If you make your own compost, you must know how muscle-straining it is to stir it up. Do yourself a favor and pitch that pitchfork because tumbling compost will ease your labor and get the job done faster!
You’d only need to spin the tumbler a few times after filling it with kitchen and garden scraps. Ultimately, you’ll have fertile compost without the aches and pains!
Take a look at our seven picks for the best compost tumbler!
Our Top Picks
SQUEEZE Master Compost Outdoor Tumbler
The Beginner’s Choice:
FCMP Outdoor IM4000 Dual-Chamber Tumbling Composter
Riverstone Industries Maze Two-Stage Tumbler Composter
SQUEEZE Master Compost Outdoor Tumbler
First up is the octagonal SQUEEZE Master compost tumbler. Its two chambers keep compost coming as you load scraps on one side while the other side cures. It’s the best compost tumbler overall for its affordable price, design, and features, needing six to seven turns every few days.
Two color options for the tumbler’s doors are blue or green. Your compost will have plenty of air circulation thanks to the multiple air holes. And with the moveable composting thermometer, you can monitor your compost’s temperature.
Unlike older versions of compost tumblers, the SQUEEZE Master design uses fewer additional screws to hold it together. It’s also lightweight, easy to assemble, and hard for critters to chew through, and a quality warranty backs it!
On the downside, the doors are on the small side. Also, there have been reports of compost tea leaks, so be careful where you place the tumbler!
- Easy to assemble
- Small doors
- Leaks compost tea
FCMP Outdoor Dual-Chamber Tumbling Composter
If you haven’t mixed compost before, the 37-gallon FCMP IM4000 dual-chamber tumbling composter is for you. It’s the best compost tumbler for beginners thanks to its large openings making loading and unloading easy. Turning it is also easy due to its deep-finned ergonomic handholds.
It has a corrosion-resistant frame and is made of 100% post-consumer recycled polypropylene, so it’s safe under direct sunlight. Even with less sunlight, the black material will help heat your compost quickly. Unlike our first pick, this tumbler needs five to six turns every two to three days.
With the fins breaking up clumps in the chambers, it won’t take long for the scraps to break down. They’ll get plenty of oxygen mixed in with the tumbler’s adjustable air vents. These features, including sunny conditions and proper waste materials, may give you compost in two weeks!
However, the FCMP tumbler has many screws to hold it together. One reviewer even mentioned fruit flies getting into the tumbler. If they become problematic, toss in some straw or dry leaves or set up a fruit fly trap.
- Black material heats up the compost quicker
- Easy rotation
- Composts in two weeks under sunny conditions and proper ingredients
- It uses a lot of screws to hold it together
- Attracts fruit flies
Riverstone Industries Maze Two-Stage Tumbler Composter
The best compost tumbler involves mixing the compost with ease. This 65-gallon, oval-shaped tumbler from Riverstone Industries is designed for a smooth rotation thanks to its ratcheted hand crank.
Normally you want to avoid completely filling your tumbler because turning would be hard. With the hand crank, you can fill this tumbler as full as you want and still be able to turn it. You can do this with two divided chambers or the whole tumbler!
The material is made of high-impact ultraviolet-protected plastic and rust-resistant zinc. It’s protected not only against the sun and elements but also rodents! You can also easily unload the compost from its sliding dual doors if you opt for a wheeled cart.
This two-stage tumbler is pretty expensive, so check to see if you can afford it. And some reviewers have reported that the handle comes off due to being grasped too hard or carelessly. Ensure you grip it in the right place and turn it carefully!
- Can be filled to maximum capacity before tumbling
- It lets you opt between using the whole tumbler or dividing it into two chambers for composting
- The handle may come off if turned too hard or grasped in a bad place
F2C Outdoor Dual Chamber Tumbling Composter
If you’re on a budget, you’re in luck! The F2C dual-chamber tumbling composter has a low price and still promises a fast and smooth composting process. Thanks to its interlocking panels, it’s sturdy, and its lockable rotation keeps it steady as you add in the waste.
Like the FCMP compost tumbler, the black material absorbs heat for effective composting. That also includes deep fins breaking up the clumps inside and aeration holes mixing in oxygen. The instructions are also easy and include a pair of gloves and a screwdriver for assistance.
