Composting Toilet Reviews

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Written By Andrea Bullock
UPDATED:
Composting Toilet Reviews

Everyone knows the great benefits of using compost in gardens to grow healthy foods, flowers, plants and more. Having said this, everyone also knows how hard it is to make your own compost and how expensive it is to buy it from stores.

But a new eco-friendly solution is here: composting toilets. These great toilets let people make their own compost in a cost- and time-effective way, while also preserving the environment since they don’t use any water. Composting toilets are not only an amazing alternative for homes, but they are also super convenient for RVs, cottages, cabins, boats, rural homes and more. They are very easy to set up and use, without requiring access to water.

Once you know about these toilets, you only need to decide which type is best for you and your needs, what to look for, and which factors to consider before you make your purchase. Do you need an electric or non-electric one? Small or large? We have taken the time to do extensive research for you, so you can quickly understand the types of self-contained composting toilets currently available, and what other users are saying in reviews and the feedback they are providing.

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Composting Toilets – Top 4 in 2024

We have focused our efforts in the top 4 composting toilets for 2024 since we want to share information on the best options currently on the market. We looked at their key features and customer reviews, so you can know what people who have used them are saying. If you go through the information below, you will be a composting toilet expert and will know exactly which one to buy to meet your needs, whether it is for your home or elsewhere. We have also created a detailed buying guide with a lot of additional details and FAQs as well. Enjoy and happy composting toilet buying!

This composting toilet is great in size and height, which solves the challenge with some of these toilets that have smaller and lower seats. It really is one of the most comfortable toilets in the market, and similar in experience to using a regular non-composting toilet. It has a full-sized elongated seat and an average height frame, so many people select it over other models.

Naure's Head Composting Toilet

Another desirable feature is that natures head composting toilet is on the lighter end of the spectrum, weighing only 28 lbs. This allows for convenient setup in whatever type of floor that you want to use it on, without having to worry about a larger weight. It is also very efficient with its electricity usage, creating a great composting environment at a very low usage cost.

The manufacturer claims that this toilet doesn’t have the foul odors associated with all other holding tank systems. The low volume air circulation fan built into the head provides the added benefit of recycling the air in your bathroom which helps make your whole environment smell better.

Various customers have also mentioned that it is very easy to setup and disassemble for emptying, that the customer support service is readily available and responsive, and that they really appreciate the 5-year American standard toilets warranty coverage as a peace of mind for buying this toilet which is a bit on the expensive end of the spectrum.

Naure's Head Composting Toilet

Features: Nature’s Head Self-contained Composting Toilet

  • Seat Shape: Full-size elongated
  • Capacity: Good for 2 people full-time or more on weekends
  • Made in: United States
  • Fan: built-in low-volume air circulation
  • Vent hose: included
  • Dimensions: 22” x 20.5” x 21.7”
  • Weight: 28 lbs
  • Wattage: 0.72 W
  • Voltage: 12 V
  • Warranty: 5 years

Overall, this is a great buy due to its ease of setup, comfortable use, customer service, and American standard limited lifetime warranty.

Pros: Nature’s Head Self-contained Composting Toilet
  • Full-sized seat
  • Lightweight
  • Low voltage/wattage
  • Self-contained
  • Long warranty
  • Built-in circulation fan
Cons: Nature’s Head Self-contained Composting Toilet
  • A bit expensive, but worth it.
Naure's Head Composting Toilet

2. Separett Villa 9215

separett-villa

While large composting toilets may be more comfortable, many people require compact versions that can fit certain types of homes, cabins, RVs, and other places with reduced spaces as in cast iron sinks. This toilet has been ranked as the best compact composting toilet currently on the market, so you can’t go wrong with this choice.

Also, this toilet is known for how easy and fast it is to setup. Everything you will need is included with the toilet, saving time and money as there is no need of having to buy extra parts. Along with this setup is another desirable feature of being able to connect it to an electrical outlet or use it while it is battery powered, which can be very convenient in rustic areas or limited power supplies.

