Do you plan on going on a camping trip with your RV anytime soon – or do you live in a particularly small house? Are you tired of cramping your bathroom with regular-sized units when you obviously do not have space? Well, in this regard, the best composting toilet might be able to help you out. They are smaller, and much more efficient at turning your “business” into compost.
However, finding the best composting toilet is never going to be easy – particularly considering the galore of models you can find on the Internet nowadays. This is why we took it upon ourselves to present to you some of the most reliable options that you may find out there – just to know which manufacturer you can trust. By reading some composting toilet reviews, you should be able to narrow down your choices and pick a good product.
What Exactly Is a Composting Toilet?
A composting toilet is a toilet that has been designed to take human waste (but also toilet paper) and transform it into compost. When it comes to camping and other outdoor activities, composting is considered to be the most environmentally friendly solution, as you won’t be leaving any waste behind to pollute the environment.
Plus, since these types of portable camping toilets are particularly compact, you can easily carry them around with you to any outdoor location. All you have to do is prop the unit in your car or RV, and you may go on your way. The only thing you might need extra is a “toilet tent,” to keep all the business private.
This type of toilet does not require water to flush – although some may still use water from a water tank. However, some of these toilets do require the use of electricity – so, unless you are in the vicinity of a power source, you may want to ensure that you at least have a battery to connect it to. Also, similar to the best upflush toilets, this one doesn’t have a need for fancy plumbing.
Top Benefits of Composting Toilets – Why You Should Use Them?
Composting toilets have gained quite a lot of popularity in the past few years and for some pretty good reasons. If you are considering whether you should get such a composting toilet or not, here are a few things that might help you make up your mind.
Reduce Water Usage
Each time you flush a toilet, you use quite a lot of water; a gallon, in most cases. With each flush, you add more and more to your water bill and obviously, that water will have to be paid from your own pocket. If you have a relatively big family, that’s going to lead to a lot of wasted water.
On the other hand, composting toilets use vacuuming and venting to turn your waste into compost which means that water will generally not be used. Sure, there are central composting toilets, some of which use water but they are not really as common. Even so, they still use less water in comparison to your traditional toilet.
Reduce Bad Odors
Composting toilets were made to oxygenate the compost and infuse it by rotation of a drum. Oxygen is an essential part of the composting process, as it permits the quick breakdown of the odor-causing bacteria. Therefore, removing any bad smell that might be coming from your toilet.
Easy to Install
With a traditional toilet, you will have a lot of plumbing to go through. In which case, you will have to contact a plumber. You will need to connect the waste pipe, the water pipe, and go through a lot of hassle that will just kill your spare time. However, with a composting toilet, the chances are that all the installation you will have to do is to take it out, find a spot, and direct the venting pipe.
Best Composting Toilets Comparison Chart
Nature’s Head Self Contained Composting Toilet
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Camco Premium Travel Toilet with Detachable Tank
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Nature’s Head Dry Composting Toilet with Standard Crank Handle
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Separett Villa 9215 AC/DC Composting Toilet
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Basicwise Portable Travel Toilet for Camping and Hiking
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Sun-Mar Excel Non-Electric Self-Contained Composting Toilet
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Best Composting Toilets – (Newest Models)
1. Nature’s Head Self Contained Composting Toilet
Those of you looking for a quick-to-install composting toilet might appreciate this model. It only needs to be taken out of its box, after which you direct the vent hose outside.
Plus, the unit may be disassembled in a few seconds, for easy cleaning. This means that you will not have to handle compost for a long time – making it more comfortable for you. It is also a self-contained unit, meaning that you won’t need electricity for it.
The toilet has a nice design and it’s comfortable to sit on. What’s most convenient about it is that it is highly portable and that it may be used both at home and on a camping trip.
- Easy to install
- Very easy to empty
- Comfortable to sit on
- Small waste compartments
2. Camco Premium Travel Toilet with Detachable Tank
If you are looking for a compact, lightweight, and not-so-fancy compost toilet, then this bucket-type central model might be of interest to you. It has all the features that a camper might need.
This composting toilet does not have all the fancy features that come with the latest models – but it has a good ventilation point that allows your waste to turn into compost.
It also features a flush tank that will use a small amount of water to flush away the waste. However, this feature is optional – and you may simply sallow the compost to form without the water.
