The Best Backyard Compost Tumblers

Composting is a great way to reduce the amount of waste your household generates, plus there’s the added benefit of free fertilizer for your yard or garden.

There are some nifty options for indoor composting on the market, but to do it on a larger scale you need to move outdoors. Here are four of the best compost tumblers available, each of which will help keep your backyard composting as easy and tidy as possible.

Tumbleweed Compost Tumbler

Tumbleweed Compost Tumbler

The Tumbleweed composter is a barrel-style container mounted on a galvanized steel frame, which allows rotation to turn the contents. A steel rod inside the barrel helps break up and aerate the contents during rotation. The barrel has a 58-gallon capacity, and can be filled or emptied from either end using the animal-resistant vented lids. The manufacturer promises complete composting in as little as three weeks, under ideal conditions.

The Tumbleweed Composter is available from Amazon in green or black.

Envirocycle Compost Tumbler

Envirocycle Compost Tumbler
Envirocycle Compost Tumbler

The Envirocycle composting drum sits on a stand, where rollers allow the drum to be rotated. Small vents in the 7 cubic-foot drum allow airflow, and the access panel locks shut to help prevent critter problems. The base collects “compost tea” drainage, and when composting is complete, the bin can be removed from the stand and rolled to your garden. Plus, as a bonus, the bin is constructed of 50% recycled plastic

The Envirocycle Compost Tumbler sells for $124.95 at Amazon.

Urban Compost Tumbler

Urban Compost Tumbler
Urban Compost Tumbler

The upright barrel-shaped design of the Urban Compost Tumbler makes the most of a cramped yard or garden space. The heavy-duty UV-resistant plastic bin has a 55-gallon capacity, and features an aeration bar inside to help agitate the contents during tumbling. The screw-down lid and screened ventilation help prevent any animals from entering the container.

You can find the Urban Compost Tumbler at Amazon.

ComposTumbler Compact Compost Tumbler

ComposTumbler Compact Compost Tumbler
ComposTumbler Compact Compost Tumbler

The ComposTumbler is the Cadillac of composters. The 90-gallon barrel uses internal fins to help circulate and break up the material inside. Its frame keeps it a foot off the ground to help avoid animal problems, and the hand crank makes rotating the bin easy. There are aeration/drainage ports on the door, and ventilation cutouts on the sides are screened to keep the contents inside and critters outside.

The ComposTumbler Compact Compost Tumbler is available for $349.00 at Amazon.

17 thoughts on “The Best Backyard Compost Tumblers”

  1. I have your large compost tumbler. The metal has rusted away how can I replace it. the size is 32″ wide and 114″ long. I would need the would set up door etc. Thank you Dana

  2. Thanks for the great info on composting. I really enjoyed it. I recently did a piece on 4 composting options that ANYONE can do. One of the options is a worm bin. Would you mind taking a look at my composting page and feel free to add any of your own tips in the comments section? I think my readers would appreciate your point of view since you appear to have a lot of experience.

    4 Composting Options That Anyone Can Do!


  3. I bought the composTumbler for my family and it’s currently unused in the yard. My dad has advanced degrees in mechanical engineering but complained that it was difficult to assemble. I only saw it after assembly, and it seemed very sturdy and well built. The design could be improved by replacing the door mechanism with something more user friendly (perhaps one that swings open rather than one than requires that you place it down every time). The crank on the side kept on interfering with plants nearby and would be better replaced by handles on the body.

    However, the composTumbler works! it’s solid and huge. Ideally, you’d have two, so you could add to one while the other finished composting. My parents stopped using their composTumbler because they couldn’t keep adding material if they wanted it to produce finished compost.

    So, I bought them the NatureMill, which was a big mistake. They were really angry at me for wasting so much money. There is no way the NatureMill can do what is advertised because there’s nothing in there to release the contents into the lower compartment, for example. Which assumes it produces any compost to begin with – bad assumption. When you plug it in, the light turns on and it makes some noise. I’ve never seen the crank inside move. It’s very poorly constructed (out of styrofoam) and is much to small to handle even one person’s food scraps (granted, I got the regular sized one).

    I’m interested in a review of the composter on the gaiam website, the one with an inner cylinder, that supposedly allows you to add continuously and still produce compost. anyone try that one?

  4. This is awesome. We need one at my building, I’ll print this off and give it to my strata. I tried to cut up an old oil drum and make one but it isn’t going too well.

  5. In a normal compost system, worms do a good proportion of the work (at least here in the UK). Does anyone know what the loss is from not having worms doing their work, or whether worms can be added to the drum?

  6. I bought the (large) compostumbler as a gift for my parents over 10 years ago. They never had any luck with it, and I ended up with it at my house. Determined to make it work, I tried several times with limited success (varying “recipes” of different combination brown/green inputs). Bottom line is that the time honored compost pile is much cheaper, and about as effective. The compostumbler may be more aesthetically pleasing than the compost pile, but that’s about it.

    I freecycled the compostumbler, and was glad to be rid of it.

    1. Gee, I wish I had known, Chris. I would have taken it off your hands. I have one for about 10 years also. I think it’s great. Works beautifully and, in my opinion, sure beats turning that compost pile.

    2. I had one for about five years. If you tumble its contents two or three times a day, you’ll have compost in about ten days. You need to mist it every day. The biggest mistake is soaking it every time you add water.

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