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.
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!
1. Nature’s Head Self Contained Composting Toilet – Expert’s Choice
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.
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.
- 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.
- Full-sized seat
- Low voltage/wattage
- Long warranty
- Built-in circulation fan
- A bit expensive, but worth it.
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.
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
- Compact, convenient size
- All necessary accessories are included
- Battery operated
- Long warranty
- Ventilation fan
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.
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.
- Easy to install
- Large capacity
- Long warranty
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.
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
- 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.
- Compact size
- Easy to setup in tight spaces
- Venting kit included
- Emergency drain
- Pest proof
- Long warranty
- Small capacity
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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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Incinerator toilets: These use electricity to incinerate waste into ash, another alternative for those seeking compost toilet options.
- 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.
- 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.
- Accessibility: Keep the toilet easily accessible, ensuring it’s not too far from your living spaces while maintaining a degree of privacy.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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:
- Non-Water Models: Many composting toilets are designed to operate without any water connection, making them ideal for water-saving households.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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:
- Space Optimization: Composting toilets are space-savers, allowing you to maximize your RV or van layout while still enjoying comfortable bathroom facilities.
- 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.
When it comes to unconventional living spaces, understanding regulations is paramount:
- Local Regulations: Depending on where you’re parked or stationed, there might be regulations about waste disposal. Research local laws to ensure compliance.
- Waste Disposal: Some areas might have specific guidelines for composting waste disposal. Be sure to follow these guidelines to minimize environmental impact.
- 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:
- Reduced Landfill Pressure: By converting waste into compost, these toilets alleviate the burden on overflowing landfills, contributing to waste reduction and a greener planet.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.