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Buying compost can be one of your main costs when setting out to grow your own vegetables. Even if you only have a small growing space you will find you need a lot. Making your own compost is a great way to cut down on costs and reduce waste.
It’s good news for wildlife and can be fun too. It also means your compost is right where you need it. That makes it easier to get started gardening. You don’t need to get compost delivered or fetch it from shops and garden centres.
Compost comes from all sorts of organic material that has broken down over time. You can recycle lots of waste that might otherwise end up in landfill by composting. You can use veggie peelings, coffee grounds, used tea leaves, ash from wood burners, cardboard, paper, weeds, garden leaves, and more.
If you only have a small area to grow in you might think you don’t have space to compost too. But you can make compost with a small garden compost bin.
There are some great at-home compost bin solutions. These include balcony compost bins and small backyard composters. Compact compost bins for small gardens come in many styles and types.
- 1 Enrich your garden with a small garden compost bin
- 2 Compare compost bins
- 3 How to choose the right garden compost bin for you
- 4 Different types of compost bins
- 5 Finding the best small compost bin – UK guide
- 5.1 Biolan Bokashi Kitchen Bin Starter Set – Best mini compost bin for kitchens or balconies
- 5.2 Pack of 2 Garden Composter Bags – Best Mini Garden Composters
- 5.3 Wormcity Wormery with 4 Composting Trays – Best small worm compost bin
- 5.4 Insulated Compost Bin with Ventilation System – Best insulated narrow compost bin
- 5.5 140L Dual Chamber Compost Bin – Best small tumbler compost bin
- 5.6 Lacewing Outdoor Wooden Compost Bin- Best small wooden compost bin
- 5.7 Invopak 220L Recycled Plastic Garden Composter Bin – Best Dalek compost bin
- 5.8 Related Posts
Enrich your garden with a small garden compost bin
In this guide, I walk you through finding the best compost bins for small gardens and growing spaces. Read on to find out what to look for when you buy a compost bin. You can also check out my full composting bin reviews below. But if you are in a hurry here’s a super quick overview of some great options.
Compare compost bins
Here is a quick comparison of some of the best home composters. It’ll help you choose a small compost bin for garden, balcony or kitchen use. The list includes some of the best outdoor compost bins and indoor options.
How to choose the right garden compost bin for you
There are a few things to consider when looking for a compost bin for small garden use. Compost bin materials vary. For example, metal compost bins are an option. They are also available in wood or plastic.
You’ll need to consider what size bins work for your space and where you can locate your small outdoor compost bin. How much waste are you able to put in? If you don’t have much garden waste you’ll want to start small.
A very small compost bin that is full will work better than a large one that is only half full. So when you have a small garden with not much space it makes sense to go for a compact composter. Not only will it save you space it will also work quicker.
So what are the best types of composters for your needs?
Before making a choice you might want to consider how you will be composting. I cover different methods like hot, cold, batch and top-to-bottom composting below.
Deciding which way you want to compost will impact the type of composter you should buy. Read on, we’ve got all the info covered in our small garden composter buying guide below.
What to look for in a compost bin
A compost bin needs to have some ventilation and allow drainage. It also needs some insulation to keep in heat. It needs to keep out large amounts of rain. We’ll look at different types of bins and how they compare below.
Size also matters, especially when you don’t have much space! As I have such a small garden, checking the dimensions of a new item for my garden is always essential.
Once I’ve decided where I’m going to put a new item I like to measure the space. I then check the dimensions of any product like a compost bin against the space I have.
How much do compost bins cost?
So how much are compost bins? Prices change often, so this is a rough guide. You can get started with a basic composter for garden use, for example, a composting bag, for around £20-30. Prices vary depending on the type and materials.
Sturdier types or with more features will cost more, from £60-£80. You can expect to pay more for wormeries and for insulated composters. Wormeries are around £80-£120. Insulated composters can cost a lot more. They are approximately £500-£1000.
Where is the best place to put a compost bin?