- Very easy to use
- Compact and easy to carry
- Does not release odors
- Compost takes a lot of time to form
- The tank may burst if you don’t relieve the pressure for a long time
3. Nature’s Head Dry Composting Toilet with Standard Crank Handle
This is the kind of toilet that everyone wants to have in their bathroom – no matter if it’s at home or in their RV. Thanks to its stylish design, it can look good even in a modern-looking bathroom that does not have all the plumbing necessary.
The molded design of this toilet makes it very comfortable to sit on. This means that even if you go camping and install this in your RV, you won’t feel like you have left the comfort of your own home.
This toilet is very easy to install and very user-friendly. It takes just a few minutes to take out the waste from the bin.
- Easy installation
- Includes agitator for quick composting
- Quite heavy, so it’s difficult to carry around
4. Separett Villa 9215 AC/DC Composting Toilet
If you don’t have much space to go on, then you might want to take a look at this model. Not featuring the bulk of most compost toilets, this one can help you save quite a lot of space.
Moreover, due to the fact that it has a fairly stylish design, it can even be installed in a home bathroom. Some people say that the seat is low and small – but when your bathroom is small, this is actually convenient.
Everything is included in the package for a smooth installation. Plus, it has a generous 5-year warranty, making it a reliable model.
- Compact design
- Full installation kit
- Generous warranty
- Small tank
- Quite expensive
5. Basicwise Portable Travel Toilet for Camping and Hiking
Once more, if you are looking for something that is not too fancy and without all the whistles of a big compost toilet, then this one should be your pick. Easy and portable, this one is perfect for convenience.
This bucket-toilet is non-electric, which makes it perfect if you are going camping in a remote place. The waste will also be sealed in the bottom waste bin – allowing it to turn into compost.
Thanks to the lid, the toilet is also very comfortable to sit on. You won’t feel like you left the comfort of your home.
- Very compact
- Comfortable to sit on
- Composting is natural and slow
6. Sun-Mar Excel Non-Electric Self-Contained Composting Toilet
If there is no way for you to get your hands on a power source, then this one is certainly the toilet for you. Thanks to the non-electric design, it allows you to go off-the-grid – but in a civilized way, so to speak.
Nonetheless, due to its sleek design, this one may also be used in a residential area. You just need to make sure that you install the vent in a way that goes outside to improve air circulation.
Due to its generous waste tank, this one can be useful for up to seven people. It’s perfect if you are planning to go away for a few days.
- Very portable and easy to carry
- Odor-free construction
- Environmentally friendly
- Debris tends to get clogged in the toilet
7. Sun-Mar Compact Self-Contained Composting Toilet
One of the things that people like the most about the Sun Mar toilet is that it has a low profile and compact design. This allows them to place it even in spaces that are rather small.
The patented Sun-Mar Bio-Drum also enables a smooth composting process by simply using an agitator lever. This way, you can turn the waste into compost much faster – and you won’t even need electricity.
The toilet itself is very comfortable – which means that you won’t even feel that you left the comfort of your own bathroom. The odors are also sealed, meaning that you won’t be bothered by “surprise smells.”
- Very compact and easy to carry
- Waterless operation
- Completely odor-free
- Not very reliable in winter
Explaining How Composting Toilets Work
Many people are probably not familiar with the notion of composting toilets, how they work, and believe that the system behind it involves carrying your waste with you around all day. They believe it is a “no-flush toilet” that will simply carry the waste for you until you reach a discard point.
In a way, it’s true. Not in the way that you may believe, though. For one, when your waste is turned into compost, it will slightly change its composition into something less stinky. The primary action of a composting toilet is to trigger the action of the unit’s vent system as well as an environment that is favorably warm, and some dedicated mechanism that has the ability to handle your waste without effort.
In a sense, the solid waste left by a human is 90% water. That water is exactly what makes it so voluminous and smell most foul. However, with a proper ventilation system, your compost toilet should be able to remove the water and shrink the waste, all while eliminating the odor.
In fact, this decomposition process should occur naturally. However, under normal circumstances, it might take quite a significant amount of time for that. However, composting toilets help speed up this process so that you do not have to wait that long.
Bear in mind that the decomposition process can only occur when there is enough warmth in the air. If you are traveling in an area where the temperatures are very cold, then this might not be a very good solution for you. After all, you will have to empty the liquid container quite frequently.
Buying Guide – Things You Should Take into Consideration When Shopping for a Composting Toilet
The market has different types of composting toilets which is why it might be quite difficult to find one that suits your fancy the most. This is why you might want to make sure that the toilet you buy fits your particular needs.