Like other composting toilets, this one is on the more expensive end of the spectrum but it comes with a convenient 5-year warranty for any issues/parts that may require support by the manufacturer, so you can shop with confidence and piece of mind.

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Features: Separett Villa 9215 Composting Toilet

  • Capacity: 3 weeks for average family use
  • Fan: One-speed 12V (<30 db)
  • Vent hose:
  • Dimensions: 18” x 26.5” x 21.3”
  • Weight: 47 lbs
  • Wattage: 2.5 W
  • Voltage: 12 V
  • Power consumption: 06kWh/24 hours
  • Warranty: 5 years
  • Includes all necessary parts for mounting, battery cable and power adapter
  • Concealing view screen
Pros: Separett Villa 9215 Composting Toilet
  • Compact, convenient size
  • All necessary accessories are included
  • Battery operated
  • Long warranty
  • Ventilation fan
separett-villa

3. Sun-Mar Excel

This toilet is great if you have a larger family or expect to entertain various guests because it has the largest capacity of all composting toilets currently available on the market. This also makes it larger in size and heavier than others, so it is not recommended for certain types of floors or surfaces, and it is harder to transport and move it around. Having said this, this toilet can easily handle three or four people full time and up to eight people for a few days, so many people love this feature and capacity.

sun-mar-excel

Another desirable feature is that it is non-electric, hence it doesn’t require any electricity. This makes it super cost-effective to run and compost, and also one of the easiest toilets to install due to the lack of an electric hookup.

Features: Sun-Mar Excel Composting Toilet

From a warranty perspective, it covers a bit less than other toilets since it has a 5-year warranty on the toilet body and a 3-year warranty for all other parts.

Pros: Sun-Mar Excel Composting Toilet
  • Easy to install
  • Large capacity
  • Long warranty
Cons: Sun-Mar Excel Composting Toilet
  • Expensive
  • Heavy
sun-mar-excel

4. Sun-Mar Compact

This composting toilet is very compact and minimalistic, which is great if you are looking to set it up in a smaller space and it will be used by a smaller number of people. It really doesn’t take up too much room, and it is easy to set up in tight spaces. Also, while this toilet is connected to electricity, it has an efficient composting capability, which is praised by many users.

sun-mar-excel

Another very desirable feature is that it is one of the safest composting toilets in the market because it has a built-in emergency drain. This avoids the need to clean up big messes if the toilet were to overflow, which is useful due to its smaller size and capacity. These Sunmar composting toilet reviews are compiled by our experts with great care and attention to detail.

Features: Sun-Mar Compact Composting Toilet

  • Self-contained
  • Pest proof
  • Venting kit Included
  • NSF/ANSI certified
  • Capacity: 1-2 adults
  • Dimensions: 33’’ x 21-1/2’’ x 28-1/2’’ (low-profile)
  • Weight: 90 lbs
  • Average power use: 125 W
  • Power source: 110 V
  • Warranty: 5-year (fiberglass), 3-year (parts)
  • Includes variable diameter bio-drum
  • Emergency drain for extra protection

From a warranty perspective, it covers a bit less than other toilets since it has a 5-year warranty on the toilet body and a 3-year limited warranty for all other parts.

Pros: Sun-Mar Compact Composting Toilet
  • Compact size
  • Easy to setup in tight spaces
  • Venting kit included
  • Emergency drain
  • Pest proof
  • Long warranty
Cons: Sun-Mar Compact Composting Toilet
  • Small capacity
  • Expensive
  • Heavy
sun-mar-excel
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Evaluating Options for a Composting Toilet:

Composting toilets are a type of toilet that treats human waste by composting and dehydration, turning it into compost-like material. Unlike traditional flush toilets, composting toilets don’t require water or sewage connections, making them a more sustainable and eco-friendly toilet option.