The amount of space you have may affect where you locate your compost bin. I have a very small growing area so I decided to place my compost bins by the back steps from the house.
This is a shady spot that doesn’t have much potential to grow veg in. So I’m not losing growing space by putting it there.
If you don’t have space for compost bins outdoors, you can also consider very small balcony models.
Working with your space
It helps the process to have your composter in a place with consistent temperatures. So shady corners can be ideal. That’s handy for saving growing space too. When you choose a compost bin consider how it will work in your garden.
Square bins can work particularly well in corners. Flexible compost bags are also great for squeezing into odd spaces and are easy to move if necessary.
When you want to speed up the composting process you should also consider the surface you place your bin on. If your bin is on an earthy surface worms can get in there and help break down waste. If it is on concrete they might not get access.
However, I have placed my compost bins on concrete and I see lots of worms around and under the bins. So worms can and will travel when they need to!
Hot or cold composting?
Hot composting can speed up the process. One way to get that effect is to have a large full bin of materials. It’s not easy to get your compost pile to reach high temperatures when you don’t have a lot of organic matter. But it’s possible to get small hot compost bins that are well insulated and this will also do the trick.
Cold composting takes longer. But it is very simple and is a great option if you don’t have a lot of time or space to dedicate to composting.
With batch composting, you will need two compost bins. You’ll be adding materials to one compost bin until it’s completely full. You should then stop adding ingredients and leave the contents of the bin to break down into compost.
You can speed up the process by turning the contents into an empty bin as soon as it’s full. You can also turn the contents with a fork once or twice. In 3-6 months the material should break down.
While this is happening you can add new waste to a second bin and repeat the process with that bin. Most wooden composters and some plastic composters work like this.
If you don’t have space for two bins, top-to-bottom composting may work better for you. You can keep adding material to the top of the bin while removing compost from a hatch at the bottom of the bin.
This can be slower than batch composting as there’s not much room to turn the compost with a fork. You just need to let time do the job of breaking down materials. Dalek composters and a lot of other plastic composters work like this. Most composting bags also work like this.
Different types of compost bins
Let’s look in detail at different options when you’re looking for the best composters to buy.
Insulated compost bins
If you want to get your compost quick you can opt for an insulated compost bin. They are sometimes also known as hot composters. They are usually made from insulated foam and do well at keeping pests out.
The insulation keeps temperatures in the bin high and creates compost in 1-3 months. While you’ll get results quickly you may not get a large quantity of compost. Insulated bins can go on flat hard surfaces. The heat does all the work so there’s no need to let worms and other creatures in.
Plastic compost bins
Plastic compost bins, including Dalek models, offer good durability and long life. They come in a range of sizes so it’s possible to find compact ones for small gardens. They often have a hatch to use the top-to-bottom composting method. That saves time and effort so they are a good option for gardeners with limited space and time.
Garden compost sacks are a cheap and easy way to get started. They are flexible and can fit in awkward spaces. They come in different sizes. I started small and moved on to a bigger one once I had more garden waste to add.
They are handy for top-to-bottom composting. Choose one that is a breathable material for ventilation and that liquid can get out of. You also need quite a hardy material that will keep pests out.
Pallet compost bins
Compost bins made from wooden pallets are a popular DIY option. They provide good ventilation and can take a lot of material. However, they do take up quite a lot of space. Other options may suit gardeners with limited space better.
If you’ve got the space check out the RSPB’s guide to getting started composting with repurposed pallets.
Tumbler compost bin
Tumbler composters have rotating barrels. With traditional compost and piles, it helps to turn the pile with a fork at intervals. This helps air move through the pile, speeding up composting. Using a tumbler composter can be easier than using a fork to turn the pile. However, once the bins are nearly full, they can be harder to turn.
Tumbler compost bins are usually on a stand, off the ground and made from durable plastic or metal. This helps keep pests like rodents out of your compost. But, being off the ground also means helpful worms can’t help your compost along.
