A wormery composting bin can be used to break down and recycle your organic kitchen waste into nutrient-rich compost and liquid plant fertiliser, which can be used in your garden.
To put it simply, a wormery is a composting bin, full of worms. The types of worms used in a wormery are not regular earthworms, but rather manure, tiger or red worms. These types of worms live in decaying organic matter, as opposed to soil.
If you purchase a readymade wormery, it will be specially designed for this purpose, and often includes the worms. Bins are usually made from plastic and have at least two compartments – an upper layer to accommodate the food and worms, and a lower tray where the vermicompost (worm poo) collects.
If you fancy recycling your food scraps with a wormery, read on for our pick of the 5 best wormery composting bins on the market, based on factors such as size, functionality, and whether they include worms and bedding.
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Do this right, and you may never need to buy compost again!
Our best wormery has a large capacity and 4 trays, allowing you to easily harvest compost
First up on our list of the best wormery composting bins is the Wormcity. This comprehensive stacking wormery includes an impressive 4 trays, making it easy to harvest compost – simply remove the bottom tray, empty out the vermicompost, replace the empty tray on top, and continue adding your kitchen waste.
Wormcity measures 43 x 43 x 90cm, and has a large capacity of 100 litres. It’s made in Britain from recycled plastic, which has been UV-treated to prevent it breaking down in the sun. It feels sturdy and high-quality, and we think this is one wormery that is sure to last.
Other notable features include a black colour, which absorbs heat and helps to keep the internal environment warm, and a built-in tap to remove liquid – which itself can be diluted with water and used as plant fertiliser.
Included with the bin are 500g of worms, bedding, worm food and full-colour instructions on how to set up and use the wormery. The manufacturer is also very responsive to questions and enquiries online.
We have to point out that this is, at present, the priciest wormery on our list – but it is also, we believe, by far the best. It’s large, durable, easy to use, and includes everything you need to get started on your worm composting journey.
- Stacking wormery with 4 tray compartments for easy harvesting.
- Made from durable UV-protected recycled plastic.
- Large 100L capacity.
- Includes 500g of worms, bedding, worm food and instructions.
- Built-in tap to drain out liquid composting tea.
- Black colour absorbs heat and helps keep it warm.
- Pricier than competitors.
Our best value pick is a generic compost bin that could be used as a single compartment wormery
If you’re looking for a more affordable option – perhaps you’re just starting out in the world of composting and aren’t ready to invest too much in a wormery yet – this ultra-affordable 300L Composter Bin by 4Smile might be of interest.
This composting bin has a large size, measuring 61 x 61 x 83 cm, and a capacity of 300 litres. It features a single compartment with a hinged lid to add organic waste, and a hatched door for harvesting compost.
However, this model is not specifically designed for use as a wormery, and therefore is lacking in a few key features to assist you in using it for this purpose.
Crucially, there are no separate trays or compartments to keep worms separated from the vermicompost. Although it’s possible to create a single compartment wormery, it does make separating the worms and removing the compost more difficult.
Additionally, the compost bin has no base, so whilst you can add worms and hope they choose to stay because of all the delicious food you’re giving them, there’s no guarantee. It might also be easier for predators to access your worms. There are no worms or bedding included, so you would have to source your own.
Ultimately, as an entry-level garden compost bin to which you can add worms, this is a reasonable option, and offers great value – but if you’re looking for a user-friendly wormery which functions to a high standard, it might be best to look elsewhere.
- Large 300L compost bin provides plenty of room for all your organic waste.
- Hinged lid for easy filling, and hatched door for easy emptying.
- Made from durable plastic.
- Easy to assemble.
- Highly affordable.
- Not specifically designed for use as a wormery – no compartments or removable trays.
- No worms or bedding included.
- Bin has no base.
This bright red wormery is sure to make an impact – with your garden and your waste!
Cost: Price not available
Our third option is this 4 Tray Tiger Wormery by Original Organics. Made from recycled plastic, this one instantly stands out for its terracotta red colour, which might appeal to those looking to make a design statement in their garden – although it does make it look a bit like a fire hydrant.
This wormery is specially designed for worm composting and features 4 trays to allow the migratory movement of worms upwards through the system, and the harvesting of compost from the bottom tray. Once harvested, you can return this tray to the top of the wormery.
In comparison to the Wormcity, the capacity of this model is quite low – it measures 75 x 41 x 41cm and has a volume of 62 litres. However, this should still be sufficient for a small family of 3-4 people.
It includes tiger worms, bedding mix, lime mix and full instructions. The high quality and functional design also features a tap to collect and remove liquid waste, which you can then use as a powerful liquid plant fertiliser. Overall, this wormery represents a great option for a small family – as well as anyone who likes bright colours.
- Made from high quality recycled plastic.
- 4 tray system allows for easy harvesting of compost.
- Includes tiger worms, bedding, lime mix and full instructions.
- Built-in tap to extract liquid.
