A composting toilet is a type of dry toilet that serves as a temporary human waste management system. It practically decomposes the waste into usable manure.
When used appropriately, such toilets have many benefits. For instance, they save on water and energy. Composting toilets are environmentally friendly and offer a safe portable waste management solution.
Unlike flush toilets, composting toilets do not need to be connected to sewer systems or septic tanks. Such toilets are often used in rental homes, national parks, tourist resorts, and off-grid homes.
In order to make the right choice, you need to consider such aspects as the energy source, capacity, portability, composting rate and design of the toilet.
To make the choice easier for you, read our composting toilet reviews to learn more.
- 1 The Best Composting Toilets for 2020
- 1.1 1. Camco 41535 Premium Portable Travel Toilet – Best Overall
- 1.2 2. Porta Potti Curve Portable Toilet – The Best Portable Composting Toilet
- 1.3 3. Sanitation Equipment Visa Potty Toilet – The Most Affordable Composting Toilet
- 1.4 4. Nature’s Head Self Contained Composting Toilet – Best Dry & Waterless Composting Toilet
- 1.5 5. Sun-Mar Excel Self-Contained Composting Toilet – The Best Self-Contained Composting Toilet
- 1.6 6. Aqua-Magic V RV Toilet Pedal Flush – Composting Toilet for RV’s
- 1.7 7. Villa 9215 AC/DC – Best Commercial Composting Toilet
- 1.8 What is a Composting Toilet?
- 1.9 How Does a Composting Toilet Work?
- 1.10 How to Use a Composting Toilet
- 1.11 Composting Toilet Cons
- 1.12 What to Do with Composting Toilet Waste
- 1.13 How to Choose a Composting Toilet
- 1.13.1 1. Composting Toilet Type
- 1.13.2 2. Composting Toilet Capacity
- 1.13.3 3. Zoning Requirements
- 1.13.4 4. Bulking Material
- 1.13.5 5. Bowl Closure & Toilet Trap Mechanism
- 1.14 Composting Toilet FAQs
- 2 Ready to Save Water & Save with a Composting Toilet?
How Much do Composting Toilets Cost?
The overall composting toilet cost includes the cost of the toilet itself and labor installation costs. On average, the best residential toilet models are priced between $825 and $4,850.
With self-contained compost toilet models, the prices start at around $1,400. The cost of these products mainly depends on their brand and the features they have to offer.
Holding other factors constant, to should expect to spend about $5,435 on the entire retrofitting project.
Based on statistical findings, installing a waterless composting toilet will reduce water usage by the toilet by up to 100 percent. It will also curb water wastage in the bathroom by about 25 percent. This will also result in long-term cost savings.
The Best Composting Toilets for 2020
|Camco 41535 Premium Portable Travel Toilet|
|Porta Potti Curve Portable Toilet|
|Sanitation Equipment Visa Potty Toilet|
|Nature’s Head Self Contained Composting Toilet|
|Sun-Mar Excel Self-Contained Composting Toilet|
1. Camco 41535 Premium Portable Travel Toilet – Best Overall
Owing to its compact design and lightweight, the Camco 41535 composting toilet is considered to be ideal for camping, road trip, boat trips and hunting adventures.
As compared to its competitors, this product offers a relatively larger capacity of 2.6 gallons. The product features a freshwater holding tank and a fairly powerful pump flush system. This system ensures the bowl is rinsed thoroughly after each use.
Other than that, this product has several other beneficial features to offer, including:
Being a portable model, you will probably be carrying this toilet along with you most of the time—even after using it.
You do not want the odor to leak into your car or RV, right? To prevent this from happening, the unit features a secure latch system.
Once the spring-loaded latch has been secured in place, no odor is able to escape from the holding tank—even when the tank is filled up.
Again, the latch mechanism used on this product makes it easier to remove the flush tank and lid for the purpose of cleaning.
Enhanced Ease of Use
The Camco 41535 Premium Portable Travel Toilet is specifically designed for use on the go. As such, it only has a limited capacity and may not be used to hold the waste for long. After the trip, you will have to empty the toilet and clean it.
As such, the unit comes with biodegradable add-ons to help break down the waster at a faster rate. You will also find this product to be comparatively easy to assemble and disassemble while cleaning. The automatic sliding valve gate on the toilet makes things even easier.
The valve will open while you are using the toilet to allow the waste to pass to the holding tank. Once you are done, the valve will close; offering an air-tight seal. This prevents to odor from leaking from the holding tank.
