Compost grinders are a fairly new gadget on the market, yet they’ve managed to prove their worth in just a short amount of time. With the ability to pulverize, grind, and dry food waste, these clever machines can give you the best compost for your vegetables within just a few hours. Today, I’ll take a closer look into the benefits of a compost grinder machine and cover four of the most important factors to consider when choosing one that is right for you. I’ve also compiled some of my favorites to help you better understand the features to look out for.
Let’s get composting, shall we?
Composting is a beautiful thing that reduces household waste and creates rich, nutrient-dense fertilizer for your garden. Unfortunately, this can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. But thanks to technology, gardeners now have a handy tool to speed up the process. Yes, I’m talking about compost grinder machines!
However, to get the most out of these appliances, it’s essential to understand how they work and how to use them, which I’ll discuss later on.
Top 3 Best Compost Grinder Machines
Learn all about the pros and cons of these top compost grinders and more in my comprehensive review later in this article.
What is a Compost Grinder Machine?
Compost grinders are precisely what they sound like…grinders that create compost. This countertop compost grinder turns food scraps and other waste materials into dry, ready-to-use compost. And because these genius machines only take a small portion, you can place them just about anywhere, from kitchen countertops to under a table.
This makes them particularly beneficial for gardeners who live in an apartment or don’t have a large garden but want to make compost. Check out my ultimate guide to gardening in an apartment for more helpful insights into this.
Benefits of Compost Grinders
In addition to speeding up the decomposing process, these machines have many other benefits. For one, they produce a finer textured compost with smaller particles. These smaller particles provide greater surface area for microorganisms to feed on, which in turn helps reach optimum temperature faster.
This raised temperature kills pathogens and weed seeds, creating a more sterile soil amendment for your veggies.
Another great benefit is the environmental impact. Compost grinders can reduce house waste by up to 90%, which means a lesser amount being sent to landfills and ultimately lower emission of harmful greenhouse gases.
How are Compost Grinders Different from a Food Processor?
While superficially, it may look as if both compost grinders and your food processors are the same, this is certainly not the case. Yes, both will finely grind up waste material, but the final results can significantly vary depending on which one you are using.
Food processors work the old-fashioned way: by pulping the food waste and speeding up their decomposition once placed in a traditional compost bin (which can take 6 months to a year to break down into usable compost).
The same is the case with meat grinders and food shredders. The only difference is that unlike performing a wider variety of tasks (e.g., grating, mixing, shredding, and pureeing) like food processors, they can only perform one task at a time. This means meat grinders can only mince/grind, and food shredders can only shred/grate.
Yet, the result remains the same in all three when adding compostable waste: a soggy, pulpy pile you’ll have to cure or add to a traditional compost bin before using.
On the other hand, a purpose-designed compost grinder dehydrates everything before grinding, producing dry (and already-cured) compost that can be added straight to plants or soil.
Another advantage of this dehydrated product is that it’s odor-free and doesn’t attract any vermin.
How a Compost Grinder Works
Most compost grinders work on a three-stage cycle that dehydrates, grinds, and cools down the waste while filtering out any odors.
Here’s the breakdown (pun intended!):
Step 1: Dehydration (takes 4 to 8 hours, depending on moisture content)
Step 2: Grinding (takes approx. 10 minutes, depending on the material)
Step 3: Cooling (takes approx. 20 to 30 minutes)
And once the machine stops, you have ready-to-use EcoChips for your garden, pots, and hanging baskets!
How to Best Use a Compost Grinder
Given their great quality results, you’d be surprised to learn that compost grinders are pretty easy to use. Their biggest asset is their compost caddy, which lets you store waste throughout the day or week, until there’s enough to grind.
Once your compost caddy is full, you simply turn the grinder on! This intelligent machine does the rest.
How to use the EcoChips from a Compost Grinder
Once your compost grinder turns off, you can use your EcoChips. EcoChips are the dehydrated, ground up form of your kitchen waste, but with lots of nutrients and zero smell.
You can use your EcoChips in many ways:
- Use them directly as a mulching fertilizer
- Mix them into the topsoil around your plants
- Mix into an existing compost pile
What Can I Put in a Compost Grinder?
All compostable waste can be added to compost grinder machine including bread, baking, cooked food, bones, compostable plastic utensils, compostable bags & packaging, leaves, grass clippings, egg shells, and fruit and vegetable kitchen scraps
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Compost Grinder
Before investing in a compost grinder, it’s important to consider these four factors.
1. Size and Capacity Requirements
First thing first, think of the available space you have available. Compost grinders come in different sizes; you can find those made for kitchen countertops and large outdoor areas. Some are also specifically designed for sitting rooms.
