Compost is nature's gift to your garden, a rich blend of nutrients that not only nourishes your plants but serves as an ideal fertiliser, organic mulch, and soil improver. Making your own compost is both a rewarding and sustainable practice that allows you to recycle garden and kitchen waste to provide your plants with the essential elements they crave.

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Simply put your garden waste and some kitchen waste into a compost bin and it will break down over a year or so to reveal fresh, home-made compost. If you're looking for a compost bin for your garden they come in a range of shapes, sizes, and prices.

Whether you have a large country garden or a small outdoor space in the city, there are compost bins to suit all tastes and requirements. To help you choose between the hundreds available on the market we've tested several to provide a broad range of compost bins to inspire your next purchase.

We've also got some useful information regarding the different materials that compost bins can be made of, how to choose the best compost bin and what to put in your compost bin.


If you're new to composting or would like more practical tips and information, see our guides on how to make compost and how to make a composting trench. We also have a handy trouble-shooting video on common problems with composting. For tested tools to help with the process, check out our guides to the best spades, electric garden shredders, border forks, gloves, wheelbarrows and best cordless mowers.

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Best compost bins to buy at a glance:

Our expertise

We tested the different types of compost bins, using them in the garden for a year to help you find the right one for your garden. Each bin has a detailed list of pros and cons for clarity and has been rated according to design, ease of use, compost quality and value for money. Every bin in our round up below has scored a minimum of four out of five stars, so you can buy with confidence.

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In every review, we award the outstanding products our coveted Best Buy award. To see these and the others we recommend, browse our pick of the best compost bins below:


The best compost bins in 2024

Blackwall Green Compost Converter

RRP: £54.95

Our rating: 4.25/5

Blackwalls Compost Converter
Blackwalls Compost Converter

Pros

  • Low price
  • Black bin totally recycled
  • Optional base plate to site on hard surface
  • Long warranty

Cons

  • Thin, non-ventilated construction
  • Slowest to compost
  • Only one access hatch

The Blackwall Compost Converter is a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy for the best budget model. Made of recycled plastic, it consists of a one-piece cone-shaped body with a snug-fitting removable lid and single hatch. It's very quick to set up - just stand it on the soil and you're good to go. It's a great option for those who want a simple and affordable compost bin. However, because of its thin sides, it was one of the slowest composters on test, so if you want results quickly you may want one of the other models featured here.

Read the full Blackwall Compost Converter review.

Buy Blackwall Compost Converter at Even Greener and Amazon


Suttons Modular Wooden Compost Bin

RRP: £199.99

Our rating: 4.5/5

Modular Wooden Compost Bin
Suttons Modular Wooden Compost Bin

Pros

  • Simple, tool-free assembly
  • Insulated cover sits directly in compost
  • Planks slide out for easy filling/ access
  • Accessed in any side
  • Extends with additional three-sided modules

Cons

  • Cover lets in some rain

This traditional wooden compost bin has a huge 573 litre capacity, earning it a BBC Gardeners' World Magazine Best Buy award for the best large compost bin. Made from sustainably sourced Scandinavian softwood, the planks easily slot into upright grooves on the corner posts and the bin can be accessed from every side. Thanks to its plastic cover, it produces the highest internal temperature of any of the wooden bins on test, guaranteeing fantastic compost. However, you should note that this cover let in a little rain.

Read the full Suttons Modular Wooden Compost Bin review.

Buy the Suttons Modular Wooden Compost Bin at Suttons, Amazon, and organiccatalogue.com


Green Johanna 330 Litre Hot Composter

RRP: £144.99

Our rating: 4.5/5

Green Johanna 330-litre hot composter
Green Johanna 330 Litre hot composter

Pros

  • Compost food and garden waste
  • Made from 100% recycled plastic
  • No need to pre-mix waste
  • Good capacity for price

Cons

  • Can't harvest compost when the winter jacket is on

Awarded a BBC Gardeners' World Magazine Best Buy for the most versatile compost bin, the Green Johanna 330-litre Hot Composter has a good capacity and works effectively for all types of food and garden waste. It does not need pre-mixing and is made from 100 per cent-recycled plastic.