- Attractive terracotta red colour.
- 62L volume is significantly less than the Wormcity.
A compact, 3-tray wormery, perfect for couples and smaller gardens
Cost: Price not available
Like the look of the Original Organics wormery, but not sure about the size or colour? Check out this slightly smaller version of the same design, in a much subtler dark green colour. This is our smallest capacity wormery, measuring in at 40 x 40 x 52 when empty, and with a capacity of 46.5 litres.
Despite the smaller capacity, Original Organics recommend this to be suitable for a small family of up to 4 people – but given there are some others on our list with much higher capacities making similar claims, we think it might be more suited to a couple.
As well as being less bold, the dark green colour is also more practical, as it will absorb heat and help keep the wormery warm. There’s a built-in tap to remove liquid, and the wormery includes tiger worms, coir bedding, lime mix and instructions – although it has to be said that the instructions for this one could be clearer.
Other drawbacks include that it only has 3 trays, instead of the 4 of many similar designs, and that the lid can be a little loose. These are very minor points though – and the smaller size could, in fact, be seen as a positive by those with smaller households and gardens, who nonetheless want to give worm composting a try.
- 3 tray stacking wormery.
- Includes tiger worms, coir bedding, lime mix and instructions.
- Built-in tap to remove liquid.
- Dark green colour will help to keep it warm.
- One tray less than similar models.
- The lid can be a little loose.
- Assembly instructions could be clearer.
A large stacked wormery, with legs to keep it off the ground
Cost: Price not available
Rounding off our list of the best worm composting bins is this Extra Large Wormery from Roundpoint. Like the Vermicity model, it has a 100-litre capacity, which is more than large enough to compost the kitchen waste of a small family.
It’s made from UV-treated plastic, in a black colour to absorb and retain heat, and measures 56 x 40 x 71 cm. There’s a tap to drain liquid, and 3 trays to enable you to separate your worms from the compost – although this is one tray less than the Wormcity.
What sets this wormery apart from the rest is the design, which rests on 4 high legs, and keeps the composting bin well removed from the ground, protecting worms from predators. The legs can be removed, and the whole thing disassembled for easy storage when not in use.
500g of worms are included (delivered separately) – although there’s no bedding or food, to settle them in. Despite this, we’re confident that this is one of the best worm composting bin designs on the market today.
- Large 100L capacity with 3 trays for easy harvesting of compost.
- Made from durable UV treated plastic.
- Innovative design is easy to disassemble when not in use.
- Legs raise the wormery off the ground and keep it away from pests.
- Black colour absorbs heat, keeping the wormery warm.
- Domed base and drainage tap help prevent worms from drowning.
- Includes 500g of worms.
- No bedding material included.
- Only 3 removable trays, despite its size.
What Is A Wormery?
A wormery is a specific type of composting bin, in which live worms help to break down organic matter and turn it into useful vermicompost. It generally consists of two or more layers, and works on a migration system, with the worms constantly moving up to the top layer where you put in kitchen waste, whilst the compost collects in the lower layers.
The vermicompost produced by worms is rich in nutrients, particularly potassium and nitrogen, and makes a nutritious plant food. Most worm composting bins also allow you to drain the liquid produced through a tap, which makes an excellent liquid plant fertiliser (dilute with water first).
How To Use A Worm Composting Bin
When setting up and using a wormery composting bin, you should always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. As a general rule, the best place to position your wormery is in a shed, greenhouse or other sheltered area, where it will be protected from extreme hot and cold temperatures, as well as flooding in the event of rain.
If you are using a stacked composting bin with trays, you should first place a layer of bedding material (eg. coir) in one tray, then add your worms. Begin gradually adding your chopped up kitchen food scraps to the tray.
Once the first tray is full, add another on top, and continue adding the food waste. The worms will follow the food and migrate upwards to the next tray, leaving their worm cast behind as vermicompost. If you notice a lot of flies, try adding damp shredded newspaper on top of your scraps.
By the time you’ve added the last tray to the top of your wormery, the compost in the tray at the bottom should be ready for you to harvest. Remove it and replace this tray at the top of the compost bin – a bit like playing Jenga, but with worms.
Once your wormery is established, you should also drain it regularly through the tap to remove the liquid – this will help to ensure your worms do not drown. This liquid can be used alongside the compost as nutritious plant fertiliser in your garden.
You can add most of your kitchen food waste to your worm composting bin, including vegetable peelings, fruit, bread, pasta, cereals, cakes, biscuits and tea bags. You can also put in paper and cardboard, the contents of your vacuum cleaner, and even dog and cat poo!
Things that are best avoided include dairy products, eggs, bones, spicy foods, oils, salt, garlic, and too much garden waste, such as grass cuttings and weeds.
April is a freelance writer who specialises in writing about home and garden design and the environment. She is an avid wildlife-enthusiast and adventure-seeker, and feels happiest when in the Great Outdoors.