The Mantis Original ComposTumbler is part of the Mantis ComposTumblers series, which includes four other models, each of different sizes and capacities. They include: Easy Spin and Back Porch ComposTumblers, which are the smallest ones and are suitable for home use; Compact ComposTumbler which is suitable for small to medium-sized gardens; and the Original ComposTumblr, which produces enough compost to keep a large garden running. The Mantis ComposT-Twin model includes two bins so that composting can be carried out continuously.
The drum capacity of the Mantis Original ComposTumbler is 22 cubic feet or 168 gallons, which is equivalent to six 30-gallon trash bags of material. That comes to approximately 18 bushels’ worth of compost material, as compared to the two smallest models which only hold up to 4 bushels. The whole apparatus sits at 27 inches off the ground, which is a convenient height to reach – this height also allows a garden cart or wheel barrow to fit under the frame for direct unloading of completed compost. Its dimensions are 68 inches tall including the stand, and 50 inches wide by 40 inches long. The metal drum is made of rust-resistant galvanized steel, and the plastic caps on each end of the drum are made of BPA-free, food grade plastic, containing screened vents for air circulation. There are aerator and drainage units present on the door, and a gear-handle on the frame allows compost to be turned without needing to open up the drum. Thus far, the only available colour for the Original ComposTumbler model is sage green.
One of the main advantages of the Mantis Original ComposTumbler is that it makes the process of composting fast and easy, just as advertised – according to Mantis, it has always been so since the debut of the Mantis ComposTumbler series nearly 40 years ago. Due to its large capacity, a lot of organic material can be composted at once, and the entire process takes as little as 1-2 weeks, give or take several days depending on environmental conditions. Being able to process large quantities of compost at once saves time compared to monitoring multiple smaller batches, and minimizes the effort needed to manage each and every one of them on a regular basis. The resulting nutrient-rich, ready-to-use organic fertilizer produced can then immediately be added to the soil of flower or vegetable gardens.
The Mantis Original ComposTumbler also has a convenient design, complete with a gear-driven, easy-to-spin handle. Loading organic material into the drum is a breeze, and there are no difficulties with turning the compost drum even when it is fully loaded. All the effort needed to agitate the compost material is a few spins daily, or every few days, saving the backbreaking hassle of turning it by hand using a pitchfork. There is also no mess involved in the turning process as all the compost remains inside the drum; this keeps your garden clean and tidy throughout the entire composting process. The finished compost can also be unloaded easily by placing a cart, tub or any suitable container under the drum and simply opening the door of the drum.
With its simple and neat design, the Mantis Original ComposTumbler makes a great aesthetic addition to any kind of garden. The composter drum is fully enclosed, promising odour-free composting throughout the entire process. This also prevents material from falling out when turning, keeping all the nutrients within the drum until they are ready to use. The doors are also capable of keeping rodents and other pests from entering and contaminating the compost.
Some other advantages of the Mantis Original ComposTumbler include its inbuilt aerator and drainage vents. The aerator vents allow for proper air flow and moisture control within the drum, and maintains the optimal conditions for bacteria to decompose the organic material. On the other hand, the drainage vents found on the door make collecting “compost tea” from the drum convenient and effortless. The interior mixing fins within the drum help with thorough mixing, ensuring even decomposition and preventing the compost from sticking to the sides of the drum. The metal body of the compost drum heats up quickly in the sunlight, which then makes it capable of killing weed seeds and bug eggs within the compost material.
The Mantis Original ComposTumbler can to be a challenge to set up, and multiple buyers have reported the package arriving with the manual or certain parts missing. The user manual also has set-up instructions and diagrams which can be difficult to discern. Several users have subsequently complained about issues that could have been caused from incorrect installment of the product, including a flimsy latch, leaks in the access door and eventual rusting in related areas.
I found the Mantis Original ComposTumbler a bit flimsy, with the compost drum being bent with the seams bulging immediately after installation. Others have compared it unfavourably to other ComposTumbler models by Mantis, and some generally do not find the design to be very sturdy for large amounts of compost material.
Tips for Use
Assembly of the Mantis ComposTumbler may prove to be challenging, but some users have suggested that having a second person to assist in the process makes it much easier. The flimsy latch issue can also be corrected with a DIY solution, by magnetizing it or by attaching a magnet to it so that it will be able to stick to the side of the drum while it is spinning.
As a general rule, meat and dairy items should not be composted. Suitable materials for composting include paper, vegetable and fruit remains, grass cuttings, weeds and even hair.