In this guide we’ll take a look at the best compost bins for the UK market.
I’ve compared air circulation, heat retention, drainage and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
What is the Best Compost Bin?
In a rush? Here’s my top choice…
Things to Know Before Buying a Compost Bin
A compost bin is a must-have for any serious gardener; it converts your waste into a nutrient-rich soil improver. Once you find the best compost bin for your needs, you’ll be able to make nutrient-rich compost within 6 months and never have to buy compost from the garden centre ever again!
In addition, a compost bin provides a place to put garden waste such as grass cuttings and weeds. What’s not to love?
If you’re thinking about buying a compost bin, take a look at the following tips to help you make an informed purchase.
Before purchasing anything for your garden you need to be sure you’ve got somewhere to put it. Check the dimensions of your potential future compost bin and compare them with the space available in your garden. You may be surprised by how much room some of them take up! That said, there are also compact designs which may be perfect to help really make the most of the space you have to hand.
What type of waste will you be throwing in to your compost bin? In the list above I’ve featured bins with massive 862 L capacities as well as smaller 220 L ones. If you’re mostly throwing away food waste and small garden waste such as weeds, you won’t need a huge bin; however, if you’re hoping to compost a lot of large cuttings you may wish to consider one of the bigger options.
The fuller your bin, the better it will retain heat, which in turn will help the composting process.
Compost bins come in a range of materials, below I’ve assessed some of the pros and cons of the most popular choices.
Wooden compost bins blend in naturally with your garden. They’re more aesthetically pleasing than plastic bins which is great if you can’t hide your bin from view. Slatted designs also allow for good aeration.
Wooden bins are often heavier than plastic ones and generally require assembly after purchase. The wood will need to be treated regularly to prevent rotting. Some wooden compost bins don’t have lids.
Plastic bins are light and often arrive ready-to-use (no assembly needed!). Many designs feature plastic drawer hatches to facilitate compost removal. The dark colour of plastic designs traps heat and aids the composting process.
Plastic bins are not as aesthetically pleasing as wooden ones. Some designs do not let the air circulate well. Many designs have screw-top lids which can be less practical.
Generally when a compost bin is made from recycled materials it is either made from recycled plastic or wood. Therefore, these compost bins share the same attributes as other bins made from these materials, but with the added ecological benefit that they have been recycled.
There are a lot of different styles to choose from, ranging from the wooden ‘beehive’ compost bin to the upright ‘dalek’. In terms of aesthetic style, it really just depends what you would like to have in your garden.
When it comes to lid style, there are compost bins with different types of lids, or no lid at all! Screw lids can be great for keeping heat in, but impractical for times when you want to put material in the bin and your hands are full. A hinged lid may be more practical in these instances. If your compost bin has no lid, it can be easy to empty your waste into, but it won’t retain heat as well which will mean slower composting.
The shape of the compost bin can make a big difference depending on the space you have available.
Square compost bins can tesselate better, especially if you have more than one, and don’t leave wasted space in the same way that round bins can. It is also often easier to load a square bin, as the opening is bigger and more conveniently shaped. However, aesthetically you may prefer the look of a tall round bin as opposed to a chunkier square one.
Everything I Recommend
More Detailed Compost Bin Reviews
4smile Garden Compost Bin Review
This 4smile Garden Composter is the compost bin I use in my own garden – and for good reason!
It has a neat square design and a hinged lid that makes it easier to fill than round bins. And, helpfully, the lid is almost the entire size of the box – this means it’s really easy to dump weeds, grass cuttings and food waste in the top. I’m sure we can all agree there’s nothing worse than accidentally spilling garden waste onto the floor because the bin opening was too small! It’s the best compost bin available for the money.
The square shape is perfect for making the most of the space you have. I have two of them stood next to each other and the square design means there is no wasted space between them.
Conveniently, this compost bin came flatpacked. It was easy to put together: everything simply clicks into place! It comprises of four sides and a lid. Even the bin’s dark colour has functional properties; it helps the contents of your bin warm up, improving the speed at which the waste turns into useable compost.
This bin has no base. If positioned on bare earth, worms and other beneficial invertebrates will be able to get into the compost, speeding up the composting process. It also has plenty of ventilation openings to prevent your compost from becoming slimy and unusable. The bin has a spacious 300 L capacity meaning you don’t have to worry about it filling up too quickly.
At the bottom of the bin is a removable hatch which you can take out to access your lovely compost.
The bin is quite light, so you might want to put it in a sheltered place, so it doesn’t blow over. Once you have put some waste inside it becomes more stable though and this is no longer a problem.
For me, this is the best compost bin because it is easy to put together, has a solid, square design and is easier to fill than some other bins. I have had plenty of compost from my first one in less than a year and the second bin is filling up nicely ready to provide plenty more compost in the autumn.
Blackwall Green Compost Bin Review
This Blackwall Green Composter is a conventional plastic compost bin, in the familiar ‘dalek’ shape which is quite popular.
