The 9 Best Compost Bins for Your Kitchen and Beyond

We chose the Epica Stainless Steel Compost Bin as our top pick for its durability and polished design.

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Compost Bin Tout
amazon.com

The benefits of composting are practically endless. But before you end up with a nutrient-rich soil additive for your backyard or victory garden, you'll need a reliable compost bin to collect food scraps and waste.

To find the best at-home compost bins and buckets, we spent hours researching the market and considered factors like type, material, capacity, and lid style to find those that reigned supreme. We also received expert advice on how to shop for compost bins (and use them correctly) from Rick Carr, farm director and master composter at the Rodale Institute.

"When it comes to composting outdoors, make sure you have no food showing and don't be afraid to make mistakes," says Carr.

Our top pick, the Epica Stainless Steel Compost Bin, is a durable container that conveniently stows away food scraps without emitting unpleasant odors.

Here are the best compost bins.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall Compost Bin: Epica Stainless Steel Compost Bin

Compost Bin
amazon.com

Who it's for: People who want to conveniently store their kitchen scraps with no smells.

Who it isn't for: People with limited counter space or anyone who is looking for an outdoor composter.

Sleek, sturdy, and affordable, this pick from Epica is everything you could want in a compost bucket. Made out of stainless steel, this streamlined container won't rust, wear down, or suddenly break apart and spill food scraps everywhere. Its airtight lid contains an activated charcoal filter that controls and neutralizes any stench. While you will have to replace the filter eventually, you'll only have to do so a couple of times a year—it can last six months or longer with proper care.

In terms of capacity, this compost bin hits the mark. It holds just over a gallon of food scraps, so you don't have to drag it out to your main composter every other night, even if you live in a household that produces a lot of food waste. This also means it has a larger footprint, so if you have limited counter space, you may want to opt for a smaller style.

Cleaning is pretty straightforward. Simply rinse and wipe the bin down after emptying its contents, or stick it in the dishwasher. Though, you may find yourself cleaning the exterior fairly often to keep it looking pristine, as stainless steel tends to get grimy fast. But if that's not a problem for you, this compost bucket will provide a streamlined and durable place to keep your food scraps without attracting fruit flies or getting stinky.

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 7.16 x 7.16 x 11 inches
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Capacity: 1.3 gallons
  • Color: Silver

Best Budget Compost Bin: Oxo Good Grips Easy-Clean Compost Bin

Compost Bin
amazon.com

Also available at Wayfair.

Who it's for: People searching for an affordable compost bin that's easy to carry.

Who it isn't for: People who produce a lot of vegetable scraps.

The Oxo Good Grips Easy-Clean Compost Bin offers a couple of unique features that make its low price point an even better bargain. Firstly, its stay-open lid can be flipped up with one hand, which is great if you're multitasking and need to quickly dump in some food scraps while cooking. Even though the lid doesn't have a filter, the lid does have an airtight seal to lock in odors. Secondly, this bin comes with a handle, making it convenient to carry to your local composting site or backyard bin. It also doesn't require a liner, so you can pinch even more pennies by not needing to buy special compostable liners.

This compost bucket is a bit on the smaller side, though. It can hold 3/4 of a gallon of food waste, which may be enough if you're flying solo—but if you're collecting food scraps from multiple people, a larger container would be more apt for your needs. While it's not the prettiest model on the market, this compost bin doesn't look bad by any means, and it has a wide opening and plastic-lined interior that make it easy to clean.

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 6.6 x 6.4 x 7.5 inches
  • Material: Plastic
  • Capacity: .75 gallons
  • Color: White or charcoal

Best Outdoor Compost Bin: MTB Garden Wire Compost Bin

Compost Bin
amazon.com

Who it's for: People who want a simple way to get started with outdoor composting.

Who it isn't for: People who prefer a composter with a lid.

If you're looking for a durable, long-lasting compost bin for outdoors, a metal composter is your best bet. In Carr's experience, plastic bins "don't last very long and they tend to be small," which is why he prefers using metal. The MTB Garden Wire Compost Bin is easy to assemble and provides lots of airflow to aerate your compost. It can be secured to the ground with four removable pins along the container's edges so it won't blow away in windy areas. Once you're ready to harvest your compost, simply remove one of the pins and swing the panel open to easily shovel it out. We like that its slim, powder-coated steel frame blends in effortlessly with its surroundings. Plus, it's lightweight and portable, making it easy to stow away or move to a different part of your yard if needed.

