I’m working my way through John Kohler’s videos on his YouTube Channel ‘GrowingYourGreens’. I’ve just finished watching a 38-minute video where he reviews 12 different compost tumblers. These are all tumblers that he has bought and has been using for a good period of time. His comments are made from experience and reaffirmed just how good our YOLO Compost Tumblers are.

Kohler prefers compost tumblers – or any closed unit – for residential composting, specifically to keep pests out. He favours compost tumblers for their convenience as you don’t need to get into a heap and turn it; the tumbler does the mixing of the materials. He also likes tumblers because they keep pests out and turnover of mature compost can be in as little as four weeks (that is if you load it with material in one go and then leave this material to mature, tumbling daily).

Of the 12 compost bins that he has in his ‘compost alley’, he ranks the static bin at 12th – his least favourite. It is essentially just a plastic ‘box’ where the open bottom sits on the ground and you add material from the top. As he says, it is better than nothing as it keeps the materials contained, but it doesn’t work for him because the materials can’t get turned and aerated, and it just sits (he, like me, is not inclined to dig to turn compost piles).

He then works his way through 11 compost tumblers that range from small to large and come as a single shell or a double shell / compartment unit.

Things that Kohler didn’t like include:

  • Needing to be assembled: these products would arrive as flat-packed parts that need to be put assembled. He remarked how one had a lot of screws! Assembly is not always difficult but can be challenging for some.
  • Panels that pop out: tumblers that arrive flat-packed in boxes need to be assembled. They are be made from many panels and components that get connected together. With an increased mass of material, these panels can deform, split apart or pop out.
  • Thin plastic: he made this comment about one of the units – not very robust and certainly not made to withstand the elements and years of hard use.
  • Barrels on a vertical axis: It really doesn’t work to tumble a shell/barrel on a vertical axis – awkward, ineffective and difficult if it is really full. Horizontal axis is the way to go.
  • Handles that break.
  • Lack of handholds / handles or too shallow handholds: seems to be fairly common and makes tumbling units challenging, especially large, full units.
  • Poor construction: some designs could just be better.
  • Sliding hatches: hatches that have to slide open are not as convenient or effective as a hinged lid that opens.

Things that Kohler did like include:

  • One-piece unit (not panels): no seams to come apart or panels to pop out – far more robust.
  • Two shells / two compartments: when you can fill one shell and then leave it to mature while you start to fill the other is “The smartest way to make compost,” he says.
  • High off the ground: so that you can empty the contents into a tub / wheelbarrow.
  • Good quality and well made to last a long time: composting is recycling organic waste and we certainly don’t want tumblers to be disposable. They should last well over a decade.

We think that Kohler would LOVE our YOLO Compost Tumbler.

  • YOLO Compost Tumblers arrive already assembled: open the box it arrives in, take out the YOLO, open the lid and start using it.
  • Each YOLO Compost Tumbler is a one-piece, thick and strong, rotomoulded shell made from a high-quality UV-stabilised polyethylene. There are no panels, seams or screws that hold it together.
  • Every unit comes with two shells.
  • We’ve used galvanised hinges and latches with a powder-coated steel frame – strong and made for the outdoors.
  • Our units tumble on a horizontal axis.
  • Kohler didn’t say anything about fins inside the tumblers to mix the contents. Well, we’ve got moulded-in fins that do this task brilliantly so that the contents don’t just slump.
  • The fins create deep handhold for tumbling the shells. You definitely need a good grip with handholds at regular intervals to tumble a full, 200-litre, large shell.
  • Although our YOLO Compost Tumblers stand low on the ground, they are made to be wall mounted too. Use 4 x 8mm rawl bolts for the small and medium sizes or 4 x 10mm rawl bolts for the large. The bonus of having it on the ground is that you can move it seasonally, as required. Emptying is not difficult; I empty my contents onto a plastic sheet or large tray and then drag this to where I need it in the garden. The contents of wall-mounted YOLOs can be emptied into a tub or wheelbarrow.

One thing that is missing from Kohler’s ‘compost alley’ is… COLOUR! Our YOLOs would certainly brighten up the alley in his yard.

Even though Kohler ranks the units that he has, he quite rightly says that any of them will work. It is better to be composting in one way or another rather than not composting at all.

If you decide to watch this video, those of you with YOLOs can be reassured that you’ve got what we think is one of the best compost tumblers in the world – if not THE BEST! If you have not yet got a YOLO, you’ll learn a lot from the video and it should confirm your decision to get a YOLO.

At the end of his video Kohler reminds us of something very important, “Even if you get the best composter, if you’re not doing it right, you’re going to have a compost fail on your hands”.

Things to look for in a compost tumbler (YOLO ticks the boxes)
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