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When I first started looking for a compost tumbler I was after the cheapest thing I could find. At least within reason. Since my wife had vetoed my cardboard box of table scraps behind the shed I was left looking for something that was a good value for the money, aesthetic, and functional.
What I ended up with was the FCMP Outdoor IM4000 tumbling composter. What a mouthful.
Am I happy with my purchase? Very!
The FCMP Outdoor IM4000 Tumbling Composter will meet the needs of most home people wanting to compost kitchen scraps and a small amount of yard waste. It is the best value in small composters, makes compost quickly, and will last several seasons with proper use. However, its relatively small size makes it inadequate for large amounts of grass clippings or plant material.
- Tumbling composter – avoid digging and mixing your compost pile by hand. The tumbling design makes mixing easy and efficient. Just close the door and turn it 5-6 times every 2-3 days. In hot sunny conditions and with a proper balance of ingredients the compost can finish in as little as 2 weeks.
- Easy to use – fantastic for beginners! The large openings and removable door make it easy to add Scraps/clippings and remove finished compost. Deep Fins on the body provide great ergonomic handholds.
- Two composter chambers are better than one – two separate sides allow the first side to finish while leaving the second side Available to add fresh Scraps/clippings. Continuously swapping sides after finishing will create an uninterrupted flow of rich, healthy compost. Total capacity 37 gallons (5 cu Ft)
- Durable construction – BPA free, UV inhibited, 100% post-consumer recycled polypropylene is contact safe and will not degrade under direct sunlight. The galvanized steel frame is corrosion resistant.
Why I chose it:
Because my wife wouldn’t let me use my cardboard box!
Actually, tumblers are typically a much more efficient method of composting than simply stacking things in a passive pile. They keep things more moist, aerated, and warmer, all of which facilitate proper microbial growth.
What’s more, I wanted a compost tumbler because they reduce any compost smell and make it much less likely that you’ll be visited by small pests or critters. I definitely wouldn’t say that this composter is bear-proof, it has kept out raccoons and stray cats.
It was important that our compost situation not be an eyesore. Not only do we live in a city where open composting is discouraged, but we have a backyard that is not fenced and connects with two other backyards. So we had to keep it on the down-low.
I will say that it is quite small and looks unassuming standing on our back patio. Having it small and incognito is definitely a trade-off when it comes to capacity but it’s worth it to us (meaning my wife). I just won’t be fitting a ton of brown materials inside.
Not, the main reason that I felt comfortable spending some money on the IM4000 is that everyone seems to have one. It is the best-selling composter tumbler and typically has very good reviews.
How well does it compost?
However, no matter how many have one, a compost pile still stinks. So is the IM4000 Tumbling Composter worth it or is it a stinker?
Well, I do have to say that it composts pretty well.
In the summer we manage to church out a load of compost every 4-5 weeks. This is mainly because we’ve been over 100 degrees almost every day this summer which pretty much cooks our scraps into dirt.
Because of the tumbler’s small size, we typically fill it up for a week, let it compost for a week, fill it up for another week, and then let it finish without adding to it.
To do this properly we’d really need two of these so that we could have a continuous stream of compost working.
Not matter if we are adding or the compost is sitting we turn it once a day and add a bit of water (or urine) as it needs it.
My Objective Analysis:
Now that I have some more experience with the FCMP Outdoor IM4000 Tumbling Composter (and composting in general) there are 2 things I don’t love about this composter.
I will say that, overall, it’s the absolute best option within this price range. I have to be fully honest, however.
The only two negatives:
- It’s small. If you also have a compost pile this would be super useful for jumpstarting your kitchen scraps before adding them to your main pile. As your only composting solution it might be inadequate unless you’re single or live in an apartment. If you’re looking to compost leaves or grass clippings you’ll want to keep looking.
- It’s not super sturdy. It’s good for the price but I wouldn’t expect it to last for more than a couple of years (depending if you compost in the winter). The inner hardware tends to rust and the frame is prone to bending.
And that’s it! There are very few things not to like about this little tumbler.
If you’re just getting into composting, you can’t do better.