Composting may sound intimidating if you’re new to it—but don’t worry. While there are certainly wrong ways to compost, there are also plenty of ways to do it right. First off, it has less to do with finding the perfect compost bin than it does with finding the perfect one for you. What you’re composting, where your compost goes, and even the size of your kitchen can affect what kind of bin you want to buy.
A kitchen compost bin primarily acts as storage for food that is destined to eventually be composted, such as food scraps. If you don’t have an outdoor space or a drop-off site, you can still find ways to compost indoors, such as vermicomposting (composting with worms). Here, we list the best kitchen compost bins to help you do good for the environment, potentially save money, and even nourish your own garden.
The 10 best kitchen compost bins of 2021
1. The Relaxed Gardener Kitchen Compost Bin
In addition to its lovely cream color, this compost bin boasts another decidedly unique, convenient feature: You can open its lid with just one hand. That all but ensures that composting will become a seamless part of your daily routine. A plastic liner bucket adds to the appeal and keeps the outer bin from leaking.
2. Compost BIN
This countertop compost bin makes a lovely addition to your countertop, with bold, black, vintage-y lettering across the front that stands out against the stark-white background.
It has a stainless steel lid that’s rust-resistant and it holds 1.3 gallons of kitchen scraps. There’s a built-in carbon filter to help reduce odor, plus two extras thrown in. You can expect each filter to last approximately three to four months. The bin gets rave reviews, with an average 4.8-star rating from more than 2,550 customers.
3. Exaco ECO 2000 2.4 Gallon Kitchen Compost Waste Collector
The easiest way to start is to collect your food scraps in a composting bin. You don’t even have to compost them yourself: You can take them to a drop-off site. This bin comes recommended by Pisegna, who says it will minimize odor and keep fruit flies and other critters away.
Most countertop compost bins come with a lid that contains a charcoal filter to reduce odors. These can be restocked online or at most local hardware stores. If you’re willing to put in the extra effort (and have the freezer space), freezing your scraps before adding to a bin can also kill off any pest eggs that may be lurking.
4. Norpro Compost Crock
With the help of the useful and sturdy Norpro Ceramic Compost Crock, you can store vegetable peels, egg shells, clippings, and more as you prepare to take them out to your outdoor composter. This 4-qt. container is made entirely of ceramic. Use the Ceramic Compost Crock from Norpro to collect your shells and peels for outdoor composting
Even with my reservations about those two points, this is still a great model. It does not have an inner pail, so you’ll need to wash it out thoroughly after emptying it. And a filter pops right into the lid, keeping odors out of your kitchen.
5. Minky Homecare Food Compost Caddy
This petite bin, measuring roughly 7.5 inches square, tucks tidily in the corner better than a round container. It’s made in the UK by a well-respected household brand. (Interesting aside: The company is a supplier of products to the Royal Household.) Its internal liner can be used with or without compostable bags. The bin has a carrying handle and comes in basic white or pretty pastel shades such as green or pink for a splash of color. Reviewers rave about its ability to control odors while not hogging valuable countertop space in a small kitchen.
6. Abakoo Stainless Steel Compost Bin
The Epica Stainless Steel Compost Bin is one of the best-selling indoor compost bins. It has a fairly large capacity at 1.3 gallons. (It’s not the largest on this list, but it’s not the smallest either.)
It’s made of durable stainless, which is easy to clean, won’t absorb odors, and looks great in any decor. The lid is super tight, preventing odors from escaping. The charcoal filter in the lid further traps odors. This bin can be used with or without bag liners, and some reviewers noted that even without a charcoal filter it is very effective.
7. Full Circle Fresh Air Odor-Free Kitchen Compost Bin
Up your sustainable ante by using a compost bin constructed from recycled materials. Full Circle’s 1.5 gallon capacity composter is made from recycled plastic and partially recycled steel. It is also simple to clean and designed to let oxygen flow through, which greatly reduces odors and pests.
8. Sure-Close Kitchen Composter
Sure-Close Kitchen Composter is another great plastic bin that will blend in with your kitchen and decor. The micro-perforated lid on this model keeps smells, fruit flies, and insects out of your house. It will easily fit under the sink, cupboard, or the corner of your countertop. The lid latches closed and pops open with the press of a button.
9. ITouchless Compost Bin Slim
This attractive stainless steel compost bin comes in a cream finish that would suit most kitchen décor. The lid is brushed stainless steel. I really like the fingerprint-resistant finish that keeps it looking smart without needing to be wiped over every five minutes. If you’re concerned about flies and odors, this is definitely a compost bin to look at.
It has not one but two replaceable carbon filters in the lid. And there are a series of air holes to keep oxygen moving through the filters. The combination of activated carbon and good air flow will keep unpleasant whiffs at bay.
10. Simplehuman CW2025
Is this gleaming rose gold receptacle the waste disposal system of the future? There are two space-efficient compartments to help you sort trash from recycling treasure. There’s a built-in pocket for liners as well as a wide foot pedal to open the bin, which closes using the brand’s “Lid Shox” technology to ensure a smooth, silent close every time – no more wafting bin smells for you! Also available in black and silver finishes.
How to choose the best kitchen compost bins?
Considering these options when choosing a container:
- Size: Keep in mind that a container’s size is often the limiting factor in its ability to produce compost quickly. If the container holds less than 1 cubic yard (1 cubic meter) of materials (the minimum size for efficient decomposition), you can still work with it. But you need to manage the contents, air, moisture, and temperature more regularly if you want speedy compost, just as you would with a freestanding pile or homemade bin. If you’re in no hurry and just want a tidy receptacle to contain a relatively small amount of organic leftovers, then container size is not as important a factor.
- Weight: If it’s a tumbler, you want to be able to easily rotate it when it’s full of heavy, wet organic matter. If it’s not a tumbler, and you use just one container, it’s nice to be able to lift it up and off the organic matter to set it aside for turning or reloading.
- Height: Make sure you can easily lift your pitchfork or shovel loaded with organic materials into the container. It’s typically less fatiguing to rest your pitchfork or shovel on the side of the container as you empty it, rather than to hoist it upwards above shoulder level.
- Assembly required: Most bins require some assembly. Connectors such as screws or bolts usually hold up longer than plastic tabs that crack or break after a season or two in extreme weather. Look for sturdy, rigid construction at joints. Loose connections can come apart and cause the container to collapse when you’re poking around in the bin.
- Lids: Look for sufficiently large top openings to add fresh organic matter. Will your loaded-up pitchfork or shovel fit with room to spare? Or do you need to use your hands to stuff materials in?
- Pest deterrents: Lids should tighten securely to protect against enterprising pests and strong winds. At the same time, you want to be able to lift lids to add more organic matter without a lot of fuss.
- Access panels: Some units offer sliding trap doors at the bottom to provide access to the finished compost. Check the dimensions to see whether your spade will fit inside. Otherwise, you’ll need to scoop compost out by hand or use a hand trowel.
- Aeration and drainage holes: Air and water are important ingredients in composting. If bins are fully enclosed, there must be some method for allowing air in and moisture out. Without drainage, the contents of the container turn wet and stinky and the decomposition process slows.
To compost it’s the best compost bins that will be your friend. If you’re thinking about getting into composting (and if you have a garden, you absolutely should be getting into composting) then you’ll know that you’re going to need a compost bin. A compost bin gives you a place to mix your compost to the perfect blend of carbon and nitrogen and gives it somewhere to decompose into the perfect compost.