The Aerobin 400 [Amazon Link] is a self-aerating composter for the home user. It is made durable plastic that is well insulated, holds up to 113 gallons of compost materials, and can be used year round. The main distinguishing feature of the Aerobin is its patented aeration lung system, a design that helps air flow through the unit, and helps speed up composting. This article is an Aerobin 400 Composter Review, and looks at the pros and cons of this interesting self-aerating compost bin.
Aerobin 400 Composter Review
The Aerobin 400 Composter is a fairly high end ground-based composter, hitting a price range that is closer to a tumbling composter than to most compost bins.
The main reason for this is the advanced aeration features of the Aerobin. This design helps break down compost more rapdily, and with less work, than traditional compost bins.
Key Features at a Glance
- Insulated composter
- Double wall insulation made of polystyrine
- Patented self-aeration lung system speeds composting processs
- No requirement to turn compost w/ shovel or pitchfork
- Heavy duty construction
- Leachate “compost tea” collection reservoir at base
Dimensions and Specs
- Dimensions: 29 x 29 x 56 inches
- Weight: 23.7 pounds
- 113-gallon capacity
- 1.5” thick insulated double-wall panels
- 2 removable side access doors
- Leachate tank for liquid fertilizer collection
The Aerobin 400 Composter is perfect for those with limited space, as it is taller and thinner than many composters on the market. It saves you floor space while still providing a large capacity interior.
Lung Aeration System
This composter is self aerating, with flow-through ventilation, so you technically don’t need to turn the compost in this bin in the way you would a standard ground-based bin like the Redmon Compost Bin. The lung aeration design is a patented feature that helps to reduce greenhouse gases during the breakdown of the compostable material.
That said, many find that manual turning the compost helps the system compost faster, and is still worth the effort.
Where to Locate the Aerobin
The Exaco Aerobin 400 generates its own heat as a by-product of the biomass breakdown, so the composter can be placed anywhere outdoors, even in the shade. Placing it on a level surface ensures that it will be well supported and work properly.
The Aerobin has a super useful Leachate tank at the base of the comopst bin. This tank collects all of the organic liquid fertilizer produced by the compost. You can use the liquid by adding 20 parts water to 1 part of the liquid collected and feeding the fertilizer to your garden and plants, and it functions as a super fertilizer.
The tap for the tank is located at the bottom of the bin, and can be somewhat difficult to access. Buyers may want to consider raising the Aerobin off the ground somewhat to make the tap easier to access, or perhaps attaching a hose to the spigot to run it to a bucket or receptacle.
Compost will be ready after 3 to 6 months of regular use, but some users have said they have seen results in just over a month — turning the compost manually speeds up the process.
You can easily check the compost by removing either of the 2 side access doors. If you take a peek and the compost seems to be damp, darkly colored, and even in texture, it is ready for use!
Material and Build Quality
The heavy duty construction of the Aerobin is made of recycled 1.5 inch thick plastic, and due to the lid’s weight, rodents are deterred from entering (though perhaps less so than a rodent proof tumbling composter).
The lid and side walls are both insulated, which helps retain heat in the bin. This heat encourages the composting process, no matter the weather outside.
Some buyers have reported that it is difficult to turn the drainage tap and they have had to create workarounds in order to drain the liquid from the tray.
The tap is located very close to the bottom of the bin, and it is hard to fit a container under it in order to drain it.
One way to work around this that users like is to attach a hose to the tap in order to drain the liquid fertilizer at a further distance. This allows a user to use the container of their choice.
Another solution is to place the composter on blocks or a raised surface so that the edge with the drainage tap is more accessible from below, but this makes stirring the compost a bit more difficult, as the top of the bin is higher up.
Most buyers find the Aerobin 400 to be fairly easy to assemble, and can put it together in an hour or so, with only one person. There are no tools needed.
There can be some confusion as to which parts go together, as they are not well labeled, and some may have difficulty attaching the panels together. It’s definitely worth checking out the instructional video on assembly in order to get some context as to how everything goes together.
Written instructions on assembly can be found here [exaco.com].
The Bottom LineOverall, the Aerobin 400 composter is a pretty solid good purchase for home composting needs. If you want a high quality, large capacity ground-based bin, this is perhaps the best out there, though the drainage tape design is not ideal.
It is able to hold a large amount of material and keeps rodents out, while keeping heat in, even when the temperature is low outside. Many users have had great results with the quality of the output after 4-5 months and their end result seems to be worth the minor tweaks needed.