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What is a Compost Toilet and Do You Need One?

Compost toilets are environmentally friendly, and you’ve probably seen them if you’ve used port-a-potties. But believe it or not, if you want to save money and you care about the environment, then these toilets are for you. Today we are going to talk about compost toilets and show you some of the best ones that you can buy on the market.

Compost Toilet

Top Picks

Best for: RVs and tiny houses – Porta Potti

This portable toilet has a large capacity and is odor free which makes it perfect for tiny homes/RVs.

Best for: Camping – STANSPORT Portable Camp Toilet

This extremely lightweight and portable toilet is good if you want to use a toilet near your tent.

Best for: Travel & Boating – Portable Toilet Camping Porta Potty

If you’re looking for a toilet to bring with you while you’re travelling look no further, the ZIMMER portable toilet is the one for you.

How to choose compost toilets

There are various kinds of toilets on the market. Choosing a compost toilet is based on a few factors. Whether you are buying one for your cabin or even event (port-a-potties) you’ll need to make sure that it’s right for your area plus you are helping the environment when you get one of these toilets. Here are some factors to consider when looking to buy one:

Types

There are 2 different types of compost toilets which we will be discussing later. They are:

Self-contained

This ensures that the bathroom is fitted with the composting device, which is normally located underneath the bowl. Usually in the RVs, vessels and small houses, self-contained toilets are located. They are often seen mostly in holiday homes, such as cottages and cabins, but some of them are residential in full time.

Related: Use the Best Cleaners and Tools for Your Toilet

Remote or central

That ensures that the toilet channels solid (and even liquid) waste away from a central composter or remote composter, perhaps in the underground or even outdoors, if weather permits. Wide central networks should connect many toilets such that large households can be served.

Some don’t even need electricity or water, but others do. It really depends on what you are looking for.

Related: The Best Tiny Home Builders In The United States

Installation

Before buying the toilet, think about how it’s going to be installed. Water and electricity connections, as well as support pads and elevated platforms, are all needed for some toilets. If you aren’t planning on doing the task yourself, have a consultant estimate the job before ordering the toilet. This way, you’ll know whether or not the installation will be completed ahead of time. You really don’t want to be left with an expensive oversized flowerpot.

The Costs

The price of toilet composting ranges from hundreds to thousands of dollars. The installation costs can be costly depending on the system you select and the location of the toilet, particularly for systems requiring water and electricity.

Space

You will want to make sure that you have the space for the compost toilet. You’ll want to take measurements such as:

  • Height
  • Floor area that’s actually available for the toilet
  • How far the toilet would be from an electrical panel
  • How far the toilet would be from the waterline

Capacity

You’ll need to know how much the toilet would be used, for example some toilets can only handle weekend usage before cleaning while others can handle much more (being heavy duty).

Maintenance

Some toilets need to be cleaned daily but some can be left alone for a certain amount of time. You will need to choose a toilet that you can maintain on a regular basis.

Whichever toilet that you find on the market, make sure you do your research so that you can make the best choice and investment for whatever reason you need a compost toilet for.

Pros and Cons of Compost Toilets

Pros

Environmentally Friendly

These toilets are super environmentally friendly because it doesn’t involve flushing or electricity (on most of them) and it literally does not require gallons of water that regular toilets need. So if you’re trying to be more eco-friendly, a compost toilet is definitely for you.

Budget-Friendly

A major consideration that prompts many people to take up a composting toilet, apart from the environmental factors, is the possibility of saving a considerable sum of money by doing it. The majority of models are cheaper than investing in your home septic tank facility.

The period of the composting toilet will very quickly extend overtime to the traditional systems.

Whilst some people might argue that a toilet will cover many conventional toilets as soon as you see the savings on the water bill, the initial investment would yield gains over time.

Saves Space

Compost toilets are suitable in small areas, such as small houses, RV’s, cabins and much more. You may understand how a composting toilet does not accommodate as much as a traditional one if you mention one or two of those items.

The design of the compost toilet is usually spacious so that people will be comfortable using them.

You can find that composting toilets are helpful to your condition if you live in an environment where a sewer is not present.

Easy Maintenance

Compost toilets can be smaller than traditional toilets, but they are equally robust and have been designed to last for years.

A waterless way to dispose of the waste needs fewer components – which essentially means fewer components to be concerned with breaking down later in the future.

It’s also not as hard to do on a daily basis as many people think, as you have to be careful to empty the room periodically.

Cons

Can’t be used everywhere

These types of toilets just simply don’t work in certain cities or buildings with no ventilation at all. You’ll have to get a permit to make sure it’s in line with the environmental codes within that city before you even think about installing it.

Electricity might be needed

More and more composting toilets have innovative features such as automated control and synchronization, which would include the use of electricity. If you live off the grid, a toilet is not composting for you.

If your condition requires a toilet, you will need to purchase a battery to hook it. Keep in mind that the composting process takes more time to complete if you want to go the non-electric way.

Stinky situation

Whereas several large brands of toilets argue that their products are not smelling, a lot of them still do smell. Many extremely pleased owners of particular composting toilets may still claim that there’s always a faint smell, no matter how small it may be.

This is particularly valid if you do not empty your composting toilet consistently or do not properly separate the waste.

While this may probably be a negative for some, it’s always a simple repair with a decent cover and keeps the toilet’s moisture levels on a regular basis. They’re both going to make cleaning and upkeep quick and would definitely result in minimal or no odour!

Types of Compost Toilets

There are two major types of compost toilets being self-contained and central/remote but we feel that you should know all the types of composting toilets so you can decide which one is for you:

Dry

The majority of composting toilets are fully dry. Some replicate the sense of conventional toilets with a flush, but toilets normally take 1 pint or less of water per flush, making this super environmentally friendly.

