How to Compare Composters

Overview

In the United States, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 23 percent of waste is made up of food remains and yard trimmings. Instead of sending this waste to a landfill, help the environment and your garden by composting it and turning it into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. Backyard composting bins can help, but not all bins are made alike. Consider various bin characteristics, such as size and rodent resistance, to find a composter that will work best for you.

Step 1

Measure the size of the composter. The bigger the bin, the more you can compost. Bin size will also determine your composting style: while cold composting can be done in any size bin, hot composting requires a bin that holds at least 1 cubic yard in volume so it can hold enough waste to build up sufficient heat.

Step 2

Consider the compost bin's style and the physical effort required to use it. Most compost bins are either stationary or tumbling. A cube-like stationary composter may require you to manually stir the contents with a garden fork, while a tumbling composter mixes the contents as you turn it.

Step 3

Inspect the composter's construction. Your bin should have ventilation holes or air vents to allow the movement of fresh air, and a lid to keep smells in and pests or pets out. Do not consider any composter that lacks these characteristics.

Step 4

Check that the composter can withstand rodents. If it can, this will be noted on the bin's label. Rodents are drawn to the organic waste inside a composter. Bins designated "rodent-proof" are more secure than those labeled "rodent-resistant."

References

  • "The Complete Compost Gardening Guide"; Barbara Pleasant and Deborah Martin; 2008
  • "Burpee Garden Cyclopedia: A Concise, Up-to-date Reference For Gardeners At All Levels"; Maureen Heffernan, et al.; 2002
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Composting--Basic Information
Keywords: compare composters, compost bins, choose composter, composter types

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.