Ready to get started with one of the best compost tumblers? That’s fantastic! There are so many benefits to making your own compost, like saving money, reducing your carbon footprint, and providing excellent nutrients for your garden.
The simplest, fastest, and least-smelly way to make compost is to use a compost tumbler. Requiring no power except an occasional manual spin, these ingenious devices harness the power of sun, oxygen and moisture to turn waste into nutrient-rich compost.
And here’s the kicker: a self-contained compost tumbler can produce compost in half the time of a traditional compost pile.
Read on to discover which easy and convenient compost tumbler is right for you!
Our Top Picks
|Best Overall: RSI MAZE Two Stage Tumbling Composter|
Hundreds of compost tumbler reviews are in agreement: the MAZE Tumbling Composter is a clear overall winner.
|Best Value: FCMP Outdoor IM4000 “Yimby” Dual Chamber|
A close runner up to our best overall pick, the FCMP Yimby compost tumbler offers the best bang for your buck.
|Best Single Chamber: Spin Bin 60 Gal. Outdoor Compost Tumbler |
The Spin Bin vertical tumbler makes for a great batch composter.
|Best Dual Chamber: EJWOX Garden Dual Rotating Outdoor|
You’ll need a dual chamber compost tumbler like the EJWOX for more continuous composting.
|Best Compact: FCMP Half Size Rolling Composter|
A slim, self-contained unit like the FCMP Half Size is perfect for those who need less compost or have limited outdoor space.
|Best Large Capacity: Lifetime 80 Gal. Compost Tumbler|
A bit challenging to assemble, but once it gets going the Lifetime tumbler can produce gallons and gallons of compost.
|Best for Compost Tea: Good Ideas 7 Cubic ft. Compost Wizard|
If you’re primarily in it for the compost tea, look no further than the Good Ideas Compost Wizard.
A Closer Look: Best Compost Tumblers
We’ve sifted out the competition and compiled our top picks. For the nutrient rich goodies, continue reading below for our reasoning.
1. RSI MAZE Two Stage Tumbling Composter
The best compost tumblers overall
Brand: Riverstone Industries | Capacity: 65 Gallons | Weight: 54 lbs | Material: High Impact UV Protected Plastic and Zinc Coated Metal Frame | Other Features: Ratchet Lock, Geared Rotating Handle | Price: 💰💰💰💰
A few dual-chamber composters made our best compost bin tumblers list. One, however, stood out from the pack due to its unique features that make composting easier.
It has all the basic components that make for a good compost tumbler, like adjustable air vents, sliding doors, and ample capacity. It’s made of black, BPA-free plastic that aids in quicker heating and breakdown of content, and offers plenty of room to empty finished compost from the bottom of the unit. There are tons of online composting tumbler reviews, and the MAZE is one of the best rated compost tumblers we came across.
But what sets the RSI MAZE apart are two things. First, its large rotating handle. Most tumblers have indented handholds, which are fine, but a crank handle makes turning heavy, wet compost much easier!
Second, this tumbler has an (optional) compost cart, which features a large handle and two wheels for easy mobility. While most compost tumblers just advise using whatever bucket or tarp you may already have on hand to collect your finished compost, this easy-to-maneuver cart is designed to fit underneath the tumbler perfectly. This results in dramatically more convenient and cleaner compost collection at the end of your composting journey.
Finally, most compost tumblers aren’t exactly winning any beauty contests, but we think the MAZE’s modern design, which features a round profile and cheerful green handle and door rails, is more attractive than some.
Footnote: the RSI MAZE is available both with and without a cart, depending on the retailer — so make sure you’re getting whichever version you intend to.
- Large 65-gallon capacity
- “Extremely well-engineered”
- Worth paying a little extra for
- Clear instructions, helpful video
- “Absolutely love this tumbler and cart, it is everything advertised.”
- Flexibility to use as a dual-chamber tumbler or convert to a larger single chamber
- Can take hours to assemble
- The compost cart may or may not be included, depending on retailer
2. FCMP Outdoor IM4000 “Yimby” Dual Chamber Tumbling Composter
The best value compost tumblers
Brand: FCMP | Capacity: 37 Gallons | Weight: 28 lbs | Material: Recycled Polypropylene and Galvanized Steel | Other Features: N/A | Price: 💰
Maybe it’s more accurate to say our best affordable compost tumbler is really more like our best overall runner-up that happens to be under a hundred dollars. Because this medium-capacity budget pick has the best features of a good compost tumbler, including:
- Two chambers for uninterrupted composting
- Large openings and removable doors
- BPA free, UV inhibited, 100% post-consumer recycled polypropylene construction
- Corrosion-resistant galvanized steel frame
- Ergonomic handholds
- Adjustable air vents and deep fins for effective mixing and aeration
So while the FCMP IM4000 — otherwise known as the “Yimby” — isn’t the cheapest model you can find on the market, it’s one of the best, and also very easy to find.
