We carefully reviewed this article in March 2023 to ensure all products tested and vetted by the Good Housekeeping Institute were in stock, available and reflected accurate prices. Our top picks remain the same.
A compost bin is just one of the simple, relatively affordable eco-friendly products you can add to your life. Composting at home allows you to break down biodegradable waste into a nutrient-rich fertilizer you can use to give the soil in your garden or yard a boost. Even if you don't have any land to tend, it's a great habit because it helps reduce food waste and produce less trash overall. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), "more food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other single material in our everyday trash;" composting that waste reduces the greenhouse gases that occur when they're sent to landfills.
Compost bins hold your common household waste — food scraps, paper waste, yard trimmings — and control the temperature, moisture, oxygen and bacteria to produce compost, all while keeping critters and odors at bay. “I keep a compost bin on my countertop for used coffee grounds, which stink up my regular pail. It allows me to throw away my trash less often,” says Nicole Papantoniou, Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Kitchen Appliances and Culinary Innovation Lab.
For these picks, our pros composted in their own kitchens to best replicate home use. They also relied on their knowledge of sustainability and product design, looking for bins with durable material and a strong seal to control odor and resist pests when required. We have also begun testing the latest style, the electric compost bin. Electric models use heat (and possibly additional enzymes) to dry your scraps and stir or grind them so they end up a fraction of the size — often with minimal odor.
Our top picks:
Read on to learn more on how we tested compost bins as well as how to choose the right one for your lifestyle. Looking for more ways to reduce your carbon footprint? Check out our foolproof guide to sustainable living as well as our round-up of the best compostable garbage bags.