Mostly good experience with the product. 7 years, some surface rust yes but no signs of rusting out.
Temperature? Volume + Mix = Temperature. You're not going to get a high temp in an above ground, easy to turn cylinder that you are dumping the kitchen waste into every few days. My composter, to no surprise, has frozen solid from December to February every winter. The March sun quickly thaws it out and by June last years leaves are ready to use.
So what makes my experience negative? The plastic gear finally gave out and I contacted them via the contact us form on the web site to find out how to order replacement parts. Heard nada from them.
NOwhere do they inform you that the backporch ComposTumbler doesn't get hot enough to kill weed seeds. This is EXTREMELY critical as most of us end up using some weeds in the mix. As a side 'benefit', it gets full of ants also as it doesn't create enough heat to deter them either. So, when you finally get compost, you also plant new weeds and ants with it. Compost in 4 to 6 weeks is extremely unlikely. Possibly in 6 weeks if you load it with "almost compost". If you use normal stuff that isn't shreaded to a fine powder expect at LEAST 8 weeks. So after two months, you get the equivalent to a small bag of compost that isn't sterile. Money back guarantee is a joke. They tell you to give it a little more time to compost. I asked about a return and refund twice and that was never addressed in their reply. I didn't want to spend the amount to return the unit only to have the return rejected. MOST companies give you RMA with explainations on how to return the item. I should have got a clue when their FULL testimonial page doesn't allow you to put in your testimony. Bottom line, save your money!
Dan88 Huntington Beach, CA (1 review) February 1, 2011
The center post rusted out in no time, the design has been changed now but I'm left without a centerpost and the drum turning is dangerous.
Now way do you get final compost in 10-14 days. The optimum biomass size is usually around 1 cu yard, 21 bushels or 27 cu ft. which allows you to get the heat needed to reduce the mass, only one model even comes close to this and it's pricey. It also assumes that you fill the tumbler to the brim every time but unless you have a good sized yard and the proper green/brown material mix ratio on hand, you won't get the heat and bio action going. I now use my 1/2 cu yard tumbler as a mixing station for the green/brown materials that go into three free standing bins.
Forget tumblers especially these expensive ones from this company. Notice they also mix the sizes between gallons, cu ft and bushels so you can't compare and figure out how small they are. Borders on false advertising.
dudejude North Richland Hills, TX (1 review) October 11, 2010
Our ComposTumbler was purchased in 2002 for $300. Eight years later, all the metal has rusted out. The plastic parts are fine. Why would anyone use metal that rusts to build a composter? A composter is always outside in all elements!!!! Why would anyone use screws that rust when it is known that they would be exposed to all weather? I don't understand!!!! And I would not even begin to spend more money on another composter using the same materials!!!!! I am so disappointed with this ComposTumbler I would not recommend it to any body!!!!!!!
boomchuga Western, MA United States (1 review) September 4, 2010
I ordered and received the ComposTumbler. I started setting it up and was missing screws and had a lower support section not drilled through. I took pictures and emailed them and was told that they would overnight the new section to me. I was told I would receive it on Saturday. I checked FedEx tracking and found out that they failed to check the extra charge for Saturday delivery, so now I wont be receiving the part til Tuesday being a long weekend. I spent good money on this product and they failed to inspect for quality control and feel that when you tell a customer something that it better happen. At this point I feel like shipping everything back to them
tomtkitty Memphis, TN (12 reviews) August 15, 2008
I can't say that I have had any direct dealings with this company, since I got my ComposTumbler secondhand from a gardening friend who was getting rid of it. Judging from the pictures, I must have an older version. However, it is holding up well, and makes pretty good compost, especially with our 90+ temperatures. I've had to go to an enclosed composting system, since my dogs like to raid the piles.
I would recommend this product.
klwillis Long Beach, CA (1 review) August 15, 2008
If you garden within the suburbs like I do, the Back Porch Compost Tumbler (BPCT) is the way to go. It's far superior to turning piles with a pitch-fork (which is not even possible for many people), as well as to storing compost in bins.
I have composted using the pile and bin method, and I can say in most cases, it's more trouble than it's worth, not to mention a potential breeding ground for insects and small rodents - regardless of the materials added to your compost.
The BPCT is relatively easy to assemble, sturdy and pleasing to the eye. A really nice feature is that the BPCT can be moved around easily to other spots in your yard or on your patio.
If you purchase the BPCT, just be sure to take your time assembling it, especially taking care to position the door securely - there is also a door latch now, so your compost materials will stay securely inside the BPCT's heavy plastic drum.
I highly recommend this to those with average sized gardens, and it makes excellent dark rich compost.
