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What Style of Compost Bin is Right for Me?

Don’t be confused by the plethora of different compost bins on the market. There are so many different styles and sales pitches out there.

Honestly, almost any system will work – as long as you’re going to actually use it! This could be a wooden structure, a tumbler, a wire bin, or a pile in your yard.

The key is to do what is right for you and your family, and something that you’ll stick with.


Choosing a Bin

I’ve compiled a list of compost bins (all different styles), along with notes about each style, so that you will have all the information you need to make an educated decision about which compost bin you like. My favorite is either a wood bin, or wire. It’s so easy to use, add to, and move if needed. Plus they are usually the most affordable.

Your Bin Should have:

1. Holes for Air Flow

2. Roughly 2 by 3 feet wide

Here are a list of types of structures out there and their pros and cons:

  1. A Tumbler 


  • Some have two barrels, like the one pictured, some have one big barrel.
  • Tumblers are easy to mix, thus faster breakdown of material
  • Looks neat and tidy


  •  Doesn’t hold very much

2. A Wooden Structure


  • Looks appealing, mostly tidy
  • Easy to dump contents into it
  • Easy to open
  • Can build yourself


  • Harder to mix
  • Critters get into it

3. A Wire Structure


  • Easy to Set Up
  • Can build yourself
  • Very Affordable
  • Tidy appearance
  • Easy to move


  • Critters can get into it
  • Can cut your hands on the wire if not done properly

4. An Open Pile


  • Easiest method
  • Good for larger properties
  • Great for the soil underneath and around the pile
  • Holds a lot of waste


  • Not very appealing
  • Not very tidy
  • Need larger property

5. A Plastic Bin


  • Neat, Tidy appearance
  • Easy to add compost to it


  • Can move it (not very easily though)
  • Can be difficult to get compost out of it, once it’s finished

 6. A moveable structure


  • Lightweight and can move easily
  • Good for temporary placement or long term (for example, you live in a rental property and will be taking it with you when you move)
  • Looks tidy


  • Critters could possibly cause a mess

7. Lasagna Method


  • Great for creating a new perennial bed
  • Easy way to add nutrients


  • May need a larger property
  • Takes more effort

I can see where people get confused about how and what to do with their compost. I mean, how many more styles of composting are people going to dream up?

Choose the system that you will use for the rest of your life (of course you can change systems — I have before!) but choose one you know you and your family aren’t going to abandon in the back corner of the yard and then list it “Free” on craigslist eventually.

Remember, Composting is easy, and it’s critical to helping our planet.

Here are links to my favorite styles:

Geo Bin

Dual Bin Compost Tumbler

Wire Square Bin

Recycled Plastic Bin