If you’re looking for a large, sturdy, insulated composter, the Aerobin 400 Composter fits the bill. It is 47 inches tall by 29 inches wide and can hold up to 113 gallons of compost!
Composting kitchen scraps with leaves and other yard waste creates great mulch for your garden. Compost adds nutrients back into the soil and also helps the soil retain water. When you compost yard waste and kitchen scraps, it also reduces the amount of trash you put out on the curb. It’s a win, win situation.
You can compost by simply creating a simple pile of scraps from your kitchen and leaves from your yard. You’ll need to aerate it by turning it a couple of times a month and it will need moisture. So if you aren’t getting adequate rain to keep your compost pile moist, you might need to add water.
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Why I Bought My First And Then Another Aerobin Composter
However, I wanted something that looked a bit nicer in the yard and didn’t attract so many animals. We’ve even had raccoons digging in the compost pile.
I bought my first Aerobin Composter in 2013 and used it for about two years. When I moved from Mississippi to Georgia, I gifted it to my father who is still using it. At that point, it was just too dirty for me to want to pack in with all my household goods.
At my new home, there was no garden initially, so I had to prioritize which products I bought first. So for the first few months, I was only using a bare bones compost pile. That was until I discovered that our two dogs were digging in it and eating the compost. Yuck!
I went in search of a new composter. After reading many, many reviews, I decided to purchase another Aerobin Composter. My first one had worked really well for me and it still seemed to have the most features and best reviews out of the bunch.
Aerobin 400 Insulated Composter Review
After using the Aerobin composter for several years, I can say that I really like it. I only put kitchen scraps and some yard waste in my Aerobin. (I have an open-air compost container for leaves.) For that use, it works great for our family of 5 and will provide me with excellent mulch for my raised vegetable beds.
PROS OF THE AEROBIN 400
- It’s easy to access the mulch. There are two doors that allow you to directly access the inside of the composter.
- No need to turn the mulch to aerate it. It self-aerates with two aeration cones in the center of the bin.
- It’s relatively attractive (well, it is more appealing than most composters)
- Animals can’t get into it – the dogs haven’t eaten any trash in weeks!
- Easy to assemble
- Quickly makes mulch (3-6 months depending on what you put in it and the outdoor temperature. Even in winter, mine produced compost)
- Low maintenance
- It’s sturdy
- It’s insulated which can increase the months in which you can create compost
- Very little odor, if any (trust me, I have a nose like a dog)
- Produces lots of mulch in warm temps, slower during cold temps
- You can siphon out compost tea for use on your plants, if you want. If you do want to do this, you might want to raise the Aerobin up on some blocks for easier access to the spigot.
CONS OF THE AEROBIN 400
- It’s not easy to after it’s put together. You will have to disassemble it and reassemble it rather than move it all at once.
- Have to be careful when placing access panels back that they are firmly in place
- It’s pretty tall, making accessing anything on the inside from the top hard to do without a ladder
- It’s not cheap. Click to check the price.
Assembling the Aerobin Composter
I received two large boxes via UPS. They sat around in my garage for a week before i had the chance to put the composter together.
The instructions in the box are very clear, making assembly (even in a cloud of mosquitoes) quick and easy. The company that produces this composter also included a guide on composting and some quick tips!
A large sticker on the outside of the box serves as a reminder that the upper and lower sides have to be attached at a 90 degree angle to each other for everything to work properly.
For anyone that is missing any of the many pieces, the company placed a large sticker with instructions on obtaining replacement parts or contacting them in case of any damage.
One of the more important components of assembly is to make sure that the bin is level, so that you can get the compost tea to flow out of the spigot. I used a small level for this when setting the base on the ground.
Overall, the assembly of the composter took me about 20 minutes and that included hauling away the empty boxes for recycling.
This is a pictorial representation of the steps I took to assemble the Aerobin 400 composter.
Removable Side Access Doors
There are two access panels on the sides (or front and back, depending on how you place it) of the bin. They are very easy to remove making getting compost out of the bin very simple and easy.
Putting them back on is relatively easy, though I have found that they have fallen open once or twice. The trick is to pay more attention when you put them back in place and make sure they are firmly in place.
When digging composted material out of the side panels, be careful not to hit the center aeration cone. This is what allows air to enter into the center of your compost, allowing it to decompose quickly.
When you’re busy scooping out composted soil, it’s easy to hit the cone with a large shovel, so try using a smaller hand shovel or narrow spade for safety.
This bin is 29”x29”x47”. You’ll need to set it on a level (and slightly elevated) platform if you plan to get the compost tea from it. We set our first one on concrete blocks to raise it off the ground. The second one I put together, I used materials found in our yard to level it as best as I could.
Recommendations and Composting Tips
I recommend you put the Aerobin together pretty close to where you will permanently place it. It’s pretty unwieldy. If you have already put it together, use a dolly to get it where it’s going (but make sure it’s empty!)
Start out with some composted material in the bottom of the bin. This will help get your composter started. Then start adding your kitchen scraps (vegetable parts, egg shells, coffee grounds, etc.) and yard waste to it.
If your compost starts to get too wet, add in some newspaper (not the shiny pages) and/or straw. Try to mix it in with your compost. If necessary, you might have to take out the composting material and start out with newspaper and then layer it in between compost material.
If you put weeds into your compost pile, like we do, make sure there aren’t any mature seeds on them or you’ll be spreading this around your yard when you use the mulch.
Oak leaves are acidic, but should be fine to compost. Chopping them up before adding them to your compost pile can speed up decomposition. Although pecan leaves have a lot of tannins in them, if you mix them in well with other materials, it should be fine to include them in your compost.
Check this interesting article out: 75 things you can compost, but thought you couldn’t. I wouldn’t try composting much of this stuff, but some of it was interesting.
Here’s a good article from Illinois Extension Service on what you can compost and what you should avoid adding to your bin.