compost tumbler

In this article, you’ll discover some of the best composting Tumbler for your garden plants. This is an updated review for 2020.

There’s nothing more beneficial for your garden than the addition of good quality compost.

Composting itself is relatively easy, lots of people do it in a wide variety of ways.

What is a Compost Tumbler?

It’s a container that can be turned into tumble or mix the compost that is being generated inside.

There is a wide variety of tumblers available on the market today.

Most of these tumblers share a few details and features:

  • They are opaque and darkly colored to help build heat inside
  • They have either one or two chambers inside in which your place both green and brown compostable materials
  • They can be turned in some way to blend and mix the contents.

Often people turn to a compost tumbler because they have read an advertisement promising compost in two weeks or less.

While that can be true in the most optimal of conditions, getting those perfect conditions can be tricky and it generally takes longer.

There is a lot of compost tumblers on the market but what is the best compost tumbler for the job?

Best Composting Tumbler for Your Garden Plants (Top 11)

1. Yimby tumbler

The only things which kept the yimby from being the best overall are that you cannot fit a standard shovel inside to remove the compost, it does not have a compost tea collector and it tends to collect garden spiders in the molded plastic exterior.

While garden spiders are common everywhere, some people do like to collect and use their compost tea as fertilizer on their non-edible plants, so if you want to collect compost tea this is not for you.

Otherwise, the Yimby is one of the best tumbler composters ever used. It requires assembly but when constructed one ends up with a well-designed dual-chamber composter.

It has got a sliding panel that can access both chambers and the panel can be flipped around to indicate which side is cooking compost and which side is available to add to.

When assembled, it is 36” tall and 25” wide and about 22” deep with each chamber being roughly 12” wide inside. It is priced quite reasonably and it is indeed a great choice.

2. CW-2X Compost Wizard

This tumbler features dual chambers, allowing you a continuous composting capability.

It has built-in handles that allow you to turn it easily, plus it rests on a compost tea collecting base that can hold up to five gallons.

The base has rollers built in to assist with turning the compost. Overall, it works and does what it is supposed to.

However, there are a few major drawbacks to this system.

The two hatches are quite small at only 7” wide so you cannot fit a shove inside for quick removal of compost.

While that is fine in a smaller unit like the other compost wizard mentioned earlier this should have easier access. The base also tends to slide around when you try to turn your compost.

3. Spin Bin

The biggest complaint with the spin bin is not its 60-gallon capacity which is indeed great nor is it the two hatches at the ends of the barrel.

My complaint is not that it is a vertical composter and it is not its good ventilation.

I can’t argue with a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty and I can’t complain that it does not have a compost tea collector, because not all tumblers do.

Problem is that when it is full, more than half full it is really hard to spin.

This can be true in all or most of the vertical composters but in this high capacity model, it is even more pronounced.

The heavier you fill it, the more difficult it is to flip it to mix the contents.

The primary purpose of the tumbler is that it tumbles, you see why this is problematic.

But it does have a very sturdy construction and if you do not mind a bit of work out when you go spinning, this may be a good option in the high capacity category.

4. Compost tumbler (Lifetime 60058)

While this is a single chamber compost unit, which is interesting about it is that it has got this huge door panel.

The ease of adding materials and removing finished compost is vital and you can put a garden cart or wheelbarrow beside your composter and dump directly into it.

It also can be locked into place so it does not spin in the case where you have kids who think it is fun to spin your composter.

The only drawbacks are that it is not a dual-chambered unit composter and it has no compost tea collector too both of which would be great features for them to add in the future.

It also requires assembly which may take a little of your time.

Despite this, it has a large capacity of 80 gallons or 10.72 square feet of compost space, structurally sound and solid and will work well for almost every household.

5. Compost Wizard Jr

The good idea EZCJR-BLK is part of their compost wizard series of tumblers and the smallest of the series.

It’s a single-chambered tumbler that rests on a hollow base to collect leachate and the base also has rollers that make turning easy.

It has a 7 cubic foot capacity that will handle the waste generated by an average household.

It is recommended to set the tumbler on a couple of concrete blocks or bricks to aid in draining off leachate as needed.

It arrives fully assembled and you just need to set it outside and start filling.

Its drawbacks are that it is a single-chambered composter so one has to stop adding new waste once it is almost full and wait for your compost.

While you wait, turn it regularly and unless you have a stationary composter or other alternatives, you are producing waste again.

It also has smaller doors than some models but overall, it is a solid choice for most people.

Why should you use a compost tumbler instead of just a compost pile or a bin or any other method?

1). Ease in turning and churning

A hot pile method of composting is building a pile that generates heat.

The heat sterilizes the compost killing the weed and pathogens in the compost making it safe for use in your garden.

But then you have to aerate it and mix it even when it is in a stationary composter, which can be a laborious task.

With a compost tumbler, it is super easy to mix your compost keeping it well aerated at all times.

It may take a couple of moments rather than 15-30 minutes of solid work with a pitchfork.

2). Heat maintenance

In the winter, the composting process can slow down due to a lack of heat.