Some tumbler composters are bulky, but compact models are available for those of us with smaller spaces to work with.
Worm compost bin
A wormery is a great option to keep in your garden shed or in a sheltered part of the garden. A wormery usually has two or more compartments. You can add kitchen waste at the top and buy worms to add to the bottom compartment. The worms feed on the waste and produce compost and liquid fertiliser or compost tea.
Having a wormery can be fun and rewarding. It’s also very educational for children. You’ll need to take care of a wormery and make sure to maintain the right conditions for the worms.
It’s worth considering that it’s not the quickest way to create compost. Wormeries can be compact and handy for small spaces. But they won’t process a lot of waste and won’t make a large volume of compost.
Wire compost bins
Compost bins made of wire are affordable. But they are too airy for making compost unless wrapped in plastic. They can be helpful for storing leaves and other garden waste while your compost bins are full. You can then top up your compost bins from them.
Let’s move on to finding the best composters for your small growing spaces. We’ll look at the top-rated composters that meet different garden and space needs.
Finding the best small compost bin – UK guide
While looking at which compost bin is best for small spaces I’m going to start with the smallest. My compost bin reviews include a tiny compost bin for those of you who have very little space. I also work up to slightly larger garden composter reviews for those with a bit more space.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
- 23cm (L) x 26cm (W) x 29.5cm (H).
- 10-litre capacity.
- 1 kg of Bokashi included to get started.
This is one of the best small space composters for indoor kitchen use. It’s also a good option for a balcony compost bin.
The Biolan bin is simple and easy to use and comes with clear instructions. You add food waste along with bokashi which speeds up the breakdown of materials.
It uses an anaerobic fermentation process so doesn’t need ventilation. This means you can leave the lid firmly shut and there’s no odour.
The materials break down into a compost tea that you can extract from a tap at the bottom. You can use that as fertiliser or even a drain cleaner. You also get pre-compost solid material. You can add that to gardens, plant pots or other composting.
The fermenting cycle takes 14 days. You might want to consider getting a second bin. Then you can keep adding waste to it while the waste in the other bin processes.
The Biolan bins are also easy to keep clean. They don’t take up much space so they work well in a small kitchen too.
- A quick way to create a liquid fertiliser to nourish plants.
- Reduce and reuse kitchen waste even if you don’t have a garden to compost in.
- No odours, so it doesn’t attract pests.
- To keep composting all the time you’ll need two bins.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
- 45cm (W) x 80cm (H) / 35cm (W) x 60xm (H).
- 34 gallons / 15 gallons.
- Material: Polyethylene.
If you want a very small compost bin and have some space outdoors, you could consider a composting bag.
Bags are a good way to get started if you’re new to composting and want to give it a try. A compost bag is low-cost and one of the best value compost bin options to get started with.
This set offers particularly great value as you get two bags. You can use the smaller bag to fill up on garden waste and then fill the larger bag from it once full.
This is an easy way to start using the batching method in a small space. It also gives you the opportunity to turn the mix to help encourage the materials to break down.
Alternatively, you can use the bags as top-down composters. There is a hatch to access the completed compost at the bottom of the bag.
I started off with a composter bag when I was looking for a mini outdoor compost bin. I’ve found this method convenient for a small garden.
The smaller bag is handy to move around the garden when picking up cleared plants or any weeds I’ve cleared with a hoe. Once it gets full it’s not as easy to move. The only disadvantage I’ve found with these kinds of bags is that once full the larger bag will start to lean over.
The small bag in this set also makes a great small composter for a balcony.
- A low-cost way to get started composting.
- Good for outdoor or balcony use to make compost in a small space.
- Easy-to-move location when bags are not yet full.
- Flexible: You can use it for top-down or batch composting.
- Sometimes the large bag leans when full.
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
- 43cm (L) x 43 (W) x 100cm (H).
- 100-litre capacity.
- Comes with 500g Worms, Coir Bedding and Food.
If you have space in a shady corner outside or in a shed and want to try worm farming, this slim compost bin is a great choice.
