The 6 Best Worm Composting Bins of 2022

The Worm Factory 360 Composter is our top pick of worm bins.

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Person lifting the lid of a worm compost bin to reveal food scraps and flower petals.

Andrzej Rostek / Getty

If you want to repurpose kitchen scraps into usable compost, consider harnessing the power of worms. Worm composting, also called vermicomposting, leaves the work to nature.

At the most basic level, worm bins consist of a waterproof container with holes for ventilation. You add moist bedding material such as coco coir or shredded paper; composting worms such as red worms or red wigglers, which you can purchase from worm farms; and raw fruit or veggie scraps (chopped into 1-inch chunks for best results). Worms eat the scraps, which become compost as they pass through their bodies. In time, you’ll see less bedding and more compost. In about 3 to 5 months, you’ll likely have enough compost to harvest.

Ahead, our picks for the best worm composting bins:

Best Overall: The Squirm Firm Worm Factory 360 Worm Composting Bin

Worm Factory 360 Compost Bin

The Squirm Firm

Capacity: 26.6 gallons | Dimensions: 18 x 18 x 24 inches | Weight: 13 pounds

This reasonably-priced large worm bin composter, which is designed for families of one to four people, comes with four stacking trays and can be expanded to seven trays. The base has a spigot to access the worm tea, and the kit includes starter worm bedding, a hand rake, scraper, manual, and voucher for 1 pound of live worms. It will take the worms about three months to fully break down the first tray of scraps and bedding, but then after that you can harvest finished vermicompost approximately once per month.

It’s made in the United States from recycled plastic and has a 10-year warranty, making it our top overall choice. This composter isn’t fancy in appearance, but this is a good basic system for its simplicity of design and use.

Price at time of publish: $132

Best Budget: FCMP Outdoor The Essential Living Worm Composter

FCMP Outdoor The Essential Living Worm Composter

Amazon

Capacity: 6 gallons | Dimensions: 15 x 15 x 22 inches | Weight: 10 pounds

This 0.8 cubic foot composter consists of two stackable trays which have moisture channels to prevent bedding from drying out along the edges of the bin. A series of angled tunnels provides easy access for worms to move between trays. A reservoir base collects worm tea, which can be used for fertilizer and there’s a spigot on the bottom for easy access to this liquid. The unit is constructed from recycle propylene plastic, comes in four colors, and can be used indoors or out.

Price at time of publish: $90

Best Large Capacity: Hungry Bin Continuous Flow Worm Composter

Hungry Bin Continuous Flow Worm Composter

Amazon

Capacity: 20 gallons | Dimensions: 24 x 26 x 37 inches | Weight: 28 pounds

This wheeled extra-large bin can hold up to 13 cubic feet of material and can process up to 4.5 pounds of kitchen waste per day. Continuous flow means you put food scraps in the top of the bin and remove castings from the bottom, without having to handle trays. The tapered shape helps compress and move the castings downward, but encourages worms to stay at the top because they’re surface feeders, not burrowers like earthworms.

It takes about two to four months for food waste to make it from the top of the barrel to the bottom. The finished compost is accessible with minimal fussing and the click of the latch on the bottom of the bin. It’s made in New Zealand and has a five-year warranty. Its sturdy design and ample space make it a good choice for large families or small commercial settings. It’s designed to be used outdoors, so set it by your back door for easy access.

Price at time of publish: $389

Best Small Worm Composter: Maze 4 Gal. Worm Farm Composter

Maze Worm Farm Composter

Amazon 

Capacity: 4 gallons | Dimensions: 15 x 15 x 11 inches | Weight: 6 pounds

This 3 cubic foot composter comes with two main stacking trays to rotate as needed, and a lid with a handy interior hook so you can hang it from the side of the bin as you add scraps. It’s best used outside because an open drip tray sits beneath the unit to catch worm tea as it drains. This bin also has a perforated "worm saver" tray, to prevent your wrigglers from escaping from the bottom. It’s made in Australia from recycled plastic and has a one-year warranty.

If you’re tight on space, this is a good introduction to what worm composters can do.

Price at time of publish: $122

Best Indoor Worm Composter: Alfresco Home Worm Farm

Urbalive Worm Farm

Urbalive

Capacity: 4.7 gallons | Dimensions: 19.5 x 15 x 24 inches | Weight: 11 pounds

This sleek and stylish plastic worm bin has hardwood legs and comes with two trays, which you rotate as needed when one becomes full. You can add up to a half pound of scraps per day. There’s a spigot to access the worm tea, a filter layer, and the bin comes in three colors. With its small footprint, it will fit neatly alongside your counter without hogging too much space. You can also tuck it into a corner of your garage or balcony. It’s made in the Czech Republic.

Price at time of publish: $289

Best In-Ground Worm Composter: Uncle Jim's Worm Buffet

Uncle Jim's Worm Buffet

Uncle Jim's

Capacity: About 0.5 gallon | Dimensions: 12.2 x 19.5 inches | Weight: 2.4 pounds

Dig a 16 x 16-inch hole directly in your garden or raised bed, and drop in this in-ground lidded composter. You won’t have to look at the composter if that bugs you, but you can still be able to recycle scraps! It’s designed to recycle 2.5 to 4.5 pounds of kitchen waste each week.

An in-ground composter works the similarly to the other worm bins: Add moist bedding and worms, and let them do their work. The worms deposit castings directly into the garden, moving out when their feast is over and back in when new scraps arrive, with no need for you to empty the container. It’s made in Australia from 100% recycled plastic.

