trying to find a good quality medium priced rolling (crank) composter

June 27, 2019

i see a bunch on Amazon that seem to be nightmares to assemble...I have a fixed one that I don't stir as it is too hard - need suggestions

Comments (12)

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis

    just my opinion but forget the compost is beautiful and it's an open a gardening class there were only complaints about tumblers..I've been composting about 20 years..

  • lilyd74 (5b sw MI)

    As the owner of a large crank composter, I also agree that they are not ideal. Things don't really compost well without ground contact, and they certainly don't compost fast. I keep mine because a) the municipality won't allow a ground contact pile and b) it was free from a family member. I add finished compost to speed things up, but it still winds up half-composted at best. So for me it's this or nothing, and as poor as it works, it is still something. What a lot of people do, that works, is build a succession of piles, so that the first one has a chance to finish while you are adding new materials to the second one. However, the original question you asked was about finding one that is easy to assemble and doesn't cost too much. You won't find it on Amazon. I've seen a couple halfway decent plans for making one out of a barrel, if you wanted to go that route.

  • annpat

    Whoops. I thought we were talking about crank grinders. Never mind.

  • toxcrusadr

    I never 'stir' my compost. It gets turned over once or twice and then it's done. Even if I'm using a plastic bin, I remove the bin and set it up next to the pile, and fork back into it until I hit compost at the bottom or transfer the whole pile. You do need a fork of some kind, a shovel will be a pain.

  • John D Zn6a PIT Pa

    My complaint about them is that once it's full you need to spend another pocket full of cash for another, and then another...... If you compost on the ground it will never fill up!

  • toxcrusadr

    It's true with any kind of composter, once you have one, at some point you have to stop adding stuff to it (even if it's a pile) and let it finish, which means you need another bin/pile to put stuff in for the next batch.

    Another idea for the OP might be to hide a ground based pile or bin. Using a pretty fence with blooming clematis vines, etc. Or, there are folks who place a small circle of chicken wire inside the garden where it's not visible, with plants all around it, and dispose of stuff there. When it's full, just move it somewhere and leave the remaining compost in pile in place or use it how ever.

    I know one person who made a compost bin that looked like a bench with a tool storage cabinet underneath. Another used to use large pretty pots on the porch to layer stuff into till they got full, then they buried it. You can bury directly too, using a trench in the garden, covering stuff after each addition. This method apparently makes soil quite productive.

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis

    here's enclosure made of logs..we shoot chipped debris to the left..pile what we collect to chip on the right..when I need compost I take it from the bottom..we're in the process of creating hosta beds with log edging which will create paths..we have some shrubs planted around some of the bin to disguise it..I love it..

    I realize that not everyone has a large wooded lot..this wouldn't work for everyone but I wanted to show you our composting could adapt the principles of what we did..

  • toxcrusadr

    I remember seeing your log corral before. Curious what kind of logs those are? Are they a rot resistant wood that will last a long time?

  • nicholsworth Z6 Indianapolis

    they're ash..I'm hoping they'll last awhile..they were free and I love the functionality..

  • toxcrusadr

    They certainly look solid. :-]

  • Richard Brennan

    Do you need a tumbler composter? If you live in the city or suburbs and rats or racoons would love nothing more than to treat your compost pile as their personal smorgasbord, then the answer may be yes. Tumblers get the food waste off the ground and inside a bin critters can't unlock or gnaw their way in to . Not to mention it keeps the neighbors from complaining about that pile of gunk in your backyard.

    Another reason to get a tumbler is if you have no yard to speak of. You can compost on top of concrete or asphalt if you need to.

    However, know this: to get good results with a tumbler you are going to have to spend a lot of money. There are cheap ones - $100 or less - but they are poorly made and not big enough to get the compost heating up. (You need a mass of 3' by 3' at the very least, and bigger is better.) To get something that will last more than a year and is big enough to generate some heat you are going to pay over $300.

    The Jora JK270 (above) fits that bill. It is $450. It is built to last 10 years, it is insulated so you can compost through the winter, the latches are secure and it turns easily.

    But the cost brings me to two conclusions. First of all, if you don't need a tumbler and can compost in a pile or a simple plastic bin, then by all means you should do that. There is no sense in spending that much money when there are alternatives that are free or cheap and will work as well or better than a tumbler.

    And second, even if a good tumbler fits your requirements, is it worth $450 to produce your own compost? I mean you can buy an awful lot of bags compost at the garden center for that much money. Maybe you shouldn't be composting at all if it takes that much resources to do it.

    Now if its your hobby and you have the money, then go for it, I say. Live the dream. Just weigh the costs and the benefits.

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

    Two things. It is not imperative that compost be turned. It's slower but it will compost in the end. Also if you have one bin, could you put a second alongside? Then you can simply transfer the contents from bin a to bin b when a is full. Better still have three in a row. One filling, two to turn back and forth.

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