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Published Jan. 29, 2022

Whether you’re looking to nourish your potted plants, foster a prized vegetable garden, or do your part to reduce food waste, an indoor composter is an environmentally friendly and effective way to turn your food scraps into usable dirt. But if you’re new to composting, it can be confusing to find the best compost bins. 

The good news is that composting at home is easier than you think, and it’s a great way to put your inedible and leftover food to good use. The canisters and bins on this list help initiate the process of breaking down food into nutrient-dense soil that plants can thrive in.  

How We Selected These Products 

Methodology 

As a year-round home composter (yes, even through New England winters) and vegetable gardener, I know how valuable the rich, nutrient-dense soil in a compost pile is as a fertilizer. And as a chef and home cook, I want to do everything I can to reduce the massive amounts of food waste in America. So my list of best compost bins reflects personal experience, product testing, and research, including customer reviews and product specs. These composters are eco-friendly and easy to use. They’ll minimize smells in your kitchen and help your family turn regular food scraps into nourishing soil for your next produce crop. 

The Best Compost Bins: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Compost Bin Overall: Vitamix 06851 Food Cycler

Vitamix

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Why It Made The Cut: This quiet, quick and powerful machine turns fresh food scraps into light, dry powder to fertilize your garden in under four hours, which makes it the fastest and most thorough product on the list. 

Specs:

  • Weight: 27 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 inches L x 11 inches H x 14.2 inches W
  • Capacity: 2 liters

Pros:  

  • Carbon filter reduces odors
  • Quiet for indoor use
  • Produces dry compost

Cons: 

  • Replacement filters are expensive 

Vitamix is known for making high-functioning kitchen appliances, and this indoor electric composter is no exception. Though it’s not cheap, this quiet and thorough food cycler does the job well every time and will last for years of regular use, making it one of the best compost bins. To operate the Vitamix machine, dump food scraps (including poultry bones, fruit rinds, and coffee grounds) into the interior bucket. Press the power button and walk away. The machine will first dehydrate, then grind your leftovers into a dry powder that’s compact, light and easy to transport to the garden. 

The machine stays quiet and keeps smells at bay, thanks to interior carbon filters. It requires about a square foot of space. Vitamix also produces Foodilizer tablets that promote plant and beneficial organism growth to further speed up the composting process. One downside to the Vitamix machine is that replacement filters are pricey, at about $20 per filter. 

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

Why It Made The Cut: Despite its lower price tag, this compost bin does the job like a pro. It’s easy to keep clean and sits on the counter without taking up precious kitchen space.

Specs:

  • Weight: 27 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 inches L x 6.1 inches W x 7.5 inches H
  • Capacity: 15.2 ounces

Pros:  

  • Very lightweight
  • Minimalist design

Cons: 

  • No filter

For households that produce small amounts of compost, this inexpensive and well-made bin by OXO is a great choice. The lightweight plastic canister has a simple design that’s easy to use and gets the job done. It holds over two liters of compost and has a tight-fitting lid that keeps odors inside. It’s worth noting, however, that the bin does not have a filter, so it may need to be emptied more frequently than other options if you have especially smelly compost. 

This composter is also very easy to keep clean. The plastic has a smooth, shiny finish that prevents food from sticking. Between uses you can easily hose the container down or wash it in the sink to remove any build-up. If you prefer to keep your compost in bags, three-gallon compostable bags will work well.

Best Compost Bin For Small Spaces: Utopia Kitchen Compost Bin

Utopia Kitchen

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Why It Made The Cut: This filtered compost bin makes the best use of space. It takes up minimal room on or under your counter, but has a capacity of  nearly five liters. 

Specs:

  • Weight: 2 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: 14 inches L x 8 inches W x 9 inches H
  • Capacity: 4.9 liters

Pros:  

  • Stainless steel construction
  • Charcoal filter

Cons:  

  • Lid is not air-tight

This stainless steel countertop composter from Utopia looks great in any kitchen and is highly functional. The charcoal filter built into the composter lid helps reduce odors, though many users note that the bin is not odor-free. You will need to replace the filter regularly if your compost bin is often full, but fortunately replacement filters are affordable. 

What’s especially impressive about this bin is that despite being one of the smallest composters on our list, it offers nearly five liters of composting capacity, making it one the best compost bins. When it’s time to empty the bin, a swinging handle makes transport to your outdoor pile easy and mess-free. The container itself is light, so emptying the bin is no major feat. The container can be cleaned by rinsing it with warm, soapy water. You can even clean the filter in order to reuse it multiple times. Plus, if stainless isn’t your aesthetic, the bin also comes in sleek, matte black and shiny white. 

