Outdoor Compost Bin Comparison

03/24/2024

Let’s talk about outdoor compost bins. In this article I am sharing some of the various bins I have used over the years and the pros and cons I have found with the different styles. At the end you will find some recommendations for anyone who is just starting out or on a tight budget. Please let me know if you have any questions about these bins or about composting in general.

Miracle Gro Tumbling Composter

18.5 Gallons

23.5″L x 17″W x 29.5″H

Item Wt: 10.47 lbs

Current Price: $74.90

https://amzn.to/3IOWkgv

This Miracle Gro Tumbler was the very first outside bin I started using. I currently have it on my back patio so that anything that might get pretty smelly inside the kitchen bin, I can go ahead and quickly and easily dump it into the patio composter.  

PROS: It’s small, lightweight and it spins, which makes it super easy to aerate your compost.  It’s also a great size for children and they love helping spin the compost!  

CONS: It is small so you aren’t going to fit a lot in there.  And because of it’s size, you won’t be able produce hot compost, only cold compost which takes longer to breakdown.  It also leaks when you put liquid in it.  Which is pretty typical of rotating tumblers.  So I like to put a bucket underneath and catch all that nutrient rich “fertilizer-tea”, but this compost bin sits so low to the ground it can be difficult to find something small enough to slide underneath to catch the liquid.


Standing Garden Composter Bin from Recycled Plastic

95 Gallons

27″L x 27″W x 33″H

Item Wt: 15 lbs

Current Price: $92.90

https://amzn.to/4a5jMBT

This Standing Bin above is my LEAST Favorite of all the bins I’ve used.  It is made of very cheap plastic that is constantly breaking apart in my hands.  Once it was filled with compost, the plastic expanded and now the lid doesn’t even shut all the way.  It’s a very cheaply made bin.  AND it’s the highest price of all the bins I’ve used.  The holes all around it are quite large and one year we got a mouse infestation in the bin.  We then had to take it apart and line the inside with chicken wire to keep that from happening again.  The is one bin that I definitely wouldn’t recommend unless you just have no other options.  It does still work.  It’s just not worth the price in my opinion, since there are better built bins that don’t cost as much.  


Redmon 65 Gal Outdoor Compost Bin

65 Gallon

26″L x 26″W x 30.75″H

Item Wt: 15 lbs

Current Price:  $70.99

https://amzn.to/4a4al5V

This bin is the only one I could find that looks similar in strength and durability to my FAVORITE standing bin.  Unfortunately, I don’t think they make my favorite bin anymore.  But this does look like a thicker material, just like my bin.  And I like that the air holes are grated so no rodents can get inside.  

The access area at the bottom does give me a little concern because it seems pretty small, but since it has 4 access panels, that’s a good thing!  I can’t tell how the lid latches on.  My favorite bin actually has a locking mechanism, which I really like.  Obviously I can’t officially recommend this bin because I haven’t seen it in person.  However, I’ve used a LOT of different compost bins and this appears to be one of the better ones.  The reviews seem pretty good too.



Lifetime 50 gallon Compost Tumbler

50 Gallon

44″L x 31″W x 30″H

Item Wt: 41 lbs

THIS is my all-time favorite bin!  I received mine from a friend that was no longer using hers.  There are a few cons but I quickly learned work-arounds for them.

CONS: It is HEAVY when it’s full.  This didn’t used to bother me and I considered it a good arm workout to go out there and spin the bin every few days.  But I tore the tendons in my shoulders in 2022 and I can no longer spin the compost myself.  I have to have someone else do it for me.  I also can’t seem to find this exact bin for sale anymore.   Another con is that you have to double check the lock on the door before you start spinning.  DOUBLE check.  Many times I have started to spin and the door came flying open and compost went everywhere.  But only when I didn’t make sure it was latched tightly.  

PROS: It does leak like most tumblers do but there is enough space underneath for a 5 gallon bucket.  I actually keep 2 buckets nearby and anytime I’m adding liquid, I go ahead and put the buckets in place to catch the extra liquid because that’s free fertilizer for your plants!  

I found that walmart has a DOUBLE rotating bin just like my single one.  I’m not quite sure how sturdy it would be though since the single is already so heavy and I don’t see a supporting bracket between the 2 tumblers.  It seems like it might start to bow with the weight of the compost.  BUT if you wanted to give it a try, you can find it at walmart for about $289!  (that’s a pretty steep price tag for me personally.  But man, I sure would love to know how well these work!)


In conclusion, I’d like to share a couple of good prices I found on Amazon.  These are not bins I have used personally so I honestly have no idea about the quality.  But from what I DO know, these stuck out as something that I would be willing to try if I were looking for a new bin and trying not to spend much money.  


DUAL ROTATING COMPOST TUMBLER

2 x 18.5 Gallon

26″L x 21″W x 6″H

Item Wt: 22 lbs

Current Price:  $69.99 

PLUS there is a $10 off coupon right now.  Bringing the total to $59.99

https://amzn.to/3IR8SE1
This appears to be just like my little patio composter but it’s dual chamber!  AND because it’s not a name brand, it’s actually cheaper than the single chamber that I have.  What a great deal!  If I were in the market for a bin and I was just starting out and not quite sure how much I would be composting yet…this would be the way to go, in my opinion!  



SQUEEZE MASTER SPHERICAL COMPOST TUMBLER

34 Gallon

Item Wt: 15.6 lbs

Current Price:  $79.99

https://amzn.to/3IRVxve

At first glance, I thought this was similar to my Lifetime Round Tumbler but after reading the specs, I realized it’s quite a bit smaller.  However, I’m including it in case it’s something that appeals to someone else.  


LARGE STANDING COMPOST BIN

80 Gallon

23.2″L x 22.4″W x 31.9″H

14.44 lbs

Current Price:  $45.99 plus 6% coupon

https://amzn.to/4crzQjd

This looks like it might be made of a cheaper plastic but if you are wanting to get started composting and want to spend less than $50, this might be the best bin for you!  Even if it’s as cheaply made as the bin I don’t like, it still works even after 3 years.  So for someone on a tight budget, this might be the way to go.  


Whatever you decide, please let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear what you choose and how it works out for you!  If you have any composting questions, please post those as well.  There are no dumb questions so don’t be afraid to ask.  If you have a question, chances are someone else does too and they’ll be so thankful you were brave enough to ask.  

Good luck in your composting adventures!  I hope you and your family fall in love with it as much as I did!  I’m so proud of you for going the SECOND MILE with your COMPOST!!! 

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