2. Porta Potti Curve Portable Toilet – The Best Portable Composting Toilet
The award-winning, innovative and top-of-the-line Portta Potti Curve Portable Toilet is renowned across the globe for looks and performance.
The product features a sleek, home-like modern design that features an ergonomic carrying handle.
With regards to design, the product also features a tank level indicator and an integrated toilet paper holder.
With Porta Potti Curve Portable toilet, your sanitary concerns are addressed as well. Some of the things you will come to love about this product include:
For a portable composting toilet, this unit offers decent tank capacities. The tank for holding flushing water, for example, can hold up to 4 gallons of water. This large volume of water is capable of sustaining several flushes, up to 56 flushes.
The waste holding tank, on the other hand, has a capacity of about 5.5 gallons. This waste holding tank is designed for enhanced ease of use. As such, you will find it fairly easy to separate, empty and clean. This tank is also equipped with a level indicator.
The indicator, along with a battery-powered flush system, is concealed behind the toilet seat.
3. Sanitation Equipment Visa Potty Toilet – The Most Affordable Composting Toilet
One of the things users love about this toilet is its generous capacity and an efficient flushing system.
With regards to capacity, the product is offered in two main variants; an 18-liter toilet and a 24-liter model. The product is equipped with a powerful piston pump system that delivers a dual-directional rinse performance. So, what makes this product superior to its competitors?
This Sanitation Equipment product is built to remain intact following years of use in the outdoor environment. In addition to helping it withstand wear and tear, this tough construction makes it possible for the toilet to carry larger loads of waste.
Although the manufacturer does not specify the waste weight this unit can withstand, you can safely carry 300 lbs of waste on the toilet. This is a heavy load, bearing in mind that the toilet is made of plastic. Even with years of use, the unit will never give out under such weight.
Longer Pour Spot
In order to prevent spills or coming into contact with the waste as you empty the tank, the manufacturer fitted this unit with a long directional spout. In this regard, the Visa Potty features a directional feature that may be used to direct the waste as you pour it out of the holding tank.
Now that the product is made of solid opaque material, how will you know when the waste holding tank is filled or when you are running out of water for flushing? Pretty easy, the Visa Potty toilet features water and waste level indicators.
These indicators are mounted on the front part of the toilet for enhanced visibility. With the help of these indicators, you can easily tell when the waste tank is almost full so that you can empty it. Similarly, the water level indicator will let you know when you are running out of fresh water.
4. Nature’s Head Self Contained Composting Toilet – Best Dry & Waterless Composting Toilet
This may be the most expensive composting toilet in this guide, but it is definitely worth every cent. The Nature’s Head Self Contained Composting toilet is rated one of the best urine-separating dry composting toilets.
It is worth noting that the product was designed by two sailors who were after a more intuitive and durable composting toilet.
As such, the product is built to withstand harsh outdoor conditions associated with the marine environment. So, what makes this product worth the price tag?
Stain-free and Durable Construction
One of the aspects that make this product stand out is its all-steel construction. For enhanced durability, this toilet is entirely made of stainless steel. As such, it is capable of withstanding the toughest of outdoor conditions.
Intuitive and Functional Design
This composting toilet features an appealing design that is functional. The fan and vent hose components used on this product, for instance will ensure that no odor is leaked from your toilet. This being the case, the unit will deliver an impressive odor-less performance even when used in confined spaces.
5. Sun-Mar Excel Self-Contained Composting Toilet – The Best Self-Contained Composting Toilet
With regards to design, the Excel unit features a low profile. As such, it has been proven to augment any bathroom décor.
Again, the composting toilet may be used almost anywhere, including in cabins, residences or even for light commercial applications.
The Sun-Mar Excel is actually one of the best high-end composting toilets you can buy today. The product offers unique convenience and performance features to justify the high price.
In-built Bio Drum
Being one of the best self-composting toilets available today, the product is equipped with a bio-drum to help decompose the waste. In this regard, the toilet will convert human waste into safe and nutrient-rich fertilizer without leaking any odor.
As you may have noticed, this composting toilet is comparatively larger in size. This also goes for its waste-holding capacity. As such, the toilet will suffice for six to eight people for one weekend before it needs to be emptied.
6. Aqua-Magic V RV Toilet Pedal Flush – Composting Toilet for RV’s
Looking for the best composting toilet for a cabin or a recreational vehicle? Aqua-Magic V composting toilet offers a perfect blend of affordability, lightweight, ease of use and appealing aesthetics.
