Composting toilets are a relatively new experiment in the toilet industry. The main idea behind these toilets is to convert human waste into a natural fertilizer. The composting process decomposes the waste through manually created bacterial activities. In short, composting toilets are eco-friendly portable toilets.
Benefits of Using a Composting Toilet
For travel enthusiasts, composting toilets are a worthy replacement for more traditional models. Converting the feces using woody plants or sawdust is an idea far ahead of its time.
We all read about saving nature, planting trees, and watch videos on global warming. Decomposing our sewage is a great way to make our surroundings better. You can use organic waste to boost the growth of the trees and plants in your garden.
Although the initial cost is a bit high, keep in mind that it will save you money each month as there will be little to no consumption of water for toilet flushing purposes.
Installing this kind of 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 that help you get rid of the waste quicker include a cranking handle. By cranking the handle, you can accelerate the decomposing process. Try to find a model that eliminates the urine from the basin automatically.
Tips Using a Composting Toilet
Using this type of toilet properly will directly improve its lifespan. So, let’s mention a few tips.
First, you should always keep the lid closed while not in use. Also, it’s crucial that liquid and solid waste remain separate.
After adding solid waste, you should complete the composting process a few times. Also, some people are wondering if they can use toilet paper for this toilet. Yes, you can. However, then the process might take slightly longer.
- Benefits of Using a Composting Toilet
- Tips Using a Composting Toilet
- The Composting Toilet Comparison Table
- Top 5 Composting Toilets | Products We Reviewed
- What is a Composting Toilet?
- Composting Principle
- Common Issues
- Types of Composting Toilets
- Things to Consider Before Buying
- Installation and Maintenance Guide
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Wrapping up
The Composting Toilet Comparison Table
The technology of processing human waste without using water is an excellent solution for campers, hikers, and rafters. It’s also good for use in areas suffering from limited water supply or inadequate drainage systems.
The self-contained design makes them a pain-free way to carry your toilet along with you. You need neither water, nor plumbing for the installation.
To find that one model that will meet all your requirements, learn about each model’s essential details, the working principle, and maintenance techniques. The selection becomes easier when you do an in-depth analysis of products available on the market. Here are our reviews.
Top 5 Composting Toilets | Products We Reviewed
We have reviewed the most prominent compost models available on the market today. What makes them more advantageous and gives better value than the others? Keep reading to find out.
1. Nature’s Head Self-Contained Toilet
|Seat Height||20 inches|
Nature’s Head Self-Contained Toilet ranks among the top units on the market. It has a rugged construction and state-of-the-art composting technology. The aerating spider cranking handle stirs the waste material thoroughly and efficiently.
The most prominent feature of the toilet is that it stores the liquid and solid waste separately. It obviously paves the way to optimal composting impact.
The unit is available in non-electric and waterless options. It comes with a vent hose and a fan in case you want to set it up indoors. DIY enthusiasts will be relieved to know that reassembling the unit is a breeze.
As far as the toilet capacity goes, a group of 5 to 6 people can efficiently utilize this toilet for a short time.
The user-friendly design of Nature’s Head was meant to serve people who travel in areas. For example, in cases where plumbing service, electricity, or water supply is hard to get. It has an inner mechanism that keeps the moisture level ideal.
2. Nature’s Head Dry Toilet
|Seat Height||20 inches|
The next contender on our list is also a brainchild of Nature’s Head. We had a tough time ranking them. In this version, a standard crank handle has taken the place of the spider handle.
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. It directly reduces 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 extra pipes may be needed. The toilet container is equipped with a lid to remove the by-product.
Other pros include an easy installation process and an appropriate ventilation system. The crank handle is beneficial in accelerating the composting process.
The urine tank, however, must be emptied frequently, which could be a headache for many. We were also slightly disappointed to know that this model can’t accommodate more than four adults.
3. Sun Mar Excel
|Seat Height||Comfort Height|
Sun Mar models are a treat for customers. The premium waterless, non-electric unit is excellent at replicating the feel of a regular toilet.
The coolest feature of this toilet is the variable diameter bio-drum. It makes the entire process less complicated and works much faster and more efficiently. The dedicated 4-inch venting kit ensures optimal air circulation, helping to dissipate odor from the unit.