I've owned the large Compost Tumbler for nine years now. I've used it in Colorado, Alaska and now Montana. The past two years in Montana I've loaded it completely and have nice compost in 14 days. The compost does not looke like the pictures in the brochure but I can guarantee that all the weed seeds are dead due to the high temps and the constant shifting of the materials based on the tumbling design. I have all the original parts on my tumbler and it's been through all kinds of weather especially in North Pole Alaska! I emptied the tumbler in Alaska and sprayed water in to completely clean it out. In Colorado and now in Montana I leave stuff in it over the winter and there is sits until the weather warms up when I resume my active compost making.
Texasescimo Argyle, TX (Zone 7b) (5 reviews) December 31, 2007
After having to fill out their online form with my name, address, email, etc. just to see their "special pricing", I decided not to buy the back porch compost tumbler from them as their "special price" was $239.00 which is $40.00 higher than the lowest price that I have found so far and $14.00 higher than Gardners Supply which is the first place I saw it at. Really aggravating that you have to give them your information just to see their rediculous prices.
I bought a large ComposTumbler for $400 in 1996 and in less than 10 years it rusted through. Their response is to charge me $111 for a new drum for the tumbler. I understand that the newer materials are better, but I am not impressed by ComposTumbler's lack of support for its product whose basic utility depends on being able to stand up to harsh outdoor conditions. Basically they seem to just want to make their earliest customers pick up the slack for their inferior quality older composters--and we were their first, "charter" customers. It seems ungrateful and stingy to me. Also, it did not make finished compost in 2 weeks as claimed.
I wanted to order a compostumbler. I read all the commence.
I also read all the brochures you sent me. I didn't see New and Improved. ?? Seems as though you would improve on your product.
Easy assembly. No rusting seams. Blah Blah Blah.
Have you read all what I consider important info on how you can improve your company?
Lost parts? Missing parts?
This concerns me. I have to put this together. Ordering a product...then receiving a product thats missing parts is really frustrating to me.
I think I will wait to see the New and Improved product.
Thank You Sharon
Having a 4-acre garden to maintain, and the need for large volumes of compost to keep our flowers & vegetables happy, I recently purchased the full-size ComposTumbler to compliment our existing 5 composters, ostensibly for 2 reasons: the company's claim that it will churn out compost in 14 days flat, and the ability to turn the compost by hand-cranking (with our other composters I have to turn the compost using a fork). First off, I agree with the critics that, at a price of around $500 including shipping charges, it is indeed expensive! The order, though, was processed promptly, and the various boxes arrived within a week. First niggle came when I unpacked said boxes - there were parts missing, damaged & for the wrong tumbler, and it took 2 weeks to get everything correct. On the plus side, though, the manufacturers were very prompt in supplying said parts. I assembled the tumbler myself in about 3 hours without any further problems - the instructions were clear and concise. I filled the tumbler some 10 days ago with the recommended mix of greens & browns, and have dutifully followed the instructions every day since then; given the condition of the contents, however, I very much doubt I will have my first batch of compost within the next 4 days! I'll keep you posted!
A friend gave us the large tumbler because they downsized into a condo. I have had great results with this gadget but the quality of the compost after just 14 days is far from mature. 14 days is about right for the initial "hot" stage but a whole lot of decomposition still has to occur. To get to the full mature, deep, dark chocolate color normally takes 6 to 8 weeks even in the heat of Texas. I have tried the bin system and this tumbler really cuts down on the backbreaking work of turning piles with a shovel. I also have never gotten such deep brown/black color from a bin-generated compost as I do from the tumbler. Constant aeration is the key and the tumbler is about as easy as it gets. I have owned the tumbler now for over 7 years and the support frame is heavily rusted on the bottom rails. This section of the frame should be made of galvanized or stainless steel. I am also seeing corrosion along the seams of the tumbler wall galvanized sections. I have never cleaned out the tumbler (except for rough scraping) between batches and this remnant compost is probably contributing to the corrosion. My biggest complaint is that the door latches do not clear the axles carrying the gears when the hatch cover is removed and the latches are left loose. I find it useful to rock the tumbler back and forth on its axis to get it totally empty but my first attempt at doing this resulted in the hanging hatch latches catching on the axles. They got slightly bent and lost some of their holding power. I also disagree with how the company recommends rotating the tumbler such that the hatch is on the bottom. I feel that this puts too much stress on the latches and I have always left the hatch in the top position. I do not find that this hampers in any way the air flow and its ability to compost, however it has probably contributed to a "bowing" out of the seam on the opposite side of the tumbler. I would buy one of these tumblers again but I would only buy the large one. You really can't get the high temperatures unless you have approximately 1 cubic yard of composting material to be self-insulating. However, even in winter here in Texas the high temperatures in the pile cannot be sustained and composting takes even longer than 6 to 8 weeks.
