I had a simple goal - compost kitchen scraps (including meats, cooked foods, stringy vegetables, etc.) all year round with a minimal amount of work, no risk of rodents, and no worms. I got started from the WSJ article last fall and read everything I could on the web. I initially settled on the NatureMill XE Pro from Costco which seemed perfect (albeit with mixed reviews related to jams). In fact, it did work very nicely for about a month. It "just" about kept up with our family of 3 1/2 at home, and seemed to make nice compost. It made too much noise (and smelled just a little too much) for the kitchen, though so it went down to the basement. Then it jammed open. The jam was a mess and the fix included parts from the manufacturer, and emptying incomplete (and too wet) compost. I returned it.
I thought that was it for composting, but soon got forlorn looking at my shiny, new, empty composting crock in the kitchen. I scoured the web again and found the Jora JK 125. This seemed to have everything I wanted. It had two bins so that kitchen waste could be added every day, but still be able to mature for 4 - 6 weeks after the last batch was put in. It was made in Sweden and designed to work in the cold with polyethylene insulation. The design was simple and the bin was obviously easy to turn no matter how full (using a series of horizontal handles on the panels). It was very tastefully designed, in a utilitarian fashion, out of powder-coated sheet metal. The design was definitely rodent-proof, and provided for adequate aeration. But, as they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating (well, actually composting).
The JK125 arrived a week or so ago and was pretty easy to assemble. I had a "pre-started" small batch of compost in a bucket in the basement, which I added to the composter. Within a day, it was smoking and hot. This smaller version has a MUCH larger capacity than the NatureMill and will easily handle our kitchen scraps and more. I found that I could put almost anything in, without the more restriction on forbidden items (fibrous foods, citrus, etc.)) from NatureMill. The compost got a bit wet and it cooled down until I realized (with a little guidance from Jora) that I wasn't adding enough pellets (purchased at Lowe's for $4.95 for a 40 lb bag). It has now been cooking away, and the compost inside looks dark and well textured. This is all in New England during a VERY cold winter with temperatures at night in the teens and highs in the 20's to low 30's. The AIR temperature above the compost (measured through the air holes from the outside with a very accurate infrared thermometer) was 88 F last night.
I am very pleased with the simplicity and functionality of this machine. It meets all my needs. Aside from a needed tweak to the assembly instructions (which I have passed on to the manufacturer), the device is great. There is a two part video that shows how easy it is (albeit with an older, one door model of the machine. It now has 2 separate doors) on YouTube:
This is not a paid review, nor do I have anything to do with Jora. I am simply very impressed with their product and I am surprised that it doesn't seem to get much airtime when people talk about tumblers or winter composting.