You must also consider the amount of household waste you generate and the number of plants you want to feed. For example, if your household waste is much more and you aim to feed more plants, it’s a good idea to purchase a larger capacity compost grinder.
2. Noise and Vibration Levels
A grinder’s size is a significant influencing factor on the noise and vibration levels it produces. Small kitchen compost grinders are quiet compared to their larger siblings. So decide what your preference is and choose accordingly.
3. Durability and Quality of Manufacturing
Always try to go for compost grinders made of durable, high-quality materials. This is especially important if you plan on placing it outdoors.
The frame of the best compost grinders should be made from powder-coated steel and the body of UV-coated plastic. Steel is resistant to corrosion and rust, so your grinder will have a longer lifespan.
4. Maintenance and Ease of Cleaning
Last but not least, look for grinders that are easy to maintain and clean once they are done brewing your fertilizer.
Compost grinders with large doors and openings are preferable since they allow easy access to the inner parts, making cleanup a breeze.
Similarly, going for a shorter grinder will make its cleaning and maintenance much more difficult.
Choosing A Compost Grinder Machine – My Top Picks
|Brand||Image||Price||Dimensions||Capacity||Weight||Where to buy|
|SAGE FOOD CYCLER||$||10.8 x 12.6 x 14.2 inches (27.5 x 32 x 36 cm)||2 L||21 pounds (9.53 kg)||Check Price|
|VITAMIX FC-50 FOOD CYCLER||$||12.6 x 11 x 14.2 inches (32 x 27.9 x 36.1 cm)||2 L||21.5 pounds (9.75 kg)||Check Price|
|LOMI||$$||20 x 16 x 14 inches (50.8 x 40.6 x 35.6 cm)||3 L||25.1 pounds (11.4 kg)||Check Price|
|VITAMIX ECO5 FOOD CYCLER||$$$||10.9 x 13.5 x 13.8 inches (27.7 x 34.3 x 35.1 cm)||5 L||29 pounds (13.15kg)||Check Price|
|BREVILLE THE FOOD CYCLER||$$||11 x 12.6 x 14.2 inches (28 x 32 x 36 cm)||2 L||21.5 pounds (9.75 kg)||Check Price|
The power consumption was the same for all 5 brands – 500 watts
Top Picks for the Best Compost Grinders
The Sage Food Cycler has a petite body and is perfect for people living in homes and apartments with limited space.
Super easy to clean using a dishwasher, all thanks to the removable and durable porcelain plating on its bucket.
It has one-touch technology for simple and user-friendly operation. In addition, this little rockstar has an automatic 3-stage cycle that reduces food waste by transforming it into usable Eco-chips.
Moreover, its advanced sensor technology maximizes efficiency while using minimum energy.
And let’s not forget about its Twist and Lock lid that does a remarkable job of hushing loud noises and ensuring quiet operation.
Pros of the SAGE Food Cycler:
- Odorless process and storage with carbon filter lid
- Compact size is ideal for small apartments and properties and can be kept on a counter top
- Uses only 1KW low energy per cycle
- Noiseless and user-friendly operation
Cons of the SAGE Food Cycler:
- Limited processing volume
- The size may be too small for some
This compost grinder machine has the fastest processing speed of 4 to 8 hours! You can run multiple cycles a day and compost fertilizer in no time.
Vitamix has a flexible, compact body and carbon filtration system for smell-free operation. This makes it ideal for indoor use and as a kitchen compost grinder.
Simply put the scraps in the bucket, click the power button, and turn your food scraps into nutrient-rich fertilizer.
The small compost grinder has a huge 2L capacity and reduces the waste volume by 90% in just a few hours! In addition, the unit is well-built and durable for long-term use and reliability.
Pros of the VITAMIX Food Cycler:
- Large 2L scraps capacity
- Compact design- needs only one cubic foot of space
- Easy to use and clean using a dishwasher
- Produces fertilizer from scraps in a few hours
Cons of the VITAMIX Food Cycler:
- In some reviews people found it incompetent in breaking down certain kitchen waste like eggshells.
- More expensive price tag
If you are looking for an intelligent compost bin solution that provides nutrient-rich fertilizer, then LOMI is the right choice.
This mini bad boy, with its sleek body, works best as a countertop compost grinder. The airtight seal technology traps stinky odors and protects your kitchen from rodents and pests.
It is worth noting that LOMI uses only 70kWh energy per 100 cycles, providing a net positive impact on your electricity bills.
Just scrap up the remains of your dinner directly into the grinder and watch it turn into rich plant compost within 4 hours. Baked goods, expired pantry goods, and reasonable amounts of meat are handled flawlessly!
