The Reencle composting machine is one of several innovative at-home, indoor electric composters to come available for purchase in the last couple of years.
This one is from a South Korean brand and in case you were wondering, is pronounced along the lines of ‘wrinkle’.
It was initially launched in Korea in 2021, ran an Indiegogo campaign in 2022, and was subsequently launched 2022 in the US, Canada, Japan and the EU.
Having recently tested and reviewed a competitor, the Lomi, and having a keen interest in making our home more self-sustainable (ideally, without increasing the time and complexity of running our household) I was very interested to get hold of the Reencle – as it works very differently to the Lomi, in ways that I’ll explain as we get into my Reencle review.
In this Reencle composter review, I’ll explore the features and benefits of the Reencle Prime model, how I’ve been using it to recycle food scraps into compost, and ultimately, I will help you determine if this countertop gadget is the right choice for you – because at nearly $500, it really has to be.
What is the Reencle Prime Composter?
This is an at-home, indoor electric composting machine that’s designed to quickly, quietly and efficiently convert your household’s food waste into compost that you can use in your garden or indoor potted plants.
Unlike the Lomi, which you run on-demand when you have accumulated enough food waste to justify running a cycle, the Reencle is designed to be always on, so it sits in your kitchen and runs continuously.
Because it’s running all the time, if you have appropriate food waste to dispose of (more on that in a moment), you just open the lid and toss it in, as you would with a trash can.
While the Reencle is described as a countertop composter, and pictured as such in some of the marketing materials, in my opinion, it’s too large to sit on a counter and is better on the floor where you can more easily access it.
In case you’re wondering about whether pets can or could get into it, then you should know that it has a lid on the top which not only keeps the contents contained but prevents pets from gaining access to chow down on anything that appeals to them in there.
I have two sneaky cats and a medium-sized dog (who could theoretically stick his head in there) but none have attempted to get into the Reencle.
How does the Reencle indoor composting machine work?
As mentioned above, the Reencle is designed to be always-on. When it arrives, it comes with a bag of pre-mixed ‘decomposing powder’, that you pour into the Reencle, together with some water.
The powder looks like dirt and contains microorganisms that will be responsible for breaking down your food waste and converting it into nutrient-rich compost.
As long as you look after it and don’t put too much in the machine that shouldn’t go in there, then the microorganisms should continue working and breaking down organic matter as and when it’s fed occasional food waste by you.
The machine heats, dries and agitates the dirt to aid in the composting process, and within 24 hours or so, the last batch of food scraps you threw in should have broken down – sometimes they’ve disappeared much quicker than that!
Of course, certain types of food waste take longer than others. It’s actually pretty interesting seeing what the Reencle gobbles up into compost quickly, and what takes a little longer (like the orange peel, pictured above).
You can then use the included shovel to scoop out compost to use as you wish.
Just make sure you leave some in the bottom of the bin (don’t empty it entirely) so there are enough microbes left in there to continue working on the next batch of food scraps.
Reencle composter review – My honest thoughts and experiences after using it for 1 month
Now I’ve been using this kitchen composter for more than a month, here are my thoughts based on that experience.
Design, build quality, and thoughts on general use
The Reencle Prime has a tidy design and doesn’t look out of place in a modern home. It’s available in a couple of different colors – I like ours in white but they all look pretty smart and inoffensive as far as kitchen gadgets go.
The Prime has a sensor on the front as well as a button on top that can both be used to open the lid. While the front sensor means you can do hands-free opening, it also means any pets or passers-by can accidentally open it.
There’s a way to stop that happening, though – you press and hold the ‘open’ button until it beeps – that disables the leg sensor.
Once open, the lid only stays open a few seconds. This isn’t really enough to throw in many food items. It doesn’t hurt when it closes on you, but does get a little annoying.
I get why it doesn’t stay open ages, though – while there is not normally a discernible smell when it is closed, you may get a waft of it when it’s open, and it’s not the nicest (really, as you’d expect, it’s like a rotting vinegary compost smell).
Ease of use
The Reencle as a device is very easy to use – I mean, the Reencle runs continuously and all you have to do is put appropriate food waste in it and it almost magically gets turned into usable nutrient-rich soil by the same time the next day!
Where it gets tricky, though – or at least seems to, is when you get onto the details of what foods you can and – importantly – CANNOT put into the machine.
The instructions that came with the device seemed unnecessarily complicated in this area. Let me explain.
First, to set it up, you attach one of the two included carbon filters to the back (this helps with odor control), mix the decomposing powder with water and leave it for 24 hours.
But then, for the next 4 weeks, you’re supposed to be very selective with the foods you put into it – basically, dry carbs such as bread and rice… but some fruits and vegetables… but not too much at a time, any uncooked fruit or vegetables, including banana peels and watermelon rinds have to be cut down small, and you need to avoid placing vegetable stems in there.
I think Reencle has over-complicated their instructions, and perhaps some of these types of foods can go into the machine and compost just fine, even if it takes a little longer to break down than cooked foods.
I mean – raw vegetables such as perhaps old veggies that went unused, veg peelings and broccoli stems are typical everyday food waste in our house and are certainly foods I would expect to be able to compost.
It’s also worth noting that this indoor electric composting machine is not designed to process compostable paper products or disposable utensils that are marked as compostable.
Maintenance and cleaning
I like that with its competitor, the Pela Lomi, you can remove the food waste bin after a cycle, and carry it over to wherever you want to put the compost. You can also wash that bin by hand or even in the dishwasher.
The Reencle doesn’t have a removable inner container so you need to scoop the dirt out of it into something else, such as a bucket, to take outside and use.
In the pictures throughout this Reencle review, I’m using one of these rubber pet food bowls that we normally use to train our dog Kepler (upside down, for him to stand on as part of his trick training!).
