If disposing of your garden waste in one fell swoop appeals, then a garden incinerator is a great option. They’re much cheaper than a shredder and the ash is great for your compost heap! But, when it comes to controlled fires, safety is key. I’ve researched and tested the most popular incinerators to make sure they’re fit for purpose. This is what I discovered…
What is the Best Garden Incinerator For You?
- Best for large capacity: CrazyGadget Garden Incinerator Bin
- Best value incinerator: Simpa Garden Incinerator Bins
- Best small incinerator bin: EasyShopping Garden Incinerator Bin
- Best for medium sized gardens: CrazyGadget Incinerator with Poker and Shovel
- Best for small matter: Keto Plastics Mini Garden Incinerator Bin
Comparing The Best Garden Incinerators
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In-Depth Reviews of Our Recommended Garden Incinerators
CrazyGadget Garden Incinerator Bin review
- Capacity: 125l
Dispose of confidential documents and garden waste, as well as chopped wood and branches, with a large incinerator bin like this generously sized 125 L model by CrazyGadget.
The Garden Incinerator Bin burns hot thanks to its size, enabling speedy incineration of even larger organic material. Its galvanised-steel drum stands up to the heat, providing ample space, whilst ventilation holes keep the fire burning.
Whilst its lightweight design does mean this incinerator shouldn’t be left unattended, it results in a model that is easy to move around the garden and store. The lid clips in place, protecting the fire from the elements, keeping the heat inside even on windy days.
Best stored in a dry place when not in use, this incinerator will help clear your garden of debris without posing the same threat to wildlife as bonfires do. Just make sure that you’ve got the space to keep it before purchasing.
- A good size for disposing of a large quantity of documents - great for house clearing.
- Handles make the incinerator easy to move once it has cooled down.
- Relatively straight forward assembly which doesn't take a long time.
- Large size keeps temperature high and can burn most medium-size garden material including wood.
- Safer for wildlife than a bonfire as it's easy to check nothing is nesting inside.
- Care needs to be taken as edge of ventilation holes are very sharp.
- Due to thin metal construction should be stored when not in use to prevent damage.
- Lightweight so should not be left out unattended.
- May dent easily if knocked.
Simpa Garden Incinerator Bins review
- Capacity: 60l
The best garden incinerator for bargain hunters, Simpa sell their 60L Garden Incinerator in a set of two, providing great value and allowing for plenty of flexibility in how the drums can be used.
Coming at a great price for two incinerators, you have the option to burn one or both at a time, depending on how much waste you’re disposing of during any given day.
Constructed from durable galvanised steel, these long-lasting incinerators have plenty of ventilation holes to keep burning efficiently and safely. Plus, with a capacity of 60 L each, there’s plenty of room for burning paper, leaves, and small amounts of wood.
A great way to avoid a trip to the dump every time you do a garden clear up, Simpa’s incinerators will save money and time whilst, as an added bonus, handily creating ash that will greatly benefit your compost heap.
Storage in a dry shed or garage is optimal, sparing these incinerators from too much exposure to rain or inclement weather.
- Easy to assemble - just needing the feet to be screwed into place.
- Good balance between amount that can be burnt and size of unit - not overwhelmingly large.
- Saves time and money - great size for small garden projects without having to take items to the skip.
- A good size for disposing of paperwork and documents.
- Great value for money when buying both units.
- Best kept dry to prolong life - should be stored in a dry, sheltered place.
- Metal may dent easily if knocked around.
- After a couple of uses the shiny finish may fade.
- Handles are quite thin and should only be used for carrying an empty unit.
EasyShopping Garden Incinerator Bin review
- Capacity: 15l
If finding a quick way to conveniently destroy important documents is at the top of your to-do list, the EasyShopping 15L Garden Incinerator Bin will soon see you putting your household shredder into retirement.
Making dull document destruction a thing of the past, this small and compact 15 L incinerator, constructed from durable galvanised steel, is the solution to keeping your house clutter free.
With a 3-legged base, and a lid with a chimney, this incinerator is both easy to fill and safe to use. Turning documents into ash in no time at all, it greatly improves the fun and excitement of organising and disposing of paperwork.
Now, if you’re looking for something that can take on larger tasks – burning wood and organic waste, for example – this likely isn’t the right product for you. However, if you want a garden incinerator that is easy to store and will simply turn your confidential papers into illegible dust – this 15 L drum is the solution.
- Perfect size for regular document clear outs.
- A much quicker way to dispose of documents than shredding them.
- A good price compared to similar models at local shops.
- Extremely easy to store away when not in use thanks to its compact size.
- Delivery packaging could be better and may result in a few dents on arrival.
- Quite a lot of smoke produced when burning with lid on.
- Only suited to burning small quantities of documents - not suitable for larger items.
- Thin metal may dent if knocked or bashed.
