Composting toilets are a relatively new experiment in the toilet industry. The main idea behind these toilets was to convert human waste into an excellent natural fertilizer for gardening. This process decomposes the waste through manually created bacterial activities.
We define composting toilets as a sub-category of portable toilets that use an eco-friendly method to dispose of the excreta.
Top 5 Best Composting Toilets: Comparison Table
These toilets earned quite a reputation for themselves in remote locations by people that live in cabins, by campers, by hikers, and by rafters. The modern technology of processing human waste without using water is an excellent solution for areas suffering from limited water supply and inadequate drainage systems.
The self-contained design makes composting models 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.
To find that one model that’ll meet all your requirements effectively, you first have to educate yourself. Learn about all these toilet’s essential details, their working principle, and proper maintenance techniques. The selection process becomes even more comfortable when you’ve done an in-depth analysis of the most promising products in the market. So, here it goes.
Top 5 Best Composting Toilets: Product Reviews
In my review section, I will enlighten you on the different technologies and designs that manufacturers use to keep their products competitive. I have reviewed the most prominent composting models available on the market today. What makes them more advantageous and gives better value than the others? Let’s find out the answer.
1. Nature’s Head Self-Contained Toilet
Nature’s Head Self-Contained Toilet 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 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 more relaxed 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 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 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.
2. Nature’s Head Dry Toilet
The next contender on my list is also a brainchild of Nature’s Head. I had a 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 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 positives of this model include an easy installation process, an on-electric option, and an appropriate ventilation system. The crank handle is beneficial in accelerating the composting process.
However, the urine tank must be emptied frequently, which could be a headache for many. I was slightly disappointed to know that a product of this caliber can’t accommodate more than four adults.
3. Sun Mar Excel Self Contained Toilet
Sun Mar Composting models are a treat to the customers looking for something extraordinary. The premium waterless, non-electric unit is excellent at replicating a regular toilet ambiance and comfort level.
The coolest feature of this self-contained toilet is the variable diameter bio-drum that makes the entire process less complicated and works 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 ten 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.
4. Biolet Toilet Systems
The Boilet Toilet System is another non-electric, best waterless composting toilet that delivers outstanding performance and capacity. It can easily accommodate 4 to 5 adults out on a weekend vacation. The product is ready to use right after you unpack it from 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 in your RV, boat, or caravan.
The aesthetically crafted body will perfectly complement 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 appreciate it if the makers focus on improving the quality of the drain tube for the leachate. If not set up correctly, it would cause leakage.
5. Separett Villa
Separett is a famous European manufacturer of plumbing fixtures. The stylish Swedish design packs several 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 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 toilets 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. There are many areas, miles away from the hustle and bustle of a metropolitan city where water is still scarce. There are also vast areas that haven’t developed a proper sewage system yet. Composting toilets will be of excellent service for folks inhabiting in those places.
Principle Behind The Composting Toilet
Many of you, I assume, have heard about composting toilets but don’t know how they 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 freezing area, perhaps you should reconsider buying this kind of 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 woody 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 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 toilet like this is as easy as it gets. In many states, you can get the job done for a small amount. As mentioned above, composting models 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.
Maintenance of composting models includes stirring and removing the waste. Completing this step needs to be performed carefully, so you don’t create a huge mess. This step is the only instance when traditional toilets get an extra point.
You have to get your hands on the right composting materials. Materials such as peat moss or sawdust, are put it into the basin, then stirred. Lastly, don’t forget to 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 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 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 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 there are 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 capacity of the unit.
For optimum effect, an electric-powered self-contained toilet would be a great option to carry with you. The reason is because of the level of warmth generated by the thermostatic elements that improve the aerobic action and bacterial activity. The most significant 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 type. Another bonus advantage is that you can use this toilet in colder regions as well without a problem.
The essential 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 two-piece structure that closely resembles traditional toilets.
The central composting unit lives 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 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 an intense vacuum action in the toilet to draw the odor down.
Installing a Composting Toilet
These 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.
For an unleveled surface, you’ll have to relieve excess pressure off the basin’s seal. If you’re going to install the unit in your apartment, 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 instructions mentioned above. You can use the toilet right away after unboxing the unit.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Best Composting Toilet
Local laws are the first consideration you need to take into account while selecting the perfect model for yourself. In many states, you have to obtain a permit to install the toilet in residential apartments. There are laws also regarding sewage disposal in certain areas.
If you don’t abide by the hygiene codes while littering the trash, you could face penalties. So, know the local laws and your building codes before planning to install a composting model.
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 to determine the suitable toilet size for your bathroom. This step is particularly important if your bathroom is small.
Self-contained units require more space to spare than central composting models. The latter one 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 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 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 composting 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 it 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 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.
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 little turn off for people having a limited amount to spare. However, let me assure you that investing in a composting unit is going to save you a great deal of hassle in the future.
A toilet mechanism is an efficient 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 model, I assure you’ll change your mind.