When you need to choose the compost bins, differentiate them into two categories Tumblers and Bins. Tumblers are those bins that you can rotate easily. Whereas Compost bins are normal bins and you need fork or shovel to mix the material.
Both types of bins produce an effective amount of compost but there is a big difference between the features and benefits.
Let’s find out which is best for you and why
Size and Structure
There is no big difference between the size of the bins and tumblers. They occupy almost the same space on the ground. Your average size composter will acquire 4 to5 square feet space.
Most of the compost bins are open from the bottom and you cannot move them. There are some models of bins in the market manufactured on moving carts. But most of the time bins do not have wheels.
Compost tumblers are also stationary but you can rotate them along their axis. This makes them better than ordinary bins. Elevated Tumblers are fixed on steel frames and some have a plastic base that stays on the ground like bins.
It is easy to take the ready compost out of the tumblers because they are elevated and you can put a bucket under them and open the door. The compost will automatically fall out into the bucket.
Capacity of Tumblers Vs Capacity of Bins
No doubt compost bins have more capacity than tumblers. Bins are made up of thin plastic and do not have insulation. Whereas tumblers have good insulation and this makes the internal container small.
Compost bins can easily hold the 7 to 20 cubic feet of material and tumblers hold between 4 to 15 cubic feet. The reason is, it is hard to spin the tumbler if it is extra heavy. If you want a tumbler that can make a huge amount of compost for your garden. You need to buy one that has a metallic body like JK-400.
Tumblers are made with heavy plastic material because they have to hold the heavyweight of composting material. Their rugged body and frame give them a strong structure than bins. While choosing tumblers you need to inspect the body and frame of the container. Most of the branded tumblers come with the years of warranty. Also, check the handle it should not be flimsy.
Compost bins are made with thin plastic material because they don’t have to support the weight of the material like tumblers. Due to continuous exposure to the sunlight, rain and variations in temperature make the plastic of bins brittle.
Moreover, you need to work with fork or shovel to rotate the mix inside the bins. This can damage the compost bins permanently and make them useless. Most of the time plastic bins crack after some time due to the weak built quality.
Compost bins are designed to store the material not to rotate them efficiently. If you have back pain problem you cannot use bins to make compost because when you work with pitchfork and shovel you will hurt your back more.
Mixing the material with shovel put huge pressure on the lower part of the spinal cord. So, I do not recommend using bins to make compost if you have any health issues. Nobody likes to do too much work by using bins and people, leave it like as it is. This reduces the aeration and results in unfinished compost.
Moreover, bins take almost 3 to 4 months to decompose the material properly.
It is difficult to take the finished compost out of the bins. You need to use the shovel to take out the compost from the bottom. The upper material pushes the material at the bottom this puts pressure on the side walls. Using shovel can damage the sidewalls from the bottom.
To take out the compost that is left at the bottom turn the bin upside down.
Tumblers are better than bins they help you to make compost easy and fast. With tumblers, you can make one batch of compost in 2 to 3 weeks. When you turn the material that you use to make compost, this action speeds up the compost making process.
Tumblers that rotate on their vertical axis are not that efficient than the tumblers that rotate on the horizontal axis.
Compost bins are also easy to empty than the bins. Just rotate the tumbler mouth upside down, open the lid, and everything inside will fall out on the ground. You can put a bucket under the tumbler to collect the compost.
Tumblers come with a single and double chamber this allows you to get ready to use compost from one and putting the new material in the second chamber.
Time take to Compost
Compost tumblers are designed to make compost faster than bins. The aeration facilities in tumblers speed up the process. Tumblers are well insulated from the inside therefore they do not allow the heat produced during the process to escape from the container. This raises the temperature in a short time and high temperature is required to make good quality compost as fast as possible.
Bins do not have a base and you cannot get Compost tea from bins. Whereas in tumblers there is a base that collects the water droplets released by the composting material.
By spinning the tumblers material gets completely mixed. In bins, you cannot mix the material like tumblers even by using pitchfork or shovel.
Both types of composting bins keep the pets and pests away from the material. Bins are good to keep the raccoon, cat, and dog away from the compost but they do not block the entrance of rats. Rats dig under the ground and enter into the bin from the open bottom.
But tumblers are 100% pest proof compost bins. Because they are elevated from the ground. Once you close their lid tumblers get completely sealed.
Controlling the Smell
Both control the smell very well unless you open the doors to check the compost. Tumblers and bins are equally effective in controlling the odor.
Difference in Price
Tumblers come with strong body and benefits. This makes them more costly than the bins. Roughly you have to pay 20% more price for a good quality fully functional tumbler composter than the compost bin.
Tumblers are more efficient, reliable, and durable, and required less maintenance as compared to bins.
Moreover, you get compost easily and fast in Tumblers.