The 11 Best Compost Bins for Outdoor, Indoor, and Kitchen Countertop Use
Composting is an easy win-win for both plants and the planet, whether you have a large backyard garden you'd like to keep fertilized or you're looking for an eco-friendly way to reduce your food waste. Adding compost to your lawn, garden, or flower beds helps to enrich the soil, increase important nutrients, and even suppress plant diseases.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 30% of what we throw away in garbage cans could actually be composted. But starting a compost bin doesn't require a major shift in your day-to-day habits.
The key to at-home composting is investing in the best compost bin for your needs—and there are plenty of options to choose from. You'll want to find a compost bin that is sized to match the typical amount of organic waste your household goes through. It should also include important features like good ventilation and odor control.
Our top overall pick for the best compost bin is the Epica Stainless Steel Compost Bin because it easily stores over 1 gallon of food waste, effectively traps bad smells, and fits neatly on your countertop for easy access.
Keep reading to learn about the best compost bins for indoor and outdoor use and how to use them.
- Best Overall: Epica Stainless Steel Compost Bin
- Best Countertop: OXO Good Grips Compost Bin
- Best Outdoor: FCMP Outdoor IM4000 Dual Chamber Tumbling Composter
- Best Indoor: Chef'n EcoCrock Counter Compost Bin
- Best Compost Machine: Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50
- Best Large: Jora Composter JK270 Tumbler
- Best Worm Composter: Worm Factory 360
- Best Compost Bucket: Exaco Kitchen Compost Collector
- Best Kitchen Composter: Joseph Joseph Compost Bin
- Best Single Chamber: Miracle-Gro 18.5-Gallon Single Chamber Tumbling Composter Bin
- Best Wooden: Greenes Fence Cedar Wood Composter
What We Recommend
Best Overall: Epica Stainless Steel Compost Bin
Best Countertop: OXO Good Grips Easy-Clean Compost Bin
Best Outdoor: FCMP Outdoor IM4000 Dual Chamber Tumbling Composter
Best Indoor: Chef'n EcoCrock Compost Bin
Best Compost Machine: Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50
Best Large: Jora Composter JK270 Tumbler
Best Worm Composter: Worm Factory 360
Best Compost Bucket: Exaco Kitchen Compost Collector
Best Kitchen Composter: Joseph Joseph Compost Bin
Best Single Chamber: Miracle-Gro 18.5-Gallon Single Chamber Tumbling Composter Bin
Best Wooden: Greenes Fence Cedar Wood Composter
The Bottom Line
Whether you've been composting for years and it's time for a new container or you're just beginning to dip your toes in, finding the best compost bin is key to quickly and successfully creating organic fertilizer.
We chose the Epica Stainless Steel Compost Bin as the best compost bin for indoor use because it can hold up to 1.3 gallons of food waste, its charcoal filter traps odors inside, and it's easy to empty into a larger bin without getting your hands dirty. However, if you're looking for the best compost bin for outdoor use, we also recommend the FCMP IM4000 Dual Chamber Tumbling Composter, which has two separate chambers and an easy rotating function to effectively mix your compost.
What to Know About Compost Bins Before Shopping
Since some compost bins are made to be used outdoors while others are small enough to fit on your countertop, you'll want to consider where you want to keep your compost bin and what type of elements it'll be exposed to in that location. The best outdoor compost bins are UV- and weather-resistant so they can withstand harsh conditions, while our favorite indoor composters often have a replaceable filter to keep unwanted smells out of your kitchen.
Depending on how much organic waste your household goes through every few weeks, you'll need to keep storage capacity in mind when purchasing a new compost bin. Some outdoor composters can hold as many as 174 gallons of organic waste, while indoor options will only hold 1 to 3 gallons and need to be frequently emptied into a larger bin.
Compost bins come in a variety of materials, including plastic, metal, and even wood. While plastic models typically conduct heat better (and therefore compost faster), some may consider them to be an eyesore in their yard. Compost bins made of cedar offer a better aesthetic, but keep in mind that they can take several months to produce compost. Indoor compost bins should be made from a rust-resistant metal or a sleek plastic that can be cleaned out without too much scrubbing.
With options available for indoor and outdoor use, there's a compost bin for every type of home and lifestyle. Countertop processors, enclosed bins, and compact tumblers work well for indoor use, while large tumblers and wooden bins are great for outdoor areas.
If you intend to donate your compost to a community bin, you'll want to find a portable option with sturdy handles and easy disposal. For people starting a compost site in their own yard, many dual-chamber bins exist, allowing you to add new organic waste to the pile without disturbing the compost that's being decomposed.
Your Questions, Answered
How do I use compost bins?
Start by placing your bin in a dry spot close to a water source so you can add moisture to the layers of green and brown materials. As a general rule of thumb, you'll want to combine three parts brown matter and one part green matter into the compost bin, but make sure to follow the directions that came with your specific compost bin. Green materials provide nitrogen to the compost while brown materials add carbon.
Once you have a good ratio of nitrogen and carbon matter, add water to your compost mixture until it resembles a damp sponge. Too soggy? Add more dry materials. Then, turn the compost with a pitchfork or shovel at least once a week and patiently wait for the process to be complete.
Depending on your compost bin's size and material as well as the climate you live in, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a year for the compost to be finished. The compost should be dry and dark brown in color and smell earthy.
What can you compost?
Composting requires nitrogen, carbon, and moisture: In other words, food waste, yard scraps, and water. The waste that provides nitrogen is referred to as "green" materials and the waste that provides carbon is labeled as "brown" materials. For green materials, add wet items like food scraps, grass clippings, and even used coffee grounds. Dry ingredients like fallen leaves, shredded newspaper, and straw are examples of brown materials.
Does a compost bin need air holes?
Since nitrogen and carbon are necessary elements in the composting process, it's important that you find a compost bin with proper ventilation. Many indoor compost bins have tiny air holes to allow air into the container without also attracting bugs or letting out smells. Outdoor bins will often have slats in the sides for ventilation to aid in decomposing your organic waste materials.
Who We Are
Samantha Jones is an associate commerce editor at Better Homes and Gardens, writing about relevant home topics such as the best stick vacuums, indoor and outdoor hammocks, meal delivery services, and more. To write this story, she spent several hours researching the best methods of composting, different types of compost bins for indoor and outdoor use, and reading product reviews.