Best Compost Thermometer for Making Your Own Compost

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

The best compost thermometer is a must for hot composting. The higher the heat, the quicker your materials will break down, but if it gets too hot, they will dry out. So it is a balancing act to get the temperature right for your composting needs. A compost thermometer allows you to keep the temperature optimal to achieve perfect compost.

In this guide, we have compiled a list of the best compost thermometers to make your composting process easy. But before we discuss the various types, let us first understand the device.

What Is a Compost Thermometer?

A compost thermometer is used to monitor the compost pile temperatures. The temperature of the pile is a determining factor in how fast the decomposition will take place. Note that the temperatures will depend on the available oxygen, compost pile size, and moisture content. The most appropriate temperature for developing compost ranges between 122°F and 131°F.

Image Source: reotempcompost.com

A compost thermometer will inform you of the temperature of your compost. It will further help you determine when to turn your compost pile, add water or more materials and when the compost is complete. As a result, you will take away the guesswork from creating your compost.

Now that you understand what a compost thermometer is, we will go straight into the best options.

1. REOTEMP Backyard Compost Thermometer with Digital Composting Guide

Reotemp 20 Inch Fahrenheit Backyard Compost Thermometer with Digital Composting Guide
  • Perfect for the Beginner Composter - Free PDF Digital Compost Guide Included - Expert instructions on how to get...
  • Reotemp - Accurate and durable thermometers since 1965
  • Quality Construction - 20 inch length, 1/4" diameter stem, stainless steel construction, hermetically sealed to...
  • Read at a Glance Dial Developed by Compost Experts - 3 temperature zones that indicate compost activity, understand...
  • 100% Compostable Packaging - Printed with soy-based ink, zero waste, no plastic, no Styrofoam, shred the box to use...

Last update on 2023-01-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

A REOTEMP FG20P Backyard Compost Thermometer was perfect for a beginner composter. The compost thermometer took the guesswork out of our composting. We could determine when to turn our compost pile, add more water, and more material and when our compost was done.

Image Source: reotempcompost.com

At the back of the package, we found the basic composting instructions, which helped us get started. Moreover, it had a link to their full PDF guide, making it the perfect companion for our compost tumbler, compost bin, or compost pile. Additionally, it had a reinforced stainless steel construction which prevented the dial from separating from its stem.

More to that, it had a quality bimetal coil. As a result, the compost thermometer was a more durable and accurate backyard model. It also had 3 temperature zones that showed our compost activity. Therefore, at a glance, we knew how our compost pile was doing, whether our compost was getting hot, active, or steady.

Pros

  • More accurate
  • Good value for your money
  • Reinforced stainless steel construction
  • Hermetically sealed dial
  • Chunky, stainless steel stem
  • Color-coded temperature range estimates

Cons

  • The probe is too short for larger compost piles

2. Compost Soil Thermometer by Greenco, Stainless Steel

Last update on 2023-01-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The compost soil thermometer by Greenco, Stainless steel Greenco permitted us to know the health and temperature of our compost pile. We simply placed the stem of the compost thermometer into our pile to obtain the correct temperature or accurate readings.

Image Source: Greenco.com

More so, it had a large dial that indicated clear temperature zones. As a result, we could correctly judge the state of our compost pile with a glance. Our thermometer also featured a 20-inch stainless steel stem with a 1/5-inch diameter meaning that the probe could withstand being inserted into the compost pile without the risk of breaking or bending.

Our compost thermometer had a hermetically sealed dial that protected it from moisture damage and prevented fogging. Moreover, it came with a lifetime guarantee. Finally, the product was reasonably priced compared to other similar compost thermometers in the price range in the market.

Pros

  • Durable thermometers
  • Perfect for hot composting
  • Easy-to-read dial with color coding
  • Convenient and easy to use
  • Stainless steel construction
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Made of environmentally friendly materials
  • Robust design

Cons

  • The dial may fog

3. REOTEMP Heavy Duty Compost Thermometer

REOTEMP Heavy Duty Compost Thermometer - Fahrenheit and Celsius (36 Inch Stem), Made in The USA
  • 36" Stem Length, Rugged All Stainless Steel Construction
  • Made in the USA
  • 5/16" Diameter Heavy Duty Stem
  • Hermetically Sealed Dial (Won't Fog Up)
  • Large 3" Dual Scale Dial: 0 to 200°F & -10 to 90°C

Last update on 2023-01-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The REOTEMP Heavy Duty Compost Thermometer was an industrial-grade compost thermometer developed for serious composters. It benefited from a 5/16 inch diameter stem and durable stainless steel design, making it fit for larger compost piles that require a more rugged probe, including an industrial composting facility. Its large 3-inch dual scale dial was 0-200°F and -10 -90°C.

