Lomi Composter Review: Here’s Whether It’s Worth It (or Not)

a lomi composter on a marble surface
Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

I’m not going to say countertop, electric composters have become my beat here at Serious Eats, but the Lomi Composter is the second one I’ve reviewed (to be clear, there aren’t many out there—the other prominent one is the Vitamix FoodCycler.)

Lomi’s manufactured by Pela—a certified B corporation that makes eco-friendly phone cases, amongst other things. To test the Lomi, I used it for a period of six months, like I did with the FoodCycler. I threw food scraps into it daily, ran it as needed, cleaned it periodically, and became frustrated with the lid more times than I can count. However, all-in-all, huzzah! I did really like the Lomi…with some caveats.

What’s the Lomi and How Does It Work? 

A closeup look at the Lomi's control panel
The Lomi has three modes, though we used Grow Mode the most.Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

The Lomi is all-white and modern-looking, as far as countertop composters go. It works by applying heat to food scraps to break them down over a period of hours and then dries them out, so you get an end result that looks like dirt but Pela calls “fertilizer.” The Lomi has three modes, which have different purposes:

  • Eco Express: With this mode “waste shrinks considerably, and is perfect for adding to your compost or green bin.” Per the manufacturer, this takes three to five hours (I found this to be true, though think five hours is more accurate). 
  • Grow Mode: This takes 16 to 20 hours and results in a “nutrient rich organic fertilizer” that can be “mixed into soil (1:10 ratio) and added to houseplants, gardens, or even your lawn,” Pela says. (This mode operates at the lowest heat setting of all three to “conserve microbes.”)
  • Lomi Approved Mode: This takes five to eight hours and “can break down Lomi Approved products and packaging (such as bioplastics) into dirt that can then be placed in your green bin,” according to the company. 

If you’re like me and your city does not offer green bins and you don’t have an outdoor composter, the grow mode is probably the better option. The Lomi also comes with activated charcoal to help mitigate smells and LomiPods, which look like little pills and are meant to add nutrients to the final fertilizer and speed up composting. 

The Good

A look at a activated charcoal insert from the Lomi
The Lomi has two inserts for activated charcoal (one at its back and the other in its interior), which we thought helped to effectively mitigate smells.Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

The Lomi thoroughly ground and dried every single food scrap I threw into it. Spent lemon halves, avocado shells, banana peels, coffee grinds, butternut squash seeds, onion peels, and more were no match for the Lomi. And the types of foods that shouldn’t go into the Lomi (i.e. liquids, nut shells, fruit pits) make sense, unlike the Vitamix FoodCycler that, perplexingly, can't handle items like citrus peels. The Lomi also has handy charts here that outline what should and shouldn’t go into it—and some foods that are better suited to Lomi’s different modes. 

The Lomi also has a half-liter larger capacity than the FoodCycler and can handle a maximum of three liters of food. I found it took me about two days to fill when I was cooking a lot, and three to four days when I was cooking a little (it happens). 

I also liked its modern look and appreciated its streamlined design that consisted of a single-button control panel with icons that denote the mode and a progress bar that shows you what stage the Lomi’s at (drying, mixing, cooling). And its charcoal inserts effectively contained smells.

The Bad

a closeup look at the Lomi's lid
The lid's unlocked/locked positions were clearly labeled, but locking the lid was finnicky at times.Serious Eats / Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm

I alluded to the lid above, as I found its design frustrating at times. With the lid, you twist to lock it down and onto the Lomi, and there are indicators on the side of the lid to show which positioned is unlocked versus locked. However, the lid was finicky and tough to lock at times, requiring precise alignment for it to close properly. Sometimes, it took me multiple tries. And it wasn’t just me: I watched a handful of others struggle to right it too. 

It’s also worth noting that the Lomi is huge. Unlike the FoodCyler that comes with a separate compost bin lid so you can house the bulky machine body elsewhere and just keep the bin in your kitchen, the Lomi doesn't have this. Instead, the whole machine has to stay on your countertop. And measuring about 18 inches long by 13 inches wide by 12 inches high, and weighing about 20 pounds, it eats up a lot of space. 

One final con is its price: the Lomi is about $500, and its refill pods and charcoal are $50. The pods and charcoal last 45 cycles, the company says. In no way is the startup or maintenance cost what I’d call affordable. 

The Verdict 

The Lomi works exceptionally well at its intended purpose. I liked that it has three modes for those looking to compost for different intentions and think it’s worth buying with some caveats (size, price). That is, if you have a lot of countertop space and are comfortable investing the startup cost (as well as in the refill pods and charcoal), you’ll likely be very happy with the Lomi.  

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: Approximately 18 inches long by 13 inches wide by 12 inches high
  • Weight: About 20 pounds
  • Stated capacity: 3 liters
  • Shortest stated run time: 3 hours
  • Longest stated run time: 20 hours 
  • Care instructions: Wipe down exterior and lid with a damp cloth (lid should not go in the dishwasher); compost bucket is dishwasher-safe
  • Price at time of publish: $500


Where do you buy the Lomi composter? 

The Lomi composter is available directly from the retailer, as well as Amazon

How long does the Lomi take to compost? 

This depends on the mode you suggest on the Lomi. The fastest mode, Eco Express, takes three to five hours. The slowest mode, Grow Mode, takes 16 to 20 hours. 

How much is a Lomi composter? 

The Lomi itself is about $500. The refills for its charcoal and Lomi pods are about $50 and will last 45 cycles, according to the company.

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