Keep these essential aspects in mind to make the most informed decision when it comes to selecting a composting toilet for various applications.

Types of Composting Toilets

  1. Self-contained composting toilets: Compact and odor-free, these units include a composting chamber within the toilet system, making installation simpler. Brands like Sun-Mar and Nature’s Head are well-known in this category.
  2. Central composting toilet systems: These have a central composting chamber located elsewhere in the house or outside. They may require more installation work but can be a great choice for larger households.
  3. Bucket system or toilet bucket options: A more DIY approach to composting, this option uses a simple bucket and cover material like sawdust or peat moss.
  4. Incinerator toilets: These use electricity to incinerate waste into ash, another alternative for those seeking compost toilet options.
  5. Portable toilets: Ideal for camping and outdoors, portable composting toilets are lightweight and easy to use.

Considerations for Choosing the Best Composting Toilet

  • Size and Floor Space: Consider the width and depth of the unit, especially in tiny houses where space may be limited.
  • Ventilation: Adequate venting or an exhaust fan is crucial to control moisture and odors.
  • Maintenance: Regular emptying of the urine container, solids bin, and compost material will ensure smooth operation.
  • Regulations: Different states may have specific requirements and regulations concerning composting toilets.
  • Waterless and Electricity Options: Some composting toilets require no water or electricity, offering more flexibility in off-grid situations.
  • Cost: Costs can vary widely, and investment in the right model requires careful consideration of your budget and needs.

Composting Process Explained

Composting toilets bring together biology and innovation to transform waste into a valuable resource. Let’s take a closer look at the intricate process that takes place within these sustainable systems.

A. Composting Chambers: Where Magic Happens

At the heart of every composting toilet are the composting chambers. These chambers are specially designed to create the optimal conditions for waste decomposition. They provide a controlled environment where nature’s processes work their magic. Microorganisms, which are nature’s recyclers, take center stage in breaking down the waste.

B. Bacteria and Composting: Nature’s Tiny Workers

It’s amazing how the tiniest beings play the most significant role in the composting process. Beneficial bacteria, along with other microorganisms, are the real heroes here. These microscopic workers thrive within the composting chambers. As waste enters the chambers, these bacteria get to work, breaking down the organic matter into simpler components.

The bacteria feast on the nitrogen-rich waste, converting it into simpler compounds. This not only aids in waste reduction but also generates heat as a byproduct. This warmth further accelerates the composting process, creating an environment that’s inhospitable to harmful pathogens.

C. Solids and Liquids Separation:

In composting toilets, a delicate dance of separation takes place. Solid and liquid waste are diverted to separate compartments, serving distinct roles in the composting journey.

Solid waste, once separated, undergoes the composting process, driven by the bacteria’s diligent efforts. As waste breaks down, it transforms into nutrient-rich compost, which can be safely used as an organic soil amendment.

Liquid waste, on the other hand, is diverted to prevent it from interfering with the composting process. The separation of liquids not only aids in odor reduction but also prevents excessive moisture that could hinder the composting bacteria’s work.

Installation Guide: Setting Up Your Sustainable Throne

Congratulations on choosing to embark on the journey of sustainable living with a composting toilet! Now, let’s roll up our sleeves and dive into the essential steps for installing your eco-friendly bathroom solution.

A. Choosing the Right Location: Where Nature and Necessity Align

Selecting the perfect spot for your composting toilet is key to its successful operation. Ideally, choose a location that strikes a balance between convenience and the needs of the composting process.

  1. Ventilation: Opt for a well-ventilated area to prevent odor buildup and ensure proper airflow for composting. This might mean near a window or a space with good air circulation.
  2. Accessibility: Keep the toilet easily accessible, ensuring it’s not too far from your living spaces while maintaining a degree of privacy.
  3. Away from Direct Sunlight: While a little natural light is great, direct sunlight can heat up the composting chamber excessively and disturb the composting process.

