What is Vermicomposting?
This garden composting method uses the usual organic materials but with the addition of earthworms that eat the leftovers and help break down the materials into nutrient rich soil fertilizer.
Vermicomposting is a win-win situation—your kitchen scraps, grass clippings, and leaves are recycled while providing a home for the worms. You don’t have to buy expensive plant fertilizers to feed your plants, so you save money as well.
To be successful in vermicomposting, you need composting bins or worm composters. These come in many shapes, colors, sizes and forms. Because of the numerous options, choosing the best one may seem like a daunting task. To help you choose faster and better, let’s discuss the important factors to consider before buying a worm composter.
What to Look for when Buying the Best Worm Composter
Here are the factors you may need to look out for when choosing a vermicomposer:
- Drainage—choose one that has a decent drainage which features a spigot so that it is easier to take the earthworm tea out. If there is too much liquid from your kitchen scraps, the worms can drown.
- Composter size—your household organic waste depends on how big your family is and how much food you consume on a daily basis. You may need a bigger bin if yours is a big family, so that there is enough space for both the worms and the scraps.
- Harvesting—retrieving the compost means that you would also need to remove the worms and the food, which can be rather messy. If the composter has a nice harvesting feature, you can easily retrieve the compost without disturbing your worm colony.
- Materials—it is important to find bins that will survive extreme weather conditions because you wouldn’t want to lug the entire compost bin indoors during the winter months. Choose a sturdy bin made from resin or plastic that is designed to withstand heat and freezing to ensure that your composter can stay outside throughout the year.
- Ventilation—worms work best when their environment is airy and well ventilated. Choose composter bins that have holes through it and also ones that have domed lids to make sure that your worm colony gets enough air.
- Shade—try to avoid bins that allow light inside because worms do not like sunlight, so an opaque compost bin that blocks light may be your best choice.
- Added features—there are composters that feature trays which separate the compost materials from the worm castings so that harvesting is made easier. There are even composters that collect “worm tea” in small trays. It may cost more but these extra features will greatly help in minimizing maintenance.
With these factors in mind, you can have a more well-informed decision when you buy a worm composter bin. To help you further, we have listed and reviewed the top worm composters for 2018 below.
5 Best Worm Composters for 2018
1. The Squirm Firm Worm Factory 360 Bin
This worm composter is the largest available composter bin on the market. It features 4 trays that can be easily expanded into 8 so the worms can have enough room to process the compost. With this behemoth, recycle food leftovers, cardboard, mulch and paper is made a lot easier because your worm colony will have more space to live in.
The lid can be redesigned into a stand for the upper trays for more convenience during compost collection. Because of the size of the Worm Bin 360, you can have more wigglers in your colony, and if you feed them right, you may be able to harvest at least once a month. Each tray has a 4 gallon capacity.
The Worm Composter 360 comes with a 70-page instruction manual, with graphics for beginners. This composter has a built-in spigot and collector tray. The package also includes a 6 in. x 9 in. “What Can Red Wrigglers Eat” refrigerator magnet that demonstrates how you can determine the healthiest leftovers that your worms can eat.
Setting up the composter bin can be done in a few minutes; you just need to add a few worms and food scraps to the bottom tray. As the wrigglers consume the scraps and the tray is filled, they will look for a new food source so you will need to add another tray.
The last tray is equipped with a ladder to help stray worms find their way back up. This feature is very useful in minimizing worm casualties, and is a feature not common to other models.
- Easy setup
- Graphic-assisted manual
- Base spigot for easier harvesting
- Customer service is quite dismal
- Can be a bit pricey
2. Hungry Bin Flow-Through Worm Farm
The Hungry Bin Worm Farm belongs to the high-end spectrum in terms of price tags, but the features and capacity may be worth every penny.
First off, it has wheels, so you can easily move the composter bin around anytime. Its huge capacity allows you up to 4 pounds of daily waste processing depending on the number of worms in your colony.
