Zero wasters see them as a great way to reduce food waste going to landfill, gardeners highly value the worm castings, anglers are keen on easy access to bait worms and owners of a worm eating pet like knowing where the food for their pet comes from. We found the best worm composters in the UK in 2020.
Best Indoor Wormery
Best Outdoor Wormery
Urban Worm Bag
Composting worms are very easy to keep, don’t smell and quietly turn plant based kitchen waste into a very potent organic fertiliser and soil enhancer for plants of all kinds: flowers, vegetables, trees and shrubs, ornamental or edible.
So, which one is best for your home? Should you have them indoors (yes, you could!) or outdoors? Which design is best and how much is it worth spending. Some of them look so similar – does it make any difference which one you go for?
How Do We Rate The Worm Composters?
- Ease of Use/ Fit for purpose: How easy is it to assemble and get started? Are instructions included? How do you harvest worm castings? How do you monitor conditions inside the wormery? Best for indoors or outdoor use? Suitable for Zero Waste endeavours, bait for fishing or gardening?
- Capacity: How much kitchen waste can you potentially recycle when it’s in full swing?
- Durability: How well is it made? Are there any parts prone to failure?
- Value for the Money: Is this suitable for your household? How much use do you get compared to the amount you will be investing?
- Aesthetics: For wormery fashionistas, especially but not only when looking for a wormery for indoor use.
We also looked at the space required to help you decide whether the wormery you like best will fit in the space you are thinking of.
Best Worm Composters in the UK
Best Indoor Wormery – Urbalive Worm Farm
Full marks for looks – does it do the job?
This wormery composter stands out for its chic, smart design. It doesn’t take much imagination to see it blending in nicely with a stylish kitchen or swish office.
It’s design could also help to convince the eco lurker in your family or office to change his mind and start becoming friends with the worm team and feed them spent tea leaves, coffee grounds and fruit/veg scraps.
The Urbalive is not just pretty to look at but also well designed for its main purpose: composting plant based food waste. The stackable trays are easy to lift to monitor things inside the bin. Urbalive has the smallest foot print from all the compost bins we reviewed. It is clearly designed to be compact.
The tap to drain the leachate (the liquid percolating through the bin) is underneath the bottom, yet easy to reach and keeps the footprint compact, no parts sticking out to catch rogue clothes in passing.
|Aesthetics: It’s a looker no question about that. No one who isn’t in the know will guess that this houses a worm team and creates beautiful worm castings.|
Ease of use: Assembly: only the legs to be screwed in and all parts stacked on top of each other – simple.
It’s designed for easy access:
1. because it looks nice in most places you can put it close to when and where most waste is generated: in the kitchen – saving you extra trips.
2. Just lift the lid and add the food waste or cardboard. To harvest the worm castings the higher trays are lifted and put aside to access the bottom tray.
Perfect for indoor use, allows composting all year around
Durability: The plastic housing is scratch-free, easy clean plastic. The wooden legs are well away from where the moisture is so will last the same as wooden furniture does.
|Price: Designer looks come at a price. The budget level wormery is about 2/3rd in price compared to this one.|
The filter layer to prevent castings and worms from falling through the lowest tray is prone to develop holes in the moist environment, so not as durable but replacement mats are available to buy easily after a year or so.
Measurements: Footprint: 51cm x 38 cm x 61 cm (height)
Material: Easy to clean plastic housing, wooden legs
Who is this best for:
The Urbalive wormery is perfect for start up worm composter with style. It is best for indoor composting and is big enough for a two to three person household or for an office where there isn’t that much plant based food leftovers and the usual spent tea leaves and coffee grounds. Alternatively, additional trays can be bought to enlarge the capacity.
Who is this not good for:
If you are on a budget.
For households who have a lot of vegetable and fruit scraps. (Unless you purchase a couple more trays)
If you need an outdoor wormery.
Best Value for Money: VidaXL
A stackable system with large capacity
The VidaXL is hands down the best overall in terms of ease of use, compact size, composting capacity and cost. It’s a stackable system, which solves most of the problems associated with most DIY one-bin systems.
How it works: Once the kit is assembled (easy to do, no tools required) the first tray is prepared to home the composting worms that are included in the purchase.
These are a mix of the most suitable composting worms for the UK: red wigglers or tiger worms and European nightcrawlers (Eisenia fetida and Dendrobaena veneta for the more scientifically minded)
When temperatures are warm and conditions good (nice soft rotting food) and a cozy 20 -25°C the worms can eat about one third, sometimes (really not that often) half their body weight, so up to 250g to begin with. If it’s colder worms tend to process less.