B. Ventilation and Exhaust Fan: Breathing Life into the Process

Adequate ventilation is the backbone of composting toilet functionality. Here’s how to ensure the air keeps flowing smoothly:

  1. Vent Pipe: Install a vent pipe that leads outside or upwards through the roof. This pipe will serve as an escape route for moisture, odors, and excess gases produced during composting.
  2. Exhaust Fan: Consider installing an exhaust fan near the vent pipe exit. This fan helps maintain a steady airflow, preventing any unpleasant odors from lingering.

C. Water System Connection: The Minimalist Approach

Composting toilets are water-efficient, but some models may require a minimal amount of water for cleaning purposes. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Non-Water Models: Many composting toilets are designed to operate without any water connection, making them ideal for water-saving households.
  2. Minimal Water Usage: Some models might use a small amount of water for cleaning the bowl or facilitating waste movement. This water can often be sourced from rainwater collection systems or other sustainable sources.

Usage and Maintenance: Keeping the Green Going

Your composting toilet is now installed and ready for action. Let’s go over some tips on how to use and maintain it for optimal performance.

  1. Using the Right Toilet Paper: Opt for biodegradable and compostable toilet paper. Traditional paper products can take longer to break down and might interfere with the composting process.
  2. Managing Solids Bin and Urine Bottle: Regularly empty the solids bin and urine bottle. This prevents overloading and ensures that the composting process remains efficient.
  3. Regular Cleaning and Upkeep: Clean your composting toilet regularly to prevent any buildup of waste or odors. Use eco-friendly cleaning products to maintain the natural balance of the composting chamber.

By carefully selecting the location, ensuring proper ventilation, and understanding any water requirements, you’re well on your way to enjoying the benefits of a composting toilet. In the next section, we’ll explore the ins and outs of using and maintaining your sustainable bathroom solution. So, let’s continue our journey toward a greener and more responsible way of living.

Tiny House and RV Considerations: Going Compact and Sustainable

Composting toilets aren’t limited to traditional homes. They’re equally at home in tiny houses and on the road in RVs and vans. Let’s explore how these innovative bathroom solutions can seamlessly integrate into unconventional living spaces.

A. Best Options for Tiny Homes: Compact Comfort

Tiny homes thrive on efficiency and creativity, making composting toilets a perfect fit:

  1. Self-Contained Units: These all-in-one composting toilets are compact and self-sufficient, making them ideal for tiny spaces. They require minimal setup and are designed to operate with minimal maintenance.
  2. Central Systems: If you have a bit more space, central systems can be integrated into tiny homes. They offer efficient waste management without compromising on functionality.

B. Integration in RVs and Vans: Mobility Meets Sustainability

The wanderlust in you doesn’t have to compromise your commitment to sustainability:

  1. Space Optimization: Composting toilets are space-savers, allowing you to maximize your RV or van layout while still enjoying comfortable bathroom facilities.
  2. Reduced Water Dependency: In mobile living, water conservation is crucial. Composting toilets eliminate the need for constant water supply, giving you more freedom on the road.

C. Regulations and Requirements: Navigating the Legalities

When it comes to unconventional living spaces, understanding regulations is paramount:

  1. Local Regulations: Depending on where you’re parked or stationed, there might be regulations about waste disposal. Research local laws to ensure compliance.
  2. Waste Disposal: Some areas might have specific guidelines for composting waste disposal. Be sure to follow these guidelines to minimize environmental impact.
  3. Certified Units: Look for composting toilets that meet industry standards and certifications. This can help alleviate concerns during inspections and ensure you’re using a safe and effective system.

Whether you’re embracing the minimalist lifestyle of a tiny home or embarking on cross-country adventures in your RV, composting toilets offer a sustainable and practical solution for your bathroom needs. As you make your home on wheels or in a compact dwelling, remember that your commitment to the environment can continue to shine through, no matter where life takes you.

