Compost Pile vs Bin - Which Option is Right For You?

Someone scraping food scraps into an indoor compost bin

Simply put, compost is a mixture of organic waste that has decomposed to the point that it can be used as fertilizer. Composting also makes you aware of your own food waste and reduces the amount of trash going into landfills. How you should actually go about composting will come down to several factors. This includes whether or not you want to compost indoors, the size of your home, and more.

If you’re looking for ways of how to compost at home, you have a few methods to choose from. The two major options are using an indoor compost bin or maintaining an outdoor composting pile. If you’re unsure as to which is the better option for you, or are in need of product recommendations, we’ll be covering all of this info in the guide below:

Before we recommend any products, we’ll first need to discuss the differences between the two major composting methods. This will help you determine which option is best suited to you, your property, and your needs.

A compost pile vs bin: what’s the difference?

An outdoor compost bin filled with food and yard waste

An outdoor compost pile is a designated area in your yard where you dump your food, yard, and garden waste. The waste will decompose naturally, albeit slowly, provided you have the right mixture of composting material (green and brown materials) and the right amount of moisture. If you don’t mind the process being slow, you can opt to create cold compost piles. Please note, however, that a poorly protected pile can attract rodents.

Composting bins are any type of bin that you use, typically indoors, to break down your waste. Different types of bins will offer different methods. An electric bin, for example, may use heat and abrasion while another utilizes a slower anaerobic system.

As to what method is right for you, it largely comes down to your preferences and priorities. If you care about preventing your compost from smelling, you’ll want to go for a compost bin. If you think you’ll produce significant amounts of waste, however, you may need a larger pile outdoors. Check out this helpful list to learn more about these two options. 

You’ll want a compost pile if…

You’ll want a composting bin if…

  • You have plenty of outdoor space
  • You have a lot of organic waste
  • You don’t mind some physical labor
  • You want to create a new growing area
  • You want your animals, like chickens, to have access to your compost
  • You don’t need finished compost instantly
  • You don’t have much space to spare
  • You want a simple composting solution
  • You’re vermicomposting
  • You want to avoid pests and rodents
  • You don’t have large amounts of waste
  • You want to create finished compost faster



8 best food compost bins for your home composting

Have you decided to give composting bins a try? Then your next step is to purchase a bin that accommodates your needs and preferences. For your convenience, we offer a variety of bin recommendations below. This includes everything from the best electric composter to a vermicomposting bin. 

1. Silky Road Composting Bin

A woman cutting vegetables beside a kitchen compost bin
Image Credit: Amazon

Create nutritious and viable compost from home with this cute Silky Road Composting Bin. Compared to other composting methods, this indoor bin offers the most decorative and aesthetically appealing route. This charming bin has a very rustic vibe, plus it’s easy to easy and made of a strong carbon steel.

Of course, there’s more to this compost bin than its looks. Each 1.3-gallon bin comes with several free charcoal filters to help contain odors. That means you can fill it up with kitchen scraps, leave it, and never have to worry about bad smells. If you’re not sure how to use the compost you create with this bin, or other piles and compost bins, please check out our informative guide!

Best for: Anyone that wants a composting bin that’s effective while also doubling as a charming decorative piece.

2. Bokashi bin

Someone opening a bokashi bin kitchen composter
Image Credit: Bokashi

Skip the synthetic fertilizers and make your own compost with the Bokashi bin. Bokashi may look like a regular composting bin on the surface, but this isn’t the case. Once you load this bin up with brown and green materials, you can sprinkle some Bokashi bran on top. This special mixture is one of the best ways to speed up the composting process.

Bokashi bran is essentially a dry mixture of EM-1 microorganisms, bran, and molasses. This mixture causes fermentation, which helps convert your organic waste into rich compost that’s loaded with probiotics, microbes, and nutrients. The great thing about this compost bin is that it’s no larger than your typical trash bin. You can easily store this bin beside your countertop or under your sink.

Best for: Someone that wants to speed up the composting process in a natural and eco-friendly way. 

3. Lomi

A woman cutting a carrot beside a lomi electric composter

Lomi is truly different from all the piles and compost bins out there. This is because Lomi is an electric composter that uses heat, abrasion, and oxygen to turn green and brown waste into nutrient rich dirt. So, should you buy Lomi? If you want a way of creating a natural fertilizer in under 24-hours, then yes.

You can put a wide variety of things into Lomi. This includes food waste and yard waste, like grass clippings. This makes it easy for you to dispose of your scraps in an eco-friendly way. If all this wasn’t enough, Lomi is very quiet, odor-free, and fits perfectly on any kitchen countertop.

Best for: Anyone that wants to create nutrient rich dirt in a way that’s quiet, odorless, and efficient. 