Pros of LOMI:
- Huge maximum capacity of 3L
- The compact size is perfect for small apartments but also larger households
- Neutralizes odor and doesn’t attract pests
- Efficient 4-hour processing time
Cons of LOMI:
- Produces loud noises
- Some users found the lid tricky to use
The Vitamix Eco 5 is your classic food cycler but with an unbelievably large bucket capacity. As a result, it handles food waste up to twice as much as its previous generation and churns it into nutritious plant food.
Carbon filters and a quiet cycle make it a fantastic choice for indoor garages, pantries, and kitchens. Rather than replacing the filter after use, you can easily refill it using new carbon pellets.
It comes in a new, stylish frame with a removable waste bucket and 8 phase cycle that starts with a single click. The product of this grinder is in the form of fine, dust-powdered particles for easy and instant mixing with the soil.
Pros of the VITAMIX ECO 5:
- Modern, lightweight, and compact design
- Large 5L bucket capacity
- Refillable filters using carbon pellets
- Easy to assemble and use
Cons of the VITAMIX ECO 5:
- On the more pricey side
- Unable to break down certain items
Breville is for people who want maximum efficiency, minimum power consumption, and user-friendly control. It converts up to 2L of waste into 0.34L of fertile EcoChips for your backyard.
Forget about foul stinky smells with the carbon filtration system that immediately destroys methane gasses. In addition, the lid has an activated carbon foam lining that lets you store waste at room temperature without worrying about attracting flies with the smell.
The filters of this powerful little guy last for 500 duty cycles and are easily recycled afterward. At the same time, the sensor technology maximizes efficiency and minimizes the grinder’s impact on your electricity bill.
It features a removable bucket with a durable porcelain coating for long-term use and a dishwasher-friendly construction.
Pros of BREVILLE:
- 2L grinding bucket capacity
- Carbon filtration system with recyclable filters
- Odorless carbon foam lid
- Easy cleanup and dishwasher safe
- Low energy usage with maximum efficiency
Cons of BREVILLE:
- Noisy operation
- Some users complain about slow processing power
Final Words on Compost Grinder Machines
Composting is an excellent way to convert your household waste into usable garden fertilizer. Buy a compost grinder machine and you’ll be able to produce nutrient-rich compost in a matter of hours not months!
By considering the four factors mentioned above and comparing the top-rated compost grinders on the market, you’ll be able to make a well-informed decision on the best compost grinder machine for you.
Compost Grinder FAQs
The Best Compost Grinder on the Market?
With guaranteed ease, refillable filters, and a compact design, FOOD CYCLER VITAMIX ECO5 is the best compost grinder on the market. It is relatively pricey but worth every penny spent with its strong processing power and efficiency. The SAGE FOOD CYCLER and LOMI kitchen compost grinder follow closely behind.
What’s the Difference Between a Compost Grinder and a Compost Shredder?
A compost food grinder is a smaller home appliance responsible for the breakdown of softer, “green” compost materials like food scraps and leaves. In contrast, compost shredders are heavy-duty machines designed solely for outdoor use. As a result, they are more suited to the harder “browns,” such as large tree limbs and branches.
Do you Need to Shred or Grind Food Waste to Compost them?
Shredding or grinding compost isn’t mandatory, but it makes the process much smoother (figuratively and literally!) and faster. If you use harder waste materials or require a regular compost supply, in that case, you can benefit from a compost food grinder to accelerate the process and yield compost much faster.
Can you use a Food Processor to Shred Compost?
Yes! Food processors are a viable option to consider when composting in smaller quantities. You can also purchase stronger blade attachments and additional bowls for more accurate results. This does however simply yield pulp that needs to still be composted via a bokashi bin or the traditional way over several weeks or months. Compared to the instant dry ecochips that a grinder produces.
Can you Use a Wood Chipper to Make Compost?
Yes, you can use wood chippers to make compost. But make sure to only add brown materials, or else they will clog. This is because these machines are meant to process hard, woody items and introducing any small, soft organic waste with high moisture content can pose the risk of damaging their mechanism.
Can you Use a Meat Grinder for Compost?
Most meat grinders can successfully process fruit scraps and tiny bones into compost. Yet, their outcome isn’t as satisfactory as that of a purpose-designed compost grinder which dries the compost rather than just mash or pulp.
Is a Compost Grinder the Same as a Compost Shredder?
While both compost grinders and compost shredders serve the same purpose of reducing organic waste into compost, it’s important to note that the input material is different for both. As I mentioned above: “greens” into the grinder and “browns” into the shredder.
About the Author
Elle Reed is a passionate gardener and advocate for teaching beginner gardeners how to grow their own food. Elle’s mission is to inspire and empower people to get back to basics, grow their own produce, and embrace a sustainable lifestyle. “Whether it’s a few herb pots in an apartment, a potager or a full garden plot, we can all ‘start somewhere’ to grow our own food, and in doing so, provide healthier food for ourselves and those we love”.