The world is finally coming round to environmental protection. This means we’re trying to emit less carbon waste and reserve our resources better. A simple way to do this is to buy a composting toilet. It uses less power and water, and some don’t use electricity or water at all!
At first, the best composting toilets were restricted to RVs, tiny homes, houseboats, and holiday cabins. These days, you might even find one in a regular contemporary house. You’ll have to tweak your plumbing to accommodate it though. Below are seven notable toilet models.
If you’re looking for an environmentally-conscious toilet made in the US, Nature’s Head is a good fit. It’s a waterless toilet, so it conserves natural resources. Since toilets typically use 1 to 4 gallons per flush, installing this toilet helps you save up to 20 gallons of water per day.
Instead of flushing, you turn the toilet handle to mix your toilet waste and catalyze the composting process. Nature’s Head toilets either have crank handles or spider handles. Crank handles use more energy and require more space. Spider handles are better for tight-fit toilets.
The top section of the toilet looks and feels just like a ‘normal’ toilet. But it’s made of stainless steel, so you don’t have to worry about rust or corrosion. The granite-colored metal makes the toilet much easier to clean. Its elongated seat also makes the toilet more comfortable to use.
To keep unpleasant smells far from your nose, Nature’s Head composting toilets have their own fan, vent, and hose. The hose can be used to pump your composted waste into a septic tank or public sewer. It only needs 12 volts, so you can use a battery or RV motor to suck out the waste.
This composting toilet has a separator for liquid and solid waste. Separation helps you go for longer periods before emptying because it slows decomposition. But you have to remember to flip the liquid / solid waste valve. It’s an easy thing to forget, and many users often do.
On occasions where you do forget to flip the switch, or if the fan isn’t on, you’ll generate a stronger smell. But because the toilet uses sawdust and natural peat, it’s bearable. Rather than a dirty toilet, it smells more ‘earthy’. It’s almost like the scent of woods areas after a light drizzle.
As a downside, this toilet needs peat moss or sawdust, which has to be bought separately. These materials can’t go down the public sewer. So you’ll have to find a safe location to dispose of your toilet waste. If you don’t have a garden, you could offer this free fertilizer to a friend.
Nature’s Head is a clean, convenient composting option. It needs no water and minimal electricity. Just remember to restrict the waste to flower gardens, not edible plant farms.
It’s easy to clean. You only need a toilet brush and a spray bottle for surface dirt.
You can position it above a sewer hole or pump your waste to a different spot.
It comes with a 5-year limited warranty.
The urine bottle fills up far faster than the solid waste container. So it does need to be emptied and rinsed a few times a week.
Composting toilets work by evaporating liquid and controlling solid waste decomposition. This works best when urine and solid waste stay separate. And the name ‘Separett’ is delightfully easy to remember, so if you learn nothing else from this article, remember Separett Villa.
It uses Swedish design, so you get minimalist Scandinavian engineering. But the company has a US base so you have full access to local customer care. Unlike other composting toilets, the Villa 9215 is a one-piece, so its construction is more sturdy and doesn’t need assembly.
The Villa 9215 is customized for US use, so its measurements and components match US requirements. Unlike most composting toilets that have a urine bottle, the Villa 9215 has a urine hose and removable compost bucket with its own lid. It also has bin liner bags included.
The toilet packaging has a bio-tablet for cleaning, but it’s only one. So to keep your toilet clean, just rinse it with white vinegar once every week. The outer part is plastic, so you can wipe it with a damp cloth dipped in mild soap. It’s easier than regular toilets – no scrubbing required!
The Villa 9215 is made of strong plastic. And while you don’t need to assemble it, it does need plumbing. This makes it a little tougher to install than other composting toilets. It comes with everything you need including Allen wrenches, so it’s a fun weekend project if you love DIY.
Unfortunately, you have to manually fit the pipes that guide the smell out of the house. Which means you can attract bottle flies and other toilet pests. The toilet has an insect screen to keep that type of pest out of your composting bathroom. The roof outlet has an insect screen as well.
If you don’t want to decompose waste inside the toilet itself, the Separett Villa 9215 works well. You have to empty it once a month though. That’s shorter than other composting toilets.
It has both AC and DC adapters to power the toilet fan, which can push air up to 20 feet.
The compost bin liners make it easy to clean.
The toilet comes with a supply card so you can easily re-order when you run out.
There’s no urine bottle and the urine drain pipe is only 6 feet long. So you have to position your toilet within 6 feet of the sewer system or buy more pipes to extend it.
