Electric composters make composting simpler, faster, and more efficient. Composting is an excellent way to prevent food waste from ending up in landfills and turn food scraps into rich compost to use for outdoor gardening and even houseplants. But composting takes time, and the process isn’t always pretty. It generally takes a minimum of 4 weeks and can produce odors, attract pests, and require frequent turning. Not everyone has the yard space, time, or ability to maintain an outdoor compost pile or tumbler.
While electric composters don’t make traditional compost, they can create a soil additive in just a few hours or days rather than weeks or months. An electric composter dries and grinds food scraps before cooling them, so when the process is complete, the material is ready to use.
Electric food composters are easy to use, convenient, and provide organic nutrients for plants without the hassle of a large compost pile. Here we review some of the best electric composters available for speedy composting right on the kitchen counter or floor.
- BEST OVERALL: Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50 Food Recycler
- RUNNER-UP: Lomi Classic Electric Kitchen Composter
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: QMCAHCE Electric Compost Bin
- BEST FOR MICROORGANISMS: Reencle Home Composter
- BEST LARGE: GEME Electric Composter
- BEST FOR QUICK COMPOSTING: Airthereal Revive Electric Kitchen Composter
Before You Buy an Electric Composter
Electric composters, although convenient, don’t go through a traditional composting process on account of their speed. They dry and grind up food, but the bacteria that helps convert the food into usable nutrients for plants is missing. Since electric composters bypass this process, they don’t produce the methane gas and carbon dioxide that traditional compost piles do. However, the accelerated process and heat can kill bacteria and microbes that actually help make good compost.
For this reason, some electric composters include bacteria packets to add back into the dried food at the end of the process. However, those looking for a more traditional method of composting can turn to outdoor compost tumblers or consider vermicomposting, or composting with worms, which is speedier and can also be done at home.
Although electric composters are a convenient way to reduce food scraps in the garbage and landfill, they aren’t for everyone. They are designed exclusively for indoor use, so they can work well for people who don’t have any type of yard space for a compost tumbler. They also generate material regardless of the weather, so those who live in areas with long or severe winters can still get a soil amender for year-round use.
People with mobility challenges may also benefit from an electric composter since there is no turning a pile manually or spinning a heavy tumbler outside. Using the compost from the electric composter is easy, as it creates small piles that can be put just about anywhere.
How We Chose the Best Electric Composters
When choosing the best electric composters, we specifically looked at a few features including cycle time, the number of cycles, design, ease of use, the quality of the final product they create, and customer reviews. This list was created from extensive product research, and we looked at more than 10 companies to determine which electric kitchen composters should make the cut. In addition to the above criteria, we also looked at extra features, such as automatic opening doors and whether the product could compost bioplastics or pet waste.
Our Top Picks
These electric composters made our list of top picks based on their design, features, cycles, and the material they create at the end of the cycle, in addition to their extra features.
The Vitamix FoodCycler takes up just 1 cubic foot of counter space and has a bucket that can hold up to 10.5 cups of food scraps for composting. The bucket is dishwasher-safe, and the unit has a carbon filter in the lid that reduces odors during the heating process.
The waste bucket is removable so it can be kept anywhere. Some users prefer to keep it in an out-of-the-way place, such as under the sink, while others prefer to set it on the counter while they’re cooking so they can deposit food scraps before adding them to the FoodCycler. The product is designed for quiet operation, and multiple cycles can be run per day.
The FoodCycler can also compost small bones, although larger ones can cause jamming in the bucket during cycles. Reviewers have also noted that the FoodCycler does not perform as well handling large amounts of sticky foods, such as watermelon or banana, or very fibrous foods, such as celery.
The lid locks as a safety feature, which is convenient when small children or curious critters are around. The FoodCycler also indicates on the display when the filters need changing. As a soil amendment, the company recommends using 1 cup of dried food scraps with about 10 cups of soil and letting it sit for 10 days.
This product is the best overall pick based on its size, capacity, quiet operation, and price.
- Dimensions: 14.2 inches high by 11 inches wide by 12.6 inches deep
- Shortest cycle time: 6.5 to 7 hours
- Bowl capacity: 10.5 cups (2.5 liters)
- Quiet operation and a locking lid for safety
- Takes up only 1 cubic foot of counter space, and bucket is removable for convenience
- Can hold up to 10.5 cups of food waste and is able to crush small bones
- Does not do well with fibrous or sticky foods
Get the Vitamix electric composter at Amazon or Vitamix.
The Lomi Classic kitchen composter, while slightly larger than some of our picks, still is ideal for kitchen counters. The company claims that it reduces waste inside by 80 percent and can hold up to 12.6 cups (or 3 liters) of food scraps. Each cycle takes a minimum of 4 hours to complete.
The Lomi has three different settings for operation. The fastest setting takes about 3 to 5 hours, while the longest cycle—which leaves more nutrients in the food and is called the “Grow” mode—can take 16 to 20 hours.
