The 9 Best Worm Composting Bins, Reviewed. Which is the Best Worm Composter For You?
Gone are the days of messy and smelly traditional worm composting. The new generation of worm bins solves these problems and then some.
You can choose a big bin that empties out pure castings without spilling all over your floor. Or pick a compact, furniture-like system that your landlord will never complain about.
Either way, give worm composting a chance with these nine best worm composter bins of 2021.
- The 9 Best Worm Composter Reviews
- 1. Urban Worm Bag Version 2 – Best Overall
- 2. Worm Factory 360 Worm Composting Bin – Runner Up
- 3. Teemway Worm Compost Kit – Budget Pick
- 4. Basic Worm Composting Farm
- 5. Tumbleweed Can O Worms Vermicomposter
- 6. VermiHut Plus Worm Compost Bin
- 7. Hungry Bin Flow Through Worm Farm
- 8. Maze Worm Farm Composter
- 9. Hot Frog Living Classic Composter
- Your Guide To Buying The Best Worm Bin
The 9 Best Worm Composter Reviews
There are a lot of recent upgrades in the world of vermicomposting. Here are the best worm composter reviews that boast high compost efficiency, a well-thought-out tray system, maximum ventilation, optimal moisture control, and a mess-free worm casting collection.
Even an experienced worm composter will love these best worm composters.
Still unsure which worm composting bin is the best for you? Continue reading for everything you need to know about each bin on our list.
Our top pick is the only worm bin that uses a breathable fabric material instead of solid plastic. It solves any ventilation and pest problem, keeping your worms happy and healthy.
The newest upgrade of the Urban Worm Bag Version 2 is more robust and slightly bigger to take advantage of the continuous flow system. Your worms always stay near the surface as the bottom layer becomes too compact for them. And the newly improved bottom hatch lets you collect the purest castings without making a huge mess, bothering the worms, or carrying heavy trays.
The whole bag is pretty much Fort Knox for the composting worms. But you have to make sure that the food scraps you add don’t have fruit flies or larvae. The moist environment is perfect for those unwanted guests to build their colony. Otherwise, this fool-proof design is the best indoor worm composter for many households.
All-in-one packages are big-time (and shipping cost) savers. The upgraded Worm Factory 360 gives you everything you need to set up a worm composting bin. And it also solves the problem of poor ventilation and dead worms in the liquid collection tray.
It’s a bigger stackable design compared to the budget pick. But those factors combined also make this choice fall short of being the best worm composting bin. Switching out a lot of heavy layers makes it hard to collect worm castings. And our top choice figured out how to make it effortless.
So, you want to start worm composting. But you don’t want to go all-out on a setup just yet. The Teemway Worm Compost Kit is an excellent beginner kit at an affordable price.
The easy assemble multiple-layer design helps you understand that composting worms will always stay near the surface. It also makes it easier to manage because you don’t have to dig through the entire setup to check on the worms.
The compact size is a life-saver for apartment dwellers. But, as with all budget-friendly items, there are drawbacks. In this case, you need to file some sharp edges and drill a couple of holes for better ventilation. But, overall, it’s the best worm bin with a cheap price tag.
The Basic Worm Composting Farm is the cheaper version of the Worm Factory 360, but it has fewer inclusions. You get the base with a spigot, four trays, a worm ladder, and a lid. Like it says, it’s basic. But that’s all you need for a worm farm.
The hard plastic makes it great for both indoor and outdoor use. But we recommend putting some bricks or heavy wood planks on top to keep pesky raccoons away.
This worm farm gives you a practical setup. But be prepared to make modifications depending on your location and storing conditions. You might need to add more ventilation or experiment with bedding ratios to keep this worm factory running.
Let’s open a can of worms, shall we? No, not the bad kind. I’m talking about the Tumbleweed Can O Worms Vermicomposter.
This worm farm is the only rounded worm compost bin on our list with a vent system that also keeps flies out. You don’t have to worry about your composting worms competing with pests for food.
The bottom tray has a dome that acts like a worm ladder keeping the worms from drowning in the excess liquid. A downside to the bottom tray is the legs that aren’t fixed. If your setup gets too heavy, the legs might give out.
All in all, this is a good-sized worm farm with practical features. It’s definitely the only can of worms you’ll ever be excited to open.
Going deep into the worm composting business means you need a big system that takes care of itself. The newest version of the VermiHut Worm Compost Bin has anti-invasion features saving you from playing the role of an exterminator.
The ant trappers go on each leg, forming a moat, and the dry fibrous mat on the lid controls the moisture. It also doubles as a filter to keep smells contained, and fruit flies away.
The trays need better construction because they get stuck during shipping. And they won’t stick together when they’re full. The gaps leave room for invaders or escaping worms. Luckily, you can fix this by not filling up the trays too much.
