we started composting a little over a year ago, with just a basic container. we've been adding kitchen scraps to it regularly (vegetable and fruit ends and skins, eggshells, coffee grounds) as well as any sort of mulchy paper material (usually the containers you get produce like eggs or mushrooms in). we hadn't actually tried to get any compost out of it even after a year, because it never really filled up, and we couldn't tell if it was actually doing anything.
even then, i've considered it a success because it allowed us to greatly reduce the amount of trash we were generating. besides, the compost pile was continually shrinking, and wasn't stinky, so we just assumed
nothing bad the right thing was happening.
happily, when we started migrating our compost to the new one (more on that in a second), we found that we actually had really dark, beautiful, wormy compost in the bottom two inches. we were definitely not expecting it whatsoever - we didn't even add worms, but there were dozens of them!
i wanted to switch from a top-down to a tumbler composter so that it would get hotter, be easier to turn, and hopefully compost faster. we ended up getting the good ideas compost wizard jr because it was relatively cheap, required no assembly, and would sit low to the ground. it also holds only about half of what our previous one held, which i think is better for the amount of compostable waste we generate. unfortunately, worms don't do well in tumblers so i'm kind of sad to lose their composting benefits, but i didn't even know we had them in the first place.
the barrel has a big twist-off opening, which should make it nearly impossible for animals to get into. the base has wheels built into it, so you can just spin the barrel on top of it. the barrel is also inherently easier to transport even when full - just roll it to where you need it! i have some sort of raised garden bed in the plans for later this year, and i would love to be able to use "homemade" compost in it!