Wormcity manufactures this wormery in the UK from recycled plastic. As it is tall and thin it is very space efficient. Wormcity provides a lot of information about how the wormery works and how to look after the worms. It’s easy to assemble and the instructions are clear.
The wormery has a strong base and structure and comes with everything you need to get started. It has a large capacity so it’s able to process a family’s kitchen waste.
The worms help to produce good quality compost for your garden. There is also a tap to collect compost tea to use as fertiliser.
- If you are in the UK this is an especially eco-friendly option. Wormcity builds their wormeries in the UK. So there is no international shipping impact.
- Produces good quality compost and fertiliser.
- Easy to set up and get started as there is great communication from the manufacturer.
- You will need to make sure you only add worm-friendly waste.
Rating: 4.9 out of 5
- 50.8cm x 45.72cm x 83.82 cm.
- Insulated and ventilated.
If you have a bit more space and want to try an insulated compost bin this small hot compost bin is a good choice. It is tall and narrow so is an efficient use of space.
Its features include a thermometer to track temperature. It also has a charcoal filter to keep out pests, even tiny fruit flies. It has built-in air vents. Its insulated structure keeps temperatures high and speeds up the production of compost.
It’s a top-to-bottom composter with easy access to finished compost from the lower hatch. The insulation means you can maintain hot temperatures in the bin all year round.
- Easy to assemble and use.
- Less need to check and adjust the bin’s contents.
- Turns organic waste into compost quickly.
- Odour-free and has quality seals that keep out bugs.
- A bit on the pricey side.
- If you live in the UK be aware that this ships from the US.
Rating: 4.3 out of 5
- 68.1cm (L) x 48cm (W) x 89.9cm (H).
- 140L capacity.
- 360-degree rotation.
One of the best backyard compost bin options is to get a tumbler composter. The rotation allows you to speed up the composting process. If you have enough space for a rotating tumbler bin this is a great option.
This model has two chambers so you can also use the batch composting method. Once one chamber is full you can fill the second one while the other is processing. That makes for efficient use of a small space.
If you have less space, this model is also available as a small rotating composter with one chamber bin. It has a 70L capacity. While you can’t then batch your compost-making with this, you can still rotate the mix to speed things up.
The removable door panel makes it easy to both add waste and remove the finished compost. This is one of the best small outdoor compost bins if you are looking for a tumbler option.
- Easy to use and get started composting.
- Compact and space-efficient.
- Good ventilation and rotation for quicker composting.
- Good value for money.
Rating: 4.3 out of 5
- 73cm (L) x 73cm (W) x 70cm (H).
- 373 litres capacity.
- Material: Pressure-treated Pine.
- Square compost bin.
This is one of the best wooden compost bins for a small space. It’s compact and yet has a large capacity.
The slatted design of this small wooden composter allows for good ventilation. It’s also one of the best small outdoor composters if you want a natural wood look to blend in with your garden. The treated pine of the product comes with a 15-year guarantee against wood rot.
If you have a bit more space Lacewing also do larger versions of this design. The bin comes flat-packed and is self-assembly.
- A decent capacity for a compact bin.
- Easy to assemble.
- Great for those who prefer to have wood over plastic.
- Good value for money.
- You will need to get two bins if you want to batch compost.
Rating: 4.3 out of 5
- 74cm (L) x 74cm (W) x 90cm (H).
- 220 litres.
- Windproof lid.
- Made from recycled plastic.
This Dalek-style compost bin has a hatch at the bottom. It’s ideal for the top-to-bottom composting method.
It’s a lightweight bin that stabilises once you start to add material to it. It comes ready to use and there’s no need to assemble it. It’s robust and sturdy.
This style of bin is great for use in small spaces as you don’t have to have two bins and use the batch method.
- Decent capacity for a compact composter.
- No assembly is required.
- Easy to use.
I hope you found my guide to the best garden composters useful. Find more info to make the most of your small garden here on SmallSpaceGrowing.com.
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