Looking at the setup, this 5 tray worm compost bin looks similar to the popular gusanito worm bin. But with most worm bins upping their composting game, the overall gusanito worm bin review didn’t make the final list.
VermiHut is a solid setup that saves you time and effort. Plus, it gives you a good return with all the worm castings from this five-tray worm compost bin.
The Hungry Bin may look a little bit like your average trash bin. But there’s a lot more science that goes into the design of this worm factory that meets the eye.
It is a beast of a worm composting bin with a simple yet genius concept: tapering. It keeps the composting worms on the top half of the bin because the lower part is too compact for them to move around. Collecting castings is faster and easier without the trouble of separating worms.
Tapering also allows only the completely processed castings to fall through to the collector tray. Think of it as over-filling a funnel with dense material. At some point, things stop falling through.
The concept is similar to our top pick. But this bigger solid plastic version lacks all-around ventilation. But, overall, you get a great hungry bin worm farm review. This large capacity bin works great for big households with lots of food scraps.
We’re worming our way into the more stylish bins starting with the Maze Worm Farm Composter.
This compact bin with a tight-fitting and sleek design is as functional as it is nice to look at. The empty base allows air to flow throughout the two working trays. And also lets the heat from all the worm work escape, providing excellent moisture control.
You don’t have a clogged spigot problem with this worm factory because excess liquid drips down to an external collection tray. And you don’t have to worry about worms falling through, thanks to the pull-out tray that catches them.
Overall, this Australian-made mini worm farm is well-designed and well-built. Plus, the castings are enough to fertilize any indoor plants you have, like beets in containers or even a start-up herb garden.
Ending our worm composter review is the Hot Frog Composter. It is hands down the prettiest worm bin you’ll ever find. But don’t let the night-stand appearance fool you. It’s a self-maintaining unit that makes worm keeping hassle-free.
First off, the unit keeps airflow and moisture controlled via special channels that run throughout the insulated bin. Plus, you don’t need to tip anything over because this newest worm composter model drains excess water onWe’rebottom like a sink.
Unfortunately, the Hot Frog Composter has a flaw. Worms fall into the collection tray with no way to get back up. There’s an easy fix, though. You can line the tray with a filter and mesh to save the worms from certain doom. Other than that, it is one of the best worm bins for composting in your apartment.
Your Guide To Buying The Best Worm Bin
Now that you know about your options let’s dig deep into the basics of the worm composting process and what to look for when starting a worm farm.
Types of Worm Composter Containers
First things first, you need to decide what sort of system you want to house your worms in. This boils down to how much food scraps you produce and where you can keep your worms (1).
|Types||How it works||Advantage||Disadvantage||Example|
|Regular worm bins||Made using storage bins or big buckets with lids. |
It’s the traditional compost bin with bedding, worms, and food.
|-Easy to make and modify depending on your worm’s needs.|
-Sealed well, preventing escape.
|-Harvesting castings is difficult.|
-Prone to waterlogging
|DIY Rubbermaid worm farms|
|Flow-through system||Uses a big and deep container with a bottom opening. It encourages red wigglers to stay near the surface.||-Best airflow and moisture control. Since liquid just drips out of the system.|
-Easy casting collection.
|-Bulky and heavy systems||–Urban Worm Bag Version 2|
|Stacked worm bins||Uses layers on trays with holes underneath. Worms migrate upwards, leaving castings on the bottom trays, and a base tray collects excess liquid.||-Easy monitoring of worm activity|
-Vertical orientation means less floor space is needed.
|-Worms usually fall into the liquid tray and drown. Or they escape through gaps in poorly-made systems.||–Maze Worm Farm Composter|
–Hot Frog Living Composter
|Worm beds||These big-scale worm bins look like garden beds with worms wiggling around.||-Not much maintenance work|
-Big casting harvests
|-Little to no pest control. Fruit flies can multiply on the top layer.|
-Stray animals can dig up scraps.
|-In-ground worm beds|
-Wooden worm beds
Flow-through and stacked are the most manageable systems that produce the most castings with little maintenance.
Technically speaking, stacked worm bins like the Basic Worm Composting Farm are variations of flow-through systems. But, they use the same concept of the worms migrating upward and leaving castings at the bottom (2).
Materials and Location
Almost all commercial worm composters use plastic because it is durable and easily molded. The products just vary in the type of plastic they use.
For example, the VermiHut Compost Bin uses recycled plastic. Other worm compost bins like the Hungry Bin uses specially treated plastic. So it withstands the changing temperature and elements of the outdoors.
Plastic is great in terms of durability. But they don’t provide good, all-around airflow without making modifications.
Regular and recycled plastic are great for indoor use. But if you want to keep your worms outside, you need specialized plastic that won’t crack because of the hot and cold weather fluctuations.
