenty of customers in the reviews section mention how easy it is to flip the lid with one hand so it stays open, which is especially convenient while prepping meals so you can get rid of food scraps without missing a beat.
While some shoppers use the Oxo bin with small compostable bags, others forgo this step and simply give it a rinse after emptying it. The bin is easy to clean, too, since the lid is removable and the interior bucket can be placed in the dishwasher. It’s also great at containing odors—you might not even notice it’s there based on the lack of smell alone.
Shop Now: Oxo Good Grips Easy-Clean Compost Bin, from $20, amazon.com.
Best Overall for Outdoors: Envirocycle Mini Composting Tumbler Bin
The Envirocycle touts itself as the “cutest composter in the world,” but it’s the best outdoor composting bin for quite a few other reasons. It’s compact enough to fit in backyards of all sizes, even on apartment balconies, without sacrificing capacity. It comes in 17- and 35-gallon sizes that are extremely durable, so they’ll last years of use. In fact, one person said they’ve used their Envirocycle for 20 years and it’s “still going strong.”
Others note how easy it is to turn: “Because the tub’s size is very manageable, it will be easy to roll it across the yard and park it next to the pots and flowerbeds where I’d like to use the finished compost,” wrote one customer. Thanks to the drainage plugs, you can even collect compost tea for your plants to drink. The bins are made in the U.S. and are shipped fully assembled, so you can get started composting right away. Plus, many buyers had great things to say about the brand’s customer service, so you won’t be left in the dark if you have questions or concerns as the years go by.
Shop Now: Envirocycle Mini Composting Tumbler Bin, $190, amazon.com.
Best for Kitchen Countertops: Epica Stainless Steel Compost Bin
Since this stainless steel compost bin looks just like any ordinary jar, it’ll look pretty inconspicuous when left out on your kitchen counter—and its small footprint means it won’t take up too much valuable space. Perhaps best of all, if you have other stainless steel appliances on your countertop, it’ll seamlessly blend in. The bin will hold a few days’ worth of scraps before it needs to be emptied, depending on how many people are in your household. It even comes with a replaceable charcoal filter to help control odors, which is extra helpful for a countertop compost bin.
“This small bin is perfect for a kitchen for fruit pits, veggie peelings, coffee grounds, and the other items that can be usefully turned into compost,” one customer said. “The charcoal filter means never a whiff of decomposing contents.” Shoppers also suggest only opening the pail when placing food scraps in it as another step to avoid smells. Another added: “It’s super easy to clean, and it looks quite nice on the kitchen counter, next to the cutting board.”
Shop Now: Epica Stainless Steel Compost Bin, from $26, amazon.com.
Best Wooden Option: Greenes Fence Stationary Composter
If you’re looking for a wooden compost bin to place in your backyard, turn to this 172-gallon option from Greenes Fence. Unlike rotating composters, this one is completely stationary. It has an open-top design so you can turn your compost pile using a shovel or pitchfork. This feature also allows for the compost to aerate, even more so with the slats all around the sides. “This composter will easily handle large amounts of yard waste and vegetable scraps,” said one person. “[It’s] designed for good airflow and attractive in a neighborhood setting.”
If you prefer to keep the bin covered when you’re not home for extended periods, the brand recommends covering it with a tarp or an extra piece of plywood. Shoppers say it’s easy to assemble, even with just one person. And since it’s made of cedar, you don’t have to worry about it rotting. You can also purchase an add-on kit from the same brand, which attaches to the sides of the existing composter. This creates a three-bin system, which allows you to start a new pile while one is in the process of decomposing and the other is ready to use.
Shop Now: Greenes Fence Stationary Composter, $120, wayfair.com.
Best Two-Door Option: Miracle-Gro Dual Chamber Compost Tumbler
With a two-door compost bin, it’s extremely easy to add new scraps to your pile while still having access to the compost that’s been in there. This option from Miracle-Gro takes that concept even further with its two separate chambers that hold 18.5 gallons each. “Most composters I came across have one drum that you can fill up once, if you really want the most out of composting you need to get two,” wrote one customer. “This composter has two compartments, so once one is full you let it do its magic while you use the second side.” The elevated design and unique shape make it easy to rotate and mix your pile, but it also comes with stoppers to prevent accidental rotation.
Multiple shoppers especially love how the brand provides information on how to set it up. “The instructions are all online, and super easy to follow with pictures and videos in every step,” wrote one person. “I appreciated that they went paperless with the instructions; it made me feel like they care a lot about the environment and that this wasn’t just a product!”
Shop Now: Miracle-Gro Dual Chamber Compost Tumbler, $125, amazon.com.
Best for Worms: The Squirm Firm Worm Factory 360 Composting Bin
Even though it might seem kind of gross at first, worms can really help transform your compost pile. By eating the food scraps you place in the bin, their waste will turn into nutrient-rich compost for your garden. This bin is equipped with four stackable trays (including one designed to collect the worm tea), a “worm ladder” to help them climb up and down, and detailed instructions to make sure you get the most out of the compost bin. It even comes with an accessory kit that contains necessary tools (like a thermometer and mini rake) for worm composting—all you really need to do is add the worms.
“I’ve used the Worm Factory 360 for about three years now and it continues to do the job with little effort, while taking little room and being overall cleaner and easier to manage than other bin systems or DIY systems,” said one customer. Bonus: Children of all ages will love helping out with worm composting, so it’s a productive way to keep kids entertained.
Shop Now: The Squirm Firm Worm Factory 360 Composting Bin, $165, amazon.com.