How Does an Electric Composter Work?

How Does an Electric Composter Work Featured Photo

I’ve always been interested in environment-friendly movements. I always make it a point to do the environmentally-conscious thing. One of the more common things that comes up is composting.

Composting is one of those things I like taking time to research and read. I find myself often wandering around articles and blogs about composting.

Though highly-interested to do it, I don’t have the luxury of a big backyard space I would need to commit to it. Unfortunately, my city doesn’t have composting services either.

This means all food waste and food scraps my family and I accumulate on a day-to-day basis would have to be thrown out. And if you don’t already know, these food waste and scraps end up in landfills. When they rot and decompose, they produce huge amounts of gasses that are harmful to the environment.

This is when I came across electric composters. For a deep dive on what exactly it is and how it works, head right on below!

Why You Should Compost

Before we get into all about electric composters, let’s first talk about composting and why you should do it.

Households accumulate and throw away tons of food waste and food scraps everyday, making up about 30% of what we throw out in the bin. When thrown in with the rest of our garbage, these food waste and scraps end up in landfills. And when they rot and decompose, they will release methane, a harmful greenhouse gas to the environment.

Not only does a household reduce producing even more food waste and scrap but composting helps you do your part in saving the environment.

Composting results in an organic material called compost. Compost can be mixed with soil for your garden or potted plants. This end product is rich in nutrients plants love and will help them grow. It’s essentially a fertilizer but much more environment-friendly than store-bought synthetic fertilizers.

Traditional composting methods would require a big enough outdoor space for your compost pile or bin. There are also options for indoor composting using a special type of bin. Some cities and municipalities offer composting services.

If none of these are a viable option for you, then an electric composter might be a good enough solution for your household.

What is an Electric Composter?

An electric composter is a home kitchen appliance. Most units usually come in a countertop size – think slow cooker – but other units can be as large as a trash bin.

Electric composters are also called food dehydrators, food recyclers, food processors, or food digesters. All these different terms of a kitchen appliance all essentially do the same thing – break down food waste and food scrap, greatly reducing what you throw out in the bin.

While it is true that electric composters are capable of producing true compost, it’s not true for all units currently out in the market.

Depending on the brand and model of your electric composter, the end product can be true compost or simply grounded and dried food waste that closely resembles loose soil. While some come out as fine organic waste, some results in chunky material. But nonetheless, the end results are dehydrated food scraps for most electric composters.

There are also models and units that give users varying options of what the food waste and scraps end up. They can be true compost or simply broken down waste you can throw into your green bin, essentially still helping you reduce day-to-day waste.

If you want to be able to produce compost and use it as fertilizer for your garden and potted plants, make sure to closely check this in detail when checking out options for electric kitchen composters..

How Does an Electric Composter Work?

At a glance, an electric composter’s process looks relatively simple. All one would need to do is open the top cover of the unit. You can simply put all your food waste and food scraps in and start the composting process in a single push of a button.

Unlike traditional composting, an electric composter does the job in just a few hours, ranging from five to 72 hours. Again, this timeframe would change and depend on your brand, model, and mode you’re operating it on.

So, how exactly does an electric composter work?

An electric composter goes through three stages: heating and drying, grinding, and cooling.

Heating and drying

Generally, outdoor compost pits need an optimal temperature range of 135°F to 160°F. Electric composters are designed and manufactured to mimic this optimal range.

At the heating stage, an electric composter will heat food waste and food scrap scrap up to the optimal composting temperature of 160°F to draw out the moisture. During the process, your electric composter will work to kill and destroy most pathogens and viruses.

This heating stage will continue until all the food scraps are dry and have their natural moisture drawn out. They then become dehydrated food waste instead.


The next step for an electric composter is grinding. In this stage, your electric kitchen composter will grind the food scraps, greatly reducing it in volume by breaking them down further into small granules.

The blades of an electric composter are not sharp but instead “grinds” the food waste by turning them over.

Due to the blades inside the electric composter, some food waste doesn’t turn out to be very fine organic material. They’re smaller in volume, yes, but sometimes, they can be larger pieces and even fibrous in some cases.


The last process an electric composter goes through is the cooling stage. During this phase, the unit will slowly decrease its internal temperature to ensure the end product is safe to handle, all the while still working to prevent mold from forming inside the unit.

Once your unit finishes these stages, they are ready to be mixed with your garden soil or added to your potted plants. If these are not an option for you, they’re also ready to be tossed into your green bin.

Who Needs an Electric Composter?

An electric composter is a great home appliance for anyone. They’re especially beneficial for people who don’t have the space for an outdoor compost pit like those who live in apartments.

While some cities offer compost services, not all do. If this isn’t available where you live, an electric composter is a viable solution. People who live in colder climates can also see a benefit in these little units as composting can be difficult during winter seasons..

Traditional composting requires physical strength, which not everyone has. If you want to lessen your food waste but can’t physically compost in your backyard, an electric composter will gladly do it for you. So old folks and those with health issues will definitely benefit from one.

Electric Composters: The Good and The Bad

If you’ve been eyeing an electric composter but aren’t sure if it’s for you, we have below both the good and the bad to help you decide:

The good

No compost pile odor and pest

With traditional composting, odor always comes with it. With electric composters, you can be free of odor no matter what you put into your unit. And without odor, you wouldn’t attract flies and rodents into your home.

Automated operation

With electric composters, you can start composting any food waste with a single push of a button. Simply put all the scrap and waste inside, push a button, and wait for the composting process to finish. No need to worry about turning things over manually as the unit will do it for you.

This automated process makes electric kitchen composters one of the more conventional composting methods today.

All-year food waste and food scraps composting

Composting would be impossible during winter seasons. With electric composters, you can be composting any time of the year.

The bad


Electric composters are generally expensive. This is one of the few reasons it may not be for everyone.

Energy consumption

Electric composters need to be plugged in to work. Because of this, they do consume energy every time they get to composting. Before you settle on a unit, make sure to read its energy consumption first.


An electric composter is a home kitchen appliance that breaks down food waste. These units allow homeowners to greatly reduce the amount of trash they throw that ultimately ends up in landfills.

So how does an electric composter work?

An electric composter generally works in three stages: heating and drying, grinding, and cooling.

At the first stage, the unit will heat the food waste up to a temperature of 160°F to break them down and draw out moisture. This will kill most pathogens and viruses.

During the grinding stage, the composter will break them down further into smaller granules. All the waste and scrap will greatly reduce in volume in this stage.

And the last phase would be cooling. At this stage, it will slowly decrease its internal temperature until it’s safe to handle. The unit also still works to prevent mold from forming on the finished product.

And that has been our guide on electric composters and how they work!