Do Compost Tumblers Work?

  • By: Melissa
  • Time to read: 4 min.
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Compost bins are cost-effective and very simple to start but it’s not surprising that a lot of people are still not too sure about giving compost tumblers a try.

Do Compost Tumblers Work?

The fact that they’re pricier tends to put some folks off, especially since there are other ways in which you don’t even have to spend a dime making a compost bin.

But if you get acquainted with compost tumblers, you’ll know that they’re actually very promising. There are a number of advantages of using this type of composter, especially since it’s specifically designed to make the process easier.

They make turning your heap easier and they can even free you from worrying about rodents getting into the waste. They practically make composting simpler, so why not give them a shot?

Some people might answer this question by saying that they’re not sure whether compost tumblers work or not just yet.

As not everyone has tried this equipment just yet, it’s easy to understand the skepticism of many. So, to answer that here’s a detailed look at whether and how compost tumblers actually work.

Do Compost Tumblers Really Work?

Before ordering your very own compost tumbler, you would first want to know whether they work. As they don’t have the same design as you tried and tested compost bin, some people doubt their effectiveness.

They also have what some consider as a too-good-to-be-true promise of churning out compost in just two weeks.

Add these two together and you have a completely new and unfamiliar composter that raises the eyebrows of even experts in the field.

But Does It Deliver?

The straight and true answer to this question is a resounding “yes”. Compost tumblers truly work if you know how to use them properly, just like your traditional compost bin.

Due to its design, it requires some particular steps for it to work. Nothing too complicated or difficult, though. There are actually just two major things you need to remember to do to ensure the best results.

The first one is to always monitor the moisture level inside the tumbler. As these bins are covered, they can easily trap the heat and moisture inside.

So, make sure to monitor the dampness of the mixture. You should also be ready to add more browns when it’s too wet or greens when it’s too dry.

The second thing you need to do is to add compost activators or accelerators to your mix. These additions will instantly introduce microbes to your heap.

These colonies might have a hard time finding your waste right away as the tumbler is often covered and lifted off the ground. Adding the vital microorganisms into the mix will easily jump-start the composting process immediately.

Combine these two things with the regular turning of the heap and you can be sure to make excellent plant food in no time under the right circumstances.

While compost tumblers may not always produce compost faster than a regular bin, the fact that you can turn your heap daily without breaking a sweat can already be the best reason to convince you of its excellent worth.

Common Mistakes Made With Compost Tumblers

What gives compost tumblers a bad rap is the fact that they’re not being used to their full potential. So if you really want to make the most out of this equipment, here are a few mistakes you should avoid:

1. Adding Waste as You Go

Compost tumblers are best suited for the batch pile technique. This ensures shorter composting time which allows this equipment to promote faster plant food production.

Adding waste to the heap while the other ingredients mature will definitely slow the process down so stick with making compost per batch when using this composter.

2. Not Monitoring the Moisture Levels

With its contained design, compost tumblers will retain moisture and heat effectively. This can cause problems for the microbes working hard to break down your waste.

So it’s very important to keep a close eye on the moisture levels inside the tumbler.

3. Not Adding Microbes Into the Mix

As mentioned above, it might take long for microbes to get to the waste inside a compost tumbler naturally. Adding a colony to it isn’t too difficult, though, so make sure to lend a hand to the process and just add the bacteria necessary to kick off the process.

4. Not Turning the Heap Often

The point of having a compost tumbler is so you can easily and regularly turn the heap. Not doing so can really make this equipment ineffective.


Just like in the use of any other equipment out there, compost tumblers can guarantee effectiveness if you get to use it properly.

The steps it requires to work are definitely much easier than having to manually turn a heap of waste with a pitchfork, though.

So if you want to compost but want to skip the steps you deem icky, compost tumblers might just work better for you.