In any case, you should always keep your worm bins out of direct sunlight. If you can do worm composting indoors, all the better. A cool, dark place like the basement or dark utility room will remind the worms of their natural home underground. Also, keep your worm bin away from busy areas to minimize accidents or bothering the worms with your movement or light preferences.
The Urban Worm Bag Version 2 uses a breathable fabric with a waterproof lining. It keeps air circulating all around the bag while keeping liquid from oozing out everywhere. But the fabric doesn’t protect the bin from changing temperatures, so you should keep this worm bin indoors.
Ventilation and Moisture Control
The most critical parameters in worm farming are ventilation and moisture control. These two factors work hand in hand to give the worms an ideal place to live in (3).
“They are most efficient at consuming organic matter and reproducing when they are kept moist and well ventilated in a temperature range of 55º-75ºF.”
Worms are slimy little critters, so they need moist bedding to move around properly. But it can’t be too wet because the air from the vents won’t circulate through the soil.
Check out these worms in action!
Worms also breathe through their skin (4). So they’ll drown if the bedding is too wet. Some people add dry material like shredded newspaper. But stackable systems come with a base tray where excess moisture collects as leachate. This liquid is not worm tea, and it’s not suitable for your garden. It has all the bad stuff like pathogens or chemical waste from the compost.
You can use leachate to kill weeds, but not for watering your plants (5). If you want worm tea, you need to soak worm castings in water for a day or so to extract the good microbes. That water is excellent for growing broccoli in containers.
Most stacking bins like our budget pick, the Teemway Worm Compost Kit, have a spigot tapped into the base for easier leachate removal.
We chose some worm composters that pay special attention to airflow and liquid drainage. The Hot Frog Living Composter has a channel to drain excess fluid. Plus, the corner posts of the bottom tray create airspace for the worms.
The Can O Worms also has good ventilation with holes at the bottom and on the lid of the worm factory.
Size And Capacity
Choosing the size of your worm bin depends on how much food waste you generate and how many worms you want to keep. Most worm bins can start with about 1 pound of red wigglers. But that number can boom pretty quickly if you do things right (6).
“Red wiggler worms reproduce rapidly after they reach sexual maturity (usually 30 to 45 days after hatching). They can double their population in about 60 days!”
Luckily most of the vermicomposting bins we listed can expand to accommodate the growing worm population. The Worm Factory 360 can hold up to 10,000 worms! Some people eventually just keep another worm farm for raising worms to sell.
Harvesting Worm Casting
You can start harvesting your finished compost anywhere from 3 to 6 months after setting up your worm farm (7). But the timing depends on how well you take care of your worms.
They can slow down the production of worm castings if you don’t feed them enough or if their living conditions change.
Continuous flow-through systems like the Urban Worm Bag have an easily accessible bottom hatch. So you don’t have to move layers to collect castings. Instead, you can use pure worm castings directly in your garden.
You cannot put meat, oil, or dairy products in a worm compost bin. Meat and dairy smell horrible as they break down, and they can attract pests into your worm bin. Oil blocks the water and air source of the worm colony. So it will eventually kill your red wigglers. Happy worms eat a lot of vegetable food waste without getting sick or attracting pests.
No. You can’t use regular earthworms for worm composting because they burrow deep down and won’t do well in a shallow worm bin. The best worm composters are red wigglers that like to stay near the soil surface. These red worm species naturally move up the trays and leave behind good-quality compost.
Yes, you can have too many worms in your compost. When this happens, the worms usually try to escape from the worm composter. Too many stray worms is a sign that there is not enough room in the worm farm. Adding another tray usually solves this because it gives worms more space. If worms still try escaping, maybe there’s something wrong with the bedding, or they don’t have enough food waste to go through.
- Worm Bins. Retrieved from: http://www.wormfarmfacts.com/Worm-Bin-Types.html
- Complete Guide to Continuous Flow Vermicomposting. Retrieved from: https://urbanwormcompany.com/complete-guide-to-continuous-flow-vermicomposting/
- Indoor Worm Composting or Vermicomposting. Retrieved from: https://extension.umd.edu/resource/indoor-worm-composting-or-vermicomposting
- Keeping Worms Happy. Retrieved from: https://extension.umaine.edu/gardening/manual/composting/keeping-worms-happy/
- Worm Tea vs. Worm Leachate. Retrieved from: https://homeguides.sfgate.com/worm-tea-vs-worm-leachate-84239.html
- Composting with Worms. Retrieved from: https://www.uvm.edu/sites/default/files/Extension-Master-Gardener/compostingwithworms.pdf
- Worm Composting. Retrieved from: https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/worm-composting/
Tana grew up around island farms and pine forests. Her love for nature lead to her degree in Biology and mission to lessen her environmental impact. Now she grows food in her backyard and shares what she learns from Eco Peanut with others.