We’re fervent compost advocates over here at Epic Gardening. And as a compost fanatic, I collect all my kitchen waste to add into the mix. I’ve got a countertop compost bin that I use for that task.
Kitchen counter compost bins are not all created equal. As everyone’s kitchen has unique decor, there’s a myriad of styles. Not only are there pretty compost bins, but there’s different features to choose from.
Let’s go over what you’ll need to get the right compost bucket for your space!
Our Top 3 All-Around Countertop Compost Bin Picks
What’s A Countertop Composter?
Let’s talk about what a counter compost pail is… and what it’s not.
For the newbie to composting, it can be an easy assumption that a counter top compost bin is all you’ll need. After all, it’s called a compost pail, right?
But you really don’t want to do normal composting in your kitchen. For one thing, kitchen waste is generally considered green waste. You need to balance your green and brown waste to make good compost. And for another, it can smell.
Once you’ve got a partially or completely full countertop bin, you can carry it where you need it. If you’ve got a worm bin, tote it over there and feed the worms. Do you have a compost tumbler? Go add some browns and greens and give it a couple good spins.
After rinsing out your compost pail, it can go right back in the kitchen for the next batch. And there will always be a next batch!
Features Of Compost Bins
There’s only a couple common features in kitchen composters, so it’s not hard to pick your options.
The most common feature is a filter system. These are both good and bad. They’re great because as food scraps break down (especially onions), they smell. The filter prevents that stink from getting around your kitchen. But they need regular replacements.
In some compost bins, there’s also an inner liner. These are wonderful for keeping your pail clean, but can be difficult to remove when fully loaded. If you’re using compost bags, it’s much easier to empty the bin.
Handles are available on most bins, but not all. Usually, ones with an inner pail are the ones that lack handles on the outside. While this is more style than anything else, it’s helpful to have a good handle if you’ll be taking it outside.
Material Matters: Compost Bin Construction
What your compost bucket’s made of can have an impact on its longevity and usability.
A DIY kitchen compost bin is often built out of wood. While this does in fact work, wood absorbs any moisture that leaks out of your kitchen scraps. That means that your bin will start to smell like kitchen waste. Not very appetizing, is it?
Metal is the most common, especially stainless steel or aluminum. Surfaces of metal are easy to clean, but if it’s not stainless or aluminum, it can rust. Be sure you know what metal your pail’s made of.
Ceramic is a popular option for kitchen decor, and it can work really well too. The drawback with these is that ceramic tends to be heavier than metal. If it has an inner pail, these look great and work great. But if you have to haul the entire crock out to empty it, it may be too much effort.
Don’t forget plastics! There are a few great plastic options available right now. The downside of plastics is that they are often less durable. Your plastic bin may only last for a few years, and when it finally kicks the bucket (so to speak), you’ll need a new one.
2019’s Best Countertop Compost Bins
Epica Stainless Steel 1.3 Gallon Compost Bin
- CONTROL ODORS NATURALLY: The airtight lid and replaceable...
- SIMPLE CLEANING PROCESS: The stylish stainless steel bin is...
- PUT IT ANYWHERE: The 1.3 gallon size is big enough to hold...
- DURABLE STAINLESS STEEL CONSTRUCTION TO LAST A LIFETIME:...
- COMES WITH REPLACEABLE CHARCOAL FILTER: The specially...
This is what I use, and I wouldn’t give it up for the world.
It does not have an inner pail, but I’m okay with that. My complacency is because this bin is formed of a single sheet of steel. There are no weld joints to develop rust, and no weak spots that might leak. It’s solid construction.
I will admit that it’s not the fanciest option in the world. The interior gets gunked up with assorted waste products. You’ll have to scrub it clean. But it’s easy to clean, and the lid fits securely. In that lid is an easily-replaced activated carbon filter.
More often than not, I leave the lid off entirely. Most of my kitchen waste gets covered in coffee grounds, so there’s little risk of bugs forming around my bin. But when there is a lot of food waste on the surface, the lid keeps pests and smells at bay.
A sturdy steel handle makes it easy to carry out to the composter and dump it. If there’s any drawbacks, it’s that if it’s tightly packed, I need a spoon to scrape the waste out – and that’s true of any pail.
Yes, it’s very simplistic. But in all honesty, how fancy does your kitchen waste container have to be?See Prices >
OXO Good Grips Easy Clean Compost Bin
- Convenient size and design for everyday counter-top use
- Lid flips up for easy filling and flips down to lock in...
- Smooth interior walls prevent foods and liquids from...
- Contoured bottom and removable lid makes emptying simple
- Rotating handle for easy transport of waste to outdoor...
For a plastic bucket, a lot of thought went into this model. It’s designed with ease of emptying in mind. But it’s not designed for ease of cleaning, which is its downfall.
Yes, you can handwash it, and it works just fine. That’s easy enough. But you can’t put this model in the dishwasher. The inner layer is attached to the outer, and it’s not sealed well. Water can build up between the layers.
