Composting your food is a great way to live more sustainably. But if you live in an apartment or lack a yard, you could definitely benefit from an indoor compost bin.
You can build your own using a wooden enclosure like a dresser drawer or a wine crate. But if you want to keep it simple and purchase one ready-to-go, I’ll lay out the best ones I’ve come across.
In this article, you’ll learn:
- the best indoor compost bins for apartments and homeowners
- a look at electric, worm, and bokashi composters
- perfect choices for those who need a fully functioning composter or something to temporarily store food scraps
- pros and cons of composting
- if indoor composters work just as well as an outdoor compost pile
- if using energy to compost is more eco-friendly than throwing away your food
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may get a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you decide to make a purchase through any of the links. Please read the full disclosure for more information.
What are the best indoor compost bins for 2023?
#1 Lomi Smart Waste Kitchen Composter
Pela makes the Lomi Smart Waste Kitchen Composter, which truly solves the food waste problem once and for all. It works super fast, turning your food into a nutrient-rich substance in about 4 hours.
The bucket is dishwasher safe, the machine is quiet, and it comes with filters to minimize odors. The Lomi can even handle certain bioplastics, like their own biodegradable phone cases.
P.S. I love the fact that Pela is a Certified B corporation.
fast ‘n efficient all-in-one composter
Lomi Indoor Compost Bin
- FAST 4-hour eco-express mode
- low to no odor
- easy set up
- dishwasher safe
- comes with 1-year warranty
- comes with filters (you choose how many)
- filters last 3-6 months & can be composted
- capable of composting certain biodegradable plastics
- has 3 modes with varying wattage*
- Expensive and rarely goes on sale
- doesn’t take fruit pits or bones
- beeping cannot be muted
- cannot compost oils or foods/liquids high in sugar
- recurring costs of filters and LomiPods
The Lomi indoor compost bin made the #1 spot on my list because of its speed, varying wattage modes, and the composter itself is guaranteed to be carbon neutral.
*It should be pointed out that the Grow Mode can take up to 20 hours to complete but results in a more nutrient-dense product that can be used directly as soil in your garden.
#2 Vitamix FoodCycler
The Vitamix FoodCycler Composter is another great indoor composting solution for those who want to compost with minimal effort and low to no odor.
Like the Lomi, this device does all the work for you. It’s also easy to use, and clean-up is a breeze. The price tag is a little friendlier than its counterpart above, making it one of the best compost bins on the market today.
budget friendly all-in-one
- low to no odor
- easy set up
- dishwasher safe
- comes with 1-year warranty and 2 carbon filters
- filters last 3-4 months
- less expensive than Lomi
- made by a highly reputable and trusted company
- takes a long time to process (8-12 hours)
- small and doesn’t handle a lot of food at once
- recurring costs of filters
I chose the Vitamix FoodCycler as our #2 choice because although it’s a great, sturdy indoor compost machine, it does take quite a bit longer than the Lomi to get the job done, and it does not allow for bioplastics to be added.
What are the best non-electric indoor compost bins?
Non-electric countertop compost bins are advantageous because they temporarily hold food scraps and begin the breakdown process. This eliminates the need to walk to your backyard compost pile every day. And it also serves as the perfect storage until you make it to your local community composter.
Here’s a good option I found, and it’s the one I use as well.
#3 Vremi Kitchen Compost Bin
This is as simple as it gets. This little stainless steel bucket fits on your counter, on the floor next to your trashcan, or under the sink.
The lid has a carbon filter to absorb odors, and mine came with an extra filter too. It works great because I don’t smell a thing.
You can use it with our without composting bags, but I like to use the bags because it makes taking it to the compost dropoff a lot easier and without the hastle of cleanup. I do generally have to rinse out the compost bin after because the bags will start to dissolve after a few days if they get wet.
This compost pail is super cheap and worth every penny.
- low to no odor
- comes with 2 filters
- not dishwasher safe
- not very big
- not as esthetically pleasing as others
#4 Chef’n EcoCrock Counter Compost Bin
If you’re looking for something simple and esthetically pleasing to toss your food scraps in, the Chef’n EcoCrock Composter is a great solution.
It comes with an outer ceramic pot and an inner composter that you can use with or without bags. And 2 carbon filters are included help to minimize the odor.
The Chef’n composter holds 3 quarts of food.
esthetically pleasing countertop non-electric
Chef’n EcoCrock Compost Bin
- top rack dishwasher safe
- low to no odor
- comes with 2 charcoal filters
- esthetically pleasing
- only begins the composting process (you’ll need a compost pile to finish the job)
- inner plastic bin on the inside tends to hold the smell, and replacements are not available
#5 SCD All Seasons Indoor Composter (Bokashi)
The SCD All Seasons Composter uses the bokashi method to begin the composting process. And we say “begin” because bokashi works by fermenting food scraps, using a mixture of anaerobic (no oxygen) microorganisms and enzymes.