F2C’s composter even comes in two other capacities (18.5 and 37 gallons) that are both affordable. Each version is lightweight, taking the strain out of moving it wherever it’s convenient for you to place it. Even in a small garden!
The downside to this tumbler is that its doors aren’t very big for loading. There’s no extended warranty on it either, so take good care of it, so its performance lasts.
- Good price range
- Sturdy and balanced
- Perfect for a small garden
- Small doors
- No extended warranty
Miracle-Gro Dual-Chamber Compost Tumbler
You’ve read up on four dual-chambered compost tumblers, but those chambers turn simultaneously. Miracle-Gro’s dual-chamber tumbler, however, lets you turn one chamber while the other chamber stays still.
Usually, you’d fill one side with scraps while the other side holds mixed compost. But you’d have to turn it after you unload the maturing side. This best compost tumbler lets you tumble your compost without waiting to unload it! Luckily its mixing bars aid in speedy curing!
Just like the FCMP composter, you only need to turn it five to six times every few days. You’ll have compost ready in about four to six weeks. Best of all, this odorless dual-chamber tumbler lets you mix compost all year round!
Though assembling takes effort, you’ll at least be saving trees and paper since you’ll read the instructions online. It even comes with a two-year warranty and latex-free, water-resistant, no-slip-grip gloves.
- Fill and tumble compost in their chambers separately
- Year-round composting
- Assembly takes some effort
Miracle-Gro Small Tumbling Composter
Do you have a big or small yard? Do you want to save as much space as you can? Whatever the circumstance, the small Miracle-Gro tumbling composter is your best compost tumbler for saving space! Even though it’s a single chamber, you can store it on your patio, balcony, or other small space.
Just like its dual-chambered version, it lets you compost all year round! It’s easy to clean, and it keeps out critters. Also, with the side-locking mechanism, you won’t have trouble loading and unloading scraps.
There are two available capacities for this ultraviolet-protected plastic tumbler: 18.5 and 27.7 gallons. The online assembly directions are easy to follow, and with the tumbler comes latex-free, water-resistant, and no-slip-grip gloves. Who says composting has to be messy on your hands?
- Easy to clean
- Online directions are easy to follow
- Critter resistant
- Only one chamber to compost
Compost Tumbler Buyer’s Guide
Now that you’ve read our list of compost tumblers, you’ll need to learn how to find the best one. To really get your money’s worth and make the most of this product, consider these features before you open your wallet:
The size of a compost tumbler depends on a few things. How often do you use biodegradable material before you throw it out? Most importantly, how big is your yard or your garden?
A large yard, or even a large garden, will do fine with a large-sized tumbler. A dual-chambered or a single, large-capacity tumbler will be perfect if you hope to do a good amount of composting.
You’ll want a single-chamber tumbler if you have a small yard or don’t plan to make compost very often. So as you skim over compost tumblers, check their dimensions.
When searching for your best compost tumbler, check its weight in the description. In the list above, some of the tumblers are considered lightweight since they’re under or a little over 30 pounds.
You may need to move the tumbler around your yard on occasion, so you want one with a bearable weight. Hence the point of avoiding wearing yourself out when mixing compost!
The best compost tumbler should be durable enough against the elements and hold up all those kitchen and garden scraps.
Look for compost tumblers that are made of ultraviolet-inhibited material and recycled polyethylene or polypropylene. These types of materials will last longer in direct sunlight and resist the cold.
A tumbler should also be able to stay upright when you spin it. You may not always have even ground where you live, so check that the tumbler’s legs or supports are sturdy.
Assembling a compost tumbler is a top concern, according to reviewers. Some say the process is hard, while others say it’s not as hard as it’s made out to be. When you research reviews, balance out the praises and complaints over the assembly.
You want to find a tumbler that has easy building instructions. But it’s understandable if you’re stuck on a step or two. That’s where family, friends, and neighbors come in for assistance.
Be sure to check a compost tumbler’s warranty before you purchase it. The best compost tumbler will have a warranty that lasts a few years, allowing time to ensure satisfactory performance.
Do some research on a tumbler’s brand to understand how long it’ll stand behind the product. If you don’t see a warranty on a tumbler, contact the seller or look for a tumbler with a noted warranty.