If you only handwash, this may be a great option for you. It holds 12 cups of waste, or roughly 3/4ths of a gallon. The lid does not have a filter, but keeps the scent down. It’s made to flip up which makes adding waste simple, and can be removed to empty.
I prefer something a little sturdier, but if you want a good beginner bin, this is a decent option.See Prices >
Relaxed Gardener Kitchen Compost Bin
- OPEN WITH ONE HAND! If you have been looking for a compost...
- LEAK PROOF! The problem with other composting bins is that...
- NO SMELLS! Unlike other bins that need two filters to...
- PERFECT FIT! Our bin is compact in size allowing it to fit...
- MADE BY GARDENERS FOR GARDENERS! So this makes the perfect...
This one may have a farmhouse look to it, but it’s an excellent option for the average household. Just under a gallon of waste will fit in this milk-can inspired bin. A plastic liner pail makes it easy to remove the waste material, and there’s a filter in the lid.
I like that they used steel for the exterior, but to me it seems to defeat the purpose of using steel. Metal doesn’t retain odors or stain like plastic can. They’ve opted to make the inner pail dark in color to prevent staining. But it’s still plastic, and it still can have permanent odor issues.
The powder-coated steel exterior gives it a rustic look. So does the emblazoned “COMPOST” on the side. This would look fantastic in a farmhouse kitchen. It may not blend as well with industrial kitchens, but that’s style, not function.
For functionality, I’ll give this high marks. If you’re looking for a model with a removable inner pail, this is a great choice!See Prices >
Gardenatomy Copper Kitchen Compost Bin
- BETTER VALUE: Most countertop compost pails come with just 1...
- STAINLESS STEEL FOOD SCRAP CONTAINER: On the inside, our...
- GENUINE COPPER COATING: Go ahead... set this gorgeous...
- NO MORE STINK: Insert one of our dual charcoal filters...
- LOVE IT FOR A LIFETIME, GUARANTEED: If you don't absolutely...
Let’s face it, most of us like our kitchens to look nice. And if you’re one of those folks who has all copper cookware, first off, I’m jealous. But you’ll want something that fits your decor.
Enter the Gardenatomy bin. This is similar in construction to the seamless Epica stainless steel model. However, it’s been fully copper-plated to heighten its looks. Shiny and sleek, it’ll do the task you want it to do.
It has the same downfalls as the Epica model as well. But remember, I use an Epica. I don’t consider the lack of inner pail to be a major issue for this model.
So if you’re looking for something that’ll blend in with your dark wood and copper kettles, here’s your bin! And it’ll be beautiful no matter where you put it.See Prices >
Joseph Joseph Compo Easy-Fill Bin
- Wide opening makes scraping food from plates easier
- Adjustable air vent: Open - helps reduce moisture and odor...
- Slimline design perfect for storing on the counter or inside...
- Door-mounting bracket included
- Capacity: 1 gallon / 4 liters
I’m not a fan of plastic, but I am a fan of people being able to tuck items out of view when they want to. This little plastic bin fits that need perfectly. Designed to mount on the inside of a cupboard door, it allows the user to hide their kitchen waste from casual view.
When you need to use it, grab the handle and lift it off its hanging hook. You can take it to your cutting board and fill it up, or carry it out to empty it. And when you’re done, it hides right away with ease.See Prices >
Polder Silicone Kitchen Composter
- Innovative and elegant countertop composter, one-gallon...
- Flexible push-through silicone bucket inverts to easily...
- Adjustable aerobic compost setting, lid rotates to control...
- For over 41 years, Polder believes in customer satisfaction...
Whoever created this knows just how annoying it can be to empty a tightly-packed compost bin. And so they went a step beyond any other style. This bin can literally be turned inside-out.
Constructed of silicone, the bin has a small handle on its underside that allows you to push all the waste out. You can then rinse off the interior and pop it right-side out again, making it extremely easy to keep clean.
It’s also machine washable, an option most other composters don’t have. But there is a drawback. It’s unusual-looking, and might not blend with your kitchen decor. The wire frame that supports the bucket stands out a bit from the grey silicone.
If that’s not a problem for you, this is probably the easiest compost pail you’ll find for your kitchen. And it’s worth every penny.See Prices >
NorPro Ceramic Floral Compost Keeper
- Measures: 10" x 7" x 7" / 25.5cm x 18cm x 18cm Capacity: 3QT...
- Attractive, strong and durable, ceramic compost keeper that...
- Store peelings, egg shells, coffee grounds, table scraps,...
- Has a sturdy stainless steel handle for easy transport.
- Includes odor preventing filter in lid, which can last up to...
The aesthetic of ceramics can’t be denied. For those of us who like to have their line of ceramic jars on the kitchen counter, this bin will fit right in.
My biggest complaints about this model are that it’s designed to be shaped like the Epica, and its weight. The shape is good, but the entire weight of the handle will hang from two slender ceramic points. And ceramics are heavy even when they’re not loaded with soggy coffee grounds!