Potentially you could fill the space of 100 litre with waste and worm castings, or use one of the trays for sifting or interim storage. It also means that by the time you start the fourth tray on top, the lowest is full of completely processed worm compost ready to use on plants.
Beware that one tray full of worm compost requires some manpower to lift, a, s it can easily go up to 12 – 13 kg to lift so this is not ideal if you have any back or joint problems.
What is in included in the VidaXL?
The unit is made out of recycled plastic:
4 x Composting tray each measuring 43cm x 43cm x 17cm deep. (total volume ca 100 ltr)
1 x Sump Tray with drain tap
1 Base Unit
2 Bolts and wing nuts (no tools required)
To get going:
500g Mixed Composting Worms – no need to search for a worm supplier
Coir block, makes 9 litres of ph neutral bedding – ensures worms can settle quickly and don’t escape
250g Worm food to help the worm team off to a good start and also to have as a stand by for when you don’t have any food or are off on a really looong holiday and need your neighbour to take over.
|Ease of Use: Once the worms have settled, Wormcity itself is very easy to use. Lift the lid to add food 2-3 times a week, open the tap to drain the liquid. To harvest the worm compost lift the trays until you get to the lowest.|
Capacity: up to 25 ltr per tray is the largest available tray capacity one can buy. In reality it will not be filled to the rim by the time everything is composted but you will still end up with a good amount per tray
Durability: – the plastic is durable and there aren’t any moving parts prone to break
Value for the Money
The large capacity and easy usability makes it a good outdoor wormery composter for the money. Please note, it needs to be placed out of direct sunlight and sheltered from heavy winds and heavy rain which could flood the lower trays. For all year worm composting the worm bin needs to be in a place with at least 15C.
5 year warranty
|No venting holes – this requires more careful monitoring of the conditions in the top tray which tends to be the most dynamic due to microbes attacking the fresh food and using up oxygen quickly and it can get uncomfortably or even dangerously hot for worms inside the bin. There ways around this, though: you could drill some holes on the side of the lid (no, worms won’t escape if conditions are right inside the bin) or place the lid so there is a gap|
Trays can be heavy to lift when full of worm compost
VidaXL is best for
Families or offices, classrooms, small restaurants and coffee shops with a steady supply of veg and fruit scraps.
Anyone serious about integrating worm composting into their household to regularly compost your own green waste (contributing to zero waste),
keen gardeners who prefer to create your own, superior compost
Anglers wanting their own worm supply as and when needed
Outside sheltered spaces
VidaXL is not recommended for
Households of less than 3 people who just don’t have that much kitchen waste to process, although you could buy a version with less trays if you like the concept of this outdoor bin.
Urban Worm Bag – Largest Capacity
Feeding and harvesting worm casts just one zip away
The developer of the urban worm bag aimed to use the advantages of (usually large scale) continuous flow through worm farms and bring them down to a design that fits into a normal garage, shed or garden.
The result is a large breathable plastic-fabric bag with a zipped lid on top, suspended from a sturdy metal frame. It’s very lightweight and can be folded away when empty which allows easy shipping. This design has several advantages.
Breathability is one of the biggest Pros in this design. It regulates moisture levels by allowing excess water to evaporate or indeed drip out at the bottom when someone is a little less careful and dumps too much wet food in. Since moisture regulation happens even when the bag is zipped up it also prevents pests like fruit flies to find a way in.
The worm bag simplifies worm composting even more: You add food and carbon rich material like cardboard on top and harvest from the bottom. This is great news for anyone struggling with lifting heavy loads, although you will have to be able to crouch or bend down to harvest the worm compost.
There are no size variations, it’s one-size fits all approach and this size is XXL. Once the worm population has grown to maximum of 6lbs or even more for the size of and conditions in the bag (this will take a while depending on where it is located as temperatures play a big role as well as how many worms you start with) the bag can process 3-4lbs of kitchen waste PER DAY!
What is included?
An easy to assemble lightweight iron frame with heavy duty plastic connectors – no tools required
A large capacity, breathable worm composting bag made of 900D Oxford with a polyurethane coating for moisture resistance
Instructions – the most detailed of any wormery composters we have reviewed so far
What Are the Urban Worm Bag Specs?