When you typically think of a composting toilet, you expect it to decompose indoors. But there are other ways to save water and electricity. Stansport is a perfect example. It doesn’t directly decompose your waste, but it makes it easier to protect your groundwater. How so?
Instead of releasing waste directly into sewers and landfills, it offers an easy way to move waste. Just place this pretty toilet over your plumbing. You can use it outdoors too. It’s more comfortable (and hygienic) than squatting in the bushes. And it’s compact, about 1 cubic foot.
Stansport’s Easy-go is also ideal for road trips with little kids. You might be worried waiting for the next motel rest stop. And even when you find one, you might be wary that public toilet germs could infect you or your little ones. Just use your personally disinfected Easy-go.
The bin-shaped commode can hold 350 pounds of waste. Use it by lining it with a bag, which you can buy from any Stansport store. Once it’s full, dump out the bag into a regular toilet or an approved human waste dump site. While camping, you could dig a deep hole for the solid waste.
It’s easy to clean the toilet itself because it’s made of plastic. The plastic is strong enough to support the weight of an adult as they sit on the toilet. Its lid keeps all the toilet smells in. Don’t use regular garbage bags though. You need specialized Stansport bags to control odor.
This Easy-Go portable toilet is convenient for road trips and camp excursions. But it has no built-in composters, so you’re handling raw waste. Always use gloves and disinfectant soap!
It’s a comfortable size for kids and adults, measuring 14 x 14 x 14 inches.
It has handles for convenient, mess-free handling.
It’s a dry toilet so it conserves power and water.
The waste from your toilet has to be re-treated if you want to use it for compost.
Keeping solids and liquids separate is an important part of compost toilet technology. But there are other ways to solve the separation problem. This Camco toilet opts to separate the flush tank from the waste storage tank. They’re linked by two firm latches that prevent contamination.
The latches are designed to keep the toilet seat from sliding off while in use. But their mechanism is easy to slide apart when you want to empty the toilet’s 5.3-gallon waste tank. This isn’t a dry toilet, but it only uses a few ounces per flush. Its portable cistern carries 2.5 gallons.
This is almost half the water used to flush a regular toilet. Also, to help the waste decompose safely, you can buy Camco TST. It deodorizes the toilet and partially treats your waste before you dump it out. Camco TST is biodegradable, so it’s safe for septic tanks and outdoor disposal.
Filling the toilet is just as easy. It has two caps below the toilet lid. One cap can be unscrewed to pour in your flushing water. The other ‘cap’ can be pressed down to flush the toilet. The toilet seat is comfy, compact, safe for toilet paper, and can be wiped clean with a damp rag.
The top flush tank is separated from the bottom waste tank using a sliding gate valve. This valve is both waterproof and scent proof. Once you snap the latches shut, the two sections of the toilet are securely held together. You can lift the whole toilet without worrying about smelly accidents.
The main disadvantage is time. Its tank isn’t as big as your typical composting toilet, so you’d have to empty the toilet at least once a day. And because it has a holding tank, you can’t place the toilet over a standard sunken toilet. It’s easier to clean than other portables though.
Camco’s portable toilet works well for toilet emergencies. It’s easy to carry around and is completely odor-free. But with no plastic liner, you’ll need to bleach your holding tank.
The toilet is lightweight and has a sturdy handle for convenient mobility.
Its body is made of strong plastic that’s easy to clean.
It has a seal to keep smells and other contents safely inside the toilet tank.
Solid and liquid wastes are not stored separately, and the holding tank plastic eventually absorbs smells. Disinfect regularly to get rid of the scent build-up.
If you consider yourself an outdoorsy person, you’ve probably repurposed a bucket into a toilet. The Luggable Loo takes this concept a few steps forward by adding a comfy toilet seat. You can buy the plain gray version or the camo variant for added aesthetic appeal.
This model is popular with hunters and campers. It’s also a staple for survivalists. It holds 5 gallons, so it can last about a day before it needs to be emptied outdoors. It can also be dumped into a standard sewer or septic tank and comes with disposable plastic bags.
This toilet is extremely affordable, so you should always have one around for emergencies. Line it with a doodie bag to keep the smells in. And dump it out regularly, because your solid and liquid wastes sit in the same space. On the upside, the toilet itself won’t absorb the pee smell.
If you’re worried about environmental toxins, you can buy biodegradable plastic bags. They’re easily available at most hardware stores. When you’re done using the toilet, just snap the lid. Its snap mechanism is strong enough to avoid spills and smells. It has a bucket-style metal handle.