Electric

To improve the composting process, many composting toilets use electricity. For eg, a small electric ventilator generates continuous airflow through the ventilation line. More advanced characteristics can involve heating elements that trigger good bacteria so that’s always a good thing with electric compost toilets.

Solar

Solar can refer to a number of varieties of toilets for composting. The easiest will be an electrical composting toilet that recharges its fan battery with a solar panel. This saves you the turmoil of shifting batteries and offers backup power. Many manufacturers sell accessories to turn their toilets to solar.

Portable

A portable toilet pretty much is what it is. You usually see these in RVs, boats or even tiny houses. It is basically an adult size potty (like kid version) that can be moved around easily.

The Best Compost Toilets

Nature’s Head Dry Composting Toilet with Standard Crank Handle

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This compost toilet by Nature’s Head is a dry composting toilet that is extremely user friendly and it’s portable at 28 pounds. This unit is also urine diverting so you don’t have to worry about it being smelly and all that. The toilet is made out of stainless steel and it can withstand pretty much everything. The dimensions for this toilet is 17.75 x 20.75x 21.5” and it’s made in the USA if that matters to you.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Portable
  • Odor-free

Cons:

  • Some users complained it doesn’t decompose as well

Portable Toilet Camping Porta Potty

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Here we have another portable toilet by ZIMMER that literally looks like a child’s potty, but we promise you that it’s not. Weighing in at 9.75 pounds, it has a full-size seat that both adults and children can use. It can hold up to 3 gallons of water and about 5 gallons of waste. What’s great about this potty is that it has a side valve that you can use to open/close to control the odors, leakage and more. This toilet is made from polyethylene, so that means if you leave it outside, it won’t get destroyed. The dimensions for this toilet are 16.5” x 13.5”x12”. This is perfect if you’re on a budget (it costs just $79.99) and don’t want to spend a lot.

Pros:

  • Extremely portable
  • Durable
  • Budget friendly

Cons:

  • No sprout included
  • Leaks happens often

Porta Potti 92306 White Thetford Corp

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Here is another portable toilet by Porta Potti that weighs just 13.45 pounds and it’s the closest resemblance to a toilet that you’re used to at home. This is perfect for your RV, camp, boats, trucks and more. This even comes with an attached toilet paper holder so that you don’t have to reach a certain distance to get some toilet paper. It also comes with a handle so that you can carry it anywhere that you need to carry it. This toilet also features a tank level indicator so that you know when it’s time to clean it. This toilet can do over 50 flushes, as it contains 4 gallons of fresh water (when you fill it) and can hold up to 5.5 gallons of waste.

This toilet also claims to be odorless and leak proof as it has a sealed valve that controls both. As a bonus, the toilet comes with a hold down kit to keep it in its place if you’re travelling (such as RV’s). The material used was Polypenthene, and the dimensions are 18.39 x 15.75 x 17.83”.

You can also choose to get the larger model that’s grey in color (this one is white) if you want more space and are willing to pay a bit more.

Pros:

  • Portable
  • Hold down kit
  • Lightweight
  • Toilet paper holder

Cons:

  • Doesn’t “flush” as well

DOMETIC 301097206 970

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This portable toilet by DOMETIC is another lightweight toilet weighing in at 12 pounds. It can hold up to 2.6 gallons of waste and it’s very easy to clean. The material is made out of ABS, which means it’s super durable. You also have the option to buy one with hold down brackets/5gallon should you need those extra features.

It also features a push down button so it can “flush”. The dimensions for this toilet is 13.5 x 15.5 x 16.5”.

Pros:

  • Portable
  • Easy to clean
  • Durable

Cons:

  • On the small side
  • It may leak

Safstar 5.3 Gallon Portable Toilet Splash

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This toilet by Safstar is another portable toilet that has a lot of features. Weighing in at 11 pounds, it can literally hold a 440-pound person so from that aspect you know that it’s super heavy duty. The other features it comes with has:

  • 3-gallon tank for waste
  • 3-way flush nozzle that can flush at least 50 times with a 2.6 freshwater gallon capacity
  • The toilet lets you know when it’s time to empty
  • Handles on both sides of the tank so it can be transported easily
  • Full size seat
  • Easy to clean
  • Made out of polyethylene
  • Dimensions: 16″ x 13″ x 17″

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to clean
  • Easy to transport
  • Durable

Cons:

  • May be too small for the average size adult

STANSPORT Portable Camp Toilet

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Finally, one of the last portable compost toilets we’re rounding up, is the lightest weight yet weighing in at 9.2 pounds. It features a full-size seat up to 350 pounds and the toilet has a full seat lid as well, so you don’t have to smell that odor. This toilet also comes with 1 disposable waste bag, so you’ll have to change it often so if you want to be extra sanitary. This toilet also has handles so you can transport it easily to wherever you want to put the toilet. The material is made out of heavy-duty construction and the dimensions are 14x14x14”.

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Portable
  • Durable

Cons:

  • Using sanitary waste bags may not be for everyone

FAQ

Do composting toilets smell bad?

If you get a compost toilet that has constant negative pressure, you will likely almost never smell anything. Also, most compost toilets are in well-ventilated areas or outside.

Can you pee in a composting toilet?

Yes, you can! In fact, you can put some water diluted with urine and it would be a great fertilizer.

Do you have to empty a compost toilet?

Yes. Even the best ones you’ll have to empty at least every 2-3 months. You usually empty when the decomposition process is complete.

How do you use a composting toilet?

You use the toilet just like you would use a regular toilet except you don’t flush as often.

Bottom Line

Today you probably know more about compost toilets than you probably knew in the past. Whether you are in the market for one or just looking around, there’s many options you can choose from. If you enjoyed reading this guide today, please let us know in the comments!