It offers a seating height of 17-1/2 and connects to the central water tank in the recreational vehicle (RV). Despite being a cheap composting toilet option, the unit features full-bowl-bowl coverage, allowing for cleaner flushes.
Its new classic design includes a deeper bowl and is styled to resemble a standard residential toilet in design and functionality. Featuring a sturdy polymer base and bowl, the toilet is relatively easy to install.
The textured lid on the toilet sheds water while resisting scuffs. You will also find the product rather easy to use. For instance, pressing the pedal halfway fills the bowl with water while pressing it all the way flushes the toilet.
The high-profile RV composting toilet comes complete with all installation components, including closet flange bolts, nuts, and flange seals.
7. Villa 9215 AC/DC – Best Commercial Composting Toilet
Though recently introduced into the US market, the Separett Villa 9215 is quickly gaining popularity among RV owners. It is one of the most advanced composting toilets in the industry that may be used for both off-grid and on-grid living.
The toilet features the latest discoveries in waste management as well as advanced technologies by the manufacturer. For enhanced versatility, Villa 9215 can run on either AC mains or DC battery or solar power.
The unit is equipped with a single-speed fan that can support up to 20 feet of venting. The fan pulls air over the waste holding area, thus eliminating odors and keeping solid waste dry. The 34-pound toilet comes with a large compostable liner bag, capable of holding more solid waste.
Urine Redirecting Technology
For the purpose of separating urine from solid human waste, the toilet bowl features a unique design. This design allows it to grab urine and direct it to a holding tank from the drain. Afterward, the solid waste and toilet paper end up in compostable liner bag for proper storage.
The unit comes with all the required installation equipment. It is also backed by a five-year limited guarantee by the manufacturer. You will also get a 3-year warranty on the fan fitted into your Villa 9215 AC/DC composting toilet.
What is a Composting Toilet?
These are a special type of toilets that are designed to treat human waste using a biological process. While conventional toilets feed into mixed greywater and Blackwater septic systems, a composting toilet is designed to process the waste on-site.
Basically, most composting toilets require no water to flush or process human waste. A few models use a small amount of water or foam to flush the waste. Either way, such a toilet will help you save a significant amount of water in the bathroom every day.
There are two main types of composting toilets, namely:
Self-contained Composting Toilets
These do not require a connection to the central system. Such units are comparatively easier to install and best suited for second-floor installations. Since they are not connected, these toilets are equipped with drawers or trays that can be emptied.
A good number of off-grid composting toilet models are actually self-contained units.
Central Composting Systems
These often feature a large tank with a slopped bottom to allow the waste to slide down as it composes. Most of the central composting toilets are fitted with an access door on the lower end of this chamber. The more advanced models, especially the best commercial composting toilets, have multiple chambers
Each of these chambers contains human waste at different composting stages. With such models, you may be required to stir the contents of the various chambers periodically to mix them and speed up the process.
How Does a Composting Toilet Work?
Composting toilets are meant to separate liquid waste from solid human waste, compost the solid human waste quickly and without odor, and produce compost that is safe to handle. Different manufacturers use different technologies to achieve these three tasks.
The waste entering the toilets is over 90 percent water, which needs to be evaporated through the vent system. The remaining solid material is converted to useful fertilizer through natural decomposition. The best decomposing toilets work in three main stages:
The first stage is aimed at separating liquid waste from solid waste and evaporating the liquid waste thereafter. To speed up the process, some models have a vent system that gets rid of any evaporated water in the waste. Advanced toilets are even fitted with a heating element to speed up the evaporation.
For enhanced efficiency, other self-composting toilets feature a urinal system. This ensures that most of the liquid is already separate from solid waste as it enters the composting chamber.
If left alone, the solid waste would eventually decompose, but the process would be awfully slow and smelly. To speed things up, you are required to create a conducive environment for bacterial decomposition in the composting chamber. This is often achieved by adding such bulking materials as peat mix or sawdust.
Bulking materials allow for proper aeration of the compost pile. This speeds up bacterial activity in the pile, hence the breakdown of the compost pile. Again, bulking materials ensure that the final product is safe for you to handle.
How to Use a Composting Toilet
The operation and maintenance of a composting toilet are rather easy. It involves opening and closing the vaults as well as keeping the composting chamber interior and shelter clean. You also need to remove the compost when it is ready as well as inspect the unit for damage on a monthly basis.