The lack of oxygen is a bonus because it eliminates the odor generally caused by fermentation. If you notice a smell coming from your compost bin, it likely means it’s not sealed up airtight.
How does it work, you ask?
Well, toss your scraps into the bin, add the bokashi bran, and let the organisms do their thing. Every few days, you’ll need to drain the “tea.”
Transfer the contents to your garden or outdoor compost pile for further breakdown when the container is full. The contents can also be placed inside a bucket or barrel filled with soil.
My Pick for bokashi composter
All Seasons Indoor Composter
- easier and faster than vermicomposting
- ZERO energy usage
- odor free
- creates incredibly nutrient dense material
- can toss in dairy, meat, and small bones
- bin is plastic but made of mostly recycled soda bottles
- replacement parts available
- bokashi tea can be used as liquid fertilizer for houseplants
- liquid must be drained every few days, so you have to stay on top of it
- does not fully compost indoors
- must be buried in a garden or compost pile for several more weeks once the bin is full to allow for further decomposition
#6 Worm Factory 360 Composting System
The Worm Factory 360 allows you to compost year-round indoors. The great thing about using worms to compost (vermicomposting) is the fact that it eliminates the need for electricity, so it’s a truly sustainable and eco-friendly way to compost and get nutrient-dense fertilizer.
It also works much faster than “hot” composting–which is the same as composting in your backyard.
If you’re not familiar with vermicomposting, you can read about it here.
Worms can eat half their body weight each day, and the Worm Factory will hold thousands of these adorable critters, so it can handle a lot of food and waste.
Worm Factory 360 Indoor Composter
- perfect for the newbie worm composter
- low to no odor
- ZERO energy usage
- comes with a 5-yr warranty
- also breaks down paper and cardboard
- includes 4 stacking trays; bedding; mineral nutrients; “worm tea” collector tray; base with spigot; accessories (thermometer, hand rake, scraper, and worm ladder for movement between trays); and instruction manual with DVD
- can take a long time to complete the first cycle (up to 3 months) as opposed to electric countertop indoor composters.
- has a small learning curve and some prep work involved
- does not come with worms (will need ~ 1 lb. of red wrigglers; check out Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm)
- can be placed on a patio or balcony during mild or temperate weather
- must be maintained at a temperature betweeen 40 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit
What are the pros and cons of composting?
1. Great for the environment. Composting food, paper, cardboard, and yard waste reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and here’s why:
Food that decomposes in landfills gives off methane gas. This is due to anaerobic bacteria that break the food down inside a trash bag where oxygen does not exist. But, when food breaks down in the presence of oxygen, no methane is released.
Composting works in the presence of oxygen, with the exception of bokashi. But no greenhouse gasses are created during this type of fermentation because it’s done at such a low pH that methane isn’t produced.
2. Supplies nutrient-rich soil and rich compost to your plants and garden.
3. Cuts down on the need for chemical fertilizers.
FYI: The EPA estimates that 50% of all trash at the landfill is compostable.
1. Work and attention required. Composting is more work than tossing your food in the trash. And each type of composting requires a different amount of work and attention.
2. Pests. Sometimes rodents, bugs, fruit flies, and other critters are attracted to the food and smell that’s given off during composting.
3. Weather challenges. Composting during cold, winter months can be challenging.
4. Space required. You must have a dedicated space for a backyard compost pile, a luxury that not everyone has.
5. Energy costs. Indoor electric composters use energy, but they aren’t likely to increase your power bill that much. Also, energy use is offset by the reduced carbon footprint from ZERO methane gas emissions.
While the “cons” list might seem longer, they are kind of subjective and not really that much of a problem for the conscientious composter.
Do indoor compost bins work just as well as outdoor compost bins?
Yes! Indoor and outdoor composting methods work equally well.
It simply comes down to what works best for you based on lifestyle, space, and how much time and attention you can give to composting.
Please don’t get too bogged down in which works better overall, but focus on which works best for you.
Isn’t the energy required to use an indoor compost bin worse than just throwing food scraps away?
This is probably a debatable topic but based on research, I believe the long and short answer is no. Especially if your home runs on renewable energy such as solar panels, hydro, or wind power.
If you get your energy from a power plant that relies on fossil fuels, then your carbon footprint will obviously be greater.
However, it’s unlikely that the amount of energy used to run your composter will be greater than or worse than the amount of methane produced from decomposing food. Think of it as a tradeoff.
It’s also important to consider that your trash must be hauled off by dump trucks, and the less you give them in the way of trash … well, you can do the math there.
Final thoughts on the best indoor compost bin
If you’re just getting started with composting and aren’t sure how much time you’ll have to commit to maintaining something like a vermicomposter or outdoor compost pile, I recommend starting with the Lomi or FoodCycler.
That way, you can at least start reducing your carbon footprint while deciding whether you want to invest in something that will get your hands a little dirtier.