One disadvantage to this composter is that the spaces between the wires are on the larger side, so if you're composting smaller materials, they're more prone to slipping out of your pile. However, it's nothing some fencing material or tarp can't fix—it just requires an extra step to purchase the material and wrap the frame. This compost bin is also lidless, so if you find that it's attracting the likes of deer, squirrels, and raccoons, you'll have to cover it with a tarp regardless.

Despite those drawbacks, this outdoor compost bin is very well-made. It gives you a nice spot in your yard to dump your browns and greens, and thanks to its straightforward design, it can be used by composting pros and newbies alike. Plus, it comes in two sizes and two color options to best suit your garden.

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 30 x 30 x 24 inches and 36 x 36 x 30 inches
  • Material: Steel
  • Capacity: 95 and 140 gallons
  • Color: Black or green

RELATED: The 7 Best Gardening Gloves for All Types of Gardeners, According to Our Tests

Best Kitchen Compost Bin: Simplehuman Compost Caddy

Compost Bin
amazon.com

Also available at Simplehuman, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Target.

Who it's for: People with limited kitchen counter space.

Who it isn't for: People who don't want to buy compostable liners.

In terms of practicality, the Simplehuman Compost Caddy is hard to beat. It attaches to the side of your garbage can to create a fuss-free place to dump food scraps—all while keeping your counters clutter-free. All you have to do is lift the soft-seal lid and scrape off the compostable portion of your plate. It also detaches effortlessly from your trash with its magnetic hook mechanism, so you can place it on your countertop for quick access while you're whipping up a meal. Plus, with a four-liter capacity, this bin can hold a fair amount of vegetable peels and eggshells before the contents need to be moved to a larger composter.

This pick has a clean facade with a coated stainless steel finish. The brand sells custom compostable liners to reduce mess, and they tuck neatly into the interior bin for a polished look. (But this means it requires an upkeep cost, as you have to continue to buy liner refills.) If you love this caddy's sleek look but don't have a compatible Simplehuman trash can, you can purchase a wall mount and attach it to another flat surface (like the inside of a cabinet door).

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 5.7 x 9.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Material: Stainless steel and plastic
  • Capacity: 4 liters (approximately 1 gallon)
  • Color: Silver

Best Countertop Compost Bin: BelleMark Kitchen Compost Bin

Compost Bin
amazon.com

Who it's for: People with an eye for design who want a compact countertop model.

Who it isn't for: People who need to carry their compost to a local composting site.

For those looking to start composting without sacrificing their kitchen's style, the BelleMark Kitchen Compost Bin offers a stylish yet practical approach to storing food waste. While it's a bit of a splurge, it does its job well and looks pretty on a countertop, making the price tag well worth it. The exterior comes in either an acacia or bamboo wood finish, and the interior bin is built from stainless steel, which you can slide out to dump out your scraps and then throw into the dishwasher for a quick clean. However, if you drop off compost at a farmer's market or community garden, this bin may be a little awkward to carry since it doesn't have any handles.

There's also a stainless steel lid that prevents smells from escaping and doesn't attract fruit flies or other pests. Plus, the lid opening is nice and wide, so trying to scrape out any food bits that get stuck inside won't be a hassle.

Capacity-wise, this compost bucket comes in two sizes: either 1.6 gallons or .80 of a gallon. You can choose which dimensions work best for your countertop space (and your veggie-consuming habits).

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 7 x 6 x 6 inches and 13.38 x 7.75 x 6 inches
  • Material: Acacia wood or bamboo, stainless steel
  • Capacity: .80 and 1.6 gallons
  • Color: Bamboo or acacia

RELATED: Amazon Shoppers Love This Space-Saving 3-in-1 Garbage Can With Bins for Trash, Recycling, and Compost

Best Wooden Compost Bin: Gardener's Supply Cedar Compost Bin

Compost Bin
gardeners.com

Who it's for: People who don't want to sacrifice style when starting a compost pile in their garden.

