All products featured on Bon Appétit are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Ads for the Lomi composter by Pela, a sustainability-focused Certified B Corporation best known for its compostable cell phone cases, have graced my social media feed more than once. It’s no surprise. I fit into their target audience: environmentally conscious, well-intentioned, and a little lazy. Well, not so lazy that I haven’t attempted home composting before. My big backyard bin was amazing, and I recommend it to anyone who produces a lot of food waste and has outdoor space. It required minimal upkeep and was big enough to take on all of my food scraps, shredded paper, and lint. Its downfall? I couldn’t take it with me when I moved into an area prone to roaming animals. And it’s also not an option for those who don’t have the mobility to churn the compost intermittently.

Next, I tried vermicomposting with a worm bin. It seemed like the perfect fit. I could get incredibly rich compost in a much shorter time span than with my backyard bin. But the idyllic relationship didn’t last long. Let’s just say that taking care of living things (that aren’t plants) isn’t my strong suit. Not only was I not able to keep those wriggly little compost machines alive, but I was also producing much more produce waste than they could consume. Half my freezer was occupied with fruit and veggie bits, waiting their turn.

That brings us back to the Lomi countertop composter. With its sleek design, the Lomi almost felt too pretty. Too good. In a world full of greenwashing, I’m always skeptical of the latest, greatest product that promises to make “saving the world” easy. But, sick of dooming my kitchen scraps to creating methane in a landfill, I decided to give the Lomi a try.

I’ve had my Lomi for more than a month now, and I can honestly say that I love it. Is this kitchen composter the most eco-friendly way of disposing of food waste or creating compost? No. Is it a product that can be incredibly beneficial to those who want to start composting and need an easy solution? Absolutely.

Score: 8/10

Lomi Countertop Composter

Pros:
  • The design is visually appealing.
  • The Lomi limits any funky smells while the lid’s closed, even if it’s been a few days.
  • There is little required prep or maintenance.
  • The Lomi can break down approved bioplastics.
  • It’s great for small apartments.
Cons:
  • It’s a pretty penny at $499.
  • The end product isn’t as nutrient-rich as traditional composting.
  • You need to regularly buy LomiPod and charcoal refills.
  • The noise is at a similar level to a coffee pot or microwave—not disruptive but not silent.

The basics:

The price includes the machine itself, a year’s supply of activated charcoal (to help absorb the smell), and a bag of LomiPods (pills that speed up the composting and add nutrients to the end product). Setting up the system took me about 10 minutes, as the only thing I had to assemble was the containers that house the activated charcoal. The Lomi sits on my kitchen counter, taking up about the same amount of space as a breadmaker or air fryer.

The Lomi has a single button. Click once to power on, and each subsequent long click will take you to one of the three composting modes: Grow, Eco-Express, and Lomi-Approved. Grow Mode is the longest cycle, taking between 16 and 20 hours to break down the organic waste. It also operates at the lowest heat setting to preserve as many nutrients as possible. The end product can be mixed with soil at a 1-to-10 ratio. Since my primary goal, in addition to reducing food waste that goes to landfills, is to utilize the end product as compost for my plants, I almost always use Grow Mode.

The Eco-Express mode is the shortest composting cycle and uses the least amount of energy. It takes three to five hours to complete. According to the company, the final product from the Eco-Express mode can be tossed into your compost pile, green bin, or waste bin. While I understand that breaking down the organic matter before throwing it away reduces the release of methane gas, it still feels like a bit of a waste to just toss it into the trash. I also don’t have a green bin or a compost bin (because if I did, I’d just use that), so I never use this mode. But I can see how this option would be convenient for those who don’t have plants and have limited trash space or who are dedicated to their worm bin. With the Lomi reducing up to 80% of food waste mass, that means a lot fewer scraps in the freezer.

The Lomi-Approved setting is for select bioplastics in addition to compostable food waste, and it takes five to eight hours. My experience with this setting has been a mixed bag. At first I was thrilled that I could compost bioplastics from the comfort of my own home. Then, as I read the fine print, I realized that only a handful of Lomi-approved bioplastics could be processed with this setting. Not all bioplastics break down in the same way, and some require industrial composting facilities. The end product from the Lomi-Approved mode can go into the green bin or the waste bin, but not directly into your soil.

With all these settings running, I was concerned about the amount of electricity it takes. However, the Lomi uses about 1 kilowatt-hour per Grow cycle, less than the electricity of a dishwasher. I further reduce my usage by waiting to run the cycle until the bin is at the max capacity.

What does the Lomi composter do well:

The Lomi does its job conveniently without much hands-on work. It typically takes a few days for me to fill up the Lomi bin, and the smell of slowly decaying produce is unnoticeable when the lid is on thanks to those charcoal filters. I know it’ll be especially appreciated during summers when fruit flies multiply in the blink of an eye.

I also love the fact that I don’t have to empty my Lomi after each cycle. All the food waste that goes into the Lomi reduces into a very small amount of Lomi “dirt,” so you can run up to three cycles in a row before having to empty it. Being able to collect the dirt within the bin until there’s a substantial amount keeps the job from feeling tedious. There’s also something undeniably magical about seeing food scraps break down into something unrecognizable and then immediately being able to use it to repot your plants (at a 1-to-10 ratio with soil). There’s nothing quite like instant gratification.

What can the Lomi compost?

You can toss in food scraps such as fruit and veggie bits, grains, eggshells, meat scraps, soft bones, and coffee grounds. You can also put plant trimmings and compostable paper plates, bags, and cups in the Lomi. The grinding gear can’t process certain harder items like avocado pits or walnut shells but can handle small amounts of corn husks, pistachio shells, and sticky products like honey and nut butters. You’ll want to avoid putting in hard bones and cooking oil.

How exactly does Lomi’s composting process work?

Much of what the Lomi does is, simply put, drying and grinding up whatever you put inside it. However, according to Pela’s website, the Lomi uses several patent-pending sensors to ensure microorganisms are preserved while waste is broken down. An environment too hot will kill them; an environment too cold will hinder the breakdown of organic matter. These microbes are what make compost so good for the soil. This is also where the LomiPods come in. The pods (which look like white SweetTarts) are dropped on top of the waste right before a cycle with a splash of water, and they infuse the waste with a proprietary blend of probiotics. The LomiPods are an important addition because although the Lomi does a great job breaking down food waste, nobody does composting quite like Mother Nature. The extra probiotics give the Lomi compost a nutrient-rich boost.

The end product? A loose coco coir–like product that can be added to your potting soil or on top of your garden bed at a 1-to-10 ratio.

And the results?

Since I started using my Lomi, I’ve used my “dirt” for repotting indoor plants and planting new seeds. I haven’t done a science experiment (yet) comparing regular potting soil to Lomi-fied potting soil, but so far my plants have been loving the Lomi dirt.

About that price tag…

The biggest hangup about the Lomi Composter is its price—$499. On top of that, once you’ve used up all 45 of the LomiPods that come with your purchase, you’ll have to continue purchasing LomiPods and activated charcoal refills ($39 for 45 pods and two bags of charcoal). Compared to backyard composting, which is mostly free beyond the initial investment in a compost bin, this is a bit of a drawback as the LomiPods are key to creating an instantly usable compost.

So is it worth it? That depends on a few personal factors. If you live in an area where other types of composting are inconvenient or inaccessible and you have $550 of discretionary income, I would recommend purchasing a Lomi composter. It’s especially useful if you have a lot of house plants because you can put the Lomi dirt to work. I rate the Lomi an 8 out of 10 because although it’s expensive, it can be a great way to reduce the amount of food that ends up in landfills—no worms required.