According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), food scraps make up more than 30 percent of the average household’s waste. Rather than ending up in a landfill, this organic matter can be composted and transformed into nutrient-rich plant fertilizer.
Countertop compost bins aren’t used for indoor composting but rather for storing compostable material until you transfer it to an outdoor bin or compost pile or send the material to a collection center.
While choosing the best countertop compost bin might seem like a simple decision, there are actually a number of considerations to weigh. This guide will explore several important features to look for as you shop and then provide choices by category for some of the top products on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: EPICA Stainless Steel Compost Bin
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: OXO Good Grips Easy-Clean Compost Bin
- UPGRADE PICK: Vitamix 068051 FoodCycler FC-50
- BEST SMALL: Norpro Ceramic Floral Blue/White Compost Keeper
- BEST LARGE: Full Circle Fresh Air Odor-Free Kitchen Compost Bin
- BEST DOUBLE PAIL: The Relaxed Gardener Kitchen Compost Bin
- BEST WIDE OPENING: Joseph Joseph 30016 Intelligent Waste Compost Bin
- BEST ECO-FRIENDLY: Bamboozle Food Compost Bin
- ALSO CONSIDER: Utopia Kitchen Compost Bin for Kitchen Countertop
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Countertop Compost Bin
While it’s easy to assume that all countertop compost bins offer similar performance, a number of factors affect their functionality, including size, material, odor control, availability of additional features, and more. Keep reading to learn about several of the most important features to consider when choosing the best countertop compost bin for your kitchen.
Size and Shape
First, consider your available counter space, as well as how much food waste your household produces. Small countertop compost bins typically have a capacity of less than 1 gallon. While they take up less room, you’ll need to frequently empty them. Bins with larger capacities of more than 1 gallon don’t need to be emptied as often, but they require higher-quality odor control systems since the food scraps sit longer.
Countertop compost bins are also available in a variety of shapes. Cylindrical models are popular because they primarily take up vertical space and can be tucked into a corner when not in use. Rectangular models cover more counter space but have wider openings, making it easier to scrape food into them without a mess.
Countertop compost bins are typically made from plastic, metal, ceramic, or a combination of these materials.
- Plastic compost bins are affordable and easy to clean. They are lightweight but not the most durable option, often requiring replacement after a few years. Plastic also needs to be frequently washed to prevent it from absorbing odors.
- Metal compost bins are made from either aluminum or stainless steel. They are easy to clean, dishwasher safe, and won’t rust or corrode over time. Metal also doesn’t easily absorb odors, making it a great choice for compost bins.
- Ceramic is often chosen for aesthetic purposes and is typically heavier than plastic or metal. Ceramic compost bins usually feature a removable inner pail to conveniently empty the contents.
- Eco-friendly materials like recycled plastic and bamboo are popular choices for compost bins since composters are often also seeking environmentally friendly products. Bamboo fibers are a biodegradable renewable resource that can be formulated with water-resistant and even dishwasher-safe qualities.
Lid and Handles
The lid is one of the most important factors in the design of a countertop compost bin. It’s essential that the user can open the lid with one hand to easily add food. Many compost bins are designed with a lid that locks in an open position to prevent the user from having to repeatedly open it while preparing a meal.
Handles make it easier to carry the compost to an outdoor bin or compost pile. Most compost bin handles are made from durable stainless steel to ensure durability.
All countertop compost bins require an odor control system. The most basic models simply have ventilation holes to provide increased circulation. Most high-quality bins, however, feature replaceable carbon or charcoal filters to absorb unpleasant smells. These bins include holes in the lid which release air after it has been filtered. Some filters are hand-washable with soap and water to increase their longevity, but both charcoal and carbon filters must be changed every 3 to 6 months. Compost bins are occasionally sold with additional filters.
It’s important to note that even compost bins with high-quality odor control systems still need to be regularly emptied.
Countertop compost bins are available with a wide variety of styles and finishes to suit just about any taste. Since it will be visible on the countertop, consider a compost bin that fits with your kitchen decor and overall aesthetic. Plastic bins often feature a rainbow of colors, while both metal and ceramic models also frequently have a colorful coating. Choose from sleek modern designs, traditional patterned finishes, and industrial-style stainless steel models.
Our Top Picks
The top picks take into account the abovementioned features to consider when shopping for the best countertop compost bin, in addition to overall quality and value. Read on to discover some of the top options on the market in a variety of categories for an eco-friendly kitchen.
EPICA’s countertop compost bin boasts a 1.3-gallon capacity, making it the ideal size for most households. The cylindrical shape allows the bin to be conveniently tucked into the corner of a countertop. The stainless steel construction is not only resistant to rust and corrosion, but it also matches other stainless steel appliances for a seamless aesthetic. This bin is molded from one piece of steel, ensuring it won’t leak. The material doesn’t absorb smells, and a replaceable activated charcoal filter in the airtight lid increases odor control.
This compost bin is dishwasher safe, but it can also be hand-washed or easily wiped clean with a cloth. The filter is also safe to hand-wash and should be replaced every 6 months. The bin measures 11 inches tall with a diameter of 7.16 inches.