Even with my reservations about those two points, this is still a great model. It does not have an inner pail, so you’ll need to wash it out thoroughly after emptying it. And a filter pops right into the lid, keeping odors out of your kitchen.See Prices >
Chef’n EcoCrock Compost Bin
- This contemporary countertop compost bin allows you collect...
- The EcoCrock is a 3.3-liter (.75-gallon) modern ceramic...
- A drafted bucket shape allows food scraps to slide out...
- Clean up takes just few seconds, simply rinse bucket with...
- Choose smart, easy-to-use kitchen utensils that are built on...
This thing is seriously adorable. No, really. It has a little leaf “growing” out of the top as a handle for the lid.
But once we’re past the cuteness factor, this is actually a great option for your countertop. The exterior is ceramic, with a green plastic inner bucket. The cute little lid hides a filter, too.
I’m still not a fan of plastics for my compost pail, but in this case, I’d probably make an exception. If you’re teaching your kids how to compost, this would be an excellent reminder. And even if you live alone, it’ll do the trick!See Prices >
Bamboozle Food Composter
- Made of biodegradable, dishwasher safe, and durable bamboo...
- Dimensions: 8" x 6.25" x 9"
- Individually packaged in beautiful craft paper boxes
- The replacement carbon filters for the composter can be...
If you want a natural, BPA-free and metal-free solution, the Bamboozle bin should be your choice. Made of bamboo fiber, it’s a fully-sustainable, eco-friendly option as well.
Style-wise, this design fits well into most kitchen environments. It’s unobtrusive, with a white color that blends into the scenery. This won’t hold as much as some other types of compost caddy, so you’ll have to take it to the pile more often.
What I like about it is the sustainable aspects of construction and its looks. What I don’t like is that bamboo fiber can absorb odors. This would be best if used with compostable bags to keep the smell from permeating your bin.
A carbon filter in the lid and a sturdy bamboo handle finish it off. All things considered, if you like the sustainability aspect, this is a great option.See Prices >
Better Dressed Child Countertop Compost Bin
Custom-made compost bins are few and far between. This is, indeed, made to order… but you’ll pay a premium for it.
What you’ll receive is a phenomenal container, though! The interior has a seamless stainless steel liner. The lid is also stainless steel. And the rectangular shape makes it fit in neatly amongst canisters on the counter top.
The exterior of the bin is constructed from oak, and will last for decades if cared for. Its interior bin and lid are safe in the dishwasher, so you won’t have to do serious scrubbing to keep them clean. And it’s beautiful, to boot.
It will cost you a pretty penny. But if you’re matching the oak cabinetry, this will look beautiful. And if you’re looking for a rectangular option, this is one of the only choices you’ve got.See Prices >
Full Circle Odor-Free Kitchen Compost Bin
- Patented design lets air flow through for less odor and...
- Opens easily with a push of a button
- Easy to clean and empty for less mess
- Ready to use, including five compostable bags
- Perfect size for home and office (1.5 gallon)
I keep reiterating that I don’t like plastic compost pails. But even though I don’t, this one has great design elements.
With a touch, your spring-loaded lid will pop open, ready to add material. A compost bag can be suspended within to catch your waste products. And its design allows air to flow from the bottom of the bin upward, reducing the amount of smells.
It also keeps the material drier than a normal bin, which slows decomposition in the kitchen. While you want this stuff to break down quickly, it’s better if it does it in the pile or worm bin!
This option’s great for people who make coffee every day and have wet grounds, as it can dry them out more readily. Lots of peels or damaged produce? No problem. Your only concern should be really juicy stuff leaking through the bottom of your bag before it can dry.See Prices >
Greenlid Compostable Compost Bin
- Just fill it with your food Waste, and compost the entire...
- Leak proof and eliminates Smells
- Comes with 30 containers, 30 compostable lids and 1 reusable...
- Made in Canada from end-of-Life cardboard, 100% biobased
- Certified compostable (BPI Certified)
Finally, we come to the bin-that-is-not-a-bin. Or, rather, it’s a bin and it’s compost fodder, too.
If you’re someone who finds it difficult to have enough brown waste in your bin, this is your choice. Squeamish about cleaning out the gunk in your pail? This will fix that, too.
Unlike all the other models today, this entire bin gets carried out and dropped right onto the pile. Remove the lid to use later – it’s machine washable and ready to put on the next one.
Fully constructed of “end of life cardboard”, this bin is a final stage in cardboard recycling. Cardboard can’t be recycled more than a few times before it needs to be retired. And this bin ensures your compost pile is the cardboard’s final resting place.
If you have a lot of soggy materials, the bin may become soft or leak. But for most normal kitchen waste, this works perfectly. And who doesn’t need more browns in their green waste?See Prices >
In the end, we all need a bin that looks good in the kitchen while it collects our waste. There’s a wide variety of options out there. My recommendations are all models that meet both stylistic and functional needs. After all, if it doesn’t do its job and it looks bad, it doesn’t belong in your kitchen!
The Green Thumbs Behind This Article:
Last update on 2019-07-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API