Image Source: reotempcompost.com

Moreover, the dial was hermetically sealed to protect it from moisture and prevent fogging. Made in the USA, the Reotemp heavy-duty compost thermometer, our product came with a 1-year Limited Warranty. Interestingly, the A36PF-D43 Heavy Duty Compost Thermometer was compatible with Reotemp FM-0 Probe Guard, which added protection to the dial.

Pros

  • Durable thermometers
  • Well-thought-out design
  • A heavy-duty compost thermometer
  • Hermetically sealed; hence won't fog or rust
  • Dual temperature scale
  • Can get recalibrated

Cons

  • It's an expensive thermometer
  • Does not have a color-coded temperature code

4. Ecocycle Backyard Compost Thermometer

Ecocycle Backyard Compost Thermometer - 20" Stainless Steel (6mm) Stem - Free Composting E-Book -...
  • LONG STEM ★ 20" long stainless steel stem for accurate readings, great for larger backyard compost piles....
  • EASY-TO-READ DIAL ★ 2" dial with color-coded temperature zones with 40 - 180°F range and in 2° increments for...
  • WATERPROOF ANTI-FOG LENS ★ Hermetically sealed to avoid fogging and moisture. Can be left in the compost pile...
  • DURABLE AND LONG-LASTING ★ Ecocycle offers a thicker 6mm stem than other competitors for long-term durability....
  • FREE COMPOSTING E-BOOK ★ Beautifully designed e-book helps beginners learn lots of tips on how to create and...

Last update on 2023-01-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Ecocycle backyard compost thermometer is another of the best compost thermometers for making your own compost. Our thermometer had a 20-inch stem with a fifth-inch diameter made from stainless steel, making it extra long to reach the center of most average-sized compost heaps without bending or breaking.

Image Source: Ecocycle.com

It also had a 2-inch display dial with a temperature range of 40° F to 180° F, with color-coded zones labeled warm, active, and hot. With a hermetically sealed dial, our Ecocycle backyard compost thermometer did not fog up, which made it an excellent choice to be left in the compost heap overnight.

The only problem was that our thermometer's dial only displayed temperature in Fahrenheit with no conversion to Celsius.

Pros

  • Hermetically sealed dial hence won't fog or rust
  • It is reasonably priced
  • Large face
  • Color-coded display
  • Long, chunky stem

Cons

  • Temperature displayed only in Fahrenheit
  • The dial can fog up
  • The stem may bend

5. Cate's Garden Compost Thermometer

Cate's Garden Compost Thermometer Premium Stainless Steel Bimetal Thermometer for Backyard...
  • Bundle of 2 items, Compost Thermometer Premium Stainless Steel Bimetal Thermometer for Backyard Composting &...
  • CLEAR ACCURATE DIAL ★ Easy to read 2 inch wide dial with color-coded temperature ranges. 40 - 180 Fahrenheit...
  • HIGH QUALITY LENS ★ High-quality and lightweight PC-coated lens, hermetically sealed to avoid fogging and...
  • SLIM HEAD DESIGNED FOR EASY TRANSPLANTING 🌼 Ideal for transplanting vegetables, annuals, perennials and other...
  • PREMIUM QUALITY STAINLESS STEEL 🌼 Forged for heavy duty use. Rust resistant and beautifully polished....

Last update on 2023-01-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Cate's garden compost thermometer provided an accurate and clear dial that was easy to read. The deal was 2 inches wide with color-coded temperature ranges of 40-180 Fahrenheit in 2 °F increments for accurate readings. In addition, its high-quality and lightweight PC-coated lenses were hermetically sealed. Therefore, it was not affected by moisture, nor did it fog up.

Image Source: trees.com

Our compost thermometer had a long 20-inch, 3/16 diameter long last stem that allowed us to get accurate readings. Additionally, the stem diameter made it less susceptible to breaking or bending compared to the less robust thermometers. Finally, we could ascertain our compost zone quickly due to the availability of the color-coded zones and know the actions to undertake as a result.

Moreover, the thermometer allowed us to read the temperatures from the tip for about 30 seconds, making it perfect for larger backyard piles. It had a reinforced and tough welded bolt between the dial and the stem for durable conditions and operations. More so, its high-quality 304 grade was made from stainless steel, making it rust-resistant.

Pros

  • Color-coded temperature zones
  • 5-year warranty
  • Sturdy construction
  • Reasonable price
  • Dual-temperature display

Cons

  • The stem is not long enough for larger compost piles
  • Vulnerable to dial fogging

What to Consider Before Purchasing the Best Compost Thermometers

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing the Best Compost Thermometers

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We have looked at various compost thermometers. However, before buying the best compost thermometer, there are different factors that you must take into consideration. The factors are listed here.