A self-composting toilet has to be used correctly to prevent foul odors and fly breeding in the toilet. Here are some tips to help you use your composting toilet correctly:
Preparing a Composting Toilet for Use
Composting toilet often has multiple vents, but only one may be used at a time. When not in use, the vents should be covered using a heavy lid.
Before you start using a vent, you need to prepare it properly. The cost-efficient way of doing this would be to put a loose layer of weeds, leaves, sawdust or grass clippings.
You also need to have a jar or box of powdered soil or ashes as well as enough cleansing supplies like toilet paper in the toilet shelter at all times.
Using a Composting Toilet
Open the heavy lid on the vent you would like to use and use the toilet as you would a conventional pit latrine. Once you are done, wipe yourself and sprinkle fine earth or ashes into the vault using the jar or box of ashes you have in the toilet shelter.
This is meant to prevent fly breeding in the waste and curb odors.You may also throw yard sweepings and kitchen scraps into the vault at the end o each day.
Once or twice a week put in grass clippings, straw, leaves, or sawdust to form a layer above the contents of the vault. If you happen to overfill the toilet, do not worry as bacterial action will eventually reduce the volume.
Clean your composting toilet at least once each week by sprinkling ashes or powdered soil on the slab and around the squatting hole and then sweeping them into the vault. Remember to replenish the supply of ashes or fine soil in the box.
Removing the Compost Heap
If sealed and maintained properly, the compost heap should be ready in six to 12 months, depending on the type of composting toilet you are using. When ready for removal, open the cover on the rear wall opening of the composting chamber.
Using a rake or shovel, remove the compost and load it onto a cart or wheelbarrow. It is advisable to leave the shallow layer of the heap in the vault. Close the cover on the composting chamber and prepare the vault for use.
Composting Toilet Pros
The growing uptake of composting toilets by homeowners, particularly those living off-road, may be attributed to the many benefits the toilets have to offer. Here are some of the benefits associated with the best composting toilet for the tiny house:
- Cheaper and Faster to Install
As opposed to conventional toilets, the best commercial composting toilet models do not require septic installation, saving you between $1,500 and $5,000 in installation costs. Though costlier than traditional toilets, a composting toilet is comparatively easier and cheaper to install, depending on where you live.
- May Be Used Almost Anywhere
Since composting toilet does not require a connection to the plumbing system, they can be installed almost anywhere. This makes them the best toilet option for homeowners living off-road or in places where connection to the sewer system is not cost-efficient.
These units are suited for outdoor installations. Any spacing and sizing problems associated with composting toilet are easy to overcome with a little ingenuity.
- They are Durable
The best composting toilet for the cabin models are known to last a lifetime, provided they are maintained properly. This is why some of the leading composting toilet manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty on their products.
The toilet will also save about 30,000 gallons of water per year in a family of 4. Therefore, it is safe to assume that these toilets pay for themselves very quickly.
- Require Minimal Maintenance
As compared to other compost forms, you do not need to worry about keeping the compost wet. Human waste maintains proper moisture levels within the basin housing the compost. However, some models may require you to turn the compost to mix it every now and then.
For the best long-term results, look for toilets that meet or exceed current standards from the American National Standards Institute or a similar international organization.
Composting Toilet Cons
People with conditions that restrict their mobility may find composting toilet uncomfortable to use as the toilet requires them to squirt too low. Some model, especially the self-contained composting toilet, do not contain the odor so well.
What to Do with Composting Toilet Waste
When handling this compost pile, it is advisable to wear disposable gloves and a dust mask. After collecting the compost pile from your toilet, you may add it to an established compost pile to continue decomposing.
You may also use it as manure in several places. For instance, you may spread the compost on your lawn and then water it.
Composting toilet waste may also be applied around fruit trees in your garden. It is also safe to use the compost pile as manure in your non-edible garden.
How to Choose a Composting Toilet
Do you need a composting toilet for use at home or one that you can use on the go?
In case you do not have a water supply at the location of use, you should get a model that does not require any water to function.
There are several other considerations that you need to make while shopping for the best compost toilet.
1. Composting Toilet Type
To begin with, you have to ascertain the type of compost toilet that will be ideal for your intended use.
The various composting toilets available today may be grouped into 5 broad categories based on how they work.