Price at time of publish: $60

Final Verdict

Our top pick for its simple design and reasonable price tag is the Worm Factory 360 Composter. But the Hungry Bin Continuous Flow Worm Composter is a nice splurge for its large capacity and the ease of handling finished compost.

What to Consider When Choosing a Worm Composting Bin

Worm bins do require some time and attention to keep your wriggly new friends healthy and thriving, but these systems can be extremely rewarding. 

Worm bins are a great system for anyone who wants to compost indoors, says Rebecca Louie, certified Master Composter and author of “Compost City: Practical Composting Know-How for Small-Space Living.” She says they’re great for curious composers and people who want to connect with the creatures doing the work. “It’s like having helpful pets.” 

Location

Most bins can be used indoors or outdoors, though composting worms thrive between 55 to 75 degrees, so you will need to keep them out of the direct sun and bring them indoors if temperatures drop.

It’s also always a good idea to measure the space where you plan to keep your bin, and make sure the dimensions of any potential purchase fits accordingly. 

Single Chamber vs. Flow Through System

There are two main designs of worm composers. One is a single chamber bin, where worms, bedding, and food all co-exist in the same compartment. These systems are generally uncomplicated to maintain, although harvesting your compost typically requires emptying the whole thing. 

The second design is called a flow through system, which consists of a series of stacked trays. You start with one tray of worms and bedding, and feed this tray. When this level is full of compost, you put the new one on top with fresh food scraps, and the worms will head upstairs to start dining. “Over time, you add a bunch of trays and the worms migrate to where the newest stuff is, and they leave behind the finished vermiculture casting for easier harvesting,” says Louie. 

Visual Appeal

Although aesthetics may not be everyone’s top priority when it comes to compost, there are a number of different styles of bins, so you can pick one that fits with the design of your home or garden. “They have vibrant colors, they have modern designs,” says Louie. “That can be appealing to people who are interested in integrating the worm bin into their decor.” 

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How many worms do I need to start my composting bin?

    Most manufacturers recommend how many worms you’ll need to start in each specific bin, but Louie recommends beginners start with 1 pound or about 1,000 worms. “You don’t want to be too ambitious and get a lot of worms and not be able to handle it,” she says. 

    You may read that worms can eat half their weight in food per day, but this is only under ideal conditions. “There are all sorts of things that can impact how quickly they consume,” she says, like colder temperatures. 

    If you order worms online, the weather will also affect worms when they are shipped. “You might want to consider looking at the weather over the next couple of weeks when you’re buying them,” she says. “If it’s a good retailer, they will postpone shipping when there’s a heatwave regionally.” 

  • Where should you put a worm composting bin?

    It’s totally fine to put it indoors if you have space, though one caveat: Worms may escape from some types of composters if the conditions are not ideal, such as if it’s too wet or too dry. If you’re on the squeamish side and don’t want to find a few escapees on the floor (it’s not typically a mass exodus), keep your composter outdoors or in the mud room. Also, keep curious pets away, to prevent them from knocking it over.  

  • What should you not put in a worm compost bin?

    Like you, worms prefer a varied diet. You can add raw chopped fruits and vegetables, eggshells, coffee grounds and filters, napkins, tea bags, and shredded paper. Worms need about 50% food scraps and 50% fiber and paper to maintain a healthy environment.

    Never put rotting food in your bin, which attracts fruit flies (besides worms don’t like decomposing food). Don’t add fruit pits, fats, diary, or meat products. They also have difficulty with hard stems, the papery outer layers of onions, and too much citrus waste like orange peels (make sure it’s not more than about 20% of what you add at any time).

  • Do worm compost bins smell bad?

    Not if you do it right! They may smell mildly earthy but if things are getting stinky, you have a problem. For starters, bury your food in the bedding, and keep the bedding moist like a damp sponge, not sopping wet. If your worm bin looks dried out, spray it lightly with some water. Also, don’t put in more scraps than the worms can eat within a couple of days; it may take you a few weeks to figure out how quickly they’re going through a handful of scraps.

    Finally, large chunks of odiferous foods such as cabbage and onions and even whole banana peels may smell bad on their own; cut them into small pieces and add sparingly.

  • Should I put worms in my compost bin?

    It’s not a good idea to add worms to a compost bin or system that’s not intended for them, otherwise you risk killing them. Never add worms to a compost tumbler or countertop compost bucket (these are just for collecting scraps in the kitchen before you transport them to the place where they'll actually be composted). If you have a compost bin that’s open to soil at the bottom and sits directly on the ground, worms may be attracted to it and that’s fine. 

  • What type of worm is best for a composting bin?

    Louie says the easiest starter worms for worm bins are red wigglers (eisenia fetida). They are usually sold by the pound, which is about 1,000 worms, and you can buy them at online retailers. Red wigglers are native to Europe, but in the United States they are not consider invasive because they don’t have any negative effects on ecosystem if they escape into the wild. 

Why Trust Treehugger?

Treehugger wants to help readers reduce and repurpose household waste of all types. To make this list, we looked for worm bins that use recycled materials whenever possible, and researched the market for durable, top-rated, and easy-to-use systems. We also interviewed a composting expert about what to consider when selecting and setting up a worm bin.

Arricca SanSone specializes in writing about home and gardening.

Additional reporting by
Margaret Badore
Margaret Badore
Maggie Badore is an environmental reporter and editor based in New York City. She started at Treehugger in 2013 and is now the Associate Editorial Director.
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