Best Worm Composter: Brothers Worm Farm Urbalive Worm Farm Compost Bin

Brothers Worm Farm

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Why It Made The Cut: This worm composter harnesses the power of nature to break down food scraps and has an attractive, mid-century modern design.

Specs:

  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 inches L x 15 inches W x 24 inches H
  • Capacity: 2 trays

Pros:  

  • Expandable to four trays
  • Multiple color options

Cons:  

  • Worms not included
  • Worm composting isn’t for everyone

Worm composting is a highly efficient way to break down home food scraps into nutrient-dense soil that plants love. This compost system by Brother houses two trays of compost worms, also known as red wigglers, that convert food scraps into soil. As the soil is produced, you can remove the good stuff from the bottom of the composting system and use it directly in your garden or on your potted plants. 

Don’t worry, the worms will stay inside. The system is designed to keep everything (worms, food scraps and soil) in its place until you’re ready to add or remove things. Plus, the system has a stylish design that looks great and comes in several attractive colors, including ivory, gray, and lime green. The system is easy to set up and makes quick, efficient work of your food scraps. If you have a large household, you can buy up to two additional trays to expand your composting capabilities. You’ll need to buy worms separately, at a cost of about $26 for a quarter pound. The manufacturer recommends starting with one pound of worms for two trays. 

Best Large Composter: All Seasons Indoor Composter Kit

All Seasons

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Why It Made The Cut: This is the best large-scale composter that still works well indoors. It’s made of durable plastic and comes with a handy spray bottle of compost-promoting bacteria to kick-start your soil production. 

Specs:

  • Weight: 5 pounds
  • Product Dimensions: 10 inches L  x 16 inches W x 10 inches H
  • Capacity: 5 gallons

Pros:  

  • Airtight lid for faster fermenting
  • Includes probiotic liquid spray
  • Spigot to release compost tea

Cons: 

  • No filter

For households that produce a lot of food scraps, this extra-large indoor composter offers a spacious 5-gallon (22.7 liter) capacity. The kit includes the heavy-duty plastic bin as well as liquid bokashi spray, which promotes rapid fermentation with probiotics. As a result, this composter acts as more than just a receptacle for your food scraps before they’re added to your outdoor compost pile. The airtight lid and probiotic spray creates the ideal environment to break down even hard-to-digest food scraps such as bones and meat. As a bonus, you’ll get a mineral-rich compost tea that’s easy to extract using the spigot in the bottom of the bin. The tea is great for fertilizing your plants and even works as an enzyme to clear out household drains!

Of course, this composter requires more space than smaller countertop models, and the larger amount of food it houses increases the likelihood of smells, so you may not want to keep this bin in your kitchen. 

Things to Consider When Buying the Best Compost Bin

Size

Before you invest in one of the best compost bins, consider how much space you have to house your composter. If you’re keeping the bin under the sink, measure the space first. Also, consider how many food scraps your household produces. If your outdoor compost pile is close to the house, a smaller indoor bin that’s easy to empty frequently may work well. If your compost only gets picked up once a week, you may need something larger.  

Filtration System

If you regularly compost meat, dairy, and other odor-producing food items, you’ll probably want a compost bin with a good filtration system. But remember that you’ll need to replace those filters regularly, so keep the expense in mind. 

Cost

Composters range in size quite a bit, so when looking for the best compost bin, consider how much you want to spend and how much you value features like filtration, electric food cycling, and capacity. 

FAQs

Q: What makes a good indoor composter?

A great indoor composter is one that you’ll use! Look for a composter that’s the right size for your home, so that it fits in your space but you don’t have to empty it every day. Your composter should be easy to empty and to keep clean. 

Q: Do indoor compost bins smell?

Short answer: Yes. Since you’re putting food scraps inside, over time your compost bin might smell. The best way to combat odor is to empty the bin regularly and rinse it out between uses. In addition, if you’re worried about smells, opt for a bin with a filter.

Q: How do you keep a compost bin clean?

Most compost bins can be rinsed out with a hose after emptying. For a deeper clean, use warm water and dish soap. 

Final Thoughts

The Vitamix Food Cycler hits the right notes of being time and space-efficient, durable, and innovative. While the other indoor composters on this list are a great starting place for your food scraps before they’re turned into rich soil on an outdoor compost pile, the Vitamix product does the work right in your home. That means fewer trips to the pile, less bulk compost to deal with, and fewer odors. 

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