While choosing the right toilet, these are the 5 main compost toilet types you should consider:
These are the composting toilets that do not require any water to function. Even the dry composting toilets that have a flushing system use a negligible amount of water.
Such products have been proven to be odorless. As such, they are considered to be ideal for indoor application, such as household interior.
These feature a compact and more portable design. With regards to design, self-decomposing toilets have the compost system just below the bowl.
Such a product is best suited for hiking or camping application. Self-composting toilets are essentially designed for use on the go.
Electric Composting Toilets
With such toilets, the composting system features electronic appliances that need electricity to run.
For instance, most models have an electric fan to continuously circulate air in the composting unit. Some electric composting toilets require a connection to a mains outlet.
Other models actually run on batteries. Electric composting toilets are known to be more efficient and faster at the de-composing of human waste. However, such toilets are comparatively expensive to buy.
If you are not connected to the grid and do not have a generator to run the toilet, you should consider getting a battery-operated unit. Alternatively, can opt for non-electric models, described below.
Non-Electric Composting Toilets
As compared to the electric composting toilets, the non-electric models are relatively cheaper. In their functioning, these products use an alternative source of power, such as a wind turbine.
For the composting process to continue normally, most non-electric toilets require you to manually mix the waste using a built-in crank.
These products are also slower and less efficient at composting human waste, as compared to the electric models. While this is the case, they are a great choice if you look forward to going green.
Remote/Central Composting Toilets
Rather than encompassing the composting unit below the bowl, these toilets channel the waste to a composter—often separate from the toilet.
Remote composting toilets are a great choice if you would like to use several toilets in the same location.
In such a case, you can connect several central composting toilets to one composter.
2. Composting Toilet Capacity
How much waste can your composter hold? This will depend on the toilet you buy.
The right composting toilet capacity mainly depends on the intended application. Toilets meant for use on the go, for instance, do not need to have a large capacity.
Though lightweight and more portable, toilets with less capacity need to be emptied more frequently so they don’t get too heavy during transport.
Consider the number of people who will be using the toilet and the frequency. This way, you’ll know if to purchase a model with higher capacity.
3. Zoning Requirements
There are no federal or national laws governing the suitability and application of composting toilets.
However, there are different zoning requirements imposed at the state, county and municipality level. Such requirements differ from one zone to another.
Before you buy a composting toilet, ensure that it meets the zoning requirements in your area.
Contact your town or county to inquire about the building laws that may affect the use of composting toilets.
4. Bulking Material
In order to maintain the composting process, some toilets require you to add bulking material.
In such a case, the bulking material has to be purchased separately. In the long run, this will definitely increase the cost of compost production.
Bulking material is essential for breaking the waste down to allow for free air circulation.
Some composting toilet models do not require the use of bulking material. Using bulking material in such a toilet may end up damaging it.
5. Bowl Closure & Toilet Trap Mechanism
Regardless of where you will be using your compost toilet, sanitation and odor is something to worry about. To maintain the best sanitation and prevent odor, you should get the best compost toilet trap.
Different toilets have different mechanisms for locking the composting receptacle or waste line from the bottom of the basin.
If you do not want to operate the closure mechanism, you should opt for the models that use an automatic trap closure mechanism.
Other models feature a manual valve that needs to be operated manually. Ensure that the closing mechanism on your preferred toilet is durable, effective and not prone to malfunctioning.
Composting Toilet FAQs
Can you put toilet paper In a composting toilet?
Yes, you may put toilet paper into a composting toilet, but the rate at which it will be broken will be slower. Paper products decompose slower, as compared to solid human waste, hence will be visible long after the compost heap has been broken down.
Does a composting toilet smell?
With the best composting toilet models, you should not detect any smell coming from the toilet so provided you use it properly. In some cases, you may detect a slight earthy smell, much like a compost pile smell emanating from the toilet.
Ready to Save Water & Save with a Composting Toilet?
Composting toilets are essentially designed to be used temporarily when you cannot access a conventional toilet.
Composting toilets also save space, require minimal maintenance, and remove the need for expensive plumbing repairs.
These units are unique in that they help convert the waste into usable fertilizer. They are also cheaper and faster to install than traditional toilets.
While in some areas you may require a permit to install a composting toilet, such toilets reduce water consumption and can save up to 20 gallons of water per day, per person. That’s 7,000 gallons per year!
Before making your final decision, evaluate all your options, including installing a traditional toilet. This way, you’ll ensure you choose the best toilet for your home or commercial setting.