Which composters are best for fall leaves?
If you’re interested in composting your yard waste, then fall is the perfect time to start. With the surplus of dead leaves covering your lawn, you have nearly all of the organic material needed for a successful compost.
However, those new to composting may feel overwhelmed by all of the different kinds of composters out there. With a high-quality product such as the VIVOSUN Outdoor Tumbling Composter, you have a simple, efficient way to help the environment and improve your garden, regardless of your experience level.
What to know before you buy a composter for fall leaves
Benefits of composting
There are many reasons why composting is great for your garden and the planet. For a more exhaustive list of benefits, check out the complete garden composter buying guide from BestReviews.
- Helps the environment: When organic waste sits in a landfill, it generates methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. Using a composter helps the environment by recycling this waste, thereby reducing emissions. Nutrient-rich soil can also increase plant growth, which pulls harmful carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
- Helps the garden: Composting enriches the soil, resulting in a healthier garden and a reduced need for chemical fertilizers.
- Helps you: Composting lawn waste is easier on the consumer, saving money and eliminating the need for those heavy, leaf-filled trash cans come garbage day.
How to use a composter
First, shred or crush your fall leaves before adding them to the composter. A standard lawn mower should do the trick. Once the shredded leaves are in the composter’s drum, add kitchen waste or lawn clippings. Coffee grounds, fruits, vegetables and eggshells are just a few of the many things that can be added for a nutrient-rich compost. You will then turn the mixture to let in oxygen, adding more leaves as you go.
You’ll get the best results by adding the right balance of carbon- and nitrogen-rich organic material. Carbon is typically found in brown leaves, while nitrogen is found in green leaves. Two-thirds brown leaves and one-third green leaves should provide the desired ratio. Once the materials are added, all you need to do is turn your compost once every few weeks.
Tumblers vs. bins
There are two main types of composters. Tumblers feature a drum that is rotated with a handle, thereby simplifying the turning process. Durable and sealed, these composters are great for quick results but are typically more expensive than their counterparts. Compost bins resemble large vats with a lid. These containers are spacious and affordable but require users to turn the compost with a rake or shovel.
What to look for in a quality composter
The capacity will determine how much compost your lawn can produce. The drum in a compost tumbler can typically hold between 30 and 80 gallons, while a bin can hold much more, usually around 60-250 gallons. Unless you have an extremely large yard or you accept tons of lawn debris from neighbors, a 60- to 80-gallon drum is more than enough for most homes.
Many high-end tumblers incorporate dual chambers for increased convenience and performance. One of the chambers holds the existing compost, while the other is used for adding fresh organic materials. This separation of old and new compost speeds up the process and allows for easier maintenance.
Most composters are made from plastic, wood or steel. Plastic and metal are preferred since they’re better at maintaining the heat required to properly “cook” compost. Durability is equally important, so look for an all-weather construction that will last year-round and keep out pests.
How much you can expect to spend on a composter for fall leaves
Compost tumblers typically cost around $100-$400, while compost bins can range from $50-$200.
What kinds of things can I add to my composter?
A. Almost anything that grows in the ground can be composted, even most paper products. Avoid adding meat and dairy products, since these can attract unwanted attention from rodents and pests.
Is it bad to have bugs in my composter?
A. While many consumers prefer to keep their bins or tumblers completely free of pests, there are some bugs that are actually beneficial for your compost. Pill bugs and earthworms, for instance, can help aerate the waste and speed up the degradation process.
What’s the best composter to buy?
Top composter for fall leaves
VIVOSUN Outdoor Tumbling Composter
What you need to know: This reliable tumbling composter uses galvanized steel and dual chambers for composting in batches.
What you’ll love: This high-quality composter is designed to reduce hassle, using adjustable air vents and deep fins to provide comprehensive circulation. It’s also rodent-proof and built with sturdy construction for a long service life. The composter even includes a pair of gardening gloves.
What you should consider: The drum capacity is smaller than many tumbling composters, and some users reported a complicated assembly process.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top composter for the money
What you need to know: This affordable compost bin has a large capacity and sturdy construction.
What you’ll love: This bin uses durable, BPA-free plastic to hold up to 110 gallons of compost. The composter is quick and easy to assemble, and convenient top-loading double doors make adding compost a breeze.
What you should consider: Some users warn of sharp edges during assembly, while others report that the bin isn’t entirely rodent-proof.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
FCMP IM4000 Dual-Chamber Tumbler
What you need to know: A simple, dual-chamber compost tumbler that’s perfect for beginners.
What you’ll love: This composter boasts two chambers with a max capacity of 37 gallons. The tumbler is BPA-free and made of 100% post-consumer recycled plastic. The frame is also galvanized steel and corrosion-resistant.
What you should consider: Some users felt that the individual chambers were too small.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Patrick Farmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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