This countertop tool also has a “Lomi-Approved” mode, which can compost bioplastics or Lomi-approved products, such as certain produce bags and even utensils, and takes up to 8 hours. The Lomi can even compost softer bones, such as fish or small chicken bones, or bones that were used to make soup.
Included charcoal pellets come with the Lomi that act as a filter for smells when the machine is dehydrating and grinding food scraps. These pellets need to be placed in the back of the Lomi and in a small container on the top next to the bucket.
Some people find the lid can be difficult to remove from the Lomi, but it does have a locking mechanism, which can be helpful for safety if small children are in the house. The bucket is dishwasher-safe, making it easier to clean.
- Dimensions: 12 inches high by 16 inches wide by 13 inches deep
- Shortest cycle time: 4 hours
- Bowl capacity: 12.6 cups (3 liters)
- Cycles can be completed in just 4 hours
- Large bucket holds 12.6 cups, which is a substantial amount of food scraps
- Can compost bioplastics and other Lomi-approved products
- Lid can be tricky to operate
Get the Lomi electric composter at Amazon or Lomi.
For a compost bin with most of the features of our top picks without the same price tag, shoppers may want to take a look at the QMCAHCE compost bin. It has a cycle time of about 4 to 7 hours and dimensions similar to average electric composters, along a 12.6-cup bucket to boot. It also offers the option for users to add more scraps during the cycle.
This electric composter comes with five modes—dry, grind, cool, UV, and clean. The UV cycle helps disinfect the bucket while the cleaning mode cleans it, so there’s no need to wash the bucket. It has a built-in activated carbon filter system that reduces odors during each cycle.
One con to this product is that it has an automatic voice that comes on whenever a cycle is started, which some users find annoying.
- Dimensions: 16.14 inches high by 11.37 inches wide by 15.56 inches deep
- Shortest cycle time: 4 to 7 hours
- Bowl capacity: 12.6 cups (3 liters)
- Features a built-in cleaning and disinfecting system to run after cycles
- Relatively short cycle times for the unit’s price
- Includes the ability to add food during cycles
- Automatic voice can be annoying
Get the QMCAHCE electric composter at Amazon.
Since electric food composters don’t produce the typical microorganisms involved in the compost process due to the heat and speed they generate, the Reencle electric home composter offers something different. The product comes with a packet of microorganisms the user can add to the compost chamber, which then needs to be covered with water and left to sit for 18 to 24 hours.
This kitchen composter has a unique feature: a sensor that allows the user to open the lid with a foot pedal or hand swipe. It also has a lock button to prevent opening of the lid. This optional lock feature can be nice for those who don’t want children opening the lid when the composter is in use.
Reencle is unique because it does not have cycles. Instead, it stirs the compost to mix with the microorganisms every time food is added to the machine. However, if large amounts of food need to be added or the compost gets too wet, it has a “dry” cycle and will need to sit for 1 to 2 days. The mesh filter can be cleaned by hand by running it under water and prevents the need for having to replace filters every month.
Because of how Reencle works, it has a limit of 2.2 pounds of food scraps per day, with 1.5 pounds being optimal. Its instructions describe how to cut up scraps and which foods to start first. Although it’s easy to use, it’s meant more for experienced food recyclers, and it has a very large capacity of 59 cups.
- Dimensions: 18.4 inches high by 13 inches wide by 12 inches deep
- Shortest cycle time: 24 hours
- Bowl capacity: 59 cups (14 liters)
- Produces an end product closer to usable compost than what’s produced by other models
- Low noise level of 28 decibels is less than the sound in a library
- Has a sensor to automatically open the door without touching
- Optional locking mechanism secures lid in closed position
- Takes much longer than other electric composters to complete a cycle
- Automatic door doesn’t stay open long enough to fill with scraps
- No removable inner bucket, so it’s less convenient to use
Get the Reencle electric composter at Reencle.
For those looking for a larger electric composter, the GEME delivers. This kitchen composter can hold up to 80.3 cups (19 liters) of food scraps and is designed to sit on the floor rather than on the countertop. GEME provides a packet of microorganisms for the user to add to food scraps to mimic a more traditional composting process. GEME says its product can process 90 percent of all biowaste, including small bones and pet waste.
This composter uses interior deodorization technology. It works by using a heat-resistant complex of microorganisms that kills bacteria and removes odors during the biowaste decomposition process. GEME also has a built-in disinfection system, which helps eliminate odors without a carbon filter, meaning there’s no filter to change.
Since this model lacks the traditional cycles of other electric composters, users can add food waste as necessary: it’s more or less like a trash can but exclusively for food scraps. However, the byproduct won’t be ready for a minimum of 6 to 8 hours, and the longer it sits, the more like traditional compost it will be.
The GEME can compost meat, dairy, and small bones, and it’s able to process up to 4.4 pounds of food waste daily, which is more than the other electric composters on this list.