Who it isn't for: People looking for an indoor composter.

Wooden composters are probably the most eco-friendly option out there. After all, wood is a natural material (unlike plastic or metal), so it can decompose and return to nature after its life as a compost bin. The downside is that wood compost bins require more upkeep to prevent wood rot—which is where the Gardener's Supply Cedar Compost Bin comes in. This option is made with rot-resistant cedar wood and reinforced with metal accents, so it's stronger than other wooden composters while also offering a sizable 125-gallon capacity.

While most wooden composters are open to the elements, this one comes with two panels to protect your compost from weather and pests. The hinged lid can pull back either partially or all the way to offer a simple way to dump in your brown and green materials without the hassle of pulling back a tarp. There's also a nifty bottom panel that flips up to allow you to access your "black gold" compost whenever you need it.

It's worth noting that there is a more involved installation process here, and it's recommended that you have a friend to help you put together this composter. But, if you're not afraid of a little DIY project, this wooden compost bin's beautiful design and functionality will make it all worth it.

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 28 x 28 x 37 inches
  • Material: Cedar wood, aluminum
  • Capacity: 16.8 cubic feet or 125.6 gallons
  • Color: Cedar wood

Best Worm Compost Bin: Worm Factory 360 Composter

Compost Bin
amazon.com

Who it's for: People who want an effective way to compost indoors.

Who it isn't for: People who don't like the idea of having live worms in their home.

"If you don't have a means to compost outside, then Worm Factory would be a good place to start," Carr says. The indoor worm composter is pretty simple to use: You start by plopping some food scraps and a handful of worms into one of the plastic trays. Once it's filled up all the way, which can take a few months, you add another tray on top and repeat the process until you've reached your desired number of trays. This expandable design ensures that you have just the right amount of compost for your space, all in a compact and discrete container that you can store in your kitchen, basement, or garage.

One drawback of the Worm Factory 360 Composting Bin is that vermicomposters require more attention. You have to keep an eye on your worms to ensure they're happy and that their environment doesn't get too dry or too moist. They also take longer to produce compost and make less overall, so they're not an ideal pick if you'd like to have a large stash of compost handy for your garden.

Perhaps the best part about this model is that it's very beginner-friendly. Each bin has helpful tips on the lid, including a list of all the things you can feed your worms for easy reference, as well as an 80-page instructional manual and a whole host of online videos to answer all of your worm- and compost-related questions.

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 18 x 18 x 28 inches
  • Material: Plastic
  • Capacity: 3 cubic feet or 22.5 gallons
  • Color: Black, green, terracotta

RELATED: The 10 Best Raised Garden Beds for Planting Herbs, Flowers, Veggies, and More

Best Compost Bin for Beginners: Food52 Five Two Down-to-Earth Compost Bin

Compost Bin
food52.com

Who it's for: People who are compost curious and want a fuss-free solution to kitchen scraps.

Who it isn't for: People who prefer a filtered lid to neutralize odors.

The Five Two Down-to-Earth Compost Bin makes storing your compost a no-brainer. Its 1.5-gallon size is big enough to hold several days' worth of food scraps, but its sleek design allows it to rest on your counter without being a bulky eyesore. It also skips liners in favor of a silicone bin that can go right in the dishwasher and won't let food scraps stick to the interior.

With its smooth, detachable handle, this compost bin is a chic container for carrying your food scraps to your neighborhood compost drop-off, and it's a lot more durable than a paper bag. Plus, if you're planning on going out of town and won't be able to get rid of your food scraps in time, you can pop the bin in the freezer to slow down the decomposing process.

Lid-wise, this model has an airtight seal, which eliminates the need to continuously purchase pricey charcoal filters. But you might get a whiff of last night's dinner when you go to put in some new food scraps since it doesn't have an odor neutralizer.

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 10 x 7.5 x 7.7 inches
  • Material: Polypropylene, recycled seashell, silicone, TPR
  • Capacity: 1.5 gallons
  • Color: Green or gray

Best Tumbling Compost Bin: FCMP Outdoor IM4000 Dual-Chamber Tumbling Composter

Compost Bin
amazon.com

Also available at Home Depot and Target.