- Good for beginners
- Affordable but tough
- Made in North America
- Flexibility to remove the divider to make one larger chamber
- Easy addition of scraps and removal of compost due to larger openings
- Difficult assembly for some
- Too small/not ideal for year-round composting
3. Spin Bin 60 Gal. Outdoor Compost Tumbler
The best single chamber compost tumblers
Brand: Clean Air Gardening | Capacity: 60 Gallons | Weight: 21 lbs | Material: Recycled Plastic, Power-Coated Steel | Other Features: Twist Locking Lids, Dual Mixing Bar | Price: 💰💰💰
The majority of compost tumblers are horizontally mounted. Still, there are also vertical barrels, like this Spin Bin, which are mounted with a central post through their sides and hatches at both ends.
Since many of the double chamber compost tumblers on our list can be converted to a single chamber depending on preference, we wanted to include a vertical compost tumbler as another single chamber option.
You can fill the Spin Bin at either end, close it up and then tumble your way to fertile compost for your garden. It has a ribbed interior with 20 ventilation holes for consistent aeration.
Unlike a double-tumbler, this one is for composting in batches rather than continuously. The Spin Bin is a good option for those who prefer to compost in spurts, or who use multiple single chamber tumblers to create a continuous composting cycle.
- Good exercise
- Large capacity
- Easy to assemble
- Hard to turn when full
- Difficult/messy to empty
- Harder to grab while spinning
4. EJWOX Garden Dual Rotating Outdoor Composting Tumbler
The best dual chamber compost tumblers
Brand: EJWOX | Capacity: 43 Gallons | Weight: 25 lbs | Material: High-Quality Polypropylene and Rustproof Steel Frame | Other Features: N/A | Price: 💰
Looking at different compost tumblers on the market, one thing becomes clear: the dual chamber design is the way to go for most gardeners. With a single chamber, it’s difficult to add more scraps as you go along without interrupting the breakdown process. Two chambers result in even continuous composting and a better end result.
The EJWOX offers a 43-gallon capacity — which is more compact than our #1 best compost bin tumbler but a little bigger than our #2 dual compost tumbler pick. The EJWOX also offers a “rodent proof” design, a convenient loading height, and galvanized steel feet. It doesn’t hurt that the EJWOX also costs less than a hundred bucks, making it one of the best priced compost tumblers on our list.
- Easy to turn
- BPA-free plastic
- Unobtrusive and neutral-looking
- “A good little composter for a good price”
- Good size for the average family/gardener
- Bad instructions
- Difficult assembly
5. FCMP Half Size Rolling Composter
The best compact compost tumblers
Brand: FCMP | Capacity: 19 Gallons | Weight: 15 lbs | Material: BPA-Free Polyethylene | Other Features: Comes in Green or Blue, Available in 2-pack | Price: 💰
Need a little compost tumbler that can squeeze into a corner or a balcony? Maybe you want the flexibility of multiple small compost tumblers? Well you’re in luck! This ‘lil FCMP Half Size is an ultra-compact compost tumbler that takes up a small amount of space, but still holds up to 19 gallons. And it’s available in a 2-pack.
Like its larger counterparts it’s made from tough polyethylene that won’t degrade in the sun, and has plenty of aeration holes and deep fins to break up clumps inside. Unlike the others, it’s light and mobile, and comes in two different colors. It’s also one of the best compost starter tumblers for beginner composters.
- Simple and sturdy
- No assembly required
- Perfect for individuals or small families
- Mobile – love being able to roll the composter wherever it’s needed outside
- “Not critter proof”
- Put a tray underneath if it’s on a surface that can stain
6. Lifetime 80 Gal. Compost Tumbler
The best large capacity compost tumblers
Brand: Lifetime | Capacity: 80 Gallons | Weight: 42 lbs | Material: UV-Protected High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE), Galvanized Steel | Other Features: Double-Walled Panels, Extra Large Removable Lid | Price: 💰💰💰
For the ambitious gardener (or those with very large yards) there’s the high-capacity Lifetime Gallon Compost Tumbler. The Lifetime clocks in at an astounding 80 gallon capacity and offers some special features to make adding or removing scraps and compost extra-easy.
