What Is a Compost Tumbler?

  • By: Melissa
  • Time to read: 4 min.
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With the current state of the planet, it’s not surprising that more and more people are looking for ways how to contribute to Mother Earth’s conservation.

What is a Compost Tumbler?

If you love gardening, one of the best things to do is to make your own compost.

Not only will it let you make your own fertilizer for your produce, but you’ll also help send less waste to landfills.

Composting is not that easy, though. It takes some dedication and commitment to get the job done properly. You’ll need a sizeable amount of space for your compost and you have to tend to it to ensure proper maturation. It requires some hard work that you should be willing to put in.

If you don’t have the time or are not too keen on exerting the effort in composting, not all is lost. You can still have your own compost at home with a compost tumbler.

This product can help simplify the tasks involved in composting, making it convenient for equipment for this activity.

But what exactly is a compost tumbler? Let this quick guide tell you more about it.

What Is a Compost Tumbler?

Compost tumblers are basically containers that are designed as alternatives to compost bins. While the latter is designed to sit on the ground, tumblers are often elevated and raised away from the ground.

This makes them very different from bins, especially since they’re also fully enclosed and are usually barrel-shaped.

This design makes compost tumblers function a bit differently than your regular compost bins. The enclosed design allows it to trap the heat more effectively to help speed up the maturation of the waste.

Don’t worry about how the air can get into the bin, though, as these things also come with holes to let some air enter.

The rounded design, on the other hand, makes it easier to turn. Compost bins will need you to manually turn the waste so everything gets some air to help them decompose. This can be a tedious task for lots of people. The barrel design solves this problem.

Being round in shape, you can now just roll the entire unit to turn the contents inside. Manufacturers employ various techniques and designs to get the job done, so you shouldn’t worry about having enough options.

Some will let you rotate the tumbler on a base or axle, others will just let you roll the entire barrel on the ground. There are also a good number of units that are hand-cranked. It’s entirely up to you which one to opt for.

Why Should You Opt for One?

Now that you have some idea what a compost tumbler is, the next thing you might be curious about is why you should be opting for one. With compost bins being quite inexpensive, why should you look for an alternative?

There are actually a number of good reasons that can make a good case for the compost tumbler. At the top of this list is its enclosed construction. Bins are often left open so the air can get in, so why should you go for an enclosed composter?

Here are a few answers:

It Traps the Heat In

Heat is produced from the decomposition of biodegradable waste. They also help in the further decomposition of the waste, so it will be great to keep them where your compost is.

The open design of the bins allows the heat to dissipate which can slow down the maturation of your waste.

It Keeps Pests Out

One of the biggest downsides of compost bins is that their open design tends to attract pests to burrow in them. The damp warmth is inviting to rodents. With an enclosed unit to hold your waste, though, pests won’t be able to get in.

It Helps You Manage Composting Odors

If you’re worried that your neighbors will complain about the smell of compost, then a tumbler can help you out. It won’t completely eliminate the odor, but at least you can contain it effectively.

Aside from its enclosed design, its barrel shape is also a great bonus. As mentioned above, it will make turning easy. So if you’ve always struggled with turning the waste, these tumblers might just prove to be better alternatives for you.

However, as compost tumblers still use varied designs and construction, you might want to closely consider the item you’re eyeing before getting it. As these products are designed to make composting simpler for you, they should really help make the task easier than ever.

If they have flaws that will only complicate things and require you to do more, jump to the next item right away.


While a compost tumbler might still have a few downsides, it’s still a solid alternative to bins as it offers an entirely different way to hold your decomposing waste.

If you’ve had a hard time working with a compost bin before, maybe you should give these products a chance.