9 Best Backyard Compost Bins of 2021

There are a lot of great reasons to compost your waste.

Composting helps the environment by reducing the amount of yard clippings and food waste that goes to the landfill.

If you have a garden, composted matter is ideal for enhancing the soil. Even without a vegetable garden, compost can provide nutrients to flower beds and even potted plants.

Having a backyard compost bin is an easy and effective way to get rid of a lot of waste and make it useful again. There are a lot of options, however. If you have a large yard, your best choice of a compost bin will be different than someone with a balcony, who can still collect compost with a kitchen-sized bin or a “worm farm.”

We’ve looked at compost bins and have the top picks here for you as you make your selection. You’ll also find the answers to some key questions about composting and some considerations as you search for the best compost bin for your backyard.

Our Top 3 Picks for 2021 - A Quick Comparison

Runner up #2
Round compost bin
  • 220 Gallon Capacity
  • Vent Hole Design
  • Little Design
Runner up #1
Black compost bin with green door
  • Easy to Use
  • Close Lid to keep Critters Out
  • Super Large Capacity
Compost bin with stand and gloves

Our top pick features dual bins to allow you to rotate batches, letting one “cook” while filling the other with fresh scraps, allowing you to generate compost every 10-12 weeks. Easy to spin instead of having to mix with a shovel or by hand.

Here are the other reasons we love it:

  • 43 gallon capacity.
  • Adjustable air vents and deep fins provide excellent air circulation, key to decomposition.
  • Sturdy, durable construction of galvanized steel and high-quality PP plastic.



  • Corrosion-resistant, weather-resistant and rodent proof.
  • More of an investment than some of our other options.
  • Comes with garden gloves that have 4 durable plastic claws, good for digging and other garden work.
  • You still need to muck around in the compost to get it out of the bin and into the garden.
  • Cell

    Black compost bin with green door

    This is the granddaddy of self-contained compost bins, with an 80 gallon (300 liter) capacity.

    Here are the other reasons we love it:

    • Easy to use. Put your scraps in the top opening and take the compost out the bottom door.
    • Close the lid to keep critters out.
    • Super large capacity.



  • Easy to assemble.
  • One of the bigger choices so be sure you have the space.
  • Four air vents provide circulation, allowing for oxygen to help with fermentation.
  • You’ll need to stir the compost.
  • Cell

    Round compost bin

    This is an easy to set up option that can expand and contract, and simple to move and store when your season is done. Simply roll out the durable plastic material to the size you want, like a roll of paper, and then clip it together with the included keys.

    Here are the other reasons we love it:

    • Expand it up to 220 gallons of capacity, or make it smaller if you want.
    • Vent hole design with multiple wall openings help air circulation for faster decomposition.



  • Included support rods keep it in place.
  • Since the top is open, animals can get in the compost, so you may want to use it for yard waste only and not food scraps.
  • Little investment to get composting quickly.

  • Cell

    Round compost bin with blue chair

    An easy-to-use smaller option great for the beginner composter, or those with a small amount of waste, small garden or even balcony.

    Here are the other reasons we love it:

    • Tumbling design makes it easy to turn it every few days.
    • Move it around the yard by rolling it.



  • No assembly required.
  • Capacity is only 19 gallons, smaller than some of our other choices.
  • Large opening with a removable door.
  • Avaialable in green or blue.

  • Cell

    White compost bin with handle

    This attractive countertop option will collect your scraps for several days before you take them outside to your larger composter. It stores your kitchen waste without worrying about odors, and it looks good!

    Here are the other reasons we love it:

    • Made of biodegradable, dishwasher safe, and durable bamboo fiber.
    • Color options are natural, graphite and terra cotta.



  • Filters last two months and are dishwasher safe, the same as the bin.
  • Need to purchase replacement carbon filters, which fit inside the lid.
  • Minimal investment in an attractive waste collector.
  • Waste is not actually broken down.
  • Cell

    Green compost bin with stand

    Four trays stacked on each other can be expanded to eight trays, using worms to do the work of breaking down waste.