Since it’s bigger and taller than most, there’s plenty of space to roll up a wheelbarrow to facilitate shoveling, dumping, spinning, etc. The Lifetime tumbler also features a handy locking mechanism to keep the tumbler from spinning when you don’t want it to (like when you’re trying to shovel something heavy in or out of it).
- Good customer service
- Very tough and weather resistant barrel
- Extra large opening makes for easy access
- Critter-proof, someone even said it resisted bears
- Not dual chambered
- “A chore to assemble”
- Hard to turn when full
- Some experienced shipping damage
- Latches can come undone and create a mess
7. Good Ideas Compost Wizard With Dueling Tumblers
The best compost tumblers for compost tea
Brand: Good Ideas | Capacity: 52 Gallons | Weight: 29 lbs | Material: BPA-Free Polyethylene | Other Features: Leachate (Compost Tea) Collector, 12-inch Twist-off Lid | Price: 💰💰
The number one complaint about most compost tumblers is how difficult they are to assemble. This “ground rolling” compost tumbler is a little different: instead of perching on top of a metal frame, it sits lower to the ground on top of a hollow base that collects compost tea. It also doesn’t require any assembly, so keep that in mind if you’re not handy.
The Compost Wizard Jr. has a capacity of 52 gallons (about 7 cubic feet) and is moderately priced. Many reviewers recommend setting up some blocks or bricks underneath the unit to make it easier to fill, drain and tumble.
Footnote: this dual tumbler version is great for continuous composting, but Good Ideas also makes the “Compost Wizard Jr.”, if you prefer a single chamber batch-composter that collects compost tea.
- Perfect size
- Easy to turn
- Easy to conceal
- Light when empty
- Love that it’s ready to go with zero assembly
- Popular with people who have arthritis or other physical limitations
- Connection between chambers broke
- Some arrived with shipping damage and cracking
- Openings too small, difficult to get a shovel in or out
3 Main Types of Compost Tumblers
Horizontal Compost Tumblers
This is the most common tumbler type, where a barrel (either round or with geometric sides) is mounted on a center post or stand, and rotated via handholds or a crank. It usually has aeration holes or vents and internal fins or bars to aid in breaking up chunks of compost, and sliding doors or removable lids for adding or removing content.
Vertically Mounted Compost Tumblers
These tumblers flip over from top to bottom, using centrifugal force to aerate the compost. Vertical barrels usually have aeration holes and bars or fins as well, but have hatches on top and bottom for loading and unloading.
Ground Rolling Compost Tumblers
This type of tumbler rests on a base rather than a stand and usually collects leachate — a.k.a. compost tea. Made out of molded plastic, these low-to-the-ground tumblers can be a better option for those with physical limitations.
What to Look for in a Compost Tumbler
Horizontal, vertical, high capacity, ground-rolling, black plastic, steel, removable lid…it’s a lot to take in. So what is the best compost tumbler?? Here’s what you need to know:
- Material. First consider the material of your compost tumbler. The most common choice is black plastic, usually polypropylene (PP), or a High Density Polyethylene (HDPE). Both are BPA-free and are often at least partially recycled. The black color is intentional: it absorbs sun, generating heat to help accelerate the composting.
You can also find large, heavy duty compost tumblers made of galvanized steel and other tough metals. The problem with these is that unlike plastic, they will always eventually rust. Metal options also tend to be expensive.
- Single or dual chamber? Whether you opt for a single or double depends on your composting needs. If you want to simply load up your tumbler, spin it for a few weeks and have a batch of finished compost at the end, a single chamber composter will suit your needs. However, if you’d like to continuously add scraps, yard waste, etc. as you go, a dual chamber compost tumbler allows you to add to one chamber while the other one finishes composting.
- Size/capacity. If you’re mostly using your compost tumbler for kitchen scraps and occasional yard waste, something in the 20-40 gallon range should be plenty. If you have a constant flow of scraps, yard grass clippings, manure, leaves, etc., then opt for at least a 50 gallon compost tumbler.
Also consider: with increased capacity, comes increased weight. If you have any physical limitations, it may be best to go with a small to medium capacity tumbler that’s up off of the ground (to prevent unnecessary bending and twisting) and/or a tumbler with a crank handle, like our best overall compost tumbler recommendation
For this guide on compost tumblers, our team spent 8 hours researching the most popular options from over 30 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about two hundred user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each compost tumbler. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 7 on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.
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