This fancy bucket has a 5-year warranty, so you know it’s more reliable than it looks. Empty, it barely weighs 3 pounds. But it can get heavy after use, especially when it has a mix of liquid and solid waste. Plus, you have to carry it until you reach a suitable dump site or water closet.
Interestingly, you can buy the toilet seat and its lid separately, then attach them to any bucket. We don’t recommend this. It will only save you a few bucks, and you’ll miss out on the Luggable Loo warranty. Also, without the plastic bags, your bucket may not contain your loo smell.
When you’re looking for a quick solution at $20 bucks or less, grab yourself a Luggable Loo. Just ensure you carry enough plastic bags. And that you have a legal human waste dump site nearby.
It’s extremely affordable.
It comes with a generous replacement guarantee.
It’s small, discreet, and easy to carry.
The plastic bag has to be carefully fitted below the toilet seat, which takes practice.
If you’re willing to invest in a high-end portable toilet, Thetford’s Porta Potti is worth looking into. It comprises two securely attached halves that can easily be dismantled when necessary. the top half holds 4 gallons of clean flushing water. The bottom half holds 5.5 gallons of waste.
Porta Potti is a comprehensive toilet. It has its own flusher, toilet paper receptacle, seat, cistern, and lid. The lower half is odor-sealed with a valve, but the toilet also comes with a branded deodorizer. The water-level gauge shows you when it’s time to refill the water tank.
Emptying the toilet is easy because it has a spout and a valve that prevents splash-back. As for the top portion of the toilet, it helps to pre-wet it using the ‘add water’ button. This creates a liquid film that stops waste from clinging to the toilet bowl. The toilet has a front handle too.
You can safely empty the Porta Potti into a regular toilet or septic tank. It doesn’t need plastic liner bags. But after cleaning, pour some deodorizer into the waste tank to deal with any smells that have leached into the plastic. Also, the toilet uses 6AA batteries, which can be an issue.
How so? The batteries wear out fairly fast. And once they’re dead, the water inlet can drip and flood. Extend your battery life by turning the flusher dial anti-clockwise. This breaks the circuit and cuts off battery power. Turn the dial back ‘on’ when you want to use the toilet.
This toilet has a different brand name in Europe. And while its American version has no spare parts, its European version does. Also, the toilet won’t flush without batteries. So you if you’re using it off-grid and have irregular access to batteries, you may want to install a manual flusher.
Thetford Porta Potti is a stylish alternative to standard water closets. It uses up less liquid and doesn’t need electricity. But it needs a nearby sewer or septic tank and must be emptied daily.
It’s portable and pretty, but it also has an option to ‘lock’ it on the ground.
It has a small ‘add water’ button that reduces ‘toilet streaks’.
It’s battery-powered so you don’t need electricity.
While the toilet is odor-proof, gas pressure does build up. When you’re emptying the toilet, turn the spout away from your face and body, and open the valve slowly.
Composting toilets often have basic, simplistic designs. Sun-Mar’s GTG breaks that rule. It has a D-shaped seat and a conical base that aligns with European sensibilities. This makes it a great way to bring style into your off-grid home. This one-piece toilet can be installed in minutes.
Despite its good looks, it’s a basic no-frills dry toilet. There are separate chambers for liquid and solid waste, but there’s no crank or mechanism for turning your solid waste. Meaning it doesn’t compost in-situ. So you still have to dump it into another toilet or septic tank.
The toilet is 18 inches high, so it’s suitable for elderly users that need the extra height. Its elongated seat is 24 inches long, offering a comfy seating angle. While the toilet doesn’t flush with water, it has a small fan and air vent at the back for odor control.
The toilet is made from fiberglass and held together with metal hinges and screws, so it’s heavy. It’s not intended for portability. Instead, the urine bottle and waste bucket have to be removed and emptied individually. Once the fiberglass cracks, the toilet is susceptible to leaks and smells.
These cracks aren’t life-threatening. You can repair them with basic home crafting tools, especially if you enjoy tinkering with DIY tasks. But it takes up a lot of time. The toilet needs extra care to keep it usable. So it may end up being more trouble than it’s worth.
If you’re worried about ‘ugly’ composting toilets, you could buy this one for your guest bathroom. But you’ll have to handle it delicately and probably empty it after every guest.
It has contemporary European D-shaped styling.