    Here are the other reasons we love it:

    • The airflow system makes it odorless, so it can be used indoors, all year round.
    • Can use one tray up to eight, allowing you to compost as much as you want.



  • Comes with an instructional DVD, a manual, and the lid features “quick tips.”
  • Requires a bit more preparation and work than other options.
  • Spigot at the bottom lets you collect the “worm tea” to spread on soil.
  • You have to buy the worms separately.
  • Cell

    Modern compost bin

    This kitchen appliance has a two-liter capacity that cuts food waste volume by up to 90%. Simply put the scraps in and press the button.

    Here are the other reasons we love it:

    • Removable grinding bin with a lid lets you “prepare” the scraps, or leave it on the counter to collect scraps for several days.



  • Made by the popular appliance manufacturer Vitamix.
  • Not a backyard bin.
  • Can put any type of food waste in it, including meat scraps, which isn’t the case with outside bins.
  • The priciest option.
  • One-button process of drying, grinding and cooling that takes about 7 hours, and then the odor-free remnants can go in the garbage or the garden.
  • Cell

    heavy duty Composter

    A larger option among rotating or tumbling composters, with two 27.7 gallon capacity chambers. Simply turn it over to spin the compost inside.

    Here are the other reasons we love it:

    • Easy access with lids on both ends of the bin.
    • A center bar inside the bin helps stir the contents each time you turn it.
    • Never run out of "black gold" compost again with this dual chamber design.



  • Lots of air vents to help with decomposition.
  • The larger size may be hard for some to spin.
  • Steel legs and recycled plastic bin.

  • Cell

    Mesh compost bin

    This is the simplest option, and one of the least expensive. It’s a wire bin that’s 36x36x28 inches in size. It has 4 equal metal panels that connect with spiral clasps and includes U-pins to fix it into the ground.

    Here are the other reasons we love it:

    • Holds up to 150 gallons.
    • Lots of air circulation will help with fast decomposition.
    • Brings you back to the days of your parents’ compost bin.



  • Rust proof and weatherproof.
  • The open design won’t keep critters out, so good for yard clippings but not food waste.
  • Easy to install, no special tools required, and folds easily when not in use.

  • Cell

    Things to consider when buying a backyard compost bin

    Different yards have different needs, which is why we have a good selection in our top picks. Among our top three backyard compost bins, there’s a spinning one, a more traditional fixed one, and an easy-to-assemble and move (but open) bin.

    But you may still be asking: What is the best type of outdoor composter? Let’s look at some of the top considerations when you’re looking for a compost bin, so you can pick the best one for your yard.

    First, why compost? One reason to compost is to reduce waste in the landfill. This is good for everyone, since we dispose of so much waste every year. Cutting back on what gets hauled away helps the environment in multiple ways - reduce the size of the landfill, and reduce the carbon footprint of many trucks hauling garbage.

    Second, a good compost provides a boost of healthy minerals to your soil. Whether you plant flowers, vegetables, or both; and whether you have garden beds, pots or both, the decayed organic material you’ll create will be a powerful natural fertilizer. Boost the production of your vegetables and flower blooms by nurturing healthy plant growth from simply collecting what you’re already throwing out on a regular basis.

    Of course, you can buy compost, but Is bagged compost any good? It might depend on your soil composition or what the ground may be lacking, but in general homemade compost will be better, and less expensive in the long run.

    What are the disadvantages of composting?

    There aren’t many drawbacks, but here are a few:

    • Initial investment in a composting bin, and investment of time to monitor and turn the material
    • Smell from the bin
    • Potential to attract rodents and other pests
    • Time to create compost before you can use it

    In general though, the benefits of a quality compost bin far outweigh any possible disadvantages.

    Types of Compost Bins

    Green waste in compost bin

    There are different types of compost bins, and we’ve covered those options in our top picks.