Read the full Green Johanna 330 Litre Hot Composter review

Buy Green Johanna 330 Litre Hot Composter at Van Meuwen, Suttons, Amazon and Great Green Systems


Hotbin Mk. 2 Composter

RRP: £255

Our rating: 4.25/5

Hotbin Mk 2 compost bin
Hotbin Mk 2 compost bin

Pros

  • Quickly composts food and garden waste
  • Self-contained and comes part assembled
  • Achieved highest temperature

Cons

  • Waste needs pre-mixing
  • Made from vigin materials
  • Cam straps make compost access awkward

If you want quick compost, look no further - the Hotbin Mk. 2 Composter is a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy winner for being the fastest to compost. A good option for small spaces, it has a built-in carbon filter to absorb smells, a temperature gauge on the lid and a tank in the base to collect the liquid produced during composting. That said, all waste needs mixing before going into this composter, and it can be a little tricky to access the compost.

Read the full Hotbin Mk. 2 Composter review

Buy Hotbin Mk. 2 Composter at Hotbin, Thompson & Morgan, Even Greener, and Dobies


The best of the rest

Although some models didn't quite achieve a Best Buy award, they still have various features that make them worth recommending. Browse our pick of the best of the rest on test.


Hozelock EasyMix 2-in-1 composter

RRP: £134.99

Our rating: 4/5

Hozelock EasyMix 2-in-1 composter BBC Gardeners' World Magazine review
Hozelock EasyMix 2-in-1 composter BBC Gardeners' World Magazine review

Pros

  • Smart and compact, made from 90% recycleable plastic
  • Takes both food and garden waste
  • Easy to fill and empty
  • Tank to collect/dispense liquid
  • Makes compost quickly if regularly turned

Cons

  • Lots of assembly
  • Heavy to turn when fuller
  • Needs regular attention for fast composting
  • Household would need more than one composter
  • High price

This compost bin is a ‘tumbler’ type, designed to enable the frequent turning and mixing of waste material, and produces compost much faster than a traditional compost bin due to the high level of aeration. It’s smart and well made, from 90% recycled plastic, and its vermin-proof design enables the composting of both food and garden waste. Thanks to its compact size of 60 x 50 x 65cm, it’s also easy to site almost anywhere. Both adding and emptying waste is straightforward, as the hatch is large and opens and locks smoothly with a chunky knob. There are also plenty of grip points to rotate the drum with relative ease, although once the tumbler is around two-thirds full, this becomes quite hard to do due to the weight.
One of its best features is that when the compost is ready, you simply roll the drum off the base to a convenient emptying place in the garden. The nutrient-rich liquid that drains during the composting process is also collected in a tank which clips onto a garden hose, allowing this useful plant tonic to be easily dispensed when watering.
However, while this bin is clearly solidly made and the product of a carefully thought-out design, there are drawbacks. The cost is high in comparison to the amount of waste it can process and the subsequent amount of compost produced. Another, is that it needs ‘tending’ to tumble the waste: not in itself an arduous task, but to produce compost rapidly this does need regular attention, ideally daily. The air vents do allow small flies to enter, and during warm weather, these fly out in clouds when the hatch is first opened, so opening it and standing back for a minute is advisable. Any garden waste such as stems and woody material aren’t suitable to use in this compost bin, if the aim is to produce compost in a period of weeks. However, the chief drawback is that this can’t be the only composting solution because the waste needs to be left for a period of a month or so without adding fresh material. This therefore necessitate either having two of these composters, or an alternative composting solution. It comes with a three-year warranty.

Buy the Hozelock EasyMix 2-in-1 composter from Keen Gardener, B & Q, Wickes and Amazon


Lacewing Easy-Load Wooden Compost Bin

RRP: £76.99

Our rating: 4/5

Lacewing Easy-Load Wooden Compost Bin - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Lacewing Easy-Load Wooden Compost Bin

Pros

  • Good size capacity for price
  • Removable front makes it easy to add waste and harvest compost
  • Long warranty

Cons

  • Drill required for assembly
  • No lid or cover
  • Waste composted slower at front and top

The simple construction of this wooden compost bin allows for a whopping 718 litres of volume. It's made from slats to allow air circulation around the compost and the front ones are removable, making filling up the bin much easier and allowing lots of room to get at the compost when it’s ready. However, we found that these wide gaps meant that it composts relatively slowly. Made from pressure treated pine, the slats have a smooth, planed finish and are guaranteed against rot for 15 years.

