Want to mix up up your composting game? Give worm composting a try!
Worms are amazing creatures that have voracious appetites. The population of worms that thrive inside a worm composter devours food scraps and paper waste fast.
Their ability to process through household waste so quickly means they eat it up before it begins to rot away and produce bad smells that can happen in a traditional compost pile.
Inside this buying guide, I review the six best worm composters, discuss if you really need one, and detail things to watch out for before purchase, so let’s begin!
Best Worm Composters
Worm Factory 360 Worm Composting Bin Starter Kit
The Worm Factory 360 by The Squirm Farm features four levels of composting action along with a liquid collection tray with spigot.
What I like best about this vermicomposter is the top lid acts as a table as you work your trays and that you can add four more tiers to the system so you can process more household waste.
The bin is a durable plastic that should hold up to years of use without cracking. The composter comes with a “starter kit” that is very helpful to beginners; all you need to do is add the worms.
- Simple to use and easy to empty compost straight to your garden
- Convenient magnetic guide shows the perfect foods to serve your worms
- Affordable, and comes with many of the items to start the bin that you’d otherwise have to purchase separately
- Compact design takes up less floor space
- Comes with a digital manual to guide you through the set-up process
- Overfilling the bins can lead to worm escapees
- Need to follow instructions closely to keeps pests and odors at bay
When it comes to a no-nonsense worm composter, the Worm Factory 360 makes the list for detailed instructions, a starter kit, quality design and construction all at a reasonable price tag.
This vermicomposter is best for beginners who want to test out a composting system that requires little time investment.
HOT FROG Living Composter
At first glance, the HOT FROG Living Composter by FCMP Outdoor looks like a mid-century modern side table.
Inside you find a three-tray worm composting system build of thick BPA-free recycled polyethylene that should never crack, warp, or leak.
The composter comes in several colors, and the attractive hardwood legs make it easy to leave on display in your kitchen, pantry, or any place you have a small space to tuck it away.
Turn the unit, so the leachate collection spigot faces away from the main living space, and you’ll have a hard time remembering this is a worm composter.
I appreciate the channels that run around the perimeter of the trays to catch water and keep the bedding edges from drying out. The design integrates migration tunnels so worms can move freely between layers and supports that keep airflow moving inside and around the bin.
- Top-notch design for those looking for style along with function
- Strong solid-molded construction for long-term use
- Built-in channels and supports keep help balance moisture and airflow
- Collection tray for liquids features a handy spigot for drainage
- System is expandable by adding extra trays
- Worms can get down into the spigot drain causing blockages
- Instructions for start-up lacking
I consider the HOT FROG Living Composter a top contender on this list because the design and function make this one of the best vermicomposters for indoor use.
For any homeowner looking for an unobtrusive way to compost kitchen waste without spending a bundle, this one is for you.
Hungry Bin Worm Farm Indoor/Outdoor Compost Bin
The Worm Farm vermicomposter by Hungry Bin utilizes a flow-through composting method so you never have to turn or mix the contents to achieve results.
I like the sturdy design that is suitable for both indoor and outdoor use for those living in temperate climates. The latch on lid prevents the wind, or curious animals, from opening the cover when you keep it outside.
The most impressive thing about this worm composter is that it can process up to 4.5 pounds of material each day so that you can recycle most, if not all, of your daily food scraps and paper waste.
- Large capacity, but requires little effort to operate
- Castings and worms naturally separate before landing in tray for removal
- Unit has wheels so it’s easy to move about
- Bin is off the ground, so rodents can’t get inside
- No need to bend over to remove a full tray of castings
- May be too large for indoor use in a kitchen
- Can be very heavy and hard to move when full, even with the wheels
- Liquid leachate collects in an open tray which can smell and attract bugs
I make the Worm Farm composter a top selection for the unique design that eliminates a lot of the work a tray-style vermicomposter entails.
This model is best for people who have larger amounts of daily kitchen scraps and don’t mind giving up space in their home, garage, or patio to place the unit.
Urban Worm Bag Worm Composting Bin Version 2
The Urban Worm Bag Composting Bin is an economical vermicomposter that allows you to build a frame (using included plans) to hold the bag.
I like the high-capacity bag that features a thick fabric that is breathable yet helps maintains a consistent moisture balance internally.
The no-leak bottom zippers open for easy casting removal, while the zipper on top closes off the bin securely to keep pests out.
The composter uses the continuous-flow system where you feed kitchen scraps on top while the worm castings fall naturally to the bottom for removal, without having to sort out the worms.
- Breathable material helps maintain operation without annoying leachate
- Affordable pricing and conveniently collapses for storage
- Zippers keep compost free of unwanted pests
- Indoors or outdoor use increases versatility
- Large bin can process 3-4 pounds of food scraps a day
- Need to build your own frame
- Material may wear out over time and need replacement
The Urban Worm Bag Composting Bin is a top choice as it’s breathable soft-side design eliminates the need to worry about excess moisture in the bin.
This composter is best for a budget-minded, beginner-to-expert composter who is handy enough to build a sturdy frame to make this bag operational.
VermiHut 5-Tray Worm Compost Bin
The VermiHut 5-Tray Worm Compost Bin by VermiTek is a straightforward vermicomposting system that is highly efficient.
I like the vaulted, ventilated cover that increases airflow yet keeps water and debris from collecting on the surface. I appreciate how much capacity this composter can handle without having to worry about it taking up too much space.
