If you want to learn how to buy the best outdoor composting bin to add to your outdoor space, we’ll give you the background on what to look for in a product.

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Even with the cold winters in Canada, many Canadians are avid gardeners who want to do their part for the environment by using a composter as part of their gardening plan.

And yes, you can continue to compost during the winter, which may actually speed up the process. So, that’s good news for Canadian gardeners and composters.

But before we get to the bins, let’s look at why it’s a good idea to compost.

(This post contains affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

Why Is Composting Important?

Composting is important and valuable, not just for your personal benefits, but also because it’s good for the health of the planet. Composting:

  • helps to reduce the amount of garbage you send to the landfill.
  • improves the soil’s quality and is a good fertilizer, resulting in better food if you grow your own.
  • can reduce the amount of water you use in your garden.
  • helps control weeds and improves the aeration of the soil.
  • helps reduce the cost of municipal resources.
  • saves you money on costly fertilizers.

As you can see, composting has many benefits, not the least of which it helps you indulge in ecotherapy and build a stronger connection to the natural world.

One word of caution is to keep in mind that proper composting takes time and effort, and you don’t want to use compost in your garden if it isn’t completely ready.

Next, we’ll look at what types of composting bins are generally available.

Types of Outdoor Composters

When it comes to composting outdoors, you have three basic options to consider: an open compost pile, a static compost bin, or a rotating composter:

1. A Rotating or Tumbling Composter

A rotating or tumbling composter is a horizontal bin that usually sits on legs or wheels and has a convenient handle to turn the compost mixture regularly.

Easier to Turn

In theory, it’s easier than using a spade to turn the mixture manually. However, it can be harder to manipulate when the bin is full and if the bin is large.

Double Compartment

Some of these rotating products have a double compartment that makes the load lighter and cuts down on the effort needed to turn it. Plus, the sides can alternate so that one side is ready when the other side is still processing.

Secure Lid

The tumbling composting bins usually come with secure lids and ventilation like the static bins, so pests cannot gain access, and the circulating air will do its work.

These are the three main types of composting arrangements you can have outdoors. However, the open pile is much more suited to a rural environment with plenty of space and distance from any neighbors.

Here is a popular tumbling compost bin:

HOTFROG Tumbling Composter in Canada

The HOTFROG tumbling composter is a popular compost bin and is available in Canada. It’s said to have excellent aeration because you can turn the handle, plus it has vent holes and deep fins inside to break up material.

This model also has two compartments with secure lids, making it easier to turn, and allowing you to have 2 lots of compost processing at different stages.

The bin is constructed of sturdy BPA-free UV inhibited recycled polyethylene. Plus, it will not degrade in direct sunlight. The powder-painted galvanized steel frame is corrosion-resistant, meaning it should last for years, keeping it out of the landfill.

The HOTFROG tumbling compost bin makes the job of composting easier and is said to speed up the process. Plus, people claim that it is rodent-resistant and doesn’t crack in cold weather.

2. A Static Compost Bin

A static compost bin is basically a large container, usually black in color, with a lid that you place somewhere outdoors on your property. When you decide on the location keep in mind that you’ll need to access it frequently to add material.

Keep It Close to the House

Making trips to the compost bin is a real consideration during the Canadian winter. You can keep it close to the house or in the garage during the coldest months.

Use a Small Bin Inside

It’s also a good idea to save your kitchen scraps in a smaller container for a couple of days to save on necessary trips to the larger bin outside.

Turn Regularly

Another real concern with static outdoor compost bins is that it isn’t easy to turn the mixture or remove it. However, many newer products have built-in drawers and openings to make this part of the process easier.

A Secure Lid

The static bins usually have a secure lid to keep pests away from the compost, plus ventilation and/or a self-watering lid to make the job of getting the conditions right for a quality finished product.

3. An Open Compost Pile

If you go with an open compost pile that doesn’t require a bin, you still have to do basic care and maintenance. Generally, you add compostable things like leftover fruit and vegetable waste and biodegradable garden waste like grass clippings and leaves.

Brown and Green Material

You also need to add what is known as “brown” material such as wood chips, shredded paper, or straw to deal with too much odor from the “green” materials.

Turn It Regularly

You then regularly turn it over with a spade to aerate it and add water if needed to keep the decomposing going. Rain will also do the watering job naturally. Covering the pile helps keep heat and moisture in, aids the process, and keeps it from getting too soggy and wet.

Avoid Unpleasant Odor

When compost is ready to use, it is dark and rich looking, without any recognizable bit of what you originally added. It should also have a pleasant outdoorsy smell, but never like ammonia or sourness of rotted food. You should never add animal products to your pile.

A Bin Is Better

The outdoor compost pile is not really a bin. And the odor may be a problem if you live close to your neighbors. These piles are also a problem when they attract pests because you can’t keep them out with a secure lid—all reasons for buying a good compost bin.

Which Type of Outdoor Compost Bin Is Best?

Which type of compost bin you decide to go with will depend on your circumstances and what you’re looking for.