While a stationary composter can offer some insulation, many types of tumblers can be brought inside a garage or shed during the cold months and still used as normal, producing regular batches of compost in preparation for spring.

If your compost does not have a compost heat collector be sure to put something to catch the under drips.

You can also switch to bokashi or vermicomposting in the winter but that requires another composter and a different process.

Because it’s a fully enclosed container, tumblers also heat up more readily during the warmer months and maintain that heat well and that warmth kills off any weeds or pathogens that might otherwise appear in your compost.

As long as you have a good compost thermometer to keep an eye on your heat levels, your tumbler should be just fine.

3). Moisture management

In a traditional compost pile, the only way you can keep excess moisture like snowmelt or heavy rain out of your cooking compost is by throwing a tarp over the top.

Stationary bin has a lid but the base is typical to the soil to let any leachate drain off.

Tumblers by their nature are at least partially protected from the elements and many have a collection area to catch the compost tea or leachate that is generated from your kitchen waste so you can use it as a fertilizer source for your non-edible plants.

4. Compost control and visual appeal

When you get right down to it, a compost pile is just that, a pile. Whether it is contained in a frame or just heaped, it is still a pile.

Tumblers contain the compost in one specific spot and out of sight so you do not see decomposing plant materials in the yard and the pile does not gradually spread.

5. Protection from animals

You may discover a raccoon, deer or even the neighbor’s cat has invaded the compost pile looking for an easy meal.

Tumblers keep most animals at bay. While a few still try to get in if something smells appealing bears being the most commonly known to do this., most just move on by.

Different compost tumbler designs

By far, the most common tumbler style is a horizontally mounted barrel design. Some are round some have multiple sides.

Many have molded or indented handholds to use for turning the compost although a few rare ones have special handles.

Some rest on the specialized base and others are mounted on a center post which runs from the ends straight through the entire length of the composter.

These typically have access to hatch on one or more sides.

But that’s not the only style of tumbler on the market. Another style is the vertical barrel.

While these are also barrel-shaped, they are mounted on a stand vertically with a central post running through the sides and with the hatches at the ends of the barrel.

This style tends to break up the compost more easily as it tumbles end over end from a greater height but some report it to be a little harder to turn when full.

There have been other varieties of tumbler on the market in the past including a spherical variety but most of have problems and are not ideal.

Finally, there is a single-chambered and dual-chambered tumbler. A single-chambered tumbler has one large interior space.

Once it is full you stop adding additional stuff to it until what is inside breaks down.

A dual-chambered tumbler means that you can fill one chamber while the other side is breaking down your waste so you never have to stop adding material.

However, in a dual-chamber, the internal chambers are smaller so you get multiple smaller batches of compost as opposed to one huge batch. Both types of tumblers work equally well.

How do I then use a compost tumbler?

Using a tumbler itself seems very simple like you just put stuff in it and spin it. It’s that simple right?

But then again, even the best compost tumbler takes a little bit of management than that so it is more than putting stuff in and spinning and you, therefore, need a good ratio of brown and green waste for exceptional results.

Brown waste

Brown waste is occasionally dried and materials from plants and includes such things as wood chips or pellets, cardboard, old newspaper, dried leaves and the like.

Brown waste tends to be carbon-rich and absorbent and provides bulk to your finished compost.

Green waste

Green waste consists of fresh materials such as vegetable and fruit peels and rinds, apple cores, coffee grounds, fresh leaf or lawn clippings from your yard, manures and so on.

Green waste has a lot more moisture and tends to be nitrogen-rich. The moisture can produce “compost tea” or leachate.

  • Getting the perfect mix of green and brown can take a little bit of patience. When using a compost tumbler one kitchen compost pail of green waste to two pails of brown waste by volume it is just about perfect. However, you need to keep an eye on the contents of the tumbler and adjust as needed.
  • If there is a bad smell coming from the tumbler or the contents look mushy or soggy, you need to add more carbon-rich browns. In case it develops maggots, you can also add more brown waste and you need to keep the flies out unless you want maggots there. If the compost looks dry or does not appear to be composting at all you will need to add more nitrogen-rich greens.
  • You can similarly add a compost starter to your tumbler to kick off the composting process and it is recommended to be done so when one has a brand-new tumbler. Compost starter contains the microorganisms that naturally form over time in a compost bin so it speeds up the process significantly at the start. After that, it is not necessary unless you are trying to increase the heat inside the tumbler.

Summary

Well decayed compost is free from any odor, not hot and is free from weed and pest infestation.

Spin the compost tumbler regularly to ensure aeration and sprinkle some water when necessary to cool off.

Some people spin the compost tumbler daily but that can produce too much aeration and inhibit the process of heating the compost.

You can spin after adding more greens and browns to get it all mixed well.

If you recently haven’t added anything to the bin, try to make sure you spin the tumbler every 2-3 days every other day in hotter weather, every third day in cooler weather.

In as much as it is being aerated, the compost also has time to heat up and kill weed seeds and pathogens.

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