1. Measuring Units

Before buying a compost thermometer, you must take note of the measuring units that come with it. You may find that some compost thermometers have dual temperature scales, including Celsius and Fahrenheit. However, others may not have both measuring units. Bear in mind that UK residents measure temperature in Celcius. On the other hand, USA residents measure temperature in Fahrenheit.

2. Quality of Construction

Another major element you must check out when buying a compost thermometer is the quality of the construction. Unfortunately, the low-quality compost thermometers come with probes developed from substandard metal that breaks or bends easily when you insert it into a dense compost pile and may rust.

It is best to check for thermometers made from stainless steel because they are strong and not vulnerable to bending or breakage as they withstand pressure. More so, stainless steel is rust-resistance.

Regarding size, consider compost thermometers with thicker stems because they are more powerful and have a lower likelihood of breaking or bending compared to thin stems. Therefore, look for a compost thermometer with a thick stem and sturdy material. Failure to which you will have to replace your thermometer often.

3. Waterproof

Waterproof compost thermomete

Image Source: reotempcompost.com

Purchase a compost thermometer that resists moisture and water and does not fog up. Go for compost thermometers that are hermetically sealed to protect the dial from water and moisture ad prevent fogging. Remember, when your dial is fogged up, you cannot view or read the temperatures, making the thermometer useless.

4. Size of The Probe

When selecting your compost thermometer, check the probe size determined by your compost pile. For example, if you compost in a small bin or tumbler, your probe size may not be long to reach the middle of the compost heap where the heap temperature reaches the highest temperature.

However, if you are composting a larger compost pile, you will need a long probe size of approximately 20 inches. The probe size will reach the center of most backyard compost piles. However, industrial compost will demand longer probe size.

5. Ease of Use

Easy to use compost thermometers

Image Source: homesteadingfamily.com

You must note that despite compost thermometers remaining easy to read, some are easier to read than others. Therefore, when choosing a compost thermometer, focus on the large dial, which is easier to read from a short distance. As a result, you will not have to get too close to your compost pile.

More so, look out for compost thermometers with color-coded zones usually available as Hot, Active, or Warm. The color codes will help you ascertain your compost’s zone and act accordingly. Bear in mind that color coding on a large dial will enable you to use the thermometer more conveniently and easily.

6. Temperature Range

You must recognize that your compost thermometer will require a wide temperature range to detect the correct temperatures in your pile. Conversely, choosing a compost thermometer with a small temperature range may give incorrect temperature readings when your compost pile heat to higher temperatures than it can read.

Advantages of Using Compost Thermometer?

Advantages of Using Compost Thermometer?

Image Source: temperature.co.uk

  1. Compost thermometers permit you to monitor the temperature of your compost pile easily and accurately

  2. The temperature reading from your compost thermometer informs you when to add water to your compost, when to turn the pile and when it is mature and ready to use

  3. Compost thermometers eliminate the guesswork of your compost production

  4. The thermometers allow you to produce quality compost in a shorter period

What Happens To Your Compost During the Composting Process?

What Happens To Your Compost During the Composting Process?

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Heat activates the microbes found in your compost, and when you turn the heap at the correct time will assist in quicker production and compost of higher quality. You will need the best compost thermometer to determine the most appropriate time to turn your compost.

Your compost undergoes three phases before attaining maturity. The first phase is mesophilic, where the temperature reaches 68° F to 104° F. When you turn the compost pile, you move to the second stage.

The second phase is the thermophilic stage with a temperature of 105° F-150° F. You can turn the compost pile to the third phase or maturation stage at this phase. During the maturation phase, your compost pile does not heat any further despite turning, indicating that the compost is ready to use. It’s necessary to note that the process may take longer depending on how much compost you need.

Frequently Asked Questions on Best Compost Thermometer

1. Is composting worth it?

Composting is worth it if you want to create your own nutrient-rich soil amendments. Taking the time to compost minimizes the amount of waste sent to landfills and leaves you with a natural fertilizer that nourishes your plants. The amazing bit is that you can also pick a composting method suited to your preferences.

2. Why should I check the temperatures?

Temperature indicates when you need to turn your compost pile. It further ensures that it maintains a high temperature long enough for the diseases and the weeds to die to produce high-quality compost.

3. How often should I turn the compost pile?

You may want to turn your compost pile after every heat burst. Most gardeners turn the pile after a few days. However, it’s not a scientific approach. Ideally, you should turn your compost pile after it reaches 140-150 degrees in the thermophilic phase. After turning, leave the pile until the temperature rises again after around 5-7 days.

Featured Image Source: ucanr.edu

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books

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