Environmental and Health Aspects: Beyond the Bathroom

Composting toilets not only revolutionize the way we manage waste but also have far-reaching effects on our environment, health, and even our gardens. Let’s dive into the broader impact of these innovative bathroom solutions.

A. Impact on Landfills and Sewer Systems: Lightening the Load

Composting toilets are more than just a bathroom fixture; they’re eco-warriors in the battle against waste:

  1. Reduced Landfill Pressure: By converting waste into compost, these toilets alleviate the burden on overflowing landfills, contributing to waste reduction and a greener planet.
  2. Lighter Sewer Load: Traditional sewage systems require extensive resources for maintenance. Composting toilets lessen the strain on these systems, conserving water and resources.

B. Odor and Hygiene Considerations: Keeping it Fresh and Clean

Maintaining a pleasant bathroom experience is crucial, and composting toilets rise to the occasion:

  1. Odor Management: Properly designed composting toilets minimize odors through separation of waste and ventilation systems. Beneficial bacteria also play a role in breaking down odor-causing compounds.
  2. Hygiene Assurance: With the right usage and maintenance, composting toilets offer a hygienic alternative to conventional toilets. Regular cleaning ensures a clean and comfortable experience for users.

C. Role in Gardening and Fertilization: From Waste to Wonder

Composting toilets close the loop by transforming waste into a valuable resource for your garden:

  1. Rich Compost: The compost produced by these toilets is nutrient-rich and safe for use in gardening. It enhances soil quality, promotes plant growth, and reduces the need for chemical fertilizers.
  2. Sustainable Fertilization: Embracing the composting process completes the cycle of sustainability. It connects waste disposal to resource creation, turning what was once a problem into a solution for healthier soil and plants.

Composting toilets extend their influence beyond bathroom walls, positively impacting the environment, public health, and our connection to nature. By embracing these toilets, you’re not only making a conscious choice for your immediate surroundings but also contributing to the broader movement towards a more sustainable and harmonious world.

Our experts have written a comprehensive article on composting toilets, which provides detailed information on their benefits, working mechanisms, maintenance, warranty information and various types. If you want to learn more about composting toilets, this article is a great resource to start with.

8 thoughts on “Composting Toilet Reviews”

  1. We bought Sun-Mar Compact toilet believing it would fit in our RV, but it did not actually fit. we used the documented dimensions to determine that it should fit. However, when you receive this toilet it does seem to be bulkier than the documented dimensions. When we returned this item, the reseller charged us a restocking fee over $100. I think that’s a little ridiculous considering the packaging was in perfect condition when we sent it back. So for the seller I say shame on you especially in this time of hardship, but the toilet itself is a high quality toilet and hopefully it will work in your situation if you read this review.

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  2. Nature’s Head Self Contained unit – what a great composting toilet. We ripped out the old manual salt water head, and it’s smelly lines, and disgusting holding tank on our cruising sailboat. A week in, and NO SMELL. Ahh. We can leave the head door open again! Easy to use. Easy to install. Yes, it’s taller than a normal toilet. We bought a two step step stool so our 3yo can get to it “all by myself.” She loves it. Fits her little seat, and she knows exactly how to use it. She opens the lid, puts her seat on, opens the hatch when she does #2, closes everything, and even spins the handle. That is literally how easy it is to use…a 3yo can do it. So very very happy.

    I also wanted to take a moment to talk up the company. We had a question on our install so I emailed the company. Got a response in 20 minutes and my wife spent 30-45 minutes on the phone with them on a Saturday. Just a good old awesome company to work with.

