Compost Tumblers – Convenient and Efficient Composting

Compost tumblers are containers used for tossing compost. Tumbling your compost aerates it, which speeds up the composting process. Tumblers are one of the most popular compost accessories.

The basic ingredients for composting are air, water and food.

Tumblers are meant for outdoors, but the compost and compost tea produced can be used indoors or in your balcony garden. I haven’t yet found any suitable all-indoor composting solution that produces any amount of compost worth talking about. And bad odour is not a nice problem to have to deal with indoors.

Easy turning is the main benefit of a tumbler over an open compost heap. If you regularly turn an open compost pile you will get compost in pretty much the same time as with a tumbler, but the tumbler can make turning much easier. So ensure that you get a tumbler that is easy to turn, because some aren’t!

In some towns and cities, there are restrictions on operating open compost piles. The only option is to use a sealed bin or tumbler. Enclosed bins have another advantage over an open pile. If it’s very dry, the enclosed tumbler will retain the moisture.

Choosing a Tumbler

Tumbler prices range from around $130 to $400 and the right one for you will depend on your needs.

There are four classes of compost tumblers:

Compost Tumbler - Crank Operated Compost Tumbler - Centre Axle
Crank operated Centre Axle
Compost Tumbler - Spherical ComboSpin Compost Tumbler - Base Rolling
Spherical rolling Base rolling

An ideal compost tumbler has good aeration, is easy to tumble and has a drainage facility to capture compost tea, the nutrient by-product of composting. It should have a secure door to keep little critters from entering your compost.


One thing to consider is how easy it will be to move the compost from your tumbler to where you needed on your balcony. Some tumblers have wheels to make moving them easier. The Bio-Orb Monster Compost Bin takes a different approach. It’s a ball that can be rolled to where it is needed, but can be difficult to roll when it’s full.

Using your Tumbler

Place your tumbler in direct sunlight so that it gets as much warmth as possible to speed up the composting process. Tumble the container every day or so to aerate the compost. Aeration is critical to speeding up the composting process and the main reason that tumbler manufacturers claim that it’s so much quicker than an ordinary compost pile.

Getting the Right Mix

You need to try and get a good balance of nitrogenous and carbonacious materials for the most effective composting.

Kick-starting your Compost

Compost starters or compost inoculants are products that promote composting. They contain biologically active material to kick-start composting on fresh material. How effective they are is a matter of debate. Some people think you’ll get a very similar effect just by putting some garden soil or old compost in your tumbler.