Best Composting Toilet – A Comprehensive Guide

Composting toilet is a relatively new experiment in the toilet industry. The main idea behind creating these toilets was to convert human waste into a fine natural fertilizer for gardening by decomposing them through manually created bacterial activity. Composting toilets might be defined as a sub-category of portable toilets using a much eco-friendly method to dispose the excreta. These toilets earned quite a reputation for themselves in remote location in the countryside, among the owners of cabin in the woods, campers, hikers, rafters and simply anyone who spend a lot of time wandering outdoors. The modern technology of processing the waste without using water is an excellent solution for areas suffering from limited water supply and poor drainage system.

The self-contained design makes composting toilets a pain free way to carry your toilet along with you. Neither you need water for flushing nor does it need plumbing work to set up the unit, these compact wonders make life so much easier. In order to find out that one model that’ll meet all your requirements effectively, you first have to educate yourself on the essential details about these toilets, their working principle, proper maintenance techniques. The selection process becomes even easier when you’ve the in-depth analysis of the most promising products in the market. So, here it goes.

Reviews of the Best Composting Toilets of 2017


Composting Toilet



Editor Rating

Nature's Head 

High End

Nature's Head

High End

Sun Mar Corp.

High End

Biolet Toilet Systems 33

Biolet Toilet

High End


High End

Sanitation Equipment Ltd.

Low End

In my review section, I will enlighten you on the different technologies and designs different manufacturers put to use to make their products stay in the competition. These are some of the most prominent composting toilets. What makes them subtly more advantageous and value for money investment than the others? Let’s find out the answer.

Nature’s Head Self-Contained Composting Toilet

Editor Rating:

This is by far one of the most recommended composting toilets of all time. The toilet system is a culmination of rugged construction and state-of-the-art composting technology for maximum composting effect. The aerating spider cranking handle, made from a fine quality stainless steel to stir the waste material properly.

The unit is available in both non-electric and waterless options to make your journey easier than ever.

The most prominent feature of the toilet is that it stores the liquid and solid wastes separately which paves way to optimal composting impact. The toilet comes with a vent hose and a fan in case you want to set it up indoors. DIY enthusiasts would be relieved to know that reassembling and detaching the unit is a breeze. As far as the toilet capacity goes, a group of 5 to 6 people can easily sustain on this toilet for a short period of time.

The user-friendly design of Nature’s Head was meant to serve to people who travel to dwell in areas where plumbing service, electricity or water supply is hard to get. I couldn't stop wondering about how effortlessly the sturdy yet lightweight model served me without causing much trouble. Among the other pros, I'll have to mention the special inner mechanism that keeps the moisture level inside the basin at an ideal level for fast and effective decomposition.

Nature’s Head Dry Composting Toilet

Editor Rating:

The next contender in my list is also a brainchild of Nature’s Head. I had a really tough time ranking them. In this version, a standard crank handle has taken the place of the spider handle used in Nature’s Head Self-Contained Composting Toilet.

For extra comfort and leg support, the seat has an elongated shape. The separator that helps collecting the urine into a detachable urine bottle, reducing the chances of leakage and odor build-up. The odor is taken care of by a 12 / 110 V optional extraction fan that forces the smell down through a 5 inch outlet pipe. This pipe length may not be sufficient for RVs, so you should purchase some extra pipes if you feel the need.

The toilet container is equipped with a lid to remove the by-product. Among the good things, the easy installation process, on-electric option, appropriate ventilation system are counted. The crank handle is very helpful in accelerating the composting process. However, the urine tank must be littered frequently which could be headache for many. I was slightly disappointed to know that a product of this caliber can’t accommodate more than 4 adults.

Sun Mar Excel Self Contained Composting Toilet

Editor Rating:

Sun Mar Composting toilets are a treat to the customers looking for something extraordinary. The premium waterless, non-electric unit is excellent at replicating the regular toilet ambience and comfort level. 

The coolest feature of this self-contained toilet is the variable diameter bio-drum that makes the entire process less complex and quick. The dedicated 4 inch venting kit ensures optimal air circulation inside the basin so that the horrible odour dissipates from the unit.

If you’re having kids in your group, you should purchase a metal stool separately for them since their toilets are the tallest in their genre. Although the package already includes a stepping tool, I didn’t find it steady enough. The high capacity of the model makes it an ideal choice for large families for full-time use. If handled cautiously, the product may last for more than 10 years. There is even a ½ inch emergency drain outlet to prevent over spilling if you forget or fail to empty the storage tank when required. Strongly recommended for folks who live off the grid for weeks or months.

Biolet Toilet Systems 33

Editor Rating:

This is another non-electric, waterless composting toilet that delivers outstanding performance and capacity to take care of 4 to 5 adults out on a weekend vacation. 