- Dimensions: 26.2 inches high by 12.6 inches wide by 18 inches deep
- Shortest cycle time: 6 to 8 hours
- Bowl capacity: 80.3 cups (19 liters)
- Comes with microorganisms to add to the value of the end product for soil
- Can compost most biowaste, including pet waste, with high temperatures
- Operates quietly and sits on floor instead of taking up counter space
- Requires opening 2 lids to deposit food scraps
Get the GEME electric composter at Amazon or GEME.
For the fastest composting time, the Airthereal Revive electric kitchen composter can create soil amendment in as few as 2 hours (although it can take up to 7 hours depending on the scraps inside). Standing just 12.5 inches high and with its 10.5-cup removable bucket, the Airthereal is the smallest kitchen countertop composter on our list.
Like some other composting machines, the Airthereal can compost soft bones, dairy, and meat. It only has one cycle; users simply press the power button to start the process. It will dry, grind, and cool the food scraps, leaving a fraction of the original amount inside to add to soil. It has safety features such as automatic shutoff if the machine becomes jammed or the lid is removed.
The Airthereal uses activated carbon filters to control the smell when dehydrating food, and the machine has a light that indicates when the filters need replacement, which is generally every 6 months. This electric composter is our top pick for quick composting because of its ability to complete a cycle in just 2 hours.
- Dimensions: 12.5 inches high by 10 inches wide by 12.5 inches deep
- Shortest cycle time: 2 (to 7) hours
- Bowl capacity: 10.5 cups (2.5 liters)
- Compact design takes up little space on kitchen counters
- Shortest cycle is just 2 hours depending on the food scraps inside
- Safety features such as automatic shutoff
- Residue tends to stick to the inner bucket
Get the Airthereal electric composter at Amazon or Airthereal.
What to Consider When Choosing an Electric Composter
Choosing an electric composter requires considering several factors, especially since these machines are an investment and become a part of a household’s daily life. When searching for the right product, it’s important for shoppers to look at the size, capacity, cycle time, and aeration system to determine if it will fit their needs.
Like traditional compost bins, electric composters vary greatly by size. Most are designed for countertop use and are between 10 and 14 inches high. However, some are too tall to sit under cabinets—depending on the under-cabinet space—and may need to be placed on a freestanding counter without cabinets or on the floor.
Others are designed specifically to sit on the floor and are between 16 and 26 inches high. These include larger electric composters that could not otherwise sit on a table or counter and act more as trash cans for food waste. It’s important for shoppers to consider where the machine would go before purchasing one to use in the kitchen.
Electric food composters also vary in capacity, or the volume of food scraps they can hold and process. Most electric composters can handle between 2.5 liters (10.5 cups) and 19 liters (80.3 cups).
The capacity needed depends on how much food waste a household produces. For example, a 10.5-cup electric composter might be fine for households of two to four people who don’t cook much. However, for larger households or those that cook frequently or multiple times a day, a larger composter might make more sense.
When looking at capacity, shoppers will want to keep in mind that the machine will reduce the amount of food waste put in the composter by about 80 to 90 percent.
Time to Compost
It can take months for typical compost piles to turn food scraps and dry material into usable compost. However, electric food composters can turn food scraps into a soil amender in just a few hours.
Some machines have just one “cycle” where they continually break down the compost using microorganisms, which can take a few days or weeks. However, most electric composters have a cycle or multiple cycles that can dehydrate and grind food in just a few hours—some as few as 2 to 4 hours.
It’s important for shoppers to understand that with short times such as these, the units do not create actual compost. The machines create dehydrated food that can be used to add to soil, but it’s not actually compost.
All electric composters provide aeration to help break down the material. In addition, most of them use a heating process to dehydrate food before grinding it up. The aeration process gets rid of methane, which would otherwise be produced in a traditional compost pile, while any odors are trapped in the machine’s filtration system, generally through activated carbon filters.
Aeration provides necessary oxygen for food to break down. In traditional composting, heat is naturally generated for decomposition, but electric composters add heat, which can destroy the beneficial bacteria that would otherwise make it through the composting process to nourish soil.
Using an electric composter is a relatively simple process, but it’s important to understand how to operate and use these machines for the best results. Below we’ve compiled the answers to questions people often have when searching for electric kitchen composters.
Q. How much electricity does an electric composter use?
The amount of electricity used varies depending on the size of the composter, but most use between 1 kWh and .80 kWh for every cycle.
Q. Can I use the output from a compost machine in potted plants?
Yes, but follow the manufacturer’s instructions for mixing with soil. Generally, the ratio is one part dehydrated food scraps to 10 parts soil.
Q. How do compost machines work?
Compost machines dehydrate and grind food while using aeration to get rid of methane.
Q. How long do electric composters take?
Electric composters can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a few weeks to complete a cycle.
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