Who it's for: People who don't want to have to regularly rake a stationary composter.

Who it isn't for: People looking for something more aesthetically pleasing for their space.

Turning your compost is an essential part of the process as it maintains your compost ratio and ensures that all materials break down. With stationary composters, you need to use a rake and some muscle to make sure that your compost-to-be is properly aerated, but tumbling composters like the FCMP Outdoor IM4000 make this step much easier. All you have to do is give its main chamber a twirl a few times a week. When your compost is ready, you can easily scoop it out of the composter's large and accessible opening with a shovel.

The IM4000 stands out because it has two chambers: one for adding new food scraps and one for compost that's ready to use. This means you can have a steady stream of soil enricher on hand for whenever you need it, as opposed to single chamber composters where you have to wait until the entire batch is done. It also produces a fresh batch of compost in as little as two weeks, thanks to cleverly built-in air vents and its black plastic body, which helps trap heat.

With a capacity of 37 gallons, this outdoor compost bin is on the smaller side compared to others, so it's ideal for people who don't produce a lot of food scraps (like newbies who are trying to make their garden a little more sustainable).

Product Details:

  • Dimensions: 28 x 30 x 36 inches
  • Material: Plastic
  • Capacity: 37 gallons
  • Color: Black

Final Verdict

We like the Epica Stainless Steel Compost Bin for its durability and filtered lid which traps odor. Plus, it's easy to clean and use, and it blends in well with most kitchen decor. For an even more affordable option, the Oxo Good Grips Easy-Clean Compost Bin has a convenient design that's easy to carry to your local compost drop-off site and simple to clean.

How to Shop for Compost Bins Like a Pro

Type

Compost bins come in quite a few varieties, including stationary, tumblers, worm composters (also known as vermicomposters), and more, so it's important to weigh the pros and cons of each to determine which is the best type for you. Stationary, tumbling, and wooden composters are all great choices for outdoor spaces. Here's a breakdown of the different types of compost bins you'll find on the market.

Stationary: Stationary models hold the largest amount of compost and allow worms and good microbes to aid in the composting process, but they can't be moved once you place them in your garden.

Wooden: Composters made of wood share many of the benefits of stationary models, plus they're easier on the eyes than their plastic counterparts. However, Carr warns that a wooden composter "is going to break down over time so you'll be replacing it," making them less durable than their plastic counterparts.

Tumbling: These composters are handy for smaller gardens because they take up less space and don't attract as many critters, but "they get a little bit more technical, so you have to have some sort of experience with composting," Carr says.

Worm: If you're looking to compost indoors, a worm composter is your best bet due to its size and lack of smell. Though, worm composters aren't without their challenges. "You can't get rid of all your food waste and your food scraps, and you have to know something about earthworm biology," Carr advises.

Countertop: Countertop compost buckets are a great way to store food waste until it's time to dump it in the composter or at a nearby composting site. Carr likes these compost bins because they help keep your kitchen clean and odor-free. However, it's worth emphasizing that these buckets aren't designed to create compost. If you leave your scraps in, they will break down, but without proper aeration and brown materials (like leaves and mulch), you won't get any compost—just a container of rotten vegetable leftovers.

Material

While many of us associate compost bins with plastic boxes, they can come in a few different materials, like wood, metal, and even bamboo. Plastic composters are more durable and pest-proof, though many prefer wood composters as they look nicer and use natural materials (but they do require more upkeep to prevent them from rotting.)

When it comes to compost buckets, Carr says to "stay away from anything glass or ceramic that will just eventually accidentally break over time." Instead, opt for one made from metal, which is long-lasting and quick cleaning–especially if it's dishwasher safe or comes with compostable liners.

Capacity

Carr says it's best to look at composters that are at least a cubic yard in size, noting that smaller bins "are just not going to be as effective." He recommends a three-foot tall bin for a two-person household and then going up to a four-foot bin for larger families.

