Kitchen Composters, Compost Crocks, Or Compost Tumblers, What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between a kitchen composter, compost crock and a compost tumbler?  Do I need all of these?  Are they all the same thing?  I’m going to describe what each of these things are and how to find what works best for you.

A compost crock is basically a container that you have in your kitchen to hold your food scraps until you get a chance to go out to the yard and empty it in your compost pile.  I’ve seen these made out of plastic, ceramic and stainless steel.  Since plastic tends to be somewhat flimsy and hold smells (especially compost), I recommend avoiding them.  Ceramic is nice looking, heavy and easy to clean, but it’s also easy to break.  Therefore, I tend to like stainless steel compost crocks.  I’ve had mine for quite some time, and many of them come with a charcoal filter to combat the smell although I’ve never had a problem with this.

Could you use a Tupperware container to do the job?  Absolutely.  However, if you can shell out a few bucks, the stainless steel crock will show its worth to you quickly.  Of the three items, having a compost crock is probably the most necessary.

Next up, the kitchen composter.  This is usually referring to a plastic bucket that sits in your kitchen and collects food scraps.  You add a rice bran blend to the bucket as it fills, and it breaks down the material surprisingly quickly.  I feel that this is the expensive way to go, as you need to buy refills of the rice bran and it isn’t all that cheap.

Most kitchen composters have a spout on them to collect “compost tea”, which is awesome.  Compost tea is like steroids for your plant, so it’s nice to have that bonus for using a kitchen composter.  They’re also good if you live in a cramped space and you don’t have the yard space for composting.

Finally, we have the compost tumbler.  There’s a lot of variations on composting in your yard, such as having a hole in the ground, a chicken wire fence with the material layered high, or a secure barrel of varying levels of quality.  When I first started composting, I had a trench in the ground and used a shovel to turn the pile…this got old pretty quickly.  Stray animals would mess around with the contents, so I needed to get a contained pile going.  Using a tumbler keeps the moisture straight, the animals out, and some even provide compost tea.

As you can see, all three items have different purposes, but using all three is not necessary.  I love composting, so I own a compost tumbler as well as a nice kitchen compost crock.  Whether you live in the city or the country, hot or cool climate, you can benefit from implementing any of these in your home.

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