There is no need to assemble this bin as it comes ready to go. And, not only is this bin a sturdy and durable option that will gives years of service, it’s also made from recycled plastic making it environmentally friendly!
It comes in a nice shade of dark green, which helps it retain heat from the sun thereby speeding along the composting process. It has a black hatch at the base for easy removal of compost.
The lid is easy to remove with a simple twist and this design ensures it is not blown off in strong winds.
The 220 L capacity means there’s plenty of room for garden waste and it is ideal for small to medium gardens. You can buy an additional base plate for this product if you want to place it on a hard standing. However, the best tactic is to leave the bottom open in order to allow worms and other helpful creatures to get in and aid composting.
This compost bin provides a no fuss solution for making your own compost at home. If you are looking for a ready-assembled bin with medium capacity this is the best compost bin for you!
Blackwall Large Black Compost Bin Review
This Blackwall Large Black Compost is the big brother of the smaller Blackwell compost bin featured on this list.
To keep things simple, it requires no assembly: just fit the hatch into place, twist on the lid and you are ready to go. A black base plate is also available separately should you require it.
The dark colour helps the bin retain heat, while the secure sides prevent weeds from growing inside and keep in moisture.
With a 330-L capacity, this extra-large bin is perfect if you have a big garden and a lot of waste. It comes with a helpful leaflet advising what you should and should not put in a compost bin.
This is another simple, cost-effective, no-fuss compost bin for your garden. It has an enormous capacity that makes this the best compost bin for larger gardens.
Easipet Wooden Compost Bin Review
This Easipet Wooden Compost Bin is an attractive beehive-shaped wooden compost bin. It’s the perfect choice if you want to keep your composting unit somewhere visible in the garden but are worried about it being an eyesore.
The bin comes flatpacked and is easy to put together. The only equipment you will need is a Phillips screwdriver – it shouldn’t take more than an hour even if your DIY skills aren’t great!
It has a capacity of 328 L and is made from 15 mm-thick kiln-dried fir which has been treated with a waterproof stain. I would recommend you reapply preservative to the wood every year to get the best life out of this product.
The bin has a hinged lid that makes it very easy to use, especially useful when your hands are full of garden waste and cuttings! It also has a removable hatch at the bottom for accessing the completed compost. The slats allow for good air circulation; this is an absolute must if you want good, moist compost rather than a slimy mess.
If you do not have a place to tuck away a black plastic bin in your garden, I would recommend this as the best compost bin to be visible in your garden. With its natural wooden appearance, and timeless beehive style, it is a beautiful addition to any garden making a feature out of a necessity.
Wooden Garden Compost Bin Review
The slatted design of this Wooden Garden Composter permits good air circulation and allows insects to get in to help with the composting process. The wooden materials look at home in the garden, so this is another good bin if you want or need to place it somewhere visible.
There is no lid to this bin, so you might want to consider covering it with a piece of old carpet or tarpaulin. Having a covered bin will keep out the rain and increase the heat within the compost unit, encouraging the composting process.
This attractive compost bin is constructed from pressure-treated wood. The completed size is 113 cm by 113 cm with a height of 70 cm. As this is on the larger side, I would recommend checking if have space in your garden before you buy this one. The bin is easy to construct as it simply slots together; it took me less than twenty minutes to assemble.
The open design of this compost bin makes it is easy to turn the compost, which is great for speeding up the composting process. However, there is no hatch for compost removal which means you will have to dig it out of the top when it’s ready.
This is another great option if you’re looking for a compost bin which will look aesthetically at home in your garden. It has a large capacity, making it the best compost bin for composting bigger garden waste; however, you should consider if a lid-less bin is suitable for your needs.
Compost Bin FAQs
It is best to position your compost bin in a shady or semi-shady place in the garden. The microorganisms that help convert waste to compost work better in steady conditions rather than when exposed to temperature extremes.
Ideally, you should place your bin directly on the earth so that worms and other helpful invertebrates, as well as microorganisms, can get in. If you do have to site your bin on a hard surface, be sure to add a couple of spades of earth to the bin before adding any waste to get things started.
Many organic items can be put in your compost bin including: raw food scraps (such as fruit and vegetable peelings), egg shells and coffee grounds.
You can also put annual weed and grass clippings in your compost bin.
Household waste such as shredded paper and fireplace ash is also fine to compost.
You should avoid putting cooked food, meat and fish in your compost bin as this may create unpleasant smells and attract pests.
You should also avoid putting in diseased plants and perennial weeds – this can spread the problem around the garden when you use the compost. Most garden compost units do not create a high enough heat kill these diseases and weeds.
It sounds like your compost is too dry. Try adding more green waste such as grass cuttings and vegetable peelings. You could also add some fresh manure, or a sprinkling of blood fish and bone, to help activate the compost. If you’d prefer to buy a product to help, a compost activator such as ‘Garotta’ which will do the job.