The product is ready to use right after you unpack the box, no need of finding any hookups to activate the function. The special two-batch system is responsible behind the exceptionally high capacity of the unit. Its compact dimension lends a minimal footprint in your RV, boat or caravan.

The aesthetically crafted body will perfectly compliment the décor of you bathroom, just like a top-end traditional toilet set from a renowned brand. The crank handle facilitates smooth operation and ease of relocation. Among the cons, I would really appreciate if the makers focus on improving the quality of the drain tube for the leachate. If not set up correctly, it would cause leakage.

Separett Villa 9200

Editor Rating:

Separett is a famous European manufacturer of plumbing fixtures. The stylish Swedish design packs a number of interesting features to help you maintain high sanitation standards without consuming a lot of water. 

The mini size of the model favours the portability aspect of the toilet. There is a urine diversion system utilized to channelize the liquid waste through the pipe straight to the drain pit. The airtight trapdoor opens and shuts down automatically when you sit down and get up. The composting process takes place in a special removable bin which has a compostable bag spread inside it. The bag is easily detachable. Therefore, when it gets full, you can simply take it off and leave it outdoor and let the bacteria do their job.

The Sanitation Equipment Visa Potty Model

Editor Rating:

The Sanitation Equipment model is a saving grace for people scared to the death about cleaning the poop. The quick release latches mounted on the body of the toilet helps avoiding nightmare scenarios on road.

Its sleek profile and sturdy construction provides the same experience you get in regular toilets. The seals around edge of the tank are excellent at keeping the odor off from escaping. The regular height of the model is finely suitable for people of all ages.

What is a Composting Toilet?

A composting toilet is a variant of waterless portable toilets that produces compost fertilizer from solid and liquid waste by adding peat moss or any other fibrous plant and sometimes sawdust to it. These natural elements act as decomposition agents, activating air circulation to trigger the processing of the sewage. The waterless, pre-assembled design of these toilets make it a highly effective toilet solution in RVs, small boats, camping and hiking sites, people who live in the woods like forest rangers. There are many areas, miles away from the hustle bustle of metropolitan city where water is still a scarce, or may be the areas that still haven’t developed a good sewage system. Composting toilets will be of great service for folks inhabiting in those places.

Best Composting Toilet

Principle Behind Composting Toilet

Many of you, I assume have heard about composting toilets but don’t know how they actually work. Well, let me explain the whole process of turning your shit into the food for plants in a language we’ll all understand. The primary requirements to initiate the action are: a proper vent system, the favourable warm environment and a dedicated mechanism to handle the material effortlessly. Human solid waste is 90% water, the vent system evaporates the water to shrink the volume of the substance and release the odour. Decomposition process takes place faster when there sufficient level of warmth in the environment. If you’re going to travel in a very cold area, perhaps you should reconsider buying a composting toilet. You will have to empty the basin at regular intervals to keep the toilet clean and odour-free.

Benefits of Using a Composting Toilet

For the travel, outdoor life enthusiast and nature loving folks, composting toilets are all they’ll as a worthy replacement of brick and mortar toilets. Converting the faeces using fibrous plants or sawdust is an idea far ahead of its time. We all read about saving the nature, planting trees, watch environmentalists engaging into heated debates on global warming. The discovery of manually decomposing the sewage is a great way to go make our surroundings greener and more beautiful. You can use the organic waste to boost the growth of the trees in your garden.

Although the initial cost of purchasing a toilet like this is a bit high but you have to remember that it’s ultimately going to slash a handsome sum from your yearly utility bill, since there will be little to no consumption of water for toilet purpose.

Installing a composting toilet is as easy as it gets. In many states, you can get the job done for a small amount. In a way, composting toilets pay for themselves. The technical elements in the toilets that help you get rid of the waste quicker include a cranking handle. With the help of it, you can shift the substance at its proper place to accelerate the procedure. Try to find a model that eliminates the urine from the basin automatically for maximum benefit.

Common Issues with Composting Toilets

Maintenance of the compost hat includes stirring and removing the waste is a huge responsibility and should be performed carefully to avoid mess. This is the only instance when traditional toilets get an extra point. You have to get your hands on the right composting materials such as pit moss, put it into the basin, stir it and litter the storage regularly. That’s a pesky job! Furthermore, you have to ensure that the vents are working fine, creating adequate air flow inside the unit to allow the stink to escape. As unpleasant as it sounds, doing the whole thing wrong can trigger a cacophony of odor punishing your olfactory nerves. But aside the perks, it is an actual cost-effective, eco-friendly method to use your poop for a noble purpose.

What are the Types of Composting Toilets?

There are two primary variants of composting toilets suitable for residential use as well as any other location where traditional toilets aren’t available.

