Best Composting Toilet – A Comprehensive Guide

Composting toilets are 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.

This is done by decomposing the waste through manually created bacterial activities. Composting toilets might be defined as a sub-category of portable toilets that use a much eco-friendly method to dispose of the excreta.

These toilets earned quite a reputation for themselves in remote locations by people that live in cabins, by campers, by hikers, by rafters and simply anyone who spends a lot of time exploring the  outdoors. The modern technology of processing human waste without using water is an excellent solution for areas suffering from limited water supply and poor drainage systems.

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, and proper maintenance techniques. The selection process becomes even easier when you’ve done the in-depth analysis of the most promising products in the market. So, here it goes.

Picture

Composting Toilet

Brand

Class

Editor Rating

Nature's Head 

High End

Nature's Head

High End

Sun Mar Corp.

High End

Biolet Toilet

High End

Separett

High End

Sanitation Equipment Ltd.

Low End

In my review section, I will enlighten you on different technologies and designs that manufacturers use to keep their products competitive. I have reviewed the most prominent composting toilets available on the market today. What makes them more advantageous and gives better value 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. This toilet system is a culmination of rugged construction and state-of-the-art composting technology for maximum composting effects. The aerating spider cranking handle, made from a fine quality stainless steel, stirs the waste material thoroughly and efficiently.


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 waste separately which paves the 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 utilize this toilet for a short period of time.

The user-friendly design of Nature’s Head was meant to serve people who travel in areas where plumbing service, electricity or water supply is hard to get. It has a 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 one ahead of the other. 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. It has a separator that helps collect urine into a detachable urine bottle, thereby 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.


Other positive's of this model include: easy installation process, on-electric option and appropriate ventilation system. The crank handle is very helpful in accelerating the composting process.

 

However, the urine tank must be emptied 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 a 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 work much faster and efficiently. The dedicated 4-inch venting kit ensures optimal air circulation inside the basin to help dissipate odor from the unit.


If you have kids in your group, you should purchase a metal stool separately for them, since these 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 and their heavy 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. It can easily accomodate 4 to 5 adults out on a weekend vacation. 


The product is ready to use right after you unpack it from the box. No need of finding any hookups to activate the function. The special two-batch system is 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 any RV  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 leachgate. 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 favors the portability aspect of the toilet. There is a urine diversion system utilized to channel 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 outdoors and let the bacteria do finish job.


The Sanitation Equipment Visa Potty Model

Editor Rating:

The Sanitation Equipment model features a quick release latch mounted on the body of the toilet.

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 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. It does this by adding peat moss, fibrous plants or sometimes sawdust to it the waste. These natural elements act as decomposition agents, activating air circulation to trigger the processing of sewage.

The waterless, pre-assembled design of these toilets make it a highly effective toilet solution in RVs, small boats, camping and hiking sites, and for people who live in the woods like forest rangers. There are many areas, miles away from the hustle and bustle of a metropolitan city where water is still scarce, or may be other 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 The 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 dung into food for plants in a language we’ll all understand. The primary requirements to initiate the actions are: a proper vent system, a favorable warm environment and a dedicated mechanism to handle the material effortlessly.

Human solid waste is 90% water so the ventilation system evaporates the water to shrink the volume of the substance and release the odor. The decomposition process takes place faster when there is a 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 odor-free.

Benefits of Using a Composting Toilet

For the travel minded, outdoor life enthusiast and nature loving folks, composting toilets are all they’ll need as a worthy replacement of brick and mortar toilets. Converting the feces using fibrous plants or sawdust is an idea far ahead of its time.

We all read about saving nature, planting trees, and watch environmentalists engaging in heated debates on global warming. The discovery of manually decomposing our sewage is a great way to go make our surroundings greener and more beautiful. You can use 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, keep in mind that it’s ultimately going to slash a handsome sum from your yearly utility bill. There will be little to no consumption of water for toilet flushing purposes.

Installing a composting toilet is as easy as it gets. In many states, you can get the job done for a small amount. As mentioned above, composting toilets pay for themselves. The technical elements in the toilets that help you get rid of the waste quicker include a cranking handle.

If you crank this handle, you can accelerate the decomposing process by turning the manure over to help it dry out more quickly. Try to find a model that eliminates the urine from the basin automatically for maximum benefit.

Common Issues with Composting Toilets

Maintenance of the composting toilet includes stirring and removing the waste. This is a step that has to be performed carefull so you don't create a huge 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 peat moss or saw dust, then you put it into the basin, stir it and empty the storage regularly. That’s a pesky job!

Furthermore, you have to ensure that the vents are working fine and that they are 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 negatives, it is an actual cost-effective, eco-friendly method to use your waste 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 toilet, and they are made with both electric and non-electric versions. The modern self-contained units need electricity to run a fan or a thermostatically controlled heater in the base of the toilet to banish the gases and odors.

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’s 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 closely resembles traditional toilets. The central composting unit is generally tucked in the basement of the unit.

There are two further categories of central composting toilets based on the flushing system used. 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 relieve excess pressure off the basin’s seal. 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 composting toilet product.


Toilet Installation Space

If you’re thinking about altering your existing toilet with a composting unit in your bathroom, you must measure 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 space 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.

Maintenance

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 instructions carefully to know how frequently you have to dispose the by-product. If you don’t want to 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 odor and keep the system running efficiently.

Price

After assessing the essential features and functionality, you will be able to judge more realistically whether the product is really worth the price it 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 gut.

 

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 product 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 the 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 convenience of a quality composting toilet, I assure you’ll change your mind.

  • Updated January 19, 2019
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