Photo: Debbie Wolfe
As our culture wrestles with complex issues such as waste disposal, pollution, and sustainability, business-minded innovators continue to develop workable consumer solutions. Composting is a perfect example. It’s an important solution to the problem of overflowing landfills, but the process of breaking down organic waste and converting it into a valuable soil amendment takes time and space. Plus, conventional composting cannot safely process certain materials such as meat scraps.
Lomi claims to eliminate space, time, and ingredient barriers to home composting, resulting in less household waste and leaving users with a nutrient-rich material that’s good for gardening indoors or out. I tried it for a month and got excellent results, but it may not be the right choice for everyone.
Photo: Mark Wolfe
- Quickly converts waste into compost
- Fits on the countertop
- Works with most organic materials
- Plug-and-play easy to use
- Requires a balanced mix of ingredients
- Expensive (competitive with similar products)
- Requires electricity
Get the Lomi Countertop Composter at:
What is the Lomi Countertop Composter?
Lomi is a countertop appliance that quickly converts household organic waste into compost. The machine is 16 inches by 13 inches by 12 inches, or about the same size—and noise level—as a bread machine. It works with a wide array of materials, including fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and filters, eggshells, paper towels, cardboard, and even meat scraps and bioplastics.
Lomi speeds up the natural decomposition process by grinding, aerating, and heating the waste material. Although they are not required for the system to work, Lomi Pods can be added to the mix to inoculate the material with beneficial microbes. They are recommended for breaking down tough compostables like bioplastics. Doing so improves the machine’s operational efficiency and the quality of the resulting compost.
Choose from three operating modes for the best results.
- Use Eco Express mode for the fastest breakdown of food scraps; it processes material in just 3 to 5 hours.
- When adding bioplastics, packing material, and other tough compostable materials, select the 5- to 8-hour Lomi Approved mode.
- Grow mode is for gardeners who want to retain the maximum nutrient value in the compost. It runs at a lower temperature for 16 to 20 hours and should be used only with food scraps.
To use the Lomi Countertop Composter, just fill the 2-liter container with scraps, add a Lomi Pod and dissolve it on top of the ingredients with 50 milliliters of water, close the lid, and use the single-button interface to select an operating mode.
An activated charcoal filter eliminates odors as the machine grinds and processes the material. In less than 24 hours, Lomi yields a dry soil-like compost that can easily be stored, applied on indoor or outdoor gardens, or held in the green bin until pickup day.
Testing the Lomi Composter
Over the course of a month, I used Lomi in every mode, and it worked as advertised. During the month, I added pretty much any kind of food scrap or leftover I could think of, including things I have never added to other compost systems. In limited quantities, leftover spaghetti, a hot dog, and stale potato chips had good results.
The end material was fairly dry, uniform in texture, and typically reduced to about 20 to 25 percent of its original volume. Some of the tough material, such as eggshells, was still recognizable after processing, but the particles were no larger than 3 millimeters and significantly degraded. As a point of comparison, I’ve made compost in worm bins, tumblers, and piles. To me, Lomi compost resembles 4- to 6-week-old compost from those other systems.
After a few days, I fell into a rhythm of filling the Lomi Countertop Composter throughout the day and running it overnight, which worked fairly well. In Eco Express and Lomi Approved modes, the composter was ready for me to empty it first thing in the morning, or after dinner if it was in Grow mode. A definite plus is that I did not notice odors of any kind while the machine was working. The noise level is not loud, but it was more noticeable at night when the rest of the house was quiet. Some sensitive sleepers may prefer to start the machine first thing in the morning.
Since I have a large yard and lots of houseplants, it was easy to find a new spot to spread the Lomi soil every day. Most of the time I sprinkled it over the grass or landscape beds. I did notice that some of the material that was processed in Eco Express mode without a Lomi Pod had a slight odor when it got wet.
Ease of Use
Lomi is very easy to use. Just fill the container, add a Lomi Pod and water, then close the lid and push the button. Day-to-day operation is intuitive and fits seamlessly into the normal household routine. I was already in the habit of saving food scraps and placing them in my compost bin daily, so transitioning to the Lomi system was very easy. Those who currently use a green bin for municipal composting will probably find it equally simple.
Maintaining the system over time is not difficult either. Remove and wash the dishwasher-safe waste bucket regularly and wipe the exterior with a damp cloth as needed. Replace the filters whenever the indicator light says it’s time to do so, which is every 3 to 6 months, depending on usage. The activated charcoal from the spent filter can be added to your garden. Pela, the manufacturer of Lomi, offers a subscription service to keep you stocked up with Lomi Pods and replacement filters. For an annual charge, you receive the supplies on a monthly basis.
Depending on the mode, materials, and how full it is, the Lomi Countertop Composter runs a complete cycle in 3 to 20 hours. Eco Express mode is ideal for breaking down basic food scraps quickly; it finishes a cycle in 5 hours or less.
The Lomi Approved mode is the best option for breaking down bioplastic, packing materials, and other tough fibrous content. This mode takes 5 to 8 hours to complete a cycle.
In Grow mode, the system holds steadily at a lower maximum temperature for a longer time than the other modes to preserve the maximum nutrient and biotic value in the finished compost. Grow mode requires up to 20 hours to finish a composting cycle.
Price and Affordability
At just under $500, Lomi is a major investment. For many buyers, it may be the most expensive appliance in the kitchen that is not a stove, refrigerator, or dishwasher. Additionally, Lomi Pod refills and replacement filters run $54 every 3 months (including a 10 percent discount for those who set up a subscription), or you can purchase up to a 9-month supply for bulk savings. With a maximum yield of 2 cups of compost per day make it unlikely that anyone would break even by saving money on soil amendments. But this is a fairly new technology that solves several problems that many apartment, condo, and townhome dwellers face, so it could be a great buy for the right customers.
Lomi was developed to address several problems associated with composting home food waste in an urban environment: time, space, mess, and smell. It makes high-quality compost quickly and eliminates the bulk, mess, and smell of stored green bin waste waiting for weekly pickup.
Chances are if you are a suburban or rural gardener, Lomi does not make sense as an addition to your kitchen. It processes small quantities, requires daily attention, and adds a power-consuming appliance into a naturally occurring process that, quite frankly, works better without it. If you have the space and time for other composting systems, this one may not offer much additional value.
Among others, Lomi could be a good choice for
- Apartment, condo, or townhome dwellers who have to store food waste for pickup
- Homeowners with little or no outdoor space for composting
- Gardeners with limited mobility who want an easier way to make compost
- Those in need of an alternative to worm bins and bokashi composting
Where to Buy the Lomi Countertop Composter
Get the Lomi Countertop Composter at:
Meet the Tester
Mark Wolfe is a writer with an extensive background in the nursery and landscaping industry. For more than twenty years he mowed, edged, planted, pruned, cultivated, irrigated, and renovated beautiful landscapes. Now he tests and writes reviews about the latest outdoor power equipment, hand tools, lawn care products, and other outdoor living goods.