Its compact dimensions are good for small spaces.
It has liquid-solid separation.
It’s susceptible to damage and needs lots of TLC to stay in working order.
Shopping for toilets is tough. You walk in thinking all toilets are the same. But you soon realize there are thousands of differences. It’s even more complicated with eco-friendly toilets. Where do you begin? Here are some tips to help you choose the best composting toilet.
What size and shape is your ideal composting unit? Can it fit within your toilet space? Some toilets are designed for tight corners. Others can fit anywhere. Some have to be installed directly above your ‘toilet hole’ or linked to regular plumbing systems. Others need no plumbing at all.
Look at the spot where you plan to put the toilet. Call the hardware store ahead of time, so they can tell you what measurements they need. They might ask how far the toilet is from your power and water source. Or how close it is to the wall. Or what type of flooring is under the toilet.
You also need to know how wide the toilet is at its widest point. This influences your surface space. Will you have room for a sink or toilet paper rack nearby? Can users sit or stand comfortably while using the toilet? Will they feel squashed and claustrophobic? Find out.
Portable versus Composting
Technically, any toilet that doesn’t use toxic chemicals can be described as eco-friendly. But true composting toilets produce waste that can be safely used as fertilizer. It doesn’t have to go into the sewer system for treatment. Some toilets achieve this using a home-grade eco-gel.
This eco-gel comes with your toilet and can be used to treat the waste before you dump it into the ground or farm. Other eco-friendly toilets use less water (and power) than typical toilets. This makes them suitable for conservation efforts, but they’re not quite composting toilets.
So if your primary aim is to generate organic fertilizer for your garden, be sure to buy a toilet that has actual composting capabilities. This may include peat, sawdust, bacteria, worms, live cultures, or something similar. Also, pick something with odor protection – compost smells!
Some compost toilets can go for months without being emptied. Others can only last a few days. This also depends on the number of people who will use the toilet. And the number of times the toilet will be used. Vacation cottages – for example – are rarely used.
On the other hand, you might be shopping for your tiny house. Or taking your RV on the road. Or transitioning to an off-grid lifestyle. That means you’ll use the toilet every day for a prolonged period. It also matters if you live alone in isolated areas. Or if your family has regular guests.
Your hardware store attendant can help you estimate usage per person. This will help you choose the right toilet tank capacity. Ideally, you want a toilet that goes a month or two before emptying. Think about daily or weekly toilet maintenance as well. The less it needs, the better.
Some composting toilets still use water to flush. Granted it’s less water than the typical toilet, but it’s still water. Other toilets use electricity to warm the seat and start the composting process. Decide whether you want to lower your utility bills or eliminate them.
If you do want a dry toilet, you have to buy composting materials like peat or sawdust. Buy a model whose compost media is easily available in your neighborhood. Also, choose an odor-control system that suits your lifestyle. The clearest example is sit-toilets for men. We’ll explain.
Many composting toilets use a trap to keep the smell contained. But these trap-toilets mean men have to pee sitting down. Not every consumer is happy with that, so double-check with the male members of your household. You might save electricity … but lose a boyfriend in the process.
And if you do opt for a toilet that uses power, gauge your resources. You can buy a solar-powered toilet, one that runs in batteries, or one that connects to the main power grid. Make sure your chosen model is suitable for your home electricity system. It must match your power supply.
Ask the Government
In some regions, you need a special permit to install a composting toilet. Talk to the hardware store attendant and call your local sewerage representative. They can tell you what the regulations are. Some will even provide a list of approved composting toilet models.
Similarly, some composting toilets are self-contained. Others need you to dig a septic tank under the toilet. Or you could link it to a composting device in your yard. In both cases, you’ll need a municipal council permit before digging around. And you may have to pay the diggers too.
Other considerations include climate. Certain composting toilets will break down in below-freezing temperatures. Others will become ‘hyperactive’ in tropical climate because heat makes waste decompose faster. Be sure your chosen toilet is right for local weather conditions.
Your Number 1 for Number 2s
After comprehensive research and testing, we confidently recommend Nature’s Head composting toilets. They compost on-site, producing ready-to-use fertilizer. So you can collect waste and take it straight to the garden. Its energy-efficient fan offers optimal air circulation.
The stainless steel body stays pleasantly hygienic, and the warranty is longer than most bathroom hardware. Its aesthetics are pleasing as well because it looks a lot like a ‘normal toilet’. Plus, it doesn’t smell. So if you can afford the price point, this is the right model for you.