Once the unit is fully operational, it can hold enough worms to process up to five pounds of kitchen waste per day. The composter also comes with a “worm-saver” tray that slips between the bottom tray and leachate collection bin to keep worms from falling through.
- Very affordable for a five-tray bin
- Can reduce 2-5 pounds of food scraps daily depending on worm counts
- Domed roof increases airflow so moisture levels stay constant
- Takes up very little floor space, yet offers a large capacity
- Leachate collection tray with spigot for easy drainage
- Worms find a way to escape the unit
- Plastic material is fairly thin and may crack over time
The VermiHut 5-Tray Worm Compost Bin deserves a spot on this list because it offers a simple design that performs well when used as directed.
This affordable vermicomposter is best for families that create larger amounts of kitchen scraps that need processing daily.
Tumbleweed Can O Worms Composting Kit
The Can O Worms vermicomposter by Tumbleweed is an indoor/outdoor, two-tray system that can process food waste quickly with little effort.
I like how the entire unit is made of 100-percent recycled plastic, making this a very environmentally-friendly composter. I also am a fan of the ventilated lid that keeps flies and other insects out.
The built-in mounds inside the trays encourage the worms to work their way up to the next working bin, so your castings tray requires less sifting to remove strays. The integrated ventilation system allows a great flow-through of air to keep the material in the trays from getting too wet and harming the worms.
- Round design is compact, yet processes plenty of food waste
- Sturdy legs keep the unit stable even when full
- Ventilation system creates ideal aeration while keeping out pests
- Leak-proof drain spigot eliminates messes
- Thoughtful design elements improve worm movement between trays
- Two trays may not be enough for some peoples needs
- If kept outside you need to secure the lid against animals
- The large trays can be heavy to move when full
The Can O Worms composter finds a spot on the list because of the attractive and functional design that improves worm movement and air circulation, which means less work for you.
This composter is best for households that produce a small amount of food waste each week since the size prohibits processing speed.
Do You Really Need A Worm Composter?
While most people don’t need a vermicomposter, they sure provide great benefits like these below.
Often, a person would love to recycle their waste by composting but live in a place that doesn’t have space for a compost bin or pile.
Worm composters tend to have a small footprint and are virtually odor-free, perfect for those who can only compost indoors.
Keeping plants looking beautiful is much easier when the soil they grow in is rich in helpful enzymes, microorganisms, and nutrients.
The compost from a worm bin provides all of this in abundance, for FREE!
The amount of food waste households in the U.S. send to landfills is shameful, with statistics showing 30-40 percent of our food supply ends up in the trash.
Food waste in landfills produces methane gas, which contributes to global warming issues and is another reason to recycle this material.
Many people give up on traditional hot composting because the work it involves is time-consuming.
Worm composters take time to set up and get “working,” but once it’s complete, the work is minimal because the worms do most of it for you.
Things To Watch Out For
The right way to find the best worm bin or worm composting kit is to know what characteristics are important.
While most vermicomposters have similar styles, one unit can be vastly more effective than another. When choosing a worm composting system, you need to watch out for these essential features:
Measure the dimensions of the area you intend to place your composter and look for a model that fits within this space.
If you plan to work a lot of kitchen waste, choose a model that offers additional trays for purchase, so you can expand upwards without taking up more floor space.
Flow-through styles of vermicomposters tend to be larger than tray-style units. If space isn’t a concern, I recommend the flow-through style because it offers more capacity with even less hands-on work than the tray versions.
When a worm composter fills up, the unit can become quite heavy. The bin material must be thick and sturdy so it can withstand pressure without cracking, or the legs don’t buckle and tip the unit over, creating an awful mess!
If the worm composter you’re considering isn’t made of breathable fabric or offers a built-in ventilation system, you need to make sure it has a tray to collect the leachate that drains from the bin.
That tray should also have a conveniently-located, leak-free spigot to drain off this fluid. A worm composter that is too wet inside will begin to smell bad and can suffocate worms leading to their demise.
Helpful bonus features:
- Look for designs that offer:
- Screens to keep worms out of the drainage tray
- Channels to keep moisture levels under control
- Latches or zippers to keep pests out
- Integrated holes or mounds that help the worms move freely
These types of extra features help you maintain a happy and healthy population of worms and reduces some of the hassles that come with worm composting.
If you are all about style, another design element to consider is the appearance of the worm composter, especially if it’ll be a part of your interior home decor.
I’ll be honest, I have become quite smitten with several worm composter models now on the market that looks more like a small table, stool, or plant stand that doesn’t ruin the aesthetic of a room.
How-to instruction manual or video
A worm composter works best when you know how to use it correctly, so an in-depth instruction manual or video tutorial is a must.
The manual should include any assembly instructions, as well as a materials list of items you need to start the unit like coir hair, shredded cardboard, and the worms!
After the list of start-up materials, there should be a step-by-step guide on how to initially load the composter, “work” the unit, remove castings, and drain the leachate.
The last thing you want after you buy a vermicomposter and supplies is to misuse it and harm or even kill off your worm population because the instructions were absent or hard to understand.
All the worm composters I showcase in this guide have features that make them easy to use, even for a beginner. But, the best worm composter for you is one that fits within your space and budget.
If you are still unsure which vermicomposter to choose, I recommend the high-capacity Worm Factory 360 Composting Bin that comes with a starter kit to help you achieve results faster.
For a more stylish option in a smaller composter, I’d consider the HOT FROG Living Composter for the sleek and compact design no one will guess is full of worms and kitchen waste.
Now is the time to give vermicomposting a try and see for yourself the benefits of putting “worm power” to work for you!