How Does a Compost Tumbler Work?

  • By: Melissa
  • Time to read: 4 min.
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Those who love to tend to their gardens and make things grow will know just how important fertilizers can be to their craft.

How does a Compost Tumbler Work?

However, buying them ready-made can easily mean extra cost. When you already have the means to produce the most nutrient-rich plant food in your kitchen, why should you pay for them?

Compost tumblers are some of the best equipment that you’ll need if you want to start a compost at home. They’re great alternatives to bins because they’re easier to work with.

As they are designed specifically to make the most challenging composting tasks simple, more and more people are now opting for these products instead of the traditional composters.

If you’re not yet convinced that a compost tumbler will work for you, you might want to get to know more about its few intricacies.

These may just help you better understand why these products can be a good option for you and how they can make your composting easier.

How Does a Compost Tumbler Work?

So how does a compost tumbler work? It actually works the same way as other composters do. If you’ve already tried composting in other ways, you won’t have a hard time adjusting to these products.

Like you would in other composters, you’ll need to put the biodegradable waste into the tumbler to get the ball rolling. Ideally, it should be composed of 50% greens and 50% browns to create high-quality plant food.

However, you don’t really have to slave away measuring everything that goes into your compost tumbler. You can just put all of your scraps in and adjust accordingly. As long as it’s kept damp, your compost tumbler will work fine.

Again, like other composters, a compost tumbler works with the help of aerobic bacteria. These teeny tiny creatures will be the very ones who’ll do the hard work in decomposing your waste.

To ensure the healthy growth of bacteria in your compost, it should be exposed to air regularly.

This is why you need to constantly turn your pile. Experts actually recommend doing this every day. With a compost tumbler, you won’t have a hard time doing so as these things are designed to be easily turned.

It will definitely help you save a significant amount of time and effort compared to a compost bin.

Why Compost Tumblers Work?

Compost tumblers work simply because it allows more frequent pile turning. And as experts say, the more you turn your compost, the faster it will mature.

This is why some people say that you can make compost in these tumblers within a month or even less.

However, it should be noted that even though manufacturers promise faster composting with these products, the environmental conditions and your local climate will still have a major impact on the process.

If you live somewhere warm, you might achieve fast results. If it’s cold where you are, expect slower decomposition.

A Few Tips for Using a Compost Tumbler

Because of its design, there are also a few limitations to a compost tumbler. None of which are worth ditching this option altogether though.

You might just need to do pay close attention to the following to achieve the best results:

1. Use Compost Accelerators

Due to the tumbler’s enclosed and raised design, bacteria colonies may have a hard time getting to the compost to start the decomposition process. Sure, they’ll get there eventually, but if you really want to make plant food right away, then jump-starting the process is a good idea.

Using the compost accelerator will get the party started as it will feed your workers and increase their volume.

2. Focus on Moisture Control

Excess moisture can be a problem with compost tumblers so it’s important to pay close attention to this. Make sure to balance your greens and browns nicely as any imbalance between the two can really throw your composting time off.

If you intend to water your heap, make sure to control it. Tumblers do not have good drainage, so the water can easily get trapped inside.

Adding more browns after watering can help absorb the moisture, though, so be observant if you need to tweak your pile’s composition.

3. Chop, Chop

A popular composting “hack” people like to share is to cut down your waste into smaller pieces to make them easier to break down. This can help accelerate the decomposition of your compost, which can also shorten the process nicely.

If you have the time, chop down, shred, or just pick apart your biodegradable waste before throwing them into your composter.


Despite its different design, compost tumblers still work the same way as other composters out there.

This guarantees that they can definitely be a good alternative to a compost bin if you’re not particularly fond of this traditional method.

They may be a bit pricier, but the convenience and even faster composting time they offer can be well worth it. It might just offer the best composting method for you.