Our product roundup of the best worm composters features Urban Worm Bag as the overall top pick. But there are plenty of options to help you on your vermicomposting journey.
Vermicomposting, otherwise known as worm composting, is a totally self-contained, odorless way to turn food scraps and other biodegradable materials into rich compost.
Unlike composting the old-fashioned way- where you have to get the ratio of carbon, nitrogen, water, microbes and heat just right- indoor vermicomposting lets worms do most of the work. Worm composting is also faster, enabling you to reduce waste and your carbon footprint year-round.
Best of all, after your worms have done their job munching on banana peels, coffee grounds, cardboard and other waste that would otherwise head to the landfill, you’ll be left with an ultra-rich compost known as “castings.”
Read on to find the best worm composters and one that’s right for you. Before you know it, you’ll be producing your own homemade fertilizer that’s better than any you can buy at the store.
Short on time? Here’s a quick overview of our top 4:
Our Top Picks
|Best Overall: Urban Worm Bag Worm Composting Bin|
Easy, tidy, and effective, the Urban Worm Bag had the best worm composter reviews of any we came across.
|Runner Up: Worm Factory 360 Worm Composting Bin |
Turns out a company called The Squirm Firm knows their worm composters. The 360 Worm Bin is a perennial favorite.
|Best Budget: Taurus Storage Worm Farm|
A great low-commitment way to give worm composting a try, and the Taurus Worm Farm is also a great project for kids.
|Best Compact Indoor: Maze Worm Farm Composter|
The Maze composter is so self-contained, compact and neutral-looking that you can use it nearly anywhere.
A Closer Look: Best Worm Composters
Here’s a more detailed look at our top 4 worm composters.
1. Urban Worm Bag Worm Composting Bin
The best worm composter overall
Brand: Urban Worm Company | Size: 26.75 x 26.75 x 37.75 inches | Weight: 7.5 lbs | Location: Indoor | Price: 💰💰💰
Our number one best home worm composter is the Urban Worm Bag, which was designed by a worm composting expert who grew frustrated with the mess and fuss of traditional plastic tower worm composters. Instead of a worm bin, this composter is a worm bag, with an Oxford fabric pouch that hangs on a reinforced metal frame. The result is an odor-free continuous flow design that results in about 3x the worm castings of other worm composters.
With its sturdy construction and minimal maintenance, the Urban Worm Bag is perfect for those without a yard, or who are looking for a very simplified worm composting experience. No stacking, drilling, or draining: just add nitrogen and carbon-rich scraps at the top of the bag, and then harvest your worm castings from the bottom later.
- Clear instructions
- Great customer service
- Unobtrusive and looks good
- Much easier than other composters
- Doesn’t disturb worms while harvesting – no need to separate from finished castings
- A little larger than expected
- Overwhelming preference for “Version 2” of the Worm Bag, with a much-improved zipper on the bottom
2. Worm Factory 360 Worm Composting Bin
The runner up best worm composters
Brand: The Squirm Firm | Size: 18.1 x 17.7 x 15.4 inches | Weight: 13 lbs | Location: Indoor / Outdoor (Protected) | Price: 💰💰💰
For those who prefer the flexibility of an adjustable, stackable composter — this is the worm factory for you. You can choose your level of composting, using some or all of the 4 trays included, or supplement all the way up to 8 levels of active vermicomposting. If you live in a smaller space or have less waste, use fewer trays. If you want to maximize your composting, stack it up and get those worms working multiple levels.
Here’s how it works:
“The Worm Factory 360 is simple to set up and operate. It takes less than 15 minutes a week! To get started, add a handful of worms and your compostable waste to the bottom tray. The worms will start processing the food. Once the bottom tray is filled add another tray. The worms migrate upward to the newest food source leaving the bottom tray full of nutrient-rich compost. You can do this year-round inside or out, and harvest compost up to once a month. The finished compost can be used in your garden, your raised beds, or on houseplants.”
The Worm Factory composter is made from recycled HDPE plastic. It features a “thermosiphon airflow design,” which increases composting speed and efficiency. This brand is known for their thorough instructions — not only is there a detailed booklet full of worm composting facts, but they even include a DVD and a handy infographic refrigerator magnet for quick reference.