CrazyGadget Incinerator with Poker and Shovel review
- Capacity: 90l
For medium gardens that don’t produce enough waste to get a 125 L bin burning hot enough, the CrazyGadget 90L Incinerator offers the perfect middle ground. It’s a sizeable garden incinerator made from durable galvanised steel, with the second-largest capacity featured on this list. CrazyGadget’s 90 L bin is perfect for clearing all unwanted waste including leaves, branches, cardboard and confidential documents.
Whether you’re renovating your entire garden, or just having a quick tidy-up, finding ways to avoid numerous trips to the dump is both time and money saving. Plus, coming with a free shovel and poker included, this incinerator helps save your bank balance in more ways than one.
Standing at around 90 cm high and measuring 50 cm across, this 90 L burner is surprisingly compact. Not taking up too much space in the garden, it offers a good compromise between available space and burning capacity.
Due to the ventilation holes in the bottom, it’s best placed over a paving slab or similar to avoid hot ash falling through and scorching the ground.
- Can burn medium pieces of garden waste such as small branches.
- Gets sufficiently hot thanks to size and is especially useful for burning documents.
- Customers generally agree this offers good value for money.
- The included free shovel makes it easy to remove ash once it has cooled.
- If left out to face the elements and used often may rust relatively quickly/
- Needs to be loaded evenly to stop three-legged design becoming unbalanced.
- Hot ash falls through ventilation holes at bottom so shouldn't be used over ground that scorches.
- Due to heat of fire, it's unlikely to stay shiny for long.
Keto Plastics Mini Garden Incinerator Bin review
- Capacity: 15l
If you’re fed up of feeding all your confidential documents through a shredder, battling with it jamming constantly and later finding that your local council recycling doesn’t accept shredded paper, a small incinerator like the Keto Plastics Mini Garden Incinerator Bin offers an ideal solution.
This 15 L incinerator is the perfect size for destroying documents without a trace; burning sufficiently hot to quickly get through stacks of paper in half the time of a shredder, whilst being small enough to store away easily.
Measuring 48 cm high, including the chimney, with a width of 33 cm, Keto Plastics’ incinerator is roughly the size of a pedal bin. Made from galvanized steel, with three supportive legs, it can also be used for burning small amounts of garden waste.
If you’re looking for something to help with bigger garden clearances, this isn’t going to be the best choice for the job, but as an alternative to a shredder, also useful for small twigs and leaves, it’s just the ticket.
- Ideal size for disposing of documents/receipts on a weekly/monthly basis.
- Easier and quicker than shredding documents.
- Useful size for those who are very limited on storage space.
- Little assembly required and quick to put together.
- Easy to light with just a match and balled up paper.
- Difficult to add more fuel with the lid on - either need appropriate safety equipment to lift lid, or post fuel through ventilation holes.
- Lid handle gets extremely hot during burning.
- Not suitable for disposing of waste larger than leaves/documents.
- Can produce large flames out of chimney so placement needs to be carefully considered.
- Galvanised finish may wear off relatively quickly.
Things to Know Before Buying a Garden Incinerator
A garden incinerator is a useful tool for clearing up garden debris such as leaves, hedge trimmings, twigs, small branches and annual weeds. You can also use your incinerator to safely dispose of personal documents, as they are cheaper to buy than shredders and more effective when it comes to destroying private information.
There’s a range of garden incinerators on the market to suit a variety of needs and budgets.
Not sure what to look for when searching for the best garden incinerator? Check out these tips to help you make an informed purchase:
Garden Incinerator Vs. Bonfire
Garden incinerators tend to be safer and more effective than bonfires, plus you are less likely to upset your neighbours!
An incinerator burns at a far higher temperature than a bonfire so you can get through large amounts of waste much quicker and with less smoke.
Garden incinerators also contain the fire, which makes them a lot safer to use than bonfires – especially on dry days. Plus, because they are sealed containers, wildlife can’t nest or burrow in them. As a result garden incinerators are a much more humane and conscientious choice. Bonfires pose a huge problem for wildlife because animals like hedgehogs often hibernate in the bonfire heap and are killed by the fire.
The ash left inside the incinerator can be used as fertiliser around the garden; the potassium is particularly good for woody shrubs and trees. The ash can also discourage slugs and snails.
Keen composters can also use the ash in their compost bin to help the compost to break down faster.
Selecting the Right Design and Material
The majority of garden incinerators are made from galvanised steel. Steel is durable and can withstand very high temperatures. Properly looked after, a galvanised steel incinerator should last many years.
Incinerators look like dustbins with holes at the bottom to increase the ventilation. Some are cylindrical and some are square. The shape doesn’t impact the effectiveness too much, but you should ensure the incinerator has adequate air holes to improve combustion.
The shape of the incinerator that you choose it more likely to be dictated by the space you have available in your garden – some square incinerators may slot better into existing gaps in the garden, or cylindrical incinerators may be easier to store.
Incinerators generally come with a mesh top or a lid. If you want to really contain the flames, a lid is a better way to go. A mesh top might be useful if you’re hoping to use your incinerator with dual-purpose as a warming ‘fire pit’ as well.
Garden Incinerator Capacity
You’ll need an incinerator that’s suitable for the size of your garden as well as the amount of waste you accumulate.
