Compost Tools You Don’t Need

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You don’t need fancy tools to make compost. Here are five compost gadgets that you shouldn’t buy, and what to use instead.

I know, I know…the fancy gardening catalogs will try to convince you that you desperately need a compost tumbler and a bunch of other unnecessary gadgets to make compost. Just say no! It’s easy and inexpensive to make compost without any special tools.

hands holding compost

Remember, the fancy gardening catalogs are in business to make money. Keep in mind that they charge $159 for a seed starting light that you can make yourself for $10!

Here’s the truth about compost making tools that you don’t need. Some of these are a downright rip-off.

silver kitchen compost bin

5 Compost Tools You Don’t Need

Compost Tumbler

compost tumbler

The compost tumbler is supposed to “save time and effort” because you put the materials in and then occasionally turn the crank to produce compost. Guess what! The bin isn’t what makes the compost…it’s your ingredients and a little bit of mixing that does the trick.

Their price: $199.99

My suggestion: If you simply must have a compost tumbler, lay this 44 gallon trash can on its side and roll it around the backyard. It’s $38.57.

Cost savings: $161.42

Kitchen Food Waste Pail

kitchen compost bucket

It’s like a tiny, decorative trash can for your kitchen counter…that’s $22.95 (OMG). Some even come with tiny trash bag liners and/or charcoal filters, which just add to the cost.

Their price: $22.95

My suggestion: put your kitchen scraps in an empty #10 can (like the kind you use when you make Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce) and empty it daily. Cost: $2.99

Cost savings: $19.96

Compost Thermometer

compost thermometer

If made properly, compost gets warm because of decomposition and bacterial activity. I am currently too busy/not Type-A enough to monitor the exact temperature of my compost pile. However, if you’re made of money or dead-set on accuracy, you can buy a compost thermometer (yes, really).

Their price: $20.95

My suggestion: Look for steam when turning the pile, or dig a small hole in the middle and feel for warmth. Cost: $0

Cost savings: $20.95

Compost Turner

compost turner

These are an extraordinary way to separate you from $37.12 of your hard-earned money…take it from someone who has one. You do not need an overgrown anchor bolt with a handle to stir your compost, which is really all this is.

Their price: $37.12

My suggestion: A shovel or pitchfork will do just fine.

Cost savings: $37.12

Indoor Composter

indoor composter

This is the piece de resistance in unnecessary compost spending. For just $599.99, you can buy an electric gizmo that says it creates compost. What it actually does is dry and chop the food waste you put in it (there are no microbes or decomposition involved). Please don’t buy one of these.

If you really want to dry things, spend half as much money on an top-quality Excalibur dehydrator and make useful things like fruit roll-ups.

Their price: $599.99

My suggestion: Get an Excalibur dehydrator for $269.95, or skip all the buying and just let nature make the dang compost.

Cost savings: $330.04 (assuming you buy the Excalibur dehydrator)

What other compost gadgets have you tried? Were they worth the cost?

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hands holding compost

Hi, Im Pam!

I created Brown Thumb Mama to share my natural living journey, and help you live a greener life. Thanks for being here!

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3 thoughts on -Compost Tools You Don’t Need-

  1. Love your compost comments in information, I do have a composter that turns and have had a lot of success with it, I’m also 72 and find turning easier that having to stir. But have to say I do dump and stir once my compost is ready, if I had it to do over I would have saved my $79 dollars and built my own. Live and learn, thanks so much for this site.

  2. Hi Pam, I just prefer to keep my compost on the ground so the worms can work it and leave their worm poop in the compost. Just turn it every so often. It does the same thing only better. For free

  3. What if your neighbor leaves two huge composting bins on a rolling rack in front of their house and you wait long enough to make sure no one else is supposed to take it and then you drag it into your side yard and fill it with grass clippings and clean food waste and spin it every once in a while and have actually used the dirt that is produce from this as filler where there is a dip in your yard? (Asking for a friend)