A compost tumbler is a sealed composting container designed with a rotating function. A compost bin is an immobile container with a bottomless structure that keeps your composting materials in contact with the earth. Compost bins are cheaper than compost tumblers; however, compost tumblers are more cost efficient in the long run because their heavy materials make them more durable than the bins giving you value for your money.
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What Is a Compost Tumbler?
A compost tumbler is a sealed composting container designed with a handle and rotating function, allowing you to turn your pile manually quickly.
Unlike an open pile, you don’t need a pitchfork for turning, and the sealed chamber retains the generated heat, thus, speeding up the composting process.
Types of Compost Tumblers
Compost tumblers have different designs, including:
1. Dual Chamber Compost Tumblers
The dual tumbler design includes two bins set side-by-side into a single rotating drum. Both bins are densely insulated to conserve the heat produced during decomposition.
The sides of each chamber also have screened openings for proper aeration of your compost.
2. Sealed Drum Compost Tumblers
This compost tumbler looks like a drum or a barrel mounted on a raised axle for easier spinning and placed on a base with rollers installed for efficient turning.
The drums include a device that spins your compost materials as it moves to ensure your materials properly mix.
3. ‘Aerated’ Drum Compost Tumblers
These compost tumblers promote efficient aeration of your compost pile, which reduces the composting period and allows you to work on new compost batches faster.
Compost Tumbler Pros and Cons
|Effective pest control||Incompatible with vermicomposting|
|Versatility in limited space||Limitations on composting materials |
(no oily food scraps or dairy/meat scraps)
|Portability & Aesthetic appeal||Limited capacity|
What Is a Compost Bin?
A compost bin is an immobile container with a bottomless structure that keeps your composting materials in contact with the earth.
The bins also retain composting heat, making decomposition of the organic matter faster than in open piles.
Types of Compost Bins
These are the available compost bins today:
1. Stationary Compost Bins
These bins are tall self-contained units that you can use to dispose of your yard waste and food scraps at once.
They take up less space in your yard and can simultaneously hold large volumes of compost.
2. Worm Bins
A worm bin houses worms for vermicomposting, which incorporates red wrigglers into organic matter to break down into finished compost.
These bins have a reliable oxygen supply to ensure the survival of the worms.
3. In-Ground Composters
In-ground composters are partly buried with holes drilled into the sides to drain excess moisture effectively.
The holes also allow worms from the earth to burrow into the bin and decompose organic material into rich compost.
4. Food Waste Digesters
Digesters are less concerned with composting and focus more on the disposal of food waste from your kitchen.
The organic materials in these digesters are left outside in the sun to prevent them from piling up in landfills.
5. Electric Countertop Bins
Electric compost bins such as the Lomi bin break down every composting material, including dairy products and meat scraps, into finished compost in less time.
The devices are efficient and use aerobic decomposition to break down kitchen waste within hours.
Compost Bins Pros and Cons
|Low cost||Longer composting periods|
|Compatible with vermicomposting||Attracts pests and rodents|
|Large capacity||Less portable than tumblers|
|Suitable drainage||Less durable than tumblers|
When to Use a Compost Tumbler and When to Use a Compost Bin
These factors will help you decide whether a compost tumbler or bin is suitable.
|Factors||Compost tumbler||Compost bin|
|Pest control||100% pest-free||Rodents can get through the bottomless structure|
|Cost||More expensive due to heavy material||Cheaper because it’s made of plastic|
|Durability||Durable because of robust material design||Less durable due to thin plastic material|
|Composting time||Less composting time due to easier spinning||More composting time taken|
|Footprint||Occupy small space||Occupy small space|
|Capacity||Carry less compost size||Holds large volumes of compost|
|Functionality||Quick tumbler spinning for easier turning||Manual mixing using pitchfork|
|Odor control||Prevents odors effectively||Might be smelly|
Which One Is the Cheaper Option?
Compost bins are cheaper than compost tumblers by a rough estimate of about 30% for the same container capacity.
Tumbling composters include dense material and high-end designs for aesthetic purposes, while compost bins are plastic and have a bottomless structure.
Still, compost tumblers are more cost efficient in the long run because their heavy materials make them more durable than the bins giving you value for your money.