In a nutshell

The Hotbin was a BBC Gardener’s World Best Buy winner for being the fastest to compost, as well as the best for small spaces. It's clean and ‘no mess’ with the compost leachate liquid contained in an easy to empty tank, plus a built-in carbon filter absorbs smells. Comes almost completely assembled and has a three-year warranty.

What we tested

  • Design and setup
    A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
  • Ease of use
    A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
  • Compost quality
    A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
  • Value for money
    A star rating of 3.0 out of 5.
Overall Rating
A star rating of 4.3 out of 5.


  • Quickly composts food as well as garden waste
  • Clean and self-contained
  • Comes almost fully assembled
  • Achieves a high temperature


  • Waste needs premixing
  • Made from virgin materials
  • Cam straps make compost access awkward

Buy the Hotbin Mk.2 composter from Thompson & Morgan

What is the Hotbin like and where can I place it?

The Hotbin is made of expanded polypropylene which has excellent insulating properties and raises waste temperature for higher speed composting. Design features include a temperature gauge in the lid, a carbon filter to absorb smells and a tank in the base to collect the liquid that is produced during the composting process. Note the Hotbin must be sited on a level hard surface. Also supplied with a separate compost thermometer to accurately check the heat level, a stirring stick and a 2-litre plastic container that can be filled with hot water to ‘kick start’ composting at low temperatures.

What is the Hotbin like to set up and use?

The Hotbin comes almost fully assembled and the lightweight material makes it easy to move into place (although it will become much heavier when in use,which is why a level base is essential). To achieve ‘hot’ composting, waste needs to be added little and often and the waste should be pre-mixed before placing in the bin. The hinged lid makes it easy to access. Finished compost is removed from the lower part of the bin: there’s a removable hatch, which has to be secured top and bottom with a cam strap to avoid the compost inside pushing it outwards. Removing and re-securing the straps does make harvesting a little awkward. The leachate tank is easy to empty and the liquid can be diluted 1:20 with water to use as a liquid fertilizer.

What can I put in the Hotbin?

Food waste and most garden waste can go in the Hotbin. If the temperature is over 40c, cooked food waste, meat, fish and bones can be added. If under 40c, Hotbin recommends just adding vegetable peelings, offcuts and fruit peelings (including citrus), tea leaves and coffee grounds. Waste should be premixed before adding: for every full caddy of kitchen waste, add half a caddy of paper or card and a fifth of partly composted woodchip (referred to as bulking agent, and can be bought with a Hotbin). Requires a minimum of 5kg of waste per week to maintain ‘hot’ composting.

Who is the Hotbin most useful for?

Small households or gardens could have a Hotbin as their sole bin as it processes both food and garden waste. As it's tall, with a relatively small footprint for its size, and a dark, unobtrusive colour, it can be sited close to the home, so it's convenient to take waste from the kitchen. If you only want or have room for a single bin, a ‘hot’ composter like this processes waste quickly and the design also enables finished compost to be easily harvested from the bottom so you can keep filling from the top.

Is the Hotbin good value for money and is it built to last?

The highly insulated Hotbin was the most expensive in our trial but as it has the potential to make compost in just a few weeks, it’s an efficient composting solution for small spaces. However, the carbon footprint was much higher than other bins: no recycled materials are used in the construction and supplying a plastic container for hot water is unnecessary when any container could be used for this.

Buy the Hotbin Mk. 2 composter from Dobies


Buy the Hotbin Mk.2 composter from Thompson & Morgan

Product Specifications

NameHotbin Mk. 2 composter
MaterialARPRO Expanded Polypropylene
Lifetime WarrantyNo
Feature notes

Lid thermometer to monitor temperature

500m-thick walls for heat retention

Airtight lid and bio filter to reduce smells