Self-contained Toilets: This is the primary type of composting toilets, made I both electric and non-electric versions. The modern self-contained units are maneuvered by a power supply, usually an electricity to run a fan or a thermostatically controlled heater in the base of the toilet to banish the gases and odours. The power input for average models ranges between 80-150 watts. The size of the bio-drum plays a pivotal role in determining the composting capacity of the unit. For optimum effect, an electric-powered self-contained toilet would be a great option to carry. This is because of the level of warmth generated by the thermostatic elements that improve the aerobic action and bacterial activity.

The biggest advantage of buying a self-contained toilet is that no plumbing or water connection equipment is required. The only job for you is to set up the vent stack correctly, that’ll be all. As far as the cost is concerned, these units are the most economical than any other composting toilet type. Another bonus advantage is that you can use this toilet in colder regions as well without a problem. The basic requirement to operate a self-contained toilet is a standard household 110 volt power supply (not even that for non-electric units).

Central Composting Toilet: A central composting toilet is a two-piece structure that has a close resemblance with traditional toilets. The central composting unit is generally tucked in the basement of the unit. There are further two categories of central composting toilets based on the flushing system used in them. The first type is 1 pint flush in which the central composting unit is hard-wired 15 to 20 feet below the toilet. You will need a 3” pipe to connect the composter to the basin. The second kind is waterless. Such systems involve a 10” plumbing pipe directly connected to a composter under the toilet. The pipe creates a strong vacuum action in the toilet to draw the odor down.

Installing a Composting Toilet

Composting toilets are a big pay off because of their hassle-free installation system. Even dummies like me with no prior knowledge about plumbing work can perform the task. A little DIY skill is all that you need. Before getting started with assembling the components, you need to acquire a correct rough-in measurement of the target area where you intend to set up the toilet. When done, begin with finding a flat top ground.

If the surface is not properly leveled, you’ll have to put excess pressure of the basin’s seal which may call trouble. If you’re going to install the unit in your appartment, you will have to drag the pipe of the vent through a window or any other exterior vent hole. For outdoor usage, there won’t be any need of going through the above mentioned instructions. You can use the toilet right away after unboxing the unit.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Composting Toilet

Local Laws

This is first consideration you need to take into account while selecting the best composting toilet for yourself. In many states, you have to obtain a permit to install the toilet in residential apartments. There are laws also regarding the sewage disposal in certain areas. If you don’t abide by the hygiene codes while littering the trash, you may be fined for it. So, know the local laws and your building codes before planning to install a product.

Toilet Installation Space

If you’re thinking about altering your existing toilet with a composting unit in your bathroom, you must take the rough-in correctly in order to determine the suitable toilet size for your bathroom. This is particularly important if your bathroom is small. Self-contained units require more space to spare than central composting models. The latter one requires an exterior vent hole and a lot of place directly below the toilet to place the tank.

Power Consumption

Low power consumption is a prominent feature in upscale composting toilets. If you don’t have a steady electricity connection handy, you may look for a solar-powered unit or a self-contained non-electric unit. The non-electric models run on batteries so, it would be better if you stack extra batteries in your rucksack in case the existing ones run out. The electric models would effectively run on the domestic power output of 12 V to 110 V to move the extraction fan or electric heater.


Most modern designs are easy-to-use and maintain. The user will need to empty the storage space only once in a while, whereas certain products have a more complex maintenance procedure. Go through the manufacturer’s instruction carefully to know how frequently you have to dispose the by-product. If you don’t want involve yourself in the cleaning, you may take the help of a professional. But yes, emptying the composting tank timely is imperative in order to eliminate the odour and keep the system running efficiently.


After assessing the essential features and functionality, you will be able to judge more realistically whether the product is really worth the price it offers or not. There is no point in investing a fortune on an over-priced model where you’re getting the similar qualities from another model at almost half its price. Have your requirements clear in your head and trust your guts. If you are running on a shoe string budget and unable to find something that fits your needs within the budget, you should take some extra time to save up some more instead of opting for a mysteriously cheap item. Toilets are lifelong investments. When you’ve determined to own one, make sure to get a service worth every penny of its cost.

Wrapping up

The best composting toilets are a much more convenient option than traditional flushing toilets or even bag type portable models when you’re on the move. Plus, the decomposition process turns the useless waste into something really useful. The steep price might be a little turn off for people having a limited amount to spare but let me assure that investing in a composting toilet is going to save you a great deal of hassle in future, which is alone worth every penny it costs.

The toilet mechanism is a very practical approach towards water shortage and underdeveloped sewage system problems in faraway destinations. Switching to a relatively lesser known toilet from a regular flushing toilet might not sound convincing enough for many of you. But once you know how impactful, cost-effective and convenient the entire thing is with these toilets, I assure you’ll change your mind.

  • June 25, 2016
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