Straight to the Level
The Vitamix FoodCycler does precisely because it guarantees: heating, grinding, and drying meals scraps into fertilizer in six to eight hours. Is it expensive? Completely, however when you’re trying to spend money on a small capability countertop composter, it performs nicely and is straightforward to make use of. Simply concentrate on—and maybe print out—this listing of meals not allowed within the FoodCycler.
I grew up with an outside composter: a re-purposed massive blue bin positioned beside our barn. And once I moved into my first ever, non-apartment place final 12 months, I wished a composter. (As we famous in our countertop compost bin evaluation, meals waste takes up the majority of landfill supplies, in accordance with the FDA.)
However my outside composting goals fizzled out when my dad and mom’ compost—they reside 20 minutes away from me—was completely decimated by a bear…a number of occasions. I nonetheless wished to compost, however didn’t need scraps periodically strewn throughout my yard by a hungry Ursidae. (Though this text notes that compost bins shouldn’t entice bears in the event that they’re maintained correctly…so maybe it was consumer error on my dad and mom’ half.) And, sadly, my metropolis doesn’t supply a composting program.
Countertop composters supply an indoor answer, permitting these with out (or with minimal outside area, or who merely don’t need an outside composter) to compost at residence. These machines warmth and grind meals scraps, purportedly breaking them down into fertilizer in mere hours.
And whereas there are just a few countertop composters available on the market, one of the crucial notable ones is the Vitamix FoodCycler. However, alas, it’s $400—fairly the funding. I wished to search out out if the FoodCycler was value it.
How Does the Vitamix FoodCycler Work?
The FoodCycler has a paddle measuring 6.5 inches lengthwise, which spans almost the complete width of its aluminum bucket. When powered on, this paddle (which Vitamix calls a “blade,” though it’s not sharp) goes the complete time at totally different speeds, aiding within the FoodCycler’s three work phases: drying, grinding, and cooling.
Through the drying section, the blade turns much less regularly and the machine removes moisture from the meals scraps. In response to an organization consultant, the machine heats as much as 158°F. (For context, temperatures attain 140 to 158°F in a business compost facility, per Cornell College. And at-home sizzling compost bins attain temperatures of 130 to 140°F, says The Spruce. Chilly or passive compositing is way cooler and subsequently takes far longer to interrupt issues down, so it’s not value evaluating on this context.)
The second section(grinding) continues drying, however the blade turns extra regularly, breaking issues down. And the ultimate section, cooling, is “a security measure, to return the processed meals waste to near-room temperature, making it protected to deal with,” a Vitamix consultant instructed me. I discovered the ensuing compost is barely tepid proper after the machine finishes biking.
I used the FoodCycler for six months, including scraps to it day by day and working it, usually, each three days. As for what went into the FoodCyler, it was no matter meals waste I amassed that wasn’t on the machine’s no-go listing (extra on that under): eggs shells, espresso grounds, herb stems, the bottoms of lettuce heads, apple cores, too-old cooked rice, moldy cheese, berries, hen bones…you get the concept. Periodically, I timed how lengthy it took for the machine to run a full cycle.
I additionally evaluated how straightforward the FoodCycler was to make use of and clear (each by hand and within the dishwasher) and the way successfully it contained smells.
For starters, I like that the FoodCycler comes with a separate lid so you may maintain simply the waste bucket in your kitchen and place the machine’s physique elsewhere, like a storage or basement. And it’s additionally easy to make use of: The bucket suits simply into the bottom —simply line up the arrows on the bucket and the machine’s inset. The lid has a protracted, broad deal with that’s straightforward to grip, too. Its management additionally couldn’t be easier: A single energy button and panel that tracks which section the FoodCycler’s on, in case you’re curious.
What else is nice concerning the FoodCycler? Effectively, it really works. The machine grinds meals scraps into dry fertilizer in mere hours. I solely as soon as discovered that the ensuing compost was barely too moist—however nonetheless completely advantageous for placing in my backyard —and it was as a result of that batch had mainly simply espresso grounds and moldy strawberries in it, which is completely not a finest follow.
I used to be notably doubtful about it with the ability to deal with hen bones, because it periodically makes squeaking noises (or, for lack of higher phrases, fart sounds) when grinding a full batch of softer issues. However, it did the job: the hen wing bones I threw in had been no match for the composter and, surprisingly, it took care of them with out a sound.
Typically, I discovered the FoodCycler took six to eight hours to interrupt down a full basket of scraps. Its product itemizing notes 4 to eight hours, however mine was by no means fairly that quick. I discovered its run time coincided nicely with turning it on earlier than mattress or beginning within the morning to have it finished after work. It contained smells nicely, too, due to its carbon filter. I as soon as left scraps within the FoodCycler for per week and didn’t discover any odors escaping.
Effectively, there’s no getting round it: The FoodCyler is large. It measures 13.5 inches excessive by 12.5 inches lengthy by 12.4 inches broad and, I felt, was too cumbersome to be a everlasting fixture on my kitchen countertop. And whilst you can, as described above, simply maintain the basket in your kitchen and the machine itself elsewhere, that doesn’t really feel completely ultimate.
Conversely, the dimensions of the basket is small. It has a 2-liter or half-gallon capability, whereas our favourite countertop compost bin is 1.3 gallons. This measurement bin even felt tiny for my two-person family. I think about that with a four-person family you is perhaps working it day by day.
It’s additionally value noting that there’s an inventory of issues you may solely typically (and will completely by no means) put in your FoodCycler. And this listing doesn’t completely correspond with what you can/can’t usually compost. For instance, it could possibly deal with hen bones however not pineapple tops. In any case, when you get the FoodCycler, I’d memorize or print that listing: It could actually suck to interrupt a $400 machine. (And typically “negligence” or, as Vitamix says, “failure to observe the working directions,” voids warranties.)
The Vitamix FoodCycler does precisely because it says: It turns meals scraps into fertilizer in hours. When you have the room (it might be finest housed in a basement, storage, or some such, the place it’s not consuming up countertop area) and need to spend money on it, you’ll doubtless be pleased with it. It’s additionally value noting that whereas the FoodCyler’s costly, so are its substitute filters, which must be swapped out each three months. Simply concentrate on that value up entrance.
How do you clear the Vitamix FoodCycler?
The bucket is dishwasher-safe. All different elements are handwash-only or must be wiped down (not submerged in water).
What’s one of the best countertop compost bin?
After in depth testing, now we have 4 favorites (from Enloy, OXO, and extra). You’ll be able to take a look at our full evaluation right here.