Ease of Turning
Hand-stirring compost is hard enough; rotating it makes an effortless straining. The best compost tumbler will make a complete 360-degree turn and won’t give you any trouble with mixing your scraps.
You’ll either use a hand crank or grip a tumbler’s gaps and grooves to tumble your compost. Of course, filling the tumbler with biodegradable waste will influence its ability to turn.
Turning a full compost tumbler is easy if you use a hand-cranked one. As for tumblers with easy-to-grip surfaces, avoid filling them up completely lest you push yourself to turn them.
How soon do you need compost for your garden? Do you have other ways of fertilizing it that will buy you some time before your homemade compost is ready?
The best compost tumbler should be ready to give you compost in a few weeks. Most tumblers take about four to eight weeks to break down the scraps, but that depends on the composting process.
Hot weather and frequent spins of the tumbler could make the composting process take less than four weeks. Read over your tumbler’s instructions to make sure the number of turning times won’t inhibit the process.
It’s bad enough that raccoons and other pests get into your garbage. The last thing you want is to have them get into your compost.
You want to buy a tumbler that’s elevated from the ground so small critters can’t reach the food source. Climbing up to get it is a thing, but the tumbler’s heavy-duty material should be hard to chew through.
Even if you find the best compost tumbler that deters critters, avoid adding waste like meat, bones, and high-content scraps. You’ll really add to its critter-proof feature if you don’t attract determined pests in the first place.
How to Use a Compost Tumbler
Tumbling compost is as easy as it sounds! Simply toss organic waste from your kitchen or garden into the tumbler. If you have a dual-chamber tumbler, fill one side but not to the point you can’t spin it.
Turn the crank or spin the tumbler by gripping its handholds or groove designs to mix the compost inside. Refer to the tumbler’s instructions for how many times a day you need to spin it. Shake it some, too, so you can break things down there.
After a few weeks, unload the compost and apply it to your garden. You can unload it by using a cart underneath the tumbler or by shoveling it out into a bucket.
Frequently Asked Questions on the Compost Tumbler
1. Does my compost tumbler need to be in direct sunlight?
Naturally, you want to heat up the scraps inside so they’ll mix into compost. However, direct sunlight may warp the material of your tumbler, especially if it’s made of plastic.
If you purchase a tumbler made of sturdy and wear-resistant material, you won’t have to worry about direct sunlight. Not all compost tumblers are made that way, so it’s best to leave it in the shade or in partial sunlight.
2. What if the tumbler is too heavy to spin?
You don’t want to add too much waste to the point that you’re unable to turn your tumbler. Of course, if you use Riverstone Industries’ hand-cranked tumbler, for example, that won’t be a problem.
For tumblers without a crank, we recommend filling them two-thirds full of scraps before spinning them. Check that the ground is level for your tumbler, as that will help steady it while you turn it.
3. How often should I turn the tumbler?
That depends on the directions that come with your compost tumbler. The list above has a few tumblers that provide directions for how many times you need to turn them.
However, you don’t have to rely completely on a tumbler’s instructions. Turning your tumbler a few times a day as you fill it up speeds up the process. However, avoid turning it too many times because that will slow everything down.
4. Can I add water to my compost in the tumbler?
You want your compost to be moist, not wet. By adding water, you’ll cool down the mixture and slow down the composting process.
You can add water, though, under a couple of conditions. If the weather is dry or you live in a dry climate, add water so your mixture stays moist.
5. What shouldn’t go in a compost tumbler?
Even if you have the best compost tumbler, that doesn’t mean just any scraps can go in it. Whether your tumbler deters critters or not, dairy products and cooked food shouldn’t go in there.
Non-biodegradable material, coated or glossy paper, diseased plants, and dog or cat excrement shouldn’t go in compost tumblers either. Refer to your tumbler’s instructions before you start tossing in waste.
Tumble Your Compost with a Turn!
The best compost tumbler is just a purchase away. We highly recommend looking into the SQUEEZE Master compost tumbler. With this valuable composting tool, you’ll have an easy and productive time mixing compost!
Visit our composting page to learn more about turning your waste from trash to nutrients for your garden!