However, the ideal compost bin size comes down to how much food waste you're creating. "Each household is going to be a little different," Carr emphasizes, so size up if needed. When looking for countertop compost buckets, measure out the area where you'd like to keep your bucket to ensure it will fit without taking up too much space.

Lid Style

While it may seem like a small detail, the lid style can make a big difference in the convenience of your compost bin. Some bins have lids you can easily lift off with one hand, which makes it easy to dump in kitchen scraps while you're cleaning up after dinner. Other lids come with charcoal filters that help keep things smelling fresh, but you do have to clean and replace them.

In terms of outdoor composters, most plastic versions come with a lid that latches shut to keep out pests. But if critters are still making their way into your compost pile, you can keep things extra secure with a few bungee cords. Bungee cords are also helpful if you opt for a wooden composter that doesn't have a lid; they're often used to secure a tarp blanket to protect your compost pile. Also: make sure you consider lid size as well. You want to double-check that you can fit a shovel into your composter's opening to get all of that earthy goodness out and spread it to your garden.

Questions You Might Ask

How does a compost bin work?

A compost bin is a container where you can place organic materials that will break down over time, creating a nutrient-dense soil topper for your garden. They're designed to speed up the natural decomposition process by promoting the optimal oxygen levels, temperature, and moisture that microorganisms need to start turning organic materials into compost. Many compost bins are made out of plastic and contain vents for this reason: It helps to increase the temperature of your compost, therefore speeding up the process while allowing for proper aeration.

While you can technically dump a bunch of organic waste into your compost bin and let it deteriorate naturally, it's more efficient to turn your compost a few times a week. This allows oxygen to flow and perfect the ratio of the compost. With stationary composters, you'll need to use a pitchfork or rake to do so, but with a tumbling composter, you can just turn the main chamber a few times to get the same benefits.

What is the best location for a compost bin?

There are several factors you should consider when choosing a location for your compost bin: temperature, ground surface, and proximity to your home. First, consider what parts of your garden have the most sunlight exposure during the warmer and cooler months. Your bin needs heat from the sun to kickstart the decomposition process, but too much can dry out your compost. A spot that gets bright, direct sunlight during the winter and becomes shady in the summer will help you find the right balance. Also, avoid placing it next to a tree to keep it in the shade, or else you may find a tree root has grown into your compost.

When selecting the ground surface in your garden to place your compost bin on, choose a spot that is level, well-drained, and has lots of soil. Too much moisture can ruin your compost, so avoid any areas that typically get puddles when it rains. Most compost bins create excess liquid that runs off into the ground. For that reason, it's best to place your compost bin in a spot with a lot of soil to absorb the runoff, as opposed to your patio.

Lastly, pay attention to your bin's proximity to your home. You don't want it to become a hassle to go outside and dump your food scraps, but you don't want your bin to be so close that it creates unpleasant smells whenever the breeze blows your way. Aim for at least ten feet of distance between your compost bin and your home.

What can and can't I put in a compost bin?

The ingredients for compost are often referred to as brown and green material. Brown material refers to things like dried leaves, shriveled plants, wood chips, and grass trimmings—things that are rich in carbon and provide lots of nutrients for all the organisms that will help break down your compost. Green material includes food waste like fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, and tea bags, which help boost the number of microorganisms in your compost. The things you want to avoid putting in your compost are dairy, meats, and fats, as they can attract unwanted pests (they won't smell great either).

The ideal ratio between greens and browns is around three to four parts brown to one part green. If your compost is off-balance, it will take a significant amount of time to decompose, it won't heat up properly, or it will start to smell. To avoid issues with your compost, Carr encourages using the "lasagna layering technique":

"Take a layer of brown material like leaves and make sure that all the food scraps stay into the middle of the pile," Carr says. "You're making a nest of leaves and then putting their food waste into the middle and then covering it with another nest so it all should just look like a leaf pile."

Take Our Word for It

This article was written by Jen Woo, a freelance design, lifestyle, and culture writer and content strategist with over 10 years of experience. To write this article, she thoroughly researched compost bins and considered factors like material, capacity, and lid style while narrowing down the list. For expert insight on how to choose the best compost bin for your needs, Jen spoke to Rick Carr, farm director and master composter at the Rodale Institute.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles