Lomi Composter Review: After a Month of Testing, Composting Has Never Been Less Stinky—or More Fun

After four weeks, an editor shares her results

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lomi composter review Universal
Paula Boudes/PureWow/Lomi
  • Set Up: 20/20          
  • Ease of Use: 19/20
  • Aesthetics: 20/20
  • Noise (or lack thereof): 18/20
  • Smell: 20/20
  • Total: 97/100

If there’s one major deterrent to composting, it’s that, quite frankly, it literally stinks. I should know—growing up, there was a paper bag in the kitchen where we would dump all our food scraps. After just a couple of days, it would smell like bad fish. Trust me, not an appetizing setup. However, in my very Californian quest to keep things out of the trash, composting is a habit I’ve tried to keep. It is not, at least in New York City, the most convenient thing. So, when I heard about Lomi, a composter that claims to eliminate the mess, smell and inconvenience of the process (in as little as three hours), my ears perked up. Was this the secret to easy, odor-free compost? After a month of testing, the answer is yes—the Lomi composter ($500) earns its keep.

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lomi composter review: lomi kit with composting machine, lomipod microbe tablets, charcoal for filters, power cord
Marissa Wu

How Much Is a Lomi Composter?

A basic Lomi composter kit (machine, LomiPods, charcoal for the filter) runs at $500. However, the company often has promotions and sales throughout the year. This can save you anywhere from $50 to $200 or more. For comparison, the Vitamix FoodCycler costs between $350 and $600, depending on the model. LomiPods and filter replacement refills will last 45 cycles and cost $50 as a bundle.

How Does the Lomi Composter Work?

Lomi works to break down food waste into soil amendment by accelerating the traditional composting process. In the first and second stages, the composter heats and grinds the organic matter. In the third stage, it alternates between heating and cooling to facilitate the breakdown of the food. There are three modes you can choose from: Eco-Express, Lomi Approved and Grow Mode. As expected, the express mode is the quickest, while Grow Mode takes the longest. The latter should be selected if you plan to add the soil amendment to your garden. When testing, it took my Lomi unit about five hours to process waste in express mode, and somewhere in the ballpark of 12 to 15 hours on grow. Lomi Approved mode should be used when you’ve tossed biodegradable materials into the composter that aren’t food (like straws and cutlery). The company has a list of products that they have tested and verified will break down in the composter.

What Can You Put in Lomi?

A lot. The company has published an extensive guide on things you can (and can’t) add to the compost bucket. Everyday foods that are approved for all modes include eggs and shells, fruit/vegetable scraps, peels, plant trimmings, flowers, seafood, tea, popped popcorn and coffee grounds.

Lomi recommends avoiding the following if you’re planning to use grow mode (although these items are OK to add in the two other modes): leftovers, fish bones, fruit purées (ex. applesauce), grains, granola, meat scraps, nuts and seeds and dips.

There are also charts that explain what the composter can take in limited quantities (apples, nut butters, sauces, confections, etc.) and what it cannot take at all in any mode (bones, butter, cooking oil, liquid, thick nut shells/pits, potatoes, etc.).

How Long Does It Take to Compost?

According to the manual, the cycle takes as little as three hours to complete when in Eco-Express mode. I found that when testing, it took Lomi between five and eight hours to finish a cycle, so it probably depends on what you throw in it. Grow Mode requires the most time, with the manual estimating between 16 and 20 hours, which I found accurate.

Does Lomi Use a lot of Electricity?

Here’s how much electricity Lomi uses by cycle:

  • Eco-Express: ~0.5 kWh
  • Lomi Approved: ~0.6 kWh
  • Grow Mode: ~ 1 kWh

The cost of electricity depends on where you live. According to the solar energy company Energy Sage, the national average electricity rate is 17 cents/kWh. At that rate, even the longest Lomi cycle costs less than a dollar.

Is Lomi Easy to Use?

Yes. Just throw in a mix of scraps, add a LomiPod, set the machine to your desired mode and press start. When the cycle is over, you can add the dirt to your garden or put it in your organics bin.

Is the Lomi Composter Actually Good for the Environment?

As with many sustainability questions, the answer isn’t straightforward. On one hand, yes. Lomi is made from recyclable plastic with a metal interior. According to Earth 911, a leading sustainability website and the country’s largest recycling database, sending a pound of food scraps to the landfill would generate almost two pounds of carbon dioxide. After doing the math, they concluded that yes, you could reduce your carbon footprint.

“The results are impressive, ranging from avoiding more than 99 percent of emissions using renewable energy to only 25.11 percent when using a Lomi powered by electricity generated using petroleum,” the site explains. “If you happen to use renewable energy, which does have a small carbon footprint, you can eliminate 99.87 percent of your food waste emissions using Lomi.”