- Perfect for newbies
- Great customer support
- High-quality instructions
- Easy to assemble, easy to use
- Compact, works well in tight spaces
- Worms can die in hotter climates, even in shade
- Multiple trays can begin to compact worm castings at bottom
3. Taurus Storage Worm Farm
The best budget worm composters
Brand: Redmon | Size: 9.15 x 14.5 x 7 Inches | Weight: 2.3 lbs | Location: Indoor | Price: 💰
The Taurus Worm Farm is the perfect low-commitment, affordable way to get into worm composting. Unlike most worm towers, this bin is lightweight and ultra-portable, with clips to hold it together and even a handle. It’s also pretty small, so it’s a great alternate indoor/small space composter.
If you’re looking to try out worm composting before buying a more expensive bin or bag, this is a great way to get started. It’s also a fun project if you want to introduce kids to composting!
- Good starter kit
- Kids love to help
- Works indoors or outdoors
- Great for use in an apartment
- Cheaply made
- Lacks instructions
- Worms can escape
- Not enough holes for aeration
- Too small, doesn’t produce many castings
4. Maze Worm Farm Composter
The best compact indoor worm composters
Brand: Maze | Size: 15 x 15 x 11 Inches | Weight: 8 lbs | Location: Indoor / Outdoor (Protected) | Price: 💰💰
An indoor worm composter should be compact, well-aerated… and maybe not instantly advertise “this bin is filled with worms.” The small and unobtrusive Maze 2-tray Worm Farm fits that bill.
Fully enclosed and made from recycled HDPE plastic, this composter is perfect for a kitchen corner, basement, or even a utility closet or laundry room. It features 2 stacking trays, which you can rotate and has a drain in the bottom to optimize airflow and prevent moisture build-up.
It also has a nifty “worm saver” tray, which puts an end to any worm escapees falling through, and a collection tray to catch any liquid that may collect at the bottom of the unit.
- Easy to assemble
- “Exceeded my expectations”
- “Don’t feel like I need to hide it”
- Lightweight, small and manageable
- Perfect for apartment or condo composting
- Not a lot of capacity
- The coir fiber that comes with the product often dislodges during shipping and dirties the package
How to Choose the Worm Composter That’s Right for You
Before you narrow in on a worm composter, here are a few factors to consider.
- Indoor or outdoor. One of the main advantages of vermicomposting over regular composting is that you can do it year-round if you’re willing to keep your worms inside. Most worm composters work best indoors unless you live in an especially mild climate, or have a quasi-indoor setup like a heated garage, etc.
- Size and adjustability. Consider your worm composter’s capacity, its footprint, and whether you want to stare at it every day. A large pantry, heated mudroom, utility closet, or a kitchen-adjacent laundry room are all great bets. If you have a stackable unit, think about whether you might need some vertical space.
- Drainage. One of the most common mistakes people make when new to vermicomposting is letting everything get too wet. Don’t drown your worms! Make sure your composter has some kind of drain, spigot, tray, etc., that will allow you to empty excess liquid.
- Harvesting your compost. The ease of separating your worms from your castings will depend on which type of composter you choose. Our #1 choice, the Urban Worm Bag, bypasses this issue as it allows you to empty the castings from the bottom while leaving your worms undisturbed at the higher levels of the bag. Otherwise, you’ll need to dump or lure. (See below)
- DIY. Worm bins are also inexpensive to make on your own. If you’ve got a medium-sized plastic container, a drill, some bedding materials, a few common ingredients, and an order of Red Wigglers, you can get vermicomposting in no time.
Let’s cover a little Worm Composting 101, so you can get started setting up the best wormery around. Here’s some helpful vermicomposting terminology to know:
Castings are what this whole process is about: the nutrient-rich end product of worm composting, a.k.a worm poop.
Worm tea is when you “brew” finished worm castings in water to produce liquid fertilizer.
Leachate is the liquid that sometimes settles down at the bottom of a worm bin. Most composters have a drain, spigot or other mechanism to get rid of this byproduct. There is a rampant misconception that leachate and worm tea are the same thing — this is not the case.
Lure vs. Dump
When it comes time to harvest your worm castings, there are two paths to take: you can lure your worms away to another level of your composter so that you’ll just have castings, or you can dump the whole thing out and accept that a few of your Red Wigglers will go on to make a new home in your garden along with their compost. (You can also, of course, painstakingly remove individual worms from your finished castings if that’s your jam.)
For this guide on the best worm composters, our team spent 6 hours researching the most popular options from over 15 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about one hundred user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each worm composter. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 4 worm composters on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.
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