Depending on the amount of waste that you expect you might be leaving in the toilet, you might want to carefully consider its capacity. The number of people that are using it, how often you plan on “going” every day. All of these will determine exactly how big the capacity should be.
For instance, if you are going by yourself on a trip, you will need something small. However, if you are going for a longer camping trip with more people, then you might want to go for a toilet with a bigger capacity. This way, you will not have to continuously empty the liquid container.
Some models, particularly the lower capacity ones, are very lightweight as well as those that were primarily made from plastic or other lightweight materials. However, the bigger their capacity, the heavier they are.
Plus, since higher quality materials tend to be more durable, people sacrifice portability for longevity. You need to determine exactly whether you can afford to carry around a heavier piece or not or if you need something more lightweight.
Still, for the purpose of portability, you might want to find a model that has high quality and that is also fairly lightweight. You don’t want to be carrying around a heavy toilet each time you are going camping.
Just like with the weight issue, size also matters. Some composting toilets tend to be rather small, whereas some were made to be bigger just for the sake of increasing your comfort level. Who doesn’t like the feeling of sitting on a “real full-sized toilet” whenever they are going camping in the woods?
Bear in mind that the bigger it is, the heavier and more difficult to carry it might be. If you are traveling in an RV and have the space to spare while not having to carry the toilet around – then a bigger toilet might not be such a problem. In fact, it should be a great boost to your comfort level.
However, if you are traveling light and only have the trunk of your car to carry your camping kit and the toilet, then you might want to go for a compact toilet. However, make sure that the seat is still big enough for you to feel comfortable sitting on it. You can read our compact toilet reviews to see good options.
Ease of Installation
When you are going camping, the last thing you want is to spend half an hour trying to install a composting toilet while your friends are out there, running the barbeque and having the time of their lives. This is why you might want to pick a toilet that is very easy to install.
Some toilets that are only intended for temporary use may need little to no installation process. All you have to do is prop it out of your car trunk, place it in a good spot, and you are good to go, pun intended.
However, some of the composting toilets that were made for continuous use might require a little more work. Some of them come with full installation kits. However, if you do not have the skills, then there is no shame in calling a plumber. However, these types of toilets might be more suitable to install in a house on an RV rather than casual camping.
Generally speaking, compost toilets do not really need much maintenance. At least nothing more than you would have to do with your average toilet. You will just have to clean the toilet from time to time and brush up the bowl regularly.
Bear in mind that you will have to clear out the compost quite often. This might not be a task that you are particularly looking forward to, so you should search for a model that lets you do it as quickly as possible. You don’t want to be stuck near the waste for too long.
Electric vs. Non-Electric
Depending on the place where you want to use that toilet, you may have to choose between an electric model and a non-electric one. For instance, if you are going to a remote area, with no electricity sources nearby, then you might want to go for a non-electric model.
On the other hand, if you are going to a place where you might find a good electric system or have a reliable portable battery, then you can go for an electric model as well. With these toilets, the composting process should be much faster and much more efficient.
If neither is an option, you might also go for solar-powered units. Particularly if you are camping on a warm day, with a lot of sun to spare. Granted, these units will be a bit more expensive, but at least you’ll know your toilet battery won’t run out of power after too much flushing.
A good composting toilet should last you for quite a long time which is why you need to ensure that it also has a lengthy warranty. This warranty will not only cover you in case of issues, but it should also serve as proof of durability.
What Are the Types of Composting Toilets?
If you are looking to buy a good composting toilet, you might want to know that there are several types available from which you may choose. Ultimately, the final choice will depend on your personal preferences and your needs. The constant ventilation will also ensure that everything is nice and properly aired.
Self-Contained Composting Toilet
This one is a great solution for anyone that has a small bathroom, one that can barely fit a regular-sized toilet. These self-contained toilets can be bought in both electrical and non-electrical forms and they all come with quite a big deal of features.
What makes this type of toilet very attractive to people is that it mimics the style of your average toilet albeit a smaller, more compact version. Still, it does not require all that plumbing you would need with a normal toilet. It is a good option if you want to turn an extra storage room into a bathroom, but you do not want to turn the rest of your house upside down.
These compost toilets generally come with large waste tanks, which means you will not have to empty them as often. For all intents and purposes, it will be like having a regular toilet in your bathroom. You will just need to take the compost out of it occasionally.
Central Composting Toilet
Unlike the self-contained toilet that can be installed pretty much anywhere, this one will require to be installed in a place with plumbing. It needs a permanent location, which is why the only places where you might install these are your home or an RV.