Frame size: W 26 ¾ in (68cm) x L 26 ¾ in (68cm) x Height: 30 ¼ in (77cm)
Bag Size: W24 in (61 cm) x L 24 in (61 cm) x Height: 22 in (56cm)
Distance between bottom of bag and floor: 9.75 in (24cm)
|+ Flow through system in a compact design: In on top – out at bottom – no heavy lifting required, just feed and harvest|
+ Breathable design – regulates moisture levels better than an all plastic bin, so the system is much less likely to turn anaerob and smelly
+ Closed system – pests like fruit flies and creepy-crawlies are kept out
+ LARGE CAPACITY – the bag can hold up to 5 cubic foot of material, that’s about 6 full buckets!
Design lends itself to harvesting only as much as needed and does away with extra need for storage of worm castings
|– Harvesting can be a bit fiddly, but then you don’t harvest that often.|
– Doesn’t include any worms when bought on Amazon – it is recommended to get 1-2lbs of composting worms to start with
– For impatient beginners and curious people: it’s difficult to monitor when the first worm compost is ready, you’ll have to take some out at the bottom and can’t just look like you would in a stackable bin.
The Urban Worm Bag is best for
Large families, gardeners who want to produce as much worm castings as possible, offices or schools where a good amount of vegetable and fruit is generated to feed the worms.
It is not so good for
Smaller amounts of kitchen waste. Also if you are hoping to harvest and use the worms as fishing bait or pet food this might not be the best design either as you will have to dig a bit to find the worms, although, in time there will be more available compared to other designs.
Best Entry Level: Tiger Wormery
Fond memories of the first one.
This was my starter wormery. I purchased the whole starter kit including coir bedding, lime mix, worm food and of course the worms, just a handful of the perfect compost worms for the UK: red wigglers and Dendrobaena veneta. They were my starter team and I have since grown them to populate several worm bins.
It’s a compact, stackable system. The housing is made of recycled plastic, easy to clean and has a heavy duty, durable feel to it. I like that you can turn the lid over and place a tray on top without squishing worms.
There is the sump tray at the bottom and a tap to drain the leachate. This is important as with a wormery inside plastic housing you need some means of regulating moisture that will almost inevitably occur as part of the composting. The liquid doesn’t smell and can be used diluted and with a little bit of caution, to fertilise plants.
The worm bin is very easy to set up and a decent size for 3-4 people, especially when buying 4 rather than 3 trays.
Although sold as outdoor wormery it needs to be placed under a roof to keep rain out which would otherwise seep in and quickly drench drown the bottom tray. Shade is also a must to prevent the bin from overheating in sun which would very likely kill the worms.
What’s in the box ?
The housing with 3 trays (or 4 if you choose to do so),
- Sump tray for leachate
- ca 100 Tiger Worms or a Worm Card Voucher*
- 1.5kg Lime Mix (to neutralise acidity)
- Coir Worm Bedding to help settle worms quickly in their new home
|+ Easy to set up and use|
+ Compact footprint – doesn’t require much space
+ Material: Recycled plastic
+ Kit includes everything for a easy, safe start and continued success
+ 5 year warranty
|– No venting holes – you can place the lid at a slight angle to allow some air in at the top but that’s not ideal if there is wind and leaves the bin wide open for various pests like slugs and flies. You could follow the example of other similar wormery composters and drill a few 3mm holes in the side of the lid to prevent anaerobic conditions. Especially recommended if you are unlikely to monitor the situation daily (that’s ok – we can’t be all worm nerds)|
– worms can fall through lowest tray Ideally there would be an additional layer between the lowest tray and the sump to prevent this. Some of them will find their way back up but not all of them. I used a recycled piece of trampoline mesh which works very well in letting leachate through and keeps worms out. You could also use a piece of weed barrier.
The Tiger Wormery is best for
Families of 3-4 people or couples with a lot of vegetable and fruit scraps. It’s a perfect next step up for anybody who experimented with DIY bins and just find the one bucket system too messy. You will need a covered place where the wormery is protected from sun and rain.
All wormeries described here work very well to provide a good environment for worms to grow and multiply and to process your kitchen waste. The stackable designs are perfect for beginners. They also make harvesting worm castings easy and you have the leachate as liquid fertiliser throughout.
For stackable designs do not worry too much about the right number of trays. All manufacturers offer spare trays to add another one later. In fact, you can’t really go wrong by having more trays and letting the compost be processed longer. It just gets finer the longer the worms are in there.
We hope you find a wormery you like that will help you get started to keep all that food waste out of landfill and turn it into lovely fertiliser and soil enhancer in potted plants or out in the garden.
Related Article: Best Indoor Wormeries