Bluestar57 Stephenville, TX (Zone 7b) (1 review) November 5, 2006
Back in the beginning of 2006 I bought the Compact ComposTumbler which did arrive a little late due to their backlog, but that I can understand that as being reasonable. I single handily put it together in a few hours since I wasn't in a rush. I was short on having enough leaves but managed to dig up enough in a wooded area and with a supply of donkey manure I did get compost in 14 days. Due to the drought and lack of leaves I didn't make anymore until recently. I was so pleased with it that I ordered the Backporch CT also since I don't always have enough on hand to make a larger batch. All my calls requesting help where very politely handled and a few missing parts where sent with no problems. I did have a harder time putting the Backporch one together due to the sides where not marked and I had overlooked the small holes that tell them apart since I was outside in the heat wave trying to put it together. I have no complaints and my plants love the compost and tea. If it holds up it will be well worth the investment. I rate the company highly which doesn’t happen very often these days.
omnibus1 Boulder Creek, CA (1 review) March 23, 2005
Last year I purchased the largest compost tumbler since I'd recently purchased a large property. What I didn't realize at the time was that a good bulk of material on my lot (Redwood and Oak debris) was not good composting material. I'm still getting good results from the tumbler with all the other debris and kitchen scraps I'm tossing in, but my unit is a little oversized for the job. In any case, I'll be getting a good batch of compost for my garden's localized points of interest, but it's taking longer than expected. Overall, the assembly of the unit was fun and well documented; the composting manual was well written (although I haven't had materials on hand to follow it for 2 week composting); and so far, after 1 year, I've had good results. In response to someone's comment about a lack of bugs in the compost batch, there's quite a bit of life in my batch even though the unit is far off the ground! I think they flew in through the vents and bred! I also purchased the wheel barrow with pneumatic tires. Although this unit was expensive, it's been like driving a Lexus through the landscape and we've loved it! We get more regular heavy duty use out of it than the tumbler!
Back in 2001 I purchased the full-size Compost Tumbler. Although we don't have a long composting season in Wyoming I was happy to use it as a receptacle for waste that eventually would be turned into compost. About three years passed and the two plastic end pieces just completely gave out - plastic fatigue I guess. I took photos of the destroyed tumbler and sent it to PBM group. They contacted me and told me that I was still within the warranty period so would replace the parts. Time went by and soon it was 2005 (now) and still now parts. With growing season beginning within a month or so (here, that is) I wanted to resolve this so called customer service. A very snotty CS representative asked me 'why did you wait so long to call us when you didn't receive the parts?' I was getting POd by then but if I didn't know they were shipped and wasn't advised of such, ?????? At any rate I'm resigned to the fact that I have lost the money - the construction is flimsy and not worth the price. I hope none of you buy this gadget. Instead, build yourself three side-by-side bins and do it the old-fashioned way, by turning the shovel.
I have used the ComposTumbler for about a decade now and am about to order a second one. I have the large size and live in Houston. No, I don't get compost in 2 weeks, but I add nearly daily to the unbalanced mess inside. At first I did measure things as instructed, but in the real world I have more dry leaves than grass at one time of year and vice-versa at another time of year. I do use a microbial additive, but usually overload it and am bad about remembering to turn the thing. Also, it sits in the shade. Still I get 4-6 batches of compost a year, at the right times for my garden's needs. It's much slower in the winter, but ready when needed in the spring. During our super-hot summers it produces fast, so we can spread compost in June, wait out the hot,"dormant" period and have another batch ready for use in late August, when the plants start to revive. To give us more compost each time, I'm adding a second machine, but have to say that my original one has a rusted drum and may need replacement soon. I have been bad over the years in not thoroughly cleaning it out between batches, believing that it's wiser to have a "broken in" machine with a collection of its own microbes from batch to batch.
I Purchased A BACK PORCH COMPOSTUMBLER & I love it. It's easy To turn, easy to assemble, easy to use, It's PORTABLE! & It composts quickly. A+++ I Love It. BUY ONE!
Weather Garden Weekend Project(r), Hot Springs, AR
I have had my full size tumbler for 3 months and am delighted with the product. I live in the south, and our warm temperatures may contribute to the success of the composting. I add kitchen garbage every day, and garden waste at least once a week. I have compost in 2-3 weeks after I stop adding material.
It was a bit of work to put together, but the instructions are good.
I bought the Compost Tumbler thinking it would be a good investment. Well, it was an investment. It does not make compost in 14 days. In fact, it takes me all season to make compost! Granted, I add to it at least once a week, but come on! At the end of the warm season, it still isn't hardly done. It was hard to assemble too. I did it by myself and it was a hassle. Unfortulately, I'll have to keep this tumbler because it cost me almost $400.
I had purchased the ComposTumbler this past season and to my surprise It really worked, though not quit as fast as they claimed it did make compost with in a few weeks (depending on material composting). As others have stated it was a bit pricey, and not the easiest to assemble. All in all I feel Its a good investment.