Critics' Pick

The Best Countertop Compost Bin for Home Cooks

updated Jul 19, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Overhead view of fruit and vegetable scraps in a white enamel container
Credit: Jenny Dettrick/Getty Images

You may have noticed that we’ve been big on composting lately. We think it’s something that everyone should be doing, especially since many of us are still working from home and have developed (or rediscovered) a love for homemade meals. And, you really don’t need anything to get started — except for maybe our great instructions and a bucket. But, what kind of bucket? Should it be stainless steel? Is a charcoal filter important? How big does it need to be? These are the questions we’re here to answer.

We took a look to see what other sites and happy shoppers had to recommend and then, in true Kitchn fashion, weighed in with our two cents. (More like twenty cents, this time, but you’ll see.) Let’s take a look at the best compost bins and find the right one for you.

Do you have a compost bin that you swear by? We want to hear all about it. Tell us about your favorite finds in the comments below.

The Best Compost Bucket, According to Cook’s Illustrated

Although it’s not much to look at, the folks at Cook’s Illustrated liked this QVC compost bin the best for countertop or under-the-sink use. They said they could fit an average of 12 recipes’ worth of waste before they had to empty the bucket and liked that the hinged lid was easy to flick open or could be securely latched. And they noted that replacement filters aren’t too pricey, either.

The Best Countertop Compost Bin, According to Epicurious

Meant to be kept on the counter or in the fridge or freezer, this Joseph Joseph caddy got the vote from our friends at Epicurious. They said it was bar none the best kitchen compost bin for preventing and securing odors — because it has a built-in ventilation system and a charcoal filter. (They found that compost bins with only a carbon filter on top usually ended up attracting bugs and mold.) “This is the only countertop composter we tested that incorporated both air flow and a carbon filter,” the report says.

The Bestselling Compost Bin on Amazon

This 1.3-gallon, dual carbon filter-equipped stainless steel bin is not just an Amazon favorite, it’s the single bestselling composting bin on the site. It has a 4.7-star rating and more than 15,000 five-star reviews! (Although it should be noted that there’s a glitch somewhere and many of these reviews are for a humidifier for some reason?) Happy shoppers say they have “zero complaints,” they like the way it looks on the counter, and say it’s easy to clean.

Kitchn’s Thoughts on the Best Compost Bins

Before we tell you our pick for the best countertop compost bin, we have to back up for a second. Here at Kitchn, we firmly believe that the very best way for most people to compost is to really not compost at all but rather to collect the scraps and then give them all to someone (usually either a service or a local farmer) who will do the actual dirty work. Because the real work of composting is messy and time-intensive, and maybe you don’t have a garden but still want to give back to the earth. So our method for composting at home is simple: Keep a bin (or honestly, even just a stainless steel bowl) on your counter to collect your daily scraps; each night, you’ll empty that vessel into a five-gallon bin with a lid; and once a week, you’ll give the bin’s contents to your collector.

With that in mind, allow us to recommend something for your daily scraps. Again, you can use a stainless-steel bowl. If you want something a little prettier or specifically meant for compost, we suggest the Bamboozle Compost Bin. It has a charcoal filter, but that’s not even what we like most about it (if you’re emptying it every day, your scraps don’t have much time to get that stinky!). What we like most about it is that it’s made of a bamboo composite and it can go in the dishwasher. (You’re going to want to clean it between loads and you’re not going to want to do it by hand!) Plus, it’s just the right size — not too big and not too small — and it’s not half bad to look at. One thing to note: we recommend picking up the black one to avoid any unsightly staining.