If you have kids in your group, you should buy a metal stool, since these units are the tallest in their genre. Although the package already includes a stepping tool, we didn’t find it steady enough. The high capacity of the model makes it an ideal choice for large families and heavy use.
If handled cautiously, the product may last for more than ten years. There is a drain outlet to prevent over-spilling if you forget to empty the storage tank. Strongly recommended for folks who live off the grid for weeks or months.
4. Biolet Toilet Systems
|Seat Height||19.5 inches|
The Biolet Toilet System is another non-electric toilet that delivers outstanding performance. It can easily accommodate 4 to 5 adults out on a weekend vacation. The product is ready to use right out of the box so there is no need to find any hookups to activate the function.
The unique two-batch system is behind the exceptionally high capacity of the unit. Its compact dimension lends a minimal footprint to your RV, boat, or caravan. The aesthetically crafted body will complement the décor of any RV bathroom. It is essentially just like a top-end traditional toilet from a renowned brand. The crank handle facilitates smooth operation and ease of relocation.
Among the cons, we would like to see the makers focus on improving the quality of the drain tube. If not set up correctly, it would cause leakage.
5. Separett Villa
|Seat Height||17.3 inches|
Separett is a famous European manufacturer of plumbing fixtures. The stylish Swedish design offers several features to help you maintain sanitation standards.
The mini-size of the model favors the portability aspect of the toilet. There is a urine diversion system that channels the liquid waste through the pipe.
The airtight trapdoor opens and shuts down automatically when you sit down and get up. The composting process takes place in a bin which has a compostable bag spread inside it. The bag is easily detachable so when it gets full, you can take it off and leave it outdoors and let the bacteria do finish the job.
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 units make it a highly effective toilet solution for camping, RVs, small boats, and hiking sites, and for people who live in the woods like forest rangers. Also, there are many areas where water is still scarce, and there are vast areas where a proper sewage system has not been developed. These units will be of excellent service for folks inhabiting those places.
You may have heard about compost toilets and now wonder how they work. The primary requirements to initiate the actions are simple: a proper vent system, a favorable warm environment, and a mechanism to handle the material.
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 freezing area, perhaps you should reconsider buying the best composting toilet. You will have to empty the basin at regular intervals to keep the toilet clean and odor-free.
Maintenance of the toilet includes stirring and removing the waste. This step needs to be performed carefully, so as to not create a huge mess. This step is the only instance when traditional toilets get an extra point.
You will need to buy the right composting materials. Materials such as peat moss or sawdust, are put into the basin, then stirred.
You will need to empty the storage regularly. That’s a pesky job!
Also, you have to ensure that the vents are working fine. They should be creating adequate airflow inside the unit to allow the stink to escape.
As unpleasant as it sounds, doing the whole thing wrong can trigger a horrific smell. But aside from the negatives, it is an actually cost-effective, eco-friendly method to use your waste for a noble purpose.
Types of Composting Toilets
Self-contained composting toilets are available in both electric and non-electric versions.
The modern self-contained units need electricity to run a fan or a heater in the base to banish the gases and odors. The power input for average models ranges between 80-150 watts. The essential requirement is a standard household 110-volt power supply.
For optimum effect, an electric-powered toilet would be a great option to carry with you because of the level of warmth generated by the thermostatic elements. It improves aerobic action and bacterial activity. The biggest advantage of the self-contained toilet is that no plumbing 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 cheaper than any other composting toilet type. Another bonus advantage is that you can use this toilet in colder regions as well without a problem.
A central composting toilet is a two-piece structure that closely resembles traditional toilets.
The central unit lives in the basement of the unit. There are two further categories of composting toilets based on the flushing system. 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 connected to a composter under the toilet. The pipe creates an intense vacuum action in the toilet to draw the odor down.
Things to Consider Before Buying
If you’re thinking about altering your existing toilet, you must measure the rough-in. It will determine the suitable toilet size for your bathroom. This step is particularly important if your bathroom is small.
Self-contained units require more space than central composting models. The latter type needs an exterior vent hole and a lot of space directly below the toilet to place the tank.
Low power consumption is a prominent feature in upscale composting toilets. If you don’t have a steady electricity connection, you may look for a solar-powered unit.
