The world of home composting is changing. There are several home composters on the market—making eco-friendly, waste-free living a lot easier than it used to be. Specifically, Pela's Lomi electric composter is certainly getting a lot of buzz right now.
The Canadian company has sold over 82,000 units, and according to a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, the composter raised over $6 million from over 18,000 backers.
The price is steep for a home compost bin. The Lomi composter currently retails for around $500, but I pre-ordered it early enough for a discount—plus, I managed to convince some family members to help me split the cost. With that in mind, I was ready to purchase the Lomi and test it out. Here's how it went.
Trying the Lomi Electric Composter
There are three settings on the Lomi Electric Composter: Grow (food waste only, low heat, slow composting time), Eco-Express (food waste only, highest heat, fastest composting time), and Lomi Approved (food waste, bioplastics, and other commercially compostable items, medium composting time).
My family already uses our municipal compost, so we had plenty of scraps ready to go by the time the Lomi arrived. I used the Lomi Approved setting and filled it with burnt popcorn, herb stems, banana peels, orange peels, avocado shells, soiled paper towels, onion skins, and tea bags (however, not all tea bags are compostable—always check the box first).
First things first: Let's talk packaging. The packaging that the Lomi parts come in is completely compostable. And because the cardboard box doesn't have stickers, it can also be recycled.
The initial setup took less than 10 minutes—the Lomi composter was essentially already assembled. The installation isn't so much of an installation as it is just pouring activated carbon tablets into the filters. I loved how fast the setup was and that there was only one button. It made the process a lot simpler!
Plus, when putting it together, I was surprised that I couldn't feel any sharp blades: I assumed the inside of the Lomi would look kind of like a food processor, chopping up food scraps. However, that wasn't the case.
The Lomi is also quieter than I anticipated; it was quieter than my dishwasher but a little louder than the microwave. The Lomi also doesn't beep a lot. Once when you turn it on, once again when you change settings, again when the cycle begins, and finally, once when the cycle is complete. The Lomi didn't get louder or quieter as my food was composting—basically, there weren't any loud crunching or squishing sounds.
According to the instruction manual, the Lomi Approved setting runs between 5 and 8 hours. I ran it overnight, and it stopped after about 6 hours. If you don't shut it off once the cycle ends, the Lomi automatically turns off after 30 minutes, which isn't just a great safety feature—it's a great power saver, too.
Additionally, the Lomi has roughly a 2.5 liter (just over half a U.S. gallon) capacity and recommends you fill the bucket about 75%. After filling it to the recommended amount, I was left with about 2 inches of dirt. The eggshells left a small number of white specks throughout, but it was definitely dirt. Opening the lid smelled like opening a bag of potting soil. There was no leftover moisture, and in the end, the Lomi did what it sought to do.
Finally, the Lomi came with compost accelerator pods. These small tablets are filled with good bacteria to help the food break down. I didn't use them because I wanted to see how the Lomi ran regularly. However, I like having the option for future use.
The instructions are brief but almost too brief. I wasn't sure how much of the carbon tablets to put into the filter, so I had to watch a YouTube video to figure it out. The instructions also don't contain images, and I would have preferred a visual when putting the filters together.
The Lomi also gets warm to the touch, but not hot enough to leave a burn. However, because some steam comes out the back, I would be cautious if you have hardwood nearby. The cable to plug in the Lomi is also quite short so I had to use an extension cord, which might be inconvenient if you have a small kitchen or not a lot of counter space.
Plus, the Lomi is about 20 pounds and doesn't have any handles, making it a little awkward to carry around. It's definitely not portable; however, it wasn't designed to be. Lomi is designed as a countertop composter, and you'll need about as much space as a microwave.
I ran the Lomi using vegetarian scraps. Though the instruction manual says you can use meat scraps of soft bones like chicken and fish, you may end up having more of a smell than I did.
The biggest con overall is the price: $500 for a kitchen appliance is a lot, especially if you already use a municipal compost bin. However, many of the electric composters on the market retail for around the same price.
I can see the Lomi being convenient for university students like myself who may not have a lot of space for a traditional composting bin. But as a college student, the price isn't accessible.
Is the Lomi Composter Worth It?
Lomi makes composting fast and simple: With just one button, there's no room to mess up, which is convenient for anyone who has tried composting in the past and ended up with a smelly mess.
It's a little smaller than a microwave, so you'll need some counter space. However, I do think the Lomi is ideal for people living in apartments or areas without a formal green bin program. Many people are even calling the Lomi the home composter for city-dwellers because of its compactness.
I can also see why plant-lovers may like this product. The dirt produced at the end of the Lomi composting cycle is great for any garden.
Overall, the Lomi is easy to use, and I love how it's faster than traditional composting. If price isn't an object (or you're like me and have enough siblings or roommates to split the bill), then go for it! But if you're content with your traditional composting system and don't mind manually mixing dirt and veggie scraps, DIY composting will do the trick.