In regard to central composting toilets, you may go for two subtypes of central composting toilets: the 1-pint flush and the waterless toilet. The 1-pint one is the most popular of this subtype, as many see it as the traditional toilet.
Other people prefer the use of airflow and vacuuming in their composting toilets. These toilets also create the compost much faster, as there is little to no moisture involved. Plus, since they consume no water, it is an even bigger advantage to your water bill.
Both of these units, 1-pint or waterless, were made to be connected to a compost unit, one that has been placed preferably in your garden (for outdoor toilets) or basement.
This kind of composting toilet has gained quite a lot of popularity in the last few years. Not only is it very affordable, but it also simplifies the composting process. With this kind of toilet, you should be able to get compost quickly and easily.
The reason why it’s called a “split system” is because it’s split into two parts: a pedestal and a separate waste tank. The tank will keep the waste separate from the pedestal, where you are sitting, parting the liquid and solid waste, and ensuring that you get good compost. It is also very efficient for home use.
RV Composting Toilet
As the name suggests, these composting toilets were made so that they could be placed in an RV. Their compact shape allows them to fit in a small bathroom. All while the special tank takes away the need for chemical use.
An RV composting toilet usually comes with a seat and a tank in which waste is gathered. The tanks are generously sized, so that you may hold a lot of waste until it’s convenient for you to stop. They were also made to be sturdy so that they may take a fair number of road bumps.
Bucket Composting Toilets
This type of composting toilet may not have all the bells and whistles that most units are equipped with, but they are very good at doing their job. They are efficient for people going on a camping trip who do not have a lot of space to spare.
Bucket composting toilets are very lightweight, which means that you may easily throw this type of unit in the back of your trunk. They are not as fancy as their counterparts, as might take longer to ventilate but are still very convenient.
How Do You Install a Composting Toilet – Tips and Tricks
Composting toilets are very convenient to have around, as they require little to no hassle during the installation process. Even if you don’t know how to do it, you might not need anyone else to help you unless you have to deal with plumbing and require a professional.
First things first, after unboxing the toilet, you need to take measurements to see exactly where you can place it (e.g. when you are placing it in a bathroom). If you are putting it outdoors, this will be one less problem for you, as you will not have any walls to fit it between.
Keep in mind that you need to place it over a leveled surface. The last thing you want is to tip over when you are doing your business. If you don’t have any leveled surfaces around, you may want to relieve the excess pressure from the seal of the basin.
If you are planning to install the toilet in a bathroom or any other room in the interior of an RV/apartment, you might want to drive the vent pipe through an exterior vent hole or the window. You don’t want to be intoxicated by the composting smell of the waste.
FAQs and Answers about Composting Toilet Systems
Do composting toilets smell bad?
Many people believe that since composting toilets do not use water to wash off the smell, they also smell bad. However, considering that it applies negative pressure inside your toilet, this type of unit won’t smell in the slightest. Even a regular toilet will smell more. However, you need to make sure that you have installed the venting correctly if you want it to remain odor-free.
Can you leave any other waste in the toilet?
If you want to leave any other waste in the toilet, other than human waste or toilet paper, then you should first make sure that it is fully biodegradable. Practically, the purpose of the composting toilet is to extract the moisture and fast-forward the biodegrading process. So, if you add materials that do not decompose easily such as plastic it’s natural that they will not turn into compost.
Can I use a composting toilet in a cold climate?
Technically speaking, the advantage of most composting toilets is that they can be used throughout every season. Still, the problem is that the decomposing process is much faster in warm weather. Furthermore, it pretty much stops when things get cold. This is why it is recommended that you keep the composting toilet in a relatively warmer place.
How often do you have to empty a composting toilet?
Sometimes, you may have to empty it every day. Other times, you can do it every few days.
To put it simply, human waste is made out mostly out of water even if it looks like it is solid. As a result, when the composting process begins, that water will evaporate, and the waste will lose all of its bulk. You will eventually have to empty it, but if you are the only one using it, you may go a few days without having to do anything.
This will also depend on how big the capacity of your composting toilet is. If it’s fairly generous, then it might take a while until you have to remove it. On the other hand, if it is small and there are multiple people using it, you might have to empty it every one or two days.
When you are looking for the best composting toilet, it can be difficult to pick out a good model that meets all your needs. However, with a bit of research, it can be easily done.
Hopefully, our composting toilet reviews have managed to help you narrow down your choices. Every model is different and comes with various features and you just need to figure out which one is best for you.