    Among the types are different sizes, which you’ll need to consider before you make your purchase. Your best choice depends on how much waste you produce, in the yard and the kitchen. If you choose one of the larger capacity bins, will you be able to turn the compost, or spin a large rotating bin?

    It also depends upon how much space you have in the yard for a bin, and how much use you have for the final decomposed matter. If you won’t use it all, do you have a neighbor who will?

    Then there are the different styles.

    Open compost bin: This is among the simplest options, but remember that it can attract insects and animals. If you choose an open bin, you may want to use it for leaves, grass clippings and other yard waste. Introducing food scraps may be an invitation to unwanted rodents and other pests in your compost heap and your backyard.

    Enclosed compost bin: This choice allows you to add kitchen scraps such as coffee grounds, eggshells, fruit peels, vegetable scraps and more. We still advise against any type of meat or fish scraps, however. Simply place the waste inside and turn it every few days, then remove the compost when it’s ready to go in your soil.

    Rotating compost bin: This kind of bin closes up and you spin, roll or rotate it, eliminating the need to turn the waste manually.

    Worm farm compost bin: Also known as a vermicomposter, we included a bin that is designed to allow worms to move through the layers, letting the worms do the work of decomposing the matter.

    Kitchen counter bins: This option lets you collect your scraps as you cook, and you then dump it every few days into your outdoor bin. The best kinds control odors and look good on the counter or under the sink. These are also great for those who have community compost programs, where a bin is set outside every week for collection. You can use one of the odor-inhibiting containers in the kitchen, then dump it in the larger bin when it’s full.

    We also included a kitchen appliance that actually shrinks and dehydrates the scraps, turning them into an odorless material that can go in the garden, or go in the garbage. It still drastically reduces the amount of waste created.

    How To Compost

    To create compost, your bin needs organic matters (kitchen and yard scraps) combined with hot temperatures, moisture, and oxygen to break down the materials. All our choices have air flow to help with the decomposition. Many are black in color to help keep temperatures warm. You may need to add moisture and there are other additions possible, such as the worm farm. You can also add soil to your compost pile.

    How often should you turn compost? Turning the material helps supply oxygen which helps break down the matter. When you turn the pile, bring the materials in the center to the outside, and the outside materials to the center. That helps with decomposition and odors. It’s a good idea to turn the compost every 5-7 days. If you have a tumbling composter, you can give it a spin every 3-4 days. As the compost “matures” or decomposes, you don’t have to turn it as often.

    And if you’re wondering what is the best composting method? The answer depends on you! Choose a method that you will enjoy and will continue doing. Choose a composter that fits your yard and will keep up with your amount of waste.

    Worms speed the process, but if you don’t like the idea of worms, choose another type of bin. If you don’t want to shovel the material, choose a spinning composter. And if you just want to reduce the amount of food waste without spreading anything in the garden, you may want to invest in the kitchen appliance that will accomplish that.

    The Verdict

    For the backyard fanatic who wants to improve soil quality and help the environment, a compost bin is an ideal addition to the yard. You’re throwing out grass clippings, leaves, coffee grounds and eggshells all the time, so why not turn them into a vitamin boost for your plants? In the process, you’ll reduce the amount of waste you send to the landfill.

    We have the best backyard compost bins for every size of yard, amount of waste you generate, and amount of work you want to do to create that golden compost.

    With our top tips, you can choose the best backyard compost bin for you and your backyard.

    About The Author

    Ardith profile picture

    Ardith Stephanson


    Ardith Stephanson has a journalism degree and spent years having fun as a sports writer for a national newspaper. She has also worked in communications and marketing, ran a successful communications business, and is a national award-winner. These days, she prefers to focus solely on writing, and to spend a lot of time in her backyard, where her garden, the firepit, local birds and her bee barn keep her busy and entertained. She writes about her adventures at theardizan.com