Equipment for Composting – What Do You Need to Start Composting

Last Updated on March 15, 2022 by Admin

What do you need to start composting? Below, I’ve list down the equipment you need for composting so you can gather them up together before you begin creating your compost bin.


What Equipment / Tools Do You Need for Composting?

Going through everything about composting without covering safety and the tools or equipment you’ll need wouldn’t do you any justice.

But before going into this section, I need to say one thing. The extra tools and equipment you need will depend on the kind of compost bin you use.

If you use a smaller one, you won’t need a lot of the larger gardening tools. But, if you have a fairly good-sized pile or heap, it’s useful to have them in hand.

I can’t tell you how ill-prepared I was in this part in the beginning.

I was able to improvise on some. But, I really wished I had the other tools on hand right from the start.

So, here’s a list to prepare.

Once again, you’ll need to decide which ones you’ll need and won’t need. Some of them you’ll already have in your tool shed.

  • Gardening Gloves. You’ll be using a shovel, pitchfork or something with a hard, wooden handle. And, you’ll be gripping it tightly. Gloves prevent nasty and troublesome blisters. I’ve had to learn this the hard way. Plus, they help you avoid those small cuts, scrapes and scratches that can happen.
  • Safety Glasses. I like using safety glasses when I work on the compost. You probably won’t need one when your pile is still small. But, the more stuff you have in there, and the more you move things around, the higher the likelihood of things coming at you. This is especially true when you’re turning the pile or aerating it with a pitchfork.
  • Dust Mask. This is more of a precaution than anything else. I do highly recommend it if you have allergies. It will save you a lot of hassle from sneezing and irritation later on. For me, I like using it primarily to protect myself from any of the bacteria or mold spores that can be inhaled.




  • Compost Thermometer. This is one of the tools I really love. It cuts out the guessing when it comes to how hot your pile is. It looks like an oversized BBQ thermometer, at least the ones you stick into the meat. And, you use it exactly the same way here, by sticking the thermometer into the middle of the pile to see what the core temp is. That said, like most of the other tools in the list, it’s optional. Or, you can find an alternative. That’s because you may not really want to monitor the temperature of your compost heap. After all, it will finish sooner or later.
  • Compost Crank. I learned about this tool by accident when I saw the word compost in front of its name. At first, I didn’t know what it was. But, it’s super handy if you have a smaller bin or don’t like using pitchforks. Basically, this is an aerating tool. You use it like a corkscrew. But instead of inserting it into the wine bottle, you stick it into the pile, then turn. This allows oxygen to enter as you turn. A similar tool, the harpoon aerator, works just as well. But, you stick it into the pile like a harpoon. The hard part for me at least with the harpoon is pulling it back out. That’s less of a problem with cranks which you can turn in the reverse direction.
  • Pitchfork. If you already have a pitchfork, skip the compost crank for now. These work just as well based on my experience. They’re also more than enough for smaller piles. Their job is to aerate the heap. As such, it’s all about using your muscles to move clumps that have bunched up together. I know there are other kinds of forks around like digging forks and even rakes. You can try any one of them since they all can work. As long as you can move the contents to mix them up, you’re good.
  • Shovel (or Spade). Either works. Technically, they’re different. And, there are different kinds of each as well. But, that’s less of a concern here. The goal here is to be able to scoop up a small section of your pile and move it to another area of the pile. In short, you’ll be using your shovel or spade to turn your pile. This is another way of allowing more air to get into the heap. You can also use them to cool down overly hot piles. Or, use it to fuel the temp so it goes higher. This is a lot more work than the pitchfork. But, it’s more effective in mixing things up as well as allowing more oxygen into your compost.
  • Machete. This is a handy tool I like to use to chop things up. It’s very good for clearing twigs and other smaller branches. And, when I need to cut up items before adding them to the compost pile. As I’ve mentioned above, breaking or chopping the materials into smaller bits beforehand speeds up the composting process.
  • Wheelbarrow or Cart. These make hauling materials to your pile or bin so much more convenient. Again, it’s optional. It will depend on where your compost is. The farther away it is from your home’s back door, and the more stuff you move, the more likely you’ll want at least one of these items.
  • Buckets. If you don’t put a lot of stuff into your pile each time, then one or two buckets will do. You can also check your garden center for bags or other items that are used for carrying. I started out with a couple of buckets when I was still learning. It works well when your pile is still small and you’re understanding how everything works. But, when you’re going with a bigger compost heap, buckets make for a tiresome workout.
  • Garden hose. You can use your old garden hose in the beginning. This way you don’t spend any extra money. And, you get to figure out whether or not you need a better hose. For me, I needed to upgrade. That’s because of a few things, which I urge you to consider. One is the length of the hose. You’ll be poking it in different sides of your compost depending on which needs more water. So, a longer one does help. You also want one that’s rugged (higher quality), doesn’t fold, is hard to coil or can be inconsistent. I’ve found being able to turn the water on and off via the nozzle when you need to helps as well.