Garden Tools - Compost Turning Garden Tool Guide

Garden tools are made for all kinds of different uses in the garden. You can use many kinds of garden tools for turning compost in your garden. Turning compost helps it break down more quickly so you can use it again in your garden to help plants grow. There are some tools made specially for this task and there are also standard garden tools that can do the job just as effectively. What you use depends on your personal preference and the type of compost bin you have. Knowing which garden tools are available helps you make a properly informed choice.

Tumbling Bin

A compost bin that can be turned by hand eliminates the need for hand tools completely. These are specialized bins that slightly resemble small concrete mixers. They only need to be turned periodically in order to mix the compost well. There’s very little effort required to turn the compost in the bin which makes it ideal for older gardeners. On the downside, they are relatively expensive and won’t hold a lot of material.

Garden Fork

Of all garden tools, the garden fork is one of the most versatile. You can use this to turn compost within a compost bin as long as the bin is large enough for you to maneuver the fork freely. You need to have enough room to turn the compost properly so a garden fork won't work with small plastic compost bins. If, for example, you own a leaf bin that’s surrounded by chicken wire, the fork will do an excellent job.

Turning Tool with Wings

There are compost turning tools that are made to work in small areas such as compost turning tools with wings. These garden tools push down into the compost like a probe but when you pull upwards, the wings at the bottom of the shaft pull out.

These tools are ideal for a pile of compost or compost stored in small bins as they can aerate the compost and turn it outwards. Unfortunately, you’ll only be able to turn a small amount at a time. The tool has a two-handed grip, meaning that it’s easy to use and the span of the wings is 7 inches, so it can move a respectable amount of compost in small receptacles.

Compost Crank

The compost crank looks somewhat like a very large corkscrew andis  an implement you can use with only one hand. The tip has a corkscrew and you crank it into the compost then pull out to aerate and move the compost. If the tool becomes stuck, it can be unscrewed. At 45 inches long, it can get to the bottom on virtually any compost pile and it’s thin enough to work in even the smallest of compost bins, thus making it a very useful garden tool.


You’ll most likely already have a hoe among your garden tools and you can use it to turn and aerate your compost very effectively. It does require a fairly large compost area or bin to be properly effective, however,  and you’ll also need to put in a lot of labor in order to turn the compost properly.