Composting is a great way to handle food waste (and all sorts of compostable items). Not only does it help reduce the strain on our landfills, you also produce a nutritious soil additive that you can use to enrich the soil in your garden. You, basically, turn erstwhile food scrap into a safe and effective fertilizer.
Problem is, all that stuff in your compost pile can take a while to break down, essentially requiring you to keep rotting food in the vicinity for months at a time. If you’re not quite enthused at the prospect of putting up with that, an electric home compost machine offers a more efficient way to get the process done, as it can turn food waste into compost at an accelerated pace, essentially eliminating the usual struggles that come as part of traditional composting.
These are the best electric home compost machines.
Vitamix FoodCycler FC-50
We love the compact size of this home compost machine (it takes up just one cubic foot of space), which makes it easy to find space for in any kitchen, all while coming with a two-liter main chamber, which should be more than enough to handle a day’s worth of food waste (unless, of course, you’re having a party, in which case, you might need to roll the scraps out over separate batches). When switched on, the device heats and grinds all its contents continuously, drying and breaking it down into around a tenth of the original volume. The whole process can take anywhere from four to eight hours, with a LED indicator letting you know when a session is done and your pre-compost is ready. Yes, we said pre-compost, as this produces dirt that you’ll definitely want to cure first, so it’s best to put it in a vermicomposting bin where it can further break down before adding to your garden soil.
If you produce quite a bit of food waste and require something a tad bigger, this 4.5-liter home composter will probably be more suited to your needs. It’s pretty fast, too, finishing a cycle in as little as four hours, although you’ll probably have to wait a little longer for bigger volumes. Similar to the Vitamix model, it only produces pre-compost, so you’ll need to place the dirt somewhere and give it time to cure before mixing in with your garden soil. It uses a carbon filter for eliminating odors, although the outfit doesn’t sell replacement cartridges, so you’ll have to purchase your own charcoal filter replacements and swap them into the cartridge manually. Do note, this is pretty big, so you’ll probably want to keep it on the ground somewhere instead of the kitchen counter.
Billed as a “kitchen to garden” composter, this device can take up to 2.2 pounds of food scrap and break it down to usable compost within 24 hours. Granted, having plenty of more fibrous waste, such as banana peels, will require you to leave in for a little bit longer, but it’s still an incredibly speedy way to handle your composting needs. It uses tiny microbes called Bacillus to perform the composting process, which you’ll only need to add once. So long as you keep the machine plugged in and running, then occasionally put food waste in, the microbes will continue to breed inside it. Basically, you will only need to replenish the microbes if you leave the device unused for extended periods.
It measures 18.4 x 12 x 13 inches (height x depth x width), so it’s just around the size of a small trash bin, allowing you to keep it anywhere in the kitchen, so you can simply dump all your food waste straight into the main chamber. Features include a three-layer filter system (eliminates odors completely), 28db operating noise, and a built-in motion sensor that opens the lid as soon as you wave a foot or a hand in front of it.
This electric home composter has a profile that’s wider and shorter than other products in the category, which makes it a lot more suited for placing on countertops and side tables. Easily one of the fastest composters we’ve seen, it can break down food waste inside the chamber into compost in as little as four hours (there’s also a 12-hour mode if you want it properly cured), all while being able to process even tougher materials like bioplastics. The only real limitation here is an inability to process bones and hard fruit pits, so you’ll have to dump those away in the trash. Do note, it requires the use of special pods, which contain the active microorganisms that turn food into compost, as well as charcoal filters that need to be replaced every three months, so the total costs can really add up over time. Features include an airtight sealed lid, an energy use of 70kWh per 100 cycles, and a removable main container that you can simply lift off to take the compost to the garden. It is loud, though, as it churns out sound at around 60 decibels, so it’s just as loud as a typical dishwasher.
The biggest of the electric home composters in our list, this one can process a whopping 19L of food scraps in one cycle, allowing you to collect a few days’ worth of waste before starting a run. Not only can it process food waste (including fish bones), it can also handle most bioplastics, allowing you to throw a whole host of erstwhile garbage into the compost machine instead. Unlike other machines that rely on drying and grinding, it uses a microbe called GEME-Kobold to degrade the food waste, so much of its electric functions are focused on creating a healthy environment where the organisms can thrive. Each run lasts between six to eight hours, producing finished compost that you can immediately add to the soil, with no need to do any extra curing afterwards. It operates quietly, too, apart from eliminating the need to regularly change filters like other composters. Seriously, the biggest challenge is finding a place for it in your kitchen, since the darn thing measures in at a sizeable 26.2 x 18 x 12.6 inches (height x depth x width).