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The 4 Best Compost Thermometers For 2023

Whether you’re a composting newbie or a seasoned veteran, monitoring and controlling the temperature of your compost pile is essential to your success.

The name of the game in the composting process is organic decomposition. One easy way to monitor decomposition is to keep tabs on the heat let off by the compost pile.

Luckily, there are different models of compost thermometers to fit your composting capabilities, needs, and preferences.

But don’t worry – we’ve sorted through some for you! Without further ado, here is a guide to a few of the best compost thermometers on the market.

Compost thermometer similar to the best compost thermometers in brown compost

Our Top Picks

Best Overall:
Reotemp Backyard Compost Thermometer

Beginner Friendly:
Rukars Compost Thermometer

Most Accurate:
Cate’s Garden Thermometer for Backyard Composting

Best Overall

Reotemp Backyard Compost Thermometer

Reotemp 20 Inch Fahrenheit Backyard Compost Thermometer with Digital Composting Guide

The Reotemp Backyard Compost Thermometer is equipped with a long, sturdy stem, making it an excellent choice for any size compost pile. It comes with simple instructions that are easy to follow, and it’s one of the top-rated options for all outdoor thermometers on Amazon.

It also has the widest temperature range, showing readings from 0 to 200°F.

Compared to other thermometers on the market, the tick marks on the face of the dial can be slightly tough to read, and the color coding is a bit confusing at first glance.

However, all things considered, the Reotemp takes the cake as the best overall compost thermometer!


  • Wide temperature range
  • Simple to use
  • High-quality build


  • The dial can be difficult to read

Beginner Friendly

Rukars Compost Thermometer

Rukars Compost Thermometer, 20 Inch Stem Backyard Compost Thermometer - 2 Inch Diameter Waterproof Anti-Fog Soil Testing Thermometer with Composting Temperature Guide Zone, 40 to 180 Degrees F

If you’re newer to composting, the Rukars Compost Thermometer is an awesome choice for beginning compost piles. It’s super easy to read, equipped with intuitive color coding and a two-inch dial face.

Another winning feature of this thermometer is its staying power. It’s waterproof and well-sealed, meaning it can stick around your compost pile under any conditions and still give accurate readings.

You might need to take extra care in handling this product, though, as its stem is thinner than other similar thermometers and can be fragile.

It’s also battery-powered, thus requiring more upkeep than analog compost thermometers.


  • Easy to read, color-coded temperature zones
  • Waterproof
  • Large dial proof


  • Fragile probe
  • Requires a battery

Most Accurate

Cate’s Garden Thermometer for Backyard Composting

Compost Thermometer - Cate's Garden Premium Stainless Steel Bimetal Thermometer for Backyard Composting - 2 Inch Diameter Fahrenheit / Celsius Dial, 20 Inch Temperature Probe

If you’re serious about hot composting, Cate’s Garden Thermometer is right up your alley.

It provides highly accurate readings, making it perfect for composters wanting to nail down the right temperature range for microbial activity.

However, that level of accuracy requires a bit more time for the thermometer to get a reading, so its response time is on the slower side.

But its sturdiness and versatility make up for the extra seconds it takes to get a reading. Cate’s Compost Thermometer is also a great option for gardeners looking to sow their seeds at just the right soil temperature.


  • Super accurate readings
  • Multipurpose
  • Sturdy


  • Slow to read the temperature

Greenco Compost Soil Thermometer

Compost Soil Thermometer by Greenco, Stainless Steel, Celsius and Fahrenheit Temperature Dial, 20 inch Stem

Between the super fast response time and the sturdy probe, the Greenco Compost Soil Thermometer is our top choice for larger compost piles.

The dial face has smart, easy-to-read color coding. However, it does tend to fog up in especially humid conditions.

Due to its compatibility with larger compost piles, the readings can be slightly less accurate than other thermometers. But it’s still effective in ensuring your compost pile is within the right range, and it has temperature displays in both Fahrenheit and Celcius!


  • Suited for larger compost piles
  • Reads the temperature in Fahrenheit and Celcius
  • Widest, most durable probe


  • The dial face can fog up
  • Better at providing a range than a precise temperature reading

What Makes the Best Compost Thermometer?

Compost thermometer in grass

There are many attributes a compost thermometer needs to be the best. These are what we think the nest compost thermometers must have in order to be considered a top product.


When it comes to composting, one of the biggest concerns is the odor. The smell of decomposing organic materials can be offputting and hard to mask, especially if your compost pile is in your kitchen.

In terms of base functions, the makeup of your compost thermometer is more up to preference than anything else.

In general, the materials of your composting equipment matter most in regard to odor control. Metal is better at absorbing smell but is more likely to fall victim to the elements. Plastic can be more durable but is more affected by the microbial process than metal and does little to buffer the composting smell.

All in all, choosing the type of materials for your composting project seems to be more up to personal preference than function.

Selecting the Right Compost Thermometer

Luckily, all of the compost thermometers are super easy to use. Stick the thermometer probe in as far as you can, and voila!

However, the only challenging aspect of using your thermometer is reading the dial. Some are color-coded, some aren’t, and some have larger dial faces than others.

It’s important to assess your options and choose which kind of visual reading is right for you.

Though these thermometers are all similar in structure, there are options for you to get the most out of your composting.

First is the stem or probe length. Smaller compost piles require shorter probes, and vice versa.

Another feature to consider is accuracy vs. response time. In general, the more accurate the reading, the longer the reading takes.

If you aren’t too concerned with getting the exact temperature and are happy with getting a range, you can go with a thermometer that produces super quick readings. More accurate readings take a bit longer, sometimes up to 30 seconds.

How to Get the Most Out of Your Compost Thermometer

To truly get the most out of your thermometer, it’s important to understand the relationship between the temperature and the microbiome of your compost pile.

Your compost pile needs helpers to break down the organic material! However, different temperatures require different kinds of helpers.

But there’s no need to fret over your compost microbiome. You can use your temperature readings to better recognize which kinds of bugs and critters are friends or foes.

Compost Thermometer Frequently Asked Questions

Hands picking up compost

Why do we need to compost thermometers?

Compost thermometers are a handy tool, whether you’re just starting a compost pile for the first time or have been composting for years. Different kinds of microbial breakdown happen at different temperatures, so it’s important to keep track and make sure you’re in the right range.

How do you read a compost thermometer?

The dial or face of each compost thermometer looks a little different, but generally, the dial has a range of temperatures from about 40 to 180°F, as well as color-coded sections that indicate the degree of decomposition: usually either warmactive, or hot.

What makes compost heat up?

The composting process relies on the breakdown of organic material, and that action generates heat! A hot compost pile is an active compost pile.

What temperature range should you look for?

Decomposition happens at a wide range of temperatures (even as low as 28°F). However, the hotter the temperature, the more efficient the composting process. This kind of “hot” composting occurs between 115 and 160°F.

What probe size do you need?

The size of the probe or stem you need depends on the size of your compost pile. The end of the probe should be as close to the center of your pile as possible for the most accurate reading. So, larger compost piles would benefit from thermometers with longer probes.

Ready to Compost?

Overall, the Reotemp Backyard Compost Thermometer landed in the top spot of our best compost thermometer list.

But there are many options out there for you to choose from based on your composting wants and needs.

We hope our guide helped you discover more ways to ensure composting success! For more gardening tools and suggestions, check out our Garden Supplies page.

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