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  3. I’ve been living in a tiny house with a Separett toilet for 2 years now. As “composting” or dry toilets go, Separett Villa 9215 is hard to beat if you’re at all squeamish about dealing with human waste. (Water/moisture is what makes toilets and their contents smell. The whole point of a dry/composting toilet is to separate the two so that each component can be dealt with separately.) It’s a bit more expensive, but it has features that make the price worthwhile. There’s a fan inside that works continuously; this keeps any potential odor from developing, though if you’re using it properly that shouldn’t be an issue. You never actually see the inside of the solids bin, and the liquid hose takes care of the liquid separately. There’s no turning the solids bin every day (or whatever) or lugging a container of pee to dispose of. I researched pretty much every option out there, and I couldn’t find anything better than this. (Incinerators might be a good option in a few years when they get around to making units that don’t eat up so much electricity, for example.) If you’re looking for a well made (in Sweden) dry toilet that has all the best features of a regular toilet and then some, this is the one to get.

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  4. So far, so good. I do wish it was easier to see when urine needs to be taken out, but it isn’t entirely problematic. I was disappointed in the quality of the product for the price (I mean, it’s a plastic toilet). It should probably be half of what I paid for it.

    Nature’s Head toilet came with the Humanure Handbook; if you read that book, it specifically states not to use a toilet like this one. In fact, after using the Nature’s Head toilet for over a year and then building our own for about $50, my wife and I only wish we had done it ourselves in the first place.
    By generally following the design of the toilet that the author made (also here, if you don’t want to read the book. We made a toilet that was FAR less expensive, a much simplier design, easier to maintain, a good height (Nature’s Head will make you tippy-toe), and, most importantly, bug free (we could never get rid of the gnats)!

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  5. The Sun-Mar Excel NE is a wonderful product that works very effectively and easily. After installing mine about six years ago, I have installed three more for friends with no difficulties and they all continue to work well. Since it does sit high due to the drum, I have recessed the base about 10″ with a flip up floor in the front to access the composting drawer and to provide a space for the peat mix.

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  6. If you are looking for a composting toilet stay well away from Sun-Mar Compact unit. We have had nothing but problems with it since the first day it arrived. This unit is far too small for 2 adults to use. The first thing that happened when we installed it, as directed, was it leaked. The design of this toilet is a nightmare. The drum is too small and the drawer at the bottom sticks. It has a short rubber strip that is suppose to suffice for putting it open! You end up levering it open. When we turn the drum, as directed to do every 3 days it gets so jammed inside with that I have to empty the drawer at least twice a week.

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  7. I am totally pleased with my unit, so decided to post. I bought Nature’s Head Self Contained Composting Toilet in 2021, intending to use it in a cabin I was building. Stuff happened, and the toilet sat in the box unopened until June 2016, when we finally finished the cabin. We installed it, followed set up directions, and started using it. It has performed flawlessly with two people full time. Is there noise? A little, a gentle hum no louder than the white noise masker I use every night. We got used to it within hours. There is zero odor, even when the deed is being done. No candles, no spray, no nose holding…It is not gross, it is not difficult, there is no outside odor that we have been aware of. We did install the vent pretty high, so that probably helps. It melds very well with the other fixtures in the bathroom and doesn’t scream composting toilet. We also have a Natures Head, and this Sun-Mar so outperforms that unit (which in fairness is also a good toilet) that it is night and day. I would heartily recommend this unit to anyone wanting a composting toilet

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  8. We ‘remodeled’ the outhouse at our off-grid cabin by lining it with cedar planks and covering up the hole in the ground (after first filling it with cedar shavings.) Then we installed the Sun-Mar Excel (which we bought used for $450 in excellent condition.) We power it with one of those 12v solar chargers. We only run the fan when we are in the outhouse and we never use the evaporator because it isn’t necessary and it uses too much power.

    We drain all the liquid from the Excel into the cedar filled hole underneath the outhouse through 3/4″ PVC. We found that the waste takes too long to composite inside the toilet so we empty it completely once a month into our Loveable Loo compost pile.

    My only complaints are the fan wears out too soon and the little footstool is worthless. We replaced the fan with a computer fan and the footstool with a sturdy handmade cedar step. Oh, and the MSR price is not cost-effective.

    Reply

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