Comparison of Bin Type Composters

Metal or Plastic

by Michael Regan

There are a large number of plastic composters available. Of the 'bin' composters, the Earth Machine™is by far the most popular. It is widely available in both the United States and Canada. In this comparison we will compare the the all metal Speedibin to the plastic Earth Machine™.


Earth Machine™


The large lid makes adding items to the composter a breeze. And, the removable front panel makes unloading the finished compost just as easy.

The large lid makes adding material to the composter easy. However, the small door panel at the bottom of the composter make removal of the finished compost difficult. Material tends to get 'stuck' on either side of the opening.


Can be used for both passive (slow) and hot composting - and any combination of the two.

As a passive composter, just add material and water and let the microbes and worms do the rest. The large lid and removable front panel make it easy to occasionally turn the material with a garden spade.

Hot composting requires more frequent turning of the material. As oxygen is incorporated, the material is broken down by aerobic microbial action. This raises the temperature of the compost pile, helping to kill weed seeds and pathogens.

Best used as a passive composter - just add material and water and let the worms do the rest. However, even passive composters should be turned occasionally. Due to the limited access through the lid, turning the material is difficult to do without special tools.

Note: Passive composting does not get the material hot enough to kill all pathogens.


Vented three inches from the bottom with a gap at the top in accordance with composting aeration research using the chimney effect.

In practice - the ventilation is more effective with loosely packed material that is turned regularly.

Has a ventilation around the sides, top and bottom, which adds lots of air but may cool decomposition and does not take advantage of the “hot air rises” principle.


The metal lid is secured with a latching mechanism that defies even raccoons to open.

Turning the lid locks it in place. While easy to use, functional and durable, unless properly secured, it is 'easy pickins' for raccoons


Designed for ease of use and functionality rather its good looks - the Speedibin won't win any beauty contests.

With its shiny black colour and conical design the Earth Machine, is one of the best looking composters on the market.


With its all metal design, latching lid and metal ground pegs, the Speedibin composter can resist attacks from most vermin including rats and raccoons.

When the lid and cleaning door is properly secured, the Earth Machine™ is resistant to most vermin. However, if motivated, rats can chew through the plastic material.


The back and two side panels bolt together with stainless bolts and wingnuts. The two cross braces at the front also bolt in place for a total of 8 bolts (provided). The handle inserts into the lid and the nut is best tightened with a crescent wrench.

A basic two piece assembly snaps together without the use of any tools. Possibly the easiest assembly of any composter


The Speedibin is all metal with baked coatings to all interior and exterior surfaces. Extremes in weather have no effect on operation or usability of the composter. However, as with any coated surface, the finish may dull over time.

The Earth Machine is made of high-density plastic with UV stabilizers for all season strength and weatherability and should last many years. However, extremes in temperature may effect the usable life of the composter.


"Speedibins are guaranteed to original owner for five years against cracking, deterioration, rotting, or any defect which would compromise their effectiveness as composters. This does not include damage to the bin by persons and no other guarantee is implied or expressed." However, at least of the original Speedibins have been in continuous service for over twenty years.

"The Earth Machine has a ten (10) year warranty against cracking, deterioration, warping, or any other defect that would diminish the effectiveness or appearance of the compost bin."


The Speedibin website is an excellent source for material on composting and organic gardening. Each Speedibin comes with assembly instructions and composting handbook. Both the assembly instructions and Composting Handbook are available online.

Every Earth Machine compost bin is packaged with assembly/replacement instructions and a comprehensive 20 page "Home Composting Handbook".


Unit dimensions when assembled: 31" wide x 29.5" long x by 27.5" high.
Weight: 37 lbs.
Volume: 14.3 cubic feet (107 US gallons or 405 litres)

Unit dimensions when assembled: 33" diameter by 33" high.
Weight: 15 lbs
Volume: 10.5 cubic feet (80 US gallons or 300 litres)


Available online and in select stores on Vancouver Island

Available online and in many gardening stores accross the United States and Canada


Metal can be fully recycled.

Made of recycled plastic. No Mobius number in the three-arrow symbol indicates that it cannot be further recycled.

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