The non-electric models run on batteries so, it would be better if you keep some batteries in your pocket. The electric models run on the domestic power output of 12 V to 110 V to move the extraction fan or heater.
Most modern designs are easy to use and maintain with the user needing to empty the storage space only once in a while, whereas certain products have a more involved maintenance procedure.
Go through the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to know how frequently you have to dispose of the by-product. If you don’t want to involve yourself in the cleaning, you may take the help of a professional. But yes, promptly emptying the compost tank is imperative to eliminate the odor 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 worth the price or not. There is no point in investing a fortune on an over-priced model where you’re getting 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 shoestring budget and unable to find something that fits your needs, you should take some extra time to save up some more instead of opting for a cheap item. Toilets are long-term investments. When you’ve determined to own one, make sure to get a product worth every penny of its cost.
Portable vs. Composting
If a toilet uses no toxic chemicals, it’s considered to be environment-friendly. But if a toilet is “composting”, it’s a bit different. It means that its waste can be safely used as fertilizer.
Some toilets also come with a special gel that you can use to treat the waste before dumping. However, these toilets are not referred to as composting toilets. If you want to make fertilizer, be sure to buy a toilet that makes compost.
Tank capacity is another crucial thing that you should consider. Depending on how many people use the toilet, it can take weeks or even months to fill up the tank. However, if you are buying the toilet for your RV or boat, it’s a bit different.
As a rule of thumb, you should buy a toilet that can last at least 5-7 weeks without emptying. Most toilets on our list have a capacity of over 5 gallons, which is more than enough.
Choosing a Model
When choosing a toilet, you should always consider utility usage. Although they are composting, some toilets might still use water. Some might even use electricity for the composting process. If you want to save on the bills, you might want to buy a solar-powered toilet.
For people who want a dry toilet, ideal compost materials are sawdust and peat. You should also consider if the media is easily available for you.
Now, let’s talk about smell. Most units use special traps to prevent the smell from leaking out. However, it means that everybody would have to sit while urinating.
Benefits of Waterless Toilet
There are many benefits that waterless toilets provide. First, it will save you a lot of water each month. When you do the calculation, you will realize how much you will save annually.
Another great about these toilets is that the waste from them is completely usable for garden fertilizing.
On top of that, you will be independent of the sewage system. Since the waste is converted into fertilizer, you won’t need to dispose of it in the sewer system.
Installation and Maintenance Guide
Obviously, the installation of these units requires no plumbing. You only need to ensure two things. One, there should be enough space so that you can remove the waste bin. Two, you should be able to rotate the handle that actually starts the composting process.
Usually, you will need to attach the toilet to the floor with brackets as well as attach the hose for ventilation. The hose is not always included in the package, so you may need to visit the hardware store.
The maintenance of these units is very simple. You should press the handle each time you put solid waste into the toilet. Apart from that, you will only need to monitor the bins. There are usually two bins: one for liquid and one for solid waste. The liquid waste bin should be emptied every few days.
Frequently Asked Questions
It depends on the model. However, most models need the power of 12v to run.
Most composting toilets come with sealed valves and don’t smell bad. However, it’s also necessary that you use them properly. Mixing up the solid and liquid waste might cause a smell.
You can find peat moss in most garden stores. A great thing is that peat moss is affordable which makes it a number one choice.
It’s the best thing about these toilets. You can literally dump the waste in a garden. However, if you are away from your own house, make sure to check the dumping laws.
The solids in the bin will slowly turn into fertilizers. Once they are ready, you can put all the solid waste in the bag and dispose of it. When it comes to liquids, you can simply dump them in a sewer. If you don’t want to toss the solid waste, you can use it as fertilizer on plants.
It depends mainly on how many people use it and how frequently. However, it should be able to last at least a month until the tank gets completely full.
It depends mainly on toilet quality. You can find units for as low as $100. On the other hand, if you want a top-quality unit, you might have to pay from a few hundred to over a thousand dollars.
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 useless waste into something beneficial.
The steep price might be a turn-off for people with a limited budget. However, investing in a composting unit is going to save you a great deal of hassle and money in the future.
This toilet mechanism also offers an efficient approach towards water shortage and underdeveloped sewage system problems.
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 a quality model can be, I assure you’ll change your mind.