It is important to note that the Hungry Bin Flow-Through Composter does not that trays to shift around because it is just one big container. This is great for users who can’t lift heavy items. Despite it being just a big bin, it functions like those of the tray models, however, the flow-through design minimizes effort because you don’t have to turn the contents around.
Its tapered design allows the worms to work their way through the scraps and then their castings flow through to the bottom of the bin. During collection time, you only collect the castings because the food and worm beddings are on the higher levels of the bin.
- Very easy to use
- Large capacity
- No turning necessary
- Has wheels
- Can be expensive
- Bulky and heavy
3. Version 2 Urban Worm Bag
At first glance, the Version 2 Urban Worm Composter looks like a regular garbage bin, but the large capacity of this composter makes it a great choice for big households that produce a lot of waste. This means that you can also produce more compost on a regular basis.
The sack where you put the compost is made of a fabric called a Cordura Diner which is usually used for heavy duty backpacks. Because the container is entirely made of fabric, the ventilation is improved compared to other bins.
Unlike lidded bins, the sack is zippered so you would need to unzip the top to put in recyclable materials. To collect or remove, you can pull the compost by unlocking the string at the bottom.
You would also need to place a bucket under the sack to collect the worm tea. There is a high possibility that some worms might escape at the bottom because the string is too thick and so it does not perfectly close.
- Minimal odor
- High ventilation
- Creates a warm and damp environment for the wrigglers
- Low maintenance
- A bit of time is needed to assemble the setup
- A bucket is required to collect worm tea and castings
4. FCMP Hot Frog Outdoor Living Composter
For smaller households with minimal waste production, this bin may be a good choice with only 2 trays and a small container for worm tea. If you need more space for those extra leftovers, you can purchase additional trays. Each tray has a capacity of 3 gallons.
The noticeable feature of the Hot Frog Worm Composter is its tall wooden legs made of maple hard wood. The wood component is treated to last for many years.
The bin itself is made of UV-blocking recycled plastic, which means that the worms won’t mind even if you place the bin in a sunlight-rich area of your garden. The double layered lid insulates the bin as well, but it is important to keep in mind that worms won’t survive long in a hot area.
The trays are surrounded by channels that help control moisture and water. This ensures that the bedding inside will stay damp, which is an ideal condition for the worms to live in.
The tray design has holes at the bottom so the worms can move up to the next tray when their previous one is full. There are 40 holes on each tray so the migration won’t be so crowded.
- The UV-blocking recycled material ensures that direct sunlight does not affect the worms
- BPA free
- It is a bit pricey considering its size and features
- It is not that portable and movable because of the long wooden legs
- Heavy for its size
5. Exaco 610015 Eco Worm Composter
The Exaco composter has 3 trays and a capacity of 8 gallons overall, which makes it an ideal choice for small households. It is best to chop the compost materials before placing it in.
The round shape may pose a challenge in terms of ergonomics, but also presents an advantage because there are no sharp corners to bump into. It can be placed in your garage, garden or balcony.
The product comes with a reservoir for collecting worm tea, as well as a bowl for draining the reservoir. The worms could use this to escape so regular checks is recommended.
It is very easy to use, with 6 wheels for moving around. It is also lightweight.
- The 6 wheels make it easier to move the bin around
- Great for outdoor or indoor use
- Minimal smell
- A bit pricey considering its size and limited features
- The instructions are in French
The Bottom Line
Choosing the best composting bin can be quite daunting especially if it is your first time, but we hope that the information we presented in this best worm composter reviews in 2018 buying guide gave you a better idea which one is best for your household.
Of the 5 products we reviewed, the worm composter with the most useful features and benefits is the Squirm Firm Worm Factory 360 Bin. Compared to other bins, it has a large capacity, add on features not found in other models, and though you may need to spend a bit more for this bin, it may well prove worth every single penny as you progress with your vermicomposting project.