They come in a range of sizes, so you’ll want one that fits your needs. It’s also essential that you have adequate outdoor space if you’re going to compost outside.

We tend to feel that a tumbling composter is a better choice because they make the work of turning the pile easier. They are becoming a popular choice for beginners and those who want to speed up the composting process.

If you want to know what’s available in your area and have your questions answered about each specific brand, check out the available options at your local gardening center or hardware store.

The staff at these centers will be familiar with the available brands, the specific features, and what may best suit your needs.

It’s the appropriate way to may sure you get the best outdoor composting bin for your needs. Composting, like recycling, is another great way to reduce your environmental footprint.

14 thoughts on “How to Buy the Best Outdoor Composting Bin”

  1. I really enjoyed reading your review on composting as I have lived on farms for much of my life. It is so important to choose wisely when deciding to compost. I had an open compost for a long time on my farm but the rats thought it was a lovely place to build a home (it was lovely and warm in winter and plenty of food) so I bought an enclosed tumbler but found it very heavy to turn. 

    I’ve now moved onto a smaller split tumbler as you suggested so that it is lighter to turn and one side is ready when the other is still cooking. This is a great way to help save our environment and improve your own garden.

    1. Yes, an open compost pile can definitely be a temptation for pests. I’ve also read that the single drum tumblers can be heavy when they’re full. It’s nice to know you found the split composting tumbler a better fit for your circumstances.

  2. Thanks for sharing your post about how to buy the best outdoor composting bin. There are many advantages to composting, some of which you already mentioned in your post. There’s one however that I would like to share, which is to generate heat or energy for the home. I know this is not yet popular but I did some research some time back and discovered that I can generate heat and energy for my home from compost materials. 

    1. Yes, generating heat and energy for the home from composting seems to be a trending topic. It would be great to see it become a normal thing for homes to do. It sounds like it could be very eco-friendly. Thanks for sharing the information.

  3. Good day, I’m pleased to meet you once again. I have gone through your post, and I learned how what I need to know to buy the best outdoor compost bin. It shows the background on what to look for in a product. And, it’s good to see again the importance of compost as you outlined. Thank you so much once again.

    1. I’m glad the post was helpful and I hope you find a bin that works well for your composting efforts. It’s a great step toward being eco-friendly.

  4. Wow, I actually did not know that one can continue composting during the winter. I just somehow assumed that it’s probably a suboptimal idea. But now, that I really think about it. Yeah, it makes sense that it could actually be more effective in winter.

    I actually got a ton of valuable insights out of this. For example, I was under the impression that it’s fine to add animal products to the pile. Clearly, I need to check my facts. Loved the suggestion on a smaller bin inside. That makes so much sense. I think it’s one of those things that are basic in principle but you kind of only get when people tell them to you. Which I appreciate you did. Cheers.

    1. Yes, there’s certainly lots to learn about composting, but the basic principle is pretty straightforward. You’ll get used to all the finer details as you go through the process.
      There actually are people who compost animal products, but it generally requires experience and some advanced knowledge. It’s better to start with traditional composting of organic matter to get the hang of it first.

  5. Hey there! I just finished reading your article about composting. This was just what I was looking for! As the weather here in the UK is just starting to get a bit better I’m beginning to think about summer activities in the garden. At the moment we don’t have a compost bin, but its something that I have thought about for some time. Are there any particular brands of bin that you recommend? 

    Thanks for the post, very much enjoyed it.

    Regards,

    Andrew

    1. Our website tends to focus on Canada. However, if you were to visit a local gardening center or hardware store, the staff would probably be able to give you some suggestions for what’s available in your area. You could also ask the question in online gardening forums that are specific to the UK.

  6. It is so satisfying to make your own compost. We used to have an open compost pile outside, but when we moved to a smaller property with a smaller garden, we bought a composting bin. It has a “door” at the bottom, where we can take compost out that is ready, while we keep on adding to the top. We did find that when we started, it was about a year before we could use the first compost from the bottom.

    I do have a small container in the kitchen that we add to the compost bin on a regular basis, and I find that it works very well. I really like the compost bin that can be turned, or the different compartments, that I will look at when I need to replace my current composting bin. 

    1. That’s a good composting routine. Yes, the composting bins that can be turned manually certainly help with the turning and aerating process, which can speed things up. Maybe you wouldn’t have to wait a year for your final product. The kind that has two compartments are even better because you can have them working at different stages of the process.

  7. As a keen gardener I think that this is s great idea.

    I have to buy compost on a regular basis, so it seems ridiculous that I am buying compost while at the same time I am throwing out waste that could be making free compost for me.

    I certainly want one with a lid, as I don’t want to have a bad smell near my back door.  I also like the one that can be turned, as I will probably do it more often and therefore get my compost made quicker.

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Yes, you can certainly make use of your food scraps to create your own compost, and a lid on the bin is definitely a good idea. It reduces any odor and also keeps pests out. A bin with a handle for turning does make the job easier and can speed up the process.

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