I highly recommend using one of those bowls, or something similar to make taking your compost out a simple process!
The Reencle has a second lid, however, so you can get easy access to scoop out the contents, using the included scoop tool, that otherwise hangs on either side of the composter when not in use.
Because you always leave some in there, you never really clean it out thoroughly. After only a month or so this hasn’t been an issue, but it would be nice to get in there and clean it fully at some point.
Capacity and composting output
The Reencle can handle a maximum of 2.2lb of food waste per day, with the optimum level being 1.5lb.
This does assume you’re maintaining it by scooping out compost periodically to make some space for the new kitchen scraps you’ll be adding next time.
You can tell how close to full you are by looking inside when the lid is open. The fill line actually lights up, which is a really nice touch and makes it easy to see inside without sticking your head too close to the lid.
Is the Reencle noisy?
The Reencle’s marketing materials specifically state it has ‘silent operation’.
Unfortunately, while significantly quieter than the Lomi, it’s definitely not silent, and unlike the Lomi, it’s always running so you need to be ok with its noise level (and ongoing power consumption).
The Reencle emits a constant hum. The hum itself is not particularly loud, but it is noticeable. It’s living in our utility room, which is off the kitchen on the opposite side to our living room, and I can hear it when I’m sat on the sofa.
In testing it also periodically made a louder noise that sounds like a ‘groan’. After some investigation and a look on a Reencle-related Facebook page, it seemed we needed to add more water to it and that should help solve the issue, which others had experienced, too.
I tried adding some water on a couple of occasions, which didn’t work so I emptied a significant portion of the contents out into my backyard to see if it was just struggling at the top end of its volume capacity.
This definitely improved things although it does make noises from time to time.
Does the Reencle produce any odors?
I’ve been impressed at the general lack of smell coming from it. As mentioned above, of course you’ll get a whiff of something when the lid is open.
If you do feel the smell is a little overpowering there’s a ‘purify’ function you can use, which pumps more air through the carbon filter at the back of the device, to help reduce the odor.
Some benefits of using the Reencle composter
If you have the kind of household that often creates food waste, but equally often tends to plants in the garden with a top-up of fresh compost, then this composter could be ideal for you – especially if you like the convenience of having an indoor composter.
The main advantages over a less expensive outdoor composting setup are of course you can put the food scraps straight in the Reencle bin without stepping outside in the dark/cold/rain, and it gets broken down very quickly – much quicker than a regular backyard tumbling composter.
It’s a much neater solution than keeping a countertop food waste caddy to empty into your municipal waste green bin, as these can get smelly and need regular cleaning – plus, you get to actually use the compost.
Additionally, it’s worth noting that unlike the Lomi, you shouldn’t need to buy any extra microorganisms or use special pods to aid in the decomposition process.
Where to buy the Reencle Prime
The Reencle Prime home composter is available to buy directly from Reencle’s website for $499 – and you can get 10% off by heading over to their site using the button below and signing up for the email list.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Reencle Prime vs. traditional composting methods
Traditional composting usually involves setting up a large outdoor compost bin or pile, which can take up a lot of space and require regular maintenance, such as turning the pile and monitoring the moisture content.
Traditional composting can also take several months to complete, depending on the type of waste being composted, the temperature, and other factors BUT it’s totally free!
The Reencle indoor composter, on the other hand, is a small and convenient machine that you can keep and maintain indoors – but you do still need to monitor the moisture content to prevent it from getting too wet or dry – and general volume to prevent it from getting too full.
You do, however, have the upfront cost of $499 for the machine.
Compost machine alternatives – Lomi vs. Reencle
Alastair mentions a few alternatives in the FAQ of his Lomi review, but the biggest competitor that is often pitched against it is the Lomi itself – and it’s easy to see why the Lomi and the Reencle are often directly compared.
That being said, they work in very different ways so the one that’s the best choice for you will depend on how you would prefer to use an indoor composting machine, in terms of whether you’re fine with it constantly running so you can put food straight in it (Reencle), with a little maintenance, or if you like to accumulate small batches of food waste and run a shorter composting cycle when it suits you (Lomi).
It’s also worth noting that the Lomi is currently significantly less expensive, at less than $350.
What waste can you put in the Reencle?
Honestly, I’m still a little confused about what can and can’t go in the Reencle, and why.
A representative did recently reach out to me to let me know they’re making this guidance a lot clearer on their website – so check the latest guidance there for the most up-to-date details!
Otherwise, you can try trial, error, and common sense. For example, we don’t put fruit stones such as avocado pits, big bones, or anything bulky in there (we cut up stale bread, for example, before placing it inside).
How much electricity does it consume?
Reencle states the Prime’s energy usage as around 60W.
To test its electricity consumption, I plugged it into one of the portable power stations we have here at Trail & Kale HQ to review – this particular one is the Biolite BaseCharge 1500. With the LED screen I monitored the Prime’s energy usage for a few hours.
The power usage varies depending what the Reencle is doing. When it’s just idly running, it uses around 11W. However this goes up to 70W and over 100W when it’s doing things like mixing its contents.
This is not an insignificant amount of power usage, to be running all day and night, so I’m not sure how I feel about having a device like this running 24/7, especially during peak electricity times (where it’s more expensive late afternoon and in the evenings).
Can you compost biodegradable packaging and cutlery?
No, unfortunately not, you can, however, do this in the Lomi countertop composter.
Does the Reencle come with a warranty
Yes, it does. The warranty is 1-year, which I’d like to see extended given the upfront cost of the machine.
It’s also worth noting you can return it within 14 days for a refund. However, in my opinion, 14 days is not long enough to experience the machine, especially given it takes 4 weeks to get fully up to speed with the composting process, so this is another area where I believe the company could do more to encourage consumers to have confidence in their product!