Incinerators come in a range of sizes. The smallest designs have just a 10 or 15 L capacity. Meanwhile, incinerators for larger gardens may hold up to 90 L of waste.
Consider how much waste you’re going to be burning, and also what type of waste – leaves will be more compact than clippings and branches.
You shouldn’t rely on the idea of overfilling your incinerator to make it fit everything you want it to – this can be very dangerous and lead to fire spreading. The best thing to do is divide the waste into smaller loads if it’s not all going to fit in one go.
What to Consider Before Using Your Incinerator
Incinerators are generally safe and easy to use, but there’s a few things to consider before you get started:
- Don’t overfill your incinerator – as mentioned, this can cause the fire to spread and can be extremely dangerous
- Always have a water supply to hand
- Use fireproof gloves when using an incinerator
- Ensure the fire is completely extinguished before leaving your incinerator unattended
It’s best practice to alert your neighbours before you light your incinerator, and ensure they don’t have any washing out or windows open. Check the rules in your local area before you get started as well – some councils only allow material burning on certain days or between certain hours.
How to Use a Garden Incinerator Safely
How to Set Up the Incinerator
An incinerator is generally quite easy to use, but like anything that involves fire, it can be dangerous. Before getting started, check the regulations and rules in your area, both on whether you are allowed to burn waste and what you are allowed to burn.
To set up your incinerator:
- Make sure it is stable (with legs) and ideally standing on bricks to aid air flow.
- Ensure you’re in an open space; not enclosed and not too close to anything.
- Try to avoid burning in very dry weather as sparks may set light to the grass.
- Wear thick gloves, long sleeves, sturdy shoes and eye protection.
How to Light the Incinerator
To light your incinerator, remove the lid and put some lightly scrunched paper at the bottom, layering some dry wood on top.
Light the end of a roll of newspaper and insert the paper into one of the air holes at the bottom, being very careful not to burn yourself. Allow it to heat up before adding any waste.
How to Burn Waste Safely
Ensure your incinerator is extremely hot before you add any waste. As stated above, it’s best to first add paper and kindling before adding the waste.
Try to only burn dry materials – wet materials will create a lot of smoke that may disturb your neighbours.
Make sure you have your waste prepared in advance so that you can keep adding things to the incinerator as it burns. Don’t touch any parts of the incinerator as it will get very hot. Make sure you only put the lid on once you have filled the incinerator with your waste.
Never use anything like oil or petrol to get the incinerator going, and never leave the incinerator unattended.
Disposing of Ashes
Always make sure that the incinerator has cooled completely before trying to dispose of the ashes. This can take several days in some cases.
The cooled ashes from your garden incinerator can be used as a fertiliser. They are particularly good for woody plants as they are high in potassium. Ashes will also keep slugs and snails away from your precious plants if scattered around them.
Ashes can also be added to your compost bin. This will help the beneficial microorganisms in your compost bin thrive and break down the plant matter more effectively.
Garden Incinerator FAQs
Are garden incinerators safe to use?
Yes, but you should take some precautions when using your incinerators as all fires can be dangerous if not prepared sensibly. Bear the following in mind:
- Place your incinerator bin on a flat surface so it is not likely to tip over. Make sure there is space all around it. Occasionally, flames may come out of the ventilation holes or the chimney so make sure there is nothing flammable that is too close. Once it is hot, you will not be able to move it.
- Wear fireproof gloves when lighting your incinerator and once it is lit do not touch any part of it with bare hands. Do not overfill your incinerator otherwise flames will come out of the top and you won’t be able to put the lid on. If this does happen, wait for the flames to die down before attempting to put on the lid.
- Always have some water handy just in case your fire gets out of control.
I have just bought a garden incinerator, but I am finding it hard to get a fire started in it. Do you have any tips?
Yes. Only burn dry materials otherwise you will have a poor fire and create lots of smoke.
To prepare your incinerator, first line the bottom of the bin with some balled up newspaper. Then, place a few dry twigs on top. Light the paper and you should be away. Now you can begin to add your debris. Don’t overfill – this can cause the flames to come out of the top, making it hard to put the lid on. Once it is burning well, put the lid on to help the incinerator reach maximum heat.
How can I reduce smoke when using a garden incinerator?
If your incinerator is producing a lot of smoke, it could be that the waste you are burning is too wet. Allow cuttings and waste to dry out for a week or so before you burn them. Ensure you don’t burn household waste, and consider whether wet organic waste could be composted as an alternative.
Before lighting your incinerator, check the direction of the wind to check that any smoke which is produced won’t cause a nuisance.
What time of day can I use my garden incinerator?
There are no set times or days when you are allowed to use an incinerator, but there are laws in place to stop you from causing a nuisance to neighbours or putting others in danger. It’s recommended that you burn your waste either early in the morning or early evening, so that your neighbours are less likely to be affected by it.
Before lighting your incinerator, check the direction of the wind. If your neighbours have their washing out, windows open or are sat out in their garden, leave it for another day!