A fair number of considerations can go into choosing the best composting toilet – whether it is for your home, tiny houses, cottage, off grid living, camp, RV or any other place that you may need one. Right off the bat, there are a few things that you will want to look at and consider. Take a look at this comprehensive guide.
- Suits your needs based on capacity requirements.
- Will work in the location that you want to install it in – easy to install too.
- Works with the fresh water and electrical capabilities that you have available.
Unfortunately, there can be a lot of information out there that might not be as helpful as it could be. Or even worse, could be recommending all the wrong choices. As someone who has been through this process and looked at a bunch of different options, I decided to create this site to help you out. I did this by comparing a number of different composting toilet models and choosing what I would consider to be the top 3.
Now, let’s be honest, you really aren’t here to learn everything about composting toilets. You want the right information on which one to purchase. Luckily, you came to the right place! Keep reading below and see our top recommendations.
If you still are confused and need a bit more information, there is also some excellent educational information about these types of toilets. This information is great if you are not exactly sure what you need and want to know more.
Our Top 3 Choices For Best Composting Toilets
Nature’s Head Self Contained Composting Toilet with Close Quarters Spider Handle Design
Nature’s Head is quite possibly one of the top names on the market. With this in mind, choosing this toilet is a great choice and what I consider to be one of the best compost toilets.
Some of the features and advantages include:
- Lightweight at only 28 lbs
- Super portable making it easy to use just about anywhere including your cottage, camper, recreational vehicle, tiny house project, boat etc.
- The compact design includes a unique handle, called the “spider crank”, which is specially designed for tight spaces instead of a standard crank handle. A composting toilet with a close quarters spider handle design makes it much more versatile.
- Made from very high quality and durable materials.
- Made in the USA.
Just a couple negatives:
- It may be a little short for extremely tall people.
- It is a little on the expensive side but you are getting a great product that is worth the price.
The Nature’s Head Dry Composting toilet is a great choice for best compost toilet.
What is a composting toilet?
Probably the best definition of a composting toilet is from Wikipedia. According to that site, it is a type of toilet that uses am aerobic processing system to treat human solid and liquid waste. It promotes the natural process of decomposition and evaporation in order to “treat” human waste. Some other terms are also known to be used for these toilets including green toilets, bio toilets and eco toilets.
What are the advantages of a composting toilet?
There are a number of advantages to using a composting toilet system vs a regular toilet.
- No need for an expensive sewer system. This makes is especially attractive for people who are living “off-grid” are simply don’t have the space available to install a septic system. A great example is a cottage at a lake. At lakes near where I live, the cattages are fairly close together and there isn’t a lot of room on a piece of land to have a septic tank and system.
- No water needed. Since these are also known as a waterless system and use no water, they are ideal for places with no running water. On top of that, it also means that there is no risk in contaminating a nearby water source with waste from a toilet since it is all self contained.
- Very environmentally friendly.
- Makes great fertilizer. After the entire composting process is finished, approximately 97% of the human waste is gone. What is left over is excellent for plants and the environment.
- Very user friendly.
Some Common Misconceptions Of Composting Toilets On The Market
- Composting toilets are dirty – This is actually not true at all and composting toilets are just as clean as regular flush toilets. Who knew! Now, of course, this doesn’t mean that they don’t have to be cleaned regularily. They just need to be cleaned about the same as a regular toilet. Just because they are “waterless” doesn’t mean that they are dirtier. This was actually one of the biggest things that I realized because I didn’t expent them to be as good as a regular flush as far as how sanitary they are.
- Maintaining a composting toilets requires you to handle human feces – This was another thing I was worried about when I was first looking into them because I expected that there would basically just be a tub of poo that I would have to deal with from time to time. Not so! The natural composting process that occurs handles everything for you. Once you have to empty it, it is basically just compost material.
- Composting toilets smell bad. As long as you are using and maintaining it properly, there is no smell. Some people have actually noted that with the installation of a small electric fan, some even say that smells less than a regular flush.
- Composting toilets are basically just for rural areas – Actually, it will work any where, not just in the country. Think about it and what we have mentioned earlier in this article. It will work for boats, RV’s, cabins, etc. So that can also include places in the city as well. Basically anywhere you need a toilet.
Common Questions About Composting Toilets
What types of composting toilets are there?
There are two main types of composting toilets:
- Self-contained – Self-contained units are basically types that have everything needed for the system contained and fully enclosed in one package, the flush itself. This makes them a lot easier to install than a central unit but at the cost of needing more space in the bathroom. A good recommendation would be to use these types for cottages, RV’s, boats and other more seasonable areas. These make excellent RV toilets.
- Central – These types are made up of two compact selfcontained separate parts – a bowl (the flush part) with toilet seat and a waste receptacle or holding tanks which acts as the compost bin. It basically looks just like a regular flush that is hooked to the waste receptacle. Great for more permanent installations.
Are These Waterless Compost Toilets?
Yes, for the most part. A self-contained composting toilet is a waterless toilet (meaning no water consumption), however, some central composting toilet systems require a water supply hook up. The versions that require water are also called “low flush” or 1 pint flush systems. These low flush types are great for homes that may have an entire family living there and it is being used more, but there isn’t enough water available for standard compost toilets. Very environmentally friendly.
Does it require an electrical connection?
Most do not require any electricity as many are nonelectric selfcontained units. However, you would if you decided to install an electric fan to help speed up the composting process.
Factors When Choosing and Buying The Best Composting Toilets
Choosing the right composting toilet to buy isn’t really too complicated. There are a small number of things to consider and this is why I only recommend one, the one above because it fit all my needs.
How much can you and are you willing to spend?
Do you need a compost toilet for your cottage, RV or boat or something a bit more permanent in a home. This is probably the main deciding factor when choosing either a self contained or central system. Generally, self-contained composting toilets are more versatile than central ones, and there are few locations where a central composting toilet would fit that a self-contained toilet would not.
How big is the room that you are going to be installing it in. Perhaps you don’t have enough space for a self contained unit and need to go another way. The best way to know is to do some of your measurements and compare it with the dimensions of the toilet. For example, the one that I recommend, the Nature’s Head Dry Composting Toilet with Standard Crank Handle is 19.8 x 20.8 x 20.5 inches.
Also make sure to account for clearance as well. Sure, you might be able to fit it in your room but if you don’t have room to sit on it, you aren’t going to be happy! Think about ventilation room as well.
Is the flush just for one person or an entire family? Will it be just used in the summer months or weekends or used all the time? Conversely, purchasing a central composting toilet for that same cottage may be expensively unnecessary. Failure to properly assess composting toilet capacity is one of the prevailing mistakes people make when buying a composting toilet. The majority of negative composting toilet experiences are due to improper installations and usage beyond what the unit can handle.
As mentioned before, the best composting toilets can be electric or non-electric, with the same base unit often coming in both versions. The electricity is used to power mechanisms such as fans, which speed up the decomposition and evaporation processes within the toilet, so all other things being equal electric composting toilets are objectively better than non-electric composting toilets. That said, the power necessary to run these fans is minimal and can be produced using a basic solar power system, and if you choose the right non-electric system it will still meet your needs.