However, the recycling experts note that there are caveats. If you live in an area with a good municipal compost program, Lomi may not be necessary. Additionally, I found that due to the small capacity, this would not have been efficient for the family of seven that I grew up in. However, I find it great for an apartment of four in an urban space where composting, up until very recently, was a struggle.

Lomi Composter Review

First things first: setup. Lomi arrived in all-recyclable packaging and is surprisingly lightweight. I’d say it’s about the same size and feel of a bread machine. The composter is controlled by one central button, and you toggle between the three different modes by holding down for a couple of seconds. This will cause it to beep, and you’ll see the light flash under the next mode. (It moves clockwise, so keep clicking until you’ve got the mode you want.) At first, I found this a bit confusing as it was difficult to differentiate which light was on but got the hang of it after playing around. The kit also includes charcoal pellets for the two filters, which were easy to access following the instruction manual.

Lomi recommends adding a variety of scraps to the bucket for best results. This I can attest. In one of my later experiments, I put in only unripe pears and a block of cheese. The end results was...gooey. (Not to worry—I threw in more varied scraps for a couple more cycles, and everything was fine.)

You can run up to three cycles before emptying the bucket. (I’ve done four when my loads were small—as long as nothing passes the fill line, you’re good.) For the first cycle I tried, I threw in leftovers, various fruit and vegetable scraps and bread. I ran it on eco mode and when it was done, the food waste had been reduced to about 25 percent of its original volume.

lomi composter review: before and after
Marissa Wu

In subsequent cycles, I’ve added everything from eggshells, molding lemons and half and onion to paper towels, ham, tea bags and pasta. Lomi eats it all. Additionally, two of the biggest benefits of having this composter in my NYC apartment is that there are no odors and it’s relatively quiet at under 60 decibels. Because, as I mentioned—NYC apartment—the first few cycles Lomi ran were in my bedroom before I found a spot for it in the kitchen space. I likened it to an unconventional white noise machine, and beeps aside, that’s what it was.

As for the lack of smell, this is where the LomiPods come in. The tablets contain microbes that help speed up the compost process. The company notes that they aren’t 100 percent necessary but using them will improve the quality of soil while also helping to control odors. That is key, since the machine does have a ventilation system which pushes out air.

After running the first cycle, I was hesitant to open the cap. What if something horrible rushed out in a plume? Turns out, the smell reminded me of my dad’s bread machine, aka yeast. It was pleasant, almost. And it was the same no matter what I threw in it, from moldy ham to way-expired bamboo shoots and eggs.

Other last things to note: the smaller your food scraps, the better they’ll break down, since you expose more of the surface area to the air. While running, Lomi will also feel tepid/slightly warm to the touch, but it will not get hot.

Is the Lomi Composter Worth It?

As noted above, at $500, this is a big buy. But the Lomi composter is worth it if you have a smaller household, live in an urban area and don’t have access to a good municipal composting program. I like it because Lomi helped us free up space in the freezer for actual food, didn’t smell and was relatively quiet. Though I do not have a garden, I have brought the dirt (both eco- and grow- mode made) to my neighbors, who said that their grass is enjoying it—they’ve found its less patchy where they’ve sprinkled the Lomi dirt.

Lomi Kitchen Composter


  • Pros: easy to use, odor-free, no bugs, quiet, effective soil amendment, bucket is dishwasher safe, sleek design
  • Cons: expensive (but not out of the ballpark for similar products)
  • Weight: 19 pounds
  • Capacity: 0.67 gallons
  • Run Time: 3 to 20 hours
  • Care Instructions: change the filters every 45 cycles (approximately every 3 to 6 month), clean exterior once a month, handwash bucket or put in the dishwasher at your discretion.

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Marissa Wu is a PureWow Associate Editor with a focus on SEO. She covers everything from fashion and home trends to travel, beauty, wellness, family and food. Her work has also appeared in Southern Living, Martha Stewart and Forbes Vetted.

PureWow is the best friend you never had when it comes to finding the best, most useful lifestyle products online. Founded in 2010, our company’s editors and writers have spent more than a decade shopping online, digging through sales and putting our home goods, beauty finds, wellness picks and more through the wringer—all to help you determine which ones are actually worth your hard-earned cash. From our PureWow100 series, which sees each and every item we test being ranked on a 100-point scale of awesomeness, to the painstakingly curated lists our fashion, beauty, cooking, home and family editors create as vertical experts, you can trust that our recommendations include some of the greatest items you’ll find on the internet. Whether you're looking for travel-size hair dryers you can take on-the-go or women’s walking shoes that won’t hurt your feet, we’ve got you covered.

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