Lomi by Pela



Lomi allows you to turn food waste into plant-ready nutrients in under 24 hours. Boost your plants while reducing your waste.


4. SCD Probiotics All Season Indoor Composter

An all seasons indoor composter with bokashi bran
Image Credit: SCD Probiotics

Creating compost with the SCD Probiotics All Season Indoor Composter is quick and simple. This compost bin functions very similarly to the Bokashi bin in the sense that it utilizes an anaerobic composting method, relying on bacteria that doesn’t need oxygen to survive or thrive. All you have to do is throw out your green and brown materials and then sprinkle some Bokashi on top.

As mentioned above, the Bokashi bran aids the decomposition process by helping your waste ferment. However, it can also eliminate odors and create a compost liquid that you can use to nourish your plants. Worried that some of the other bins are too small for your family’s organic waste? Then you’ll love the All Season Indoor Composter’s impressive 5-gallon capacity.

Best for: People that want a compost bin that doesn’t give off an odor, utilizes an anaerobic composting method, and can fit amongst their trash bins.

5. Full Circle Scrap Happy Bin

A gray full circle scrap happy bin with a handle
Image Credit: Full Circle

There are several features that set this small compost bin apart. The first is that it’s made from a flexible silicon and is meant to hang off the edge of your countertop. This makes it easy for you to sweep organic matter, like banana peels and coffee grounds, directly into your bin.

Instead of relying on special filters or a tight seal to prevent odors, this bin is actually meant to be frozen. Freezing organic materials can completely eliminate their odor. This is true for both compost piles and bins, though you’ll have an easier time controlling the temperature of a Scrap Happy bin than an outdoor pile. When it’s time to empty the bin, you can do so into a pile or directly into your garden.

Best for: Someone that wants to prevent odors and dispose of food waste in a simple and straightforward way.



6. Utopia Kitchen Compost Bin

A stainless steel utopia indoor composter with the lid off
Image Credit: Utopia Deals

Larger compost bins tend to be more difficult to manage. Go for something convenient and compact with the Utopia Kitchen Compost Bin. This sleek bin offers easy disposal for small amounts of food and garden waste. It’s small and can sit on your kitchen countertop or anywhere else you need it. The bin is made from stainless steel, making it exceptionally durable, aesthetically appealing, and very easy to clean.

One of this bin’s best features is its use of charcoal filters. These filters trap and control odors to ensure that your kitchen doesn’t start smelling like rotting food or anything else unpleasant. With this decorative and practical bin, composting is made very simple and beginner-friendly.

Best for: Anyone that wants a small bin that’s easy to use and doesn’t emit unfortunate odors. 

7. The Essential Living Composter

A small black essential living composter that is indoors
Image Credit: Amazon

As stated above, there are many different types of compost bins. This includes several that are intended for vermicomposting. If you’re not familiar, vermicomposting is the use of worms in breaking down organic materials. Worms can hasten the composting process and help create more nutrient-rich dirt in the process.

The Essential Living Composter is a fantastic choice for anyone interested in vermicomposting. Made from BPA-free recycled plastic, this durable composter is designed for year-round use. It comes with a moisture control water retention channel to prevent bedding from drying out and 52 migration tunnels that allows the worms to navigate between the trays.

Best for: Anyone interested in vermicomposting that also wants their bin to have a subtle and visually appealing aesthetic. 

8. Bamboozle Composter

A white bamboozle food composter with the lid off
Image Credit: Amazon

The Bamboozle Composter offers an easy and eco-friendly way to dispose of your food scraps. Made from reliable and biodegradable bamboo fiber, this composter is one of the best non-plastic bins out there. It’s easy to clean and easy to transport if you use it alongside a composting pile.

One of the Bamboozle Composter’s standout features is its filtered lid. This lid helps to absorb odors and keep your kitchen smelling nice and fresh. You can purchase replacement carbon filters on the official website whenever you need them.

Best for: Someone that wants a non-plastic composting bin. This composter also pairs well with an outdoor pile, as it makes transporting waste outdoors easier than ever.

The bottom line: compost bin or pile - which is a better option?

Both compost piles and compost bins are effective ways of reducing food waste and creating your own fertilizer. As for which is better, the answer will be different for each person. The advantage that bins have, however, is that they come in so many varieties. Whether you’re interested in using an electric composter like Lomi or a bin for vermicomposting, you can find what you’re looking for.

Of course, there’s much more to composting than just finding the right device or method. That’s why we have lots of educational content on how to use Lomi dirt once you’re able to make it. We also offer an informative composting for beginners guide. If you’re especially interested in garden composting, we have a great article for that too! 

Written by: E Sawden