Buy Lacewing Easy-Load Wooden Compost Bin on Amazon


Harrod Horticultural Slot and Slide Wooden Compost Bin

RRP: from £199

Our rating: 4/5

Harrod Horticultural Slot and Slide Wooden Compost Bin - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Harrod Horticultural Slot and Slide Wooden Compost Bin

Pros

  • Very sturdy construction
  • Planks slide out for easy filling/access
  • Accessed on any side
  • Extends with additional three-sided modules

Cons

  • Lots of assembly and requires a powered screwdriver
  • Screws for lid rails too short

Producing some of the best and fastest compost on test, this composter is for serious gardeners. It's designed to be modular, so you can add multiple units for extra capacity, and is very sturdy as it's made of sustainably sourced wood with aluminium fittings. The planks slide out smoothly so it's easy to add waste and remove compost. However, the lid isn't included, and this composter needs a lot of assembly with power tools, so if DIY isn't your bag you may want to look elsewhere.

Buy the Harrod Horticultural Slot and Slide Wooden Compost Bin from Harrod Horticultural


Garantia 400 Litre Thermo-King Composter

RRP: £94.99

Our rating: 3.75/5

400 Litre Thermo-King Composter - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Garantia 400 Litre Thermo-King Composter

Pros

  • Insulated and vented sides
  • Two-part hinged lid for easy filling
  • Made from 100% recycled plastic
  • Optional base plate so can be sited on a hard surface

Cons

  • Multiple lugs make assembly and hatch replacing tricky
  • Connectors don't feel very durable

This plastic compost bin has a great 400-litre capacity. On test, its foamed plastic walls and carefully designed ventilation system helped it handle this volume quickly, producing excellent compost. It's made from 100% recycled materials and includes a wide two-part hinged hatch for easy filling. However, it's a little tricky to assemble.

Buy the 400 Litre Thermo-King Composter at Robert Dyas, Crocus, Garden Tech, and Great Green Systems


Thermo Compost Bin Komp 420

RRP: £208.88

Our rating: 3.75/5

2048-1365-gw-compost-bins-Thermo-Compost-Bin-Komp
Thermo Compost Bin Komp 420

Pros

  • Insulated and vented sides
  • Hinged lid, easy to fill
  • Compost accessed on any side
  • 100% recycled plastic

Cons

  • Assembly hard to align single-handed
  • Comparatively high price

With a robust, sectional design and made from thick recycled plastic, this bin is easy to access thanks to a wide hinged lid. Insulated and vented sides help it compost quickly and it's available in a range of sizes, from 250L to 700L (pictured). However, we found that it's fiddly to assemble without help, and it comes at a relatively high price.

Buy the Thermo Compost Bin Komp 420 on Amazon and Garden Delights


Aerobin 200L Composter

RRP: £191.99

Our rating: 3.75/5

Aerobin Composter - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Aerobin Composter

Pros

  • Compost food and garden waste
  • Produced compost in reasonable time
  • Finished compost easy to access

Cons

  • Waste needs pre-mixing for high temp
  • Leachate tank hard to access
  • Made from virgin materials

Our tester liked this this high-tech compost bin, which thanks to its internal ‘lung’ to circulate air and a rigid recycled plastic outer shell produces compost quickly. It's easy to access, but the bin needs a regular supply of ready-mixed waste to maintain temperature, as well as a drainage hose, which isn't supplied. The leachate tank is also tricky to access.

Buy the Aerobin 200L Composter from Originally Organic and Water Butts Direct


Forest Garden Beehive Composter 250L

RRP: £189.99

Our rating: 3.5/5

BBC Gardeners' World Magazine Review Forest Garden Beehive composter 250L
BBC Gardeners' World Magazine Review Forest Garden Beehive composter 250L

Pros

  • Durable with effective lid
  • FSC wood
  • Long anti-rot warranty
  • Looks good

Cons

  • Lengthy to build
  • Needs a prop to hold up lid
  • Hard to harvest from hatch
  • Slow to make compost

This attractive wooden, beehive-style compost bin makes a stylish feature in the garden. Made from FSC pressure treated softwood it arrives flat packed and took our tester a lengthy two hours to slot together and build. It has a hinged lid and a hatch at the base for accessing the compost, and tools including a drill and screwdriver are needed to attach both of these. The bin holds 250 litres of compost, although this is more like 230 litres when you allow for a gap at the top for air circulation, and it’s easy to add material, as long as you’re strong enough to lift the lid with one hand. Our tester fashioned their own prop to hold the heavy lid up while they worked and it’s a shame that given the price, one isn’t included with the bin as it makes a massive difference to ease of use. It’s also awkward to harvest compost from the hatch as material needs regularly turning and so you end up turning and using the compost at the top.
The quality of compost was as you would expect with a cold composting system of this size and it took 18 months before we had a good crumbly mix. The bin is well aerated and the secure lid prevents compost getting soggy from the rain. The bin is also open at the bottom so it’s ideal for placing directly on the soil but this does mean that rodents can burrow up into the compost. The bin feels very durable once built and it comes with a 15-year anti-rot warranty, which as the wood is in direct contact with the damp ground is reassuring. The build quality and looks of this bin and are its best features but it’s not for gardeners who lack strength or don’t want to spend time putting it together.


