Compost Tumblers vs. Compost Bins

Composting is becoming popular with many gardeners and homeowners who wish to make their very own compost for their gardens. With the influx of users hoping to make their own compost, there is a range of composters available today. However, some of them may not have what it takes to help you sustain your gardens with fresh compost.

There are only two main types of composters available today: tumblers and bins. And they are very effective in helping you produce composts. However, there are critical differences that must be understood between these two types of composters because this will be important.

Generally, both compost bins and compost tumblers can be loaded from the top. However, compost bins are made of thin plastic which disables aeration and mobility. You can empty its contents from the lower compartment. And it does not have a bottom part, leaving it open. Compost tumblers are made of heavy-duty material and you can put in air and mix your compost by spinning it.

They can also carry out smaller volumes of compost and you can empty it from the top. Its bottom is completely sealed so you can indeed mix it easily by turning.

Comparing the Two Types of Composters

Here is a detailed review of compost tumblers and compost bins based on these general aspects:


In terms of capacity, compost bins can hold 7 to 20 cubic feet of compost depending on their model, while tumblers can only hold up to 4 to 15 cubic feet of compost. This small capacity is due to the difficulty in spinning the tumbler when it becomes heavy.

However, there are models of tumblers that have larger cubic feet capacity but the mounting position is done horizontally in them rather than the conventional vertical position of normal compost tumblers.


When it comes to durability, compost tumblers are quite durable because of their heavy-duty construction material, enabling them to carry out heavy composts. However, it is best that one inspects the supporting legs of the compost tumbler before purchasing it because these legs should be capable of staying strong for years. Handles must also be sturdy for easy tumbler spinning.

Compost bins are only made of thin plastic because they only serve as a storage container rather than a mobile composter that can be moved throughout the garden. Since it is made of plastic, the bin may become brittle once it is subjected to harsh weather conditions.

Turning Compost

It is also very difficult to do composting with compost bins because you cannot easily turn your pile inside the bin with a shovel or a pitchfork. Since you cannot turn it easily, composting time could reach up to 2-3 months in total with the compost not properly turned.

In comparison, tumblers can make composts in batches within 6 to 8 weeks without problems. You can easily turn the compost through the tumbler, but it can be difficult sometimes with a larger model because of its weight. It is also very easy to empty since you can just dump the compost right out. With bins, this is difficult because you have to shovel it out of the bin.

Bugs & Smells

In terms of pests and odor, both bins and tumblers are good in keeping them out. Compost bins can even stop raccoons and dogs. However, they cannot stop rodents from burrowing under the bin because of open bottoms. Compost tumblers are pest and odor proof because they are fully sealed. The smell would only leak if you open the lids, but it is not really that unpleasant smell.


Finally, the cost varies considerably for both tumblers and bins. Compost tumblers are actually more expensive than compost bins due to the materials used to make them and the parts they have.

In general, they are 30% more expensive than compost bins. Tumblers are also long- lasting because of their material and parts. In comparison, compost bins are only made of thin plastic, however, there are some expensive bins made of high quality materials.


If you are indeed considering a composter, think about their moving parts and dependability. Even if they are expensive, as long as they can last you for years, they are worth every penny.