OXO’s plastic countertop compost bin is affordable and well designed. It features a soft seal construction that allows for oxygen flow and prevents odor buildup. The lid easily flips up and down and is also removable to simplify the emptying process. Carry the bin outside via the rotating handle to further aid in emptying.
The bin is available in two sizes. The 0.75-gallon version measures 6.2 by 6.1 by 7.5 inches and is a great choice for small kitchens, while the 1.75-gallon model measures 7.75 by 7.3 by 7.6 inches—large enough for households that produce a high quantity of kitchen scraps. It’s available in three neutral color combinations to suit the decor of most kitchens.
Most countertop compost bins simply store kitchen scraps until the user can empty them into an outdoor composter or deliver them to a community collection center. Vitamix’s FoodCycler, on the other hand, actually transforms organic waste into fertilizer in a matter of hours. Place food scraps—including chicken bones—into the bin and press the power button. In 4 to 8 hours, the device processes the contents, reducing it to one-tenth of the original volume. It provides a 0.5-gallon capacity, but since the power cycle can be run daily, the size is less relevant compared to standard countertop compost bins.
This machine requires access to an electrical outlet and is substantially larger than the standard countertop compost bin, measuring 12.6 by 11 by 14.2 inches. The interior bucket is dishwasher safe.
With a vertical, cylindrical shape measuring 10 inches by 7 inches by 7 inches, the Norpro countertop compost bin is well suited for kitchens with limited countertop space. However, the 0.79-gallon capacity is still ample enough for households that produce smaller quantities of food waste. The lid includes a replaceable filter to help to contain odors.
The bin is made from ceramic and features a blue floral pattern, making it a decorative choice to suit traditional or country-style kitchens. The stainless steel handle makes it easier to empty the bin and won’t rust or corrode from moisture exposure. This bin is also available in solid white, black, and red.
Full Circle’s countertop compost bin features a 1.5-gallon capacity and measures 11.38 by 8.5 by 9.2 inches, making it an ideal choice for households that produce large quantities of food waste. It’s designed for use with biodegradable compostable bags, and five bags are included with purchase. The patented lid design allows air to circulate and prevents odor buildup when it’s closed; simply push the button to open.
This compost bin is constructed from a combination of BPA-free recycled plastic and partially recycled steel, and all parts are easy to disassemble and dishwasher safe. Choose from two color combinations: black and white or green and slate.
A double-pail design makes a countertop compost bin easy to empty without requiring bags. This model from The Relaxed Gardener features a leak-proof plastic liner bucket designed to prevent rusting of the powder-coated steel outer bin. The cream-colored finish of the outer bin offers a traditional aesthetic that will suit most kitchens.
Users can open the lid, which includes an odor-control carbon filter, with just one hand. The bin provides an 0.8-gallon capacity and measures 9.5 inches by 6 inches by 6 inches. Wash both the inner liner and outer bin by hand with soap and water.
This countertop compost bin by Joseph Joseph boasts an oversize 9.26-inch opening that allows users to scrape in food from a plate or cutting board without making a mess. It’s designed to be used with compostable bags, and a liner-retaining interior keeps them in place. The lid easily flips open, includes a replaceable odor filter, and features a ventilated design for optimal air circulation.
Choose from three neutral colors: graphite, sky, and stone. The bin is constructed from plastic, and the handle is made from stainless steel. It boasts a capacity of 1.05 gallons and measures 9.26 inches by 7.76 inches by 6.34 inches.
This countertop compost bin from Bamboozle is made from biodegradable bamboo fibers, ensuring minimal environmental impact when it’s eventually discarded. Bamboo is also a renewable resource that can be frequently harvested. The material is resistant to moisture and heat, making this bin both durable and dishwasher safe.
The lid uses dishwasher-safe carbon filters (sold separately) to minimize odors and also features ventilation holes for further air circulation. Choose from two colors: graphite and natural. The dimensions of the bin are 8 inches by 6.25 inches by 9 inches.
Utopia’s countertop compost bin is made entirely of stainless steel, ensuring it won’t rust or corrode. The washable charcoal filter controls odors, while the handle makes it easy to empty.
With a capacity of 1.3 gallons and dimensions of 14 inches by 8 inches by 9 inches, this bin holds several days’ worth of compost for most households. Wash the bin by hand with soap and water. To wash the charcoal filter, soak it in warm, soapy water before rinsing thoroughly.
FAQs About Countertop Compost Bins
If you’re ready to make your home more eco-friendly by adding a countertop compost bin, you may have some questions. Check out the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
Q. What can I put in a countertop compost bin?
The items you can put in a countertop compost bin vary depending on how they will eventually be composted. Backyard composters are generally limited to plant-based food scraps that will decompose quickly, while industrial composters can handle animal bones as well as paper and cardboard products.
Q. Should compost bins be in the sun or shade?
Placing a compost bin in a sunny spot like a windowsill will accelerate the decomposition process and cause unpleasant smells. Place your compost bin in a shady area to keep the contents cool.
Q. Does a kitchen compost bin need air holes?
Some compost bins are designed with air holes to improve ventilation, while others contain odors by using replaceable filters or providing a tight seal on the lid.