What materials are compost bins made of?

Compost bins come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are made using different materials:

Plastic compost bins: Ideal for a small space, the plastic sides and lid retain moisture and heat to encourage rapid decomposition, as well as blocking out light to stop weeds from growing. This type of bin should ideally be placed on grass or earth.

Wooden compost bins: Typically 1x1m but the biggest wooden bins can produce hundreds of litres of compost. They're often modular, so you can fit several together and cycle compost throughout the year to ensure a steady supply. Usually open to the elements, you can also increase their efficiency with a wooden lid or plastic cover.

Hot compost bins: Insulated with a close-fitting lid, these are designed to allow decomposition at a much higher temperature and therefore higher speed than other composters (30-90 days, compared to around six months). They also result in a finer compost. Roughly the size of a wheelie bin, they need to stand on a hard surface.

Wormery bins: These work similarly to compost bins, but are slightly different. They're designed for the small-scale composting of kitchen waste, and use tiger worms to break down material instead of decay. These specialised worms mix and break down the compost quickly and produce a nutrient-rich liquid for use as a fertiliser. Compost worms can also be added to larger bins. However, not all waste is suitable for a wormery, so you’ll still need a compost bin too. For more info, check out our expert tests of the best wormeries or read our guide on how to set up a wormery.

You can also make your own compost bin using wooden pallets or corrugated iron. Enclosing the sides will retain heat, which speeds up the rotting process – the larger the pile, the more heat. The ideal minimum size is 1m x 1m and, if possible, make more than one, so it's easier to turn the compost. For more help, take a look at our advice on how to build a compost bin and our guides to the best multi-tools, best cordless drills and best hammers, should you attempt to build your own.


How to choose the best compost bin

When choosing a compost bin, consider the size of your plot, the design of your garden and the amount of compost you'd like to produce.

Compost bins come in a variety of sizes and capacities. A narrow plastic bin is perfect for a little city garden, but might not work for a bigger space in the country. On the other hand, a 1x1m wooden bin is great for large quantities of compost, but may be overkill if you have a suburban spot.

This means you should also consider how much compost you'd like to make and how quickly. Wooden compost bins can process the most waste, but if you don't want to wait half a year for your first batch, insulated compost bins speed up the process, but offer less compost. Garden design is a crucial consideration, too. You might have a big patch of unused soil that would fit a compost bin, but might not be sunny enough to make it worthwhile. The type of ground you are setting your bin on is also important, as plastic and wooden compost bins will ideally need to be placed on grass or earth while insulated bins can sit on hard ground.


What to put in a compost bin

There is a whole range of kitchen and garden waste materials which can be put into a compost bin. You need a 50:50 split of nitrogen-rich 'green' material like grass cuttings and carbon-rich 'brown' material like dead leaves. This rough ratio of green to brown waste is crucial, because otherwise the waste won't break down.

The rest is up to you. For green material, try green leaves, garden clippings and any vegetable waste, from potato peels to carrot ends and even coffee grounds. For brown material, use waste twigs, leftover newspapers, sawdust or wood shavings. The only exception here is wormeries, which only take small-scale food waste.


How we tested compost bins

The bins were assembled and sited according to instructions, and then tested over a year. They were given the required type of waste and similar bins were given the same mix of waste at the same time. They were assessed throughout the year using the following criteria with equal marks attributed to each:

  • Design & setup. Looked at ease and clarity of instructions, siting restrictions, and how well the design worked and extra features.
  • Ease of use. Assessed the simplicity of adding waste and then removing compost from the bin.
  • Compost quality & speed. Focussed on the speed the waste rotted down (including checking the temperature using a compost thermometer) and the quality of the finished compost.
  • Value for money & eco credentials. Considered the value relative to the above, including warranty and RRP and as well as eco credentials such as type of material and, if plastic, whether virgin or recycled.

For more information in our testing process, take a look at how we review.


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This Review roundup was last updated in January 2024. We apologise if anything has changed in price or availability.

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