With composting toilets growing in popularity as environmental concerns become a more common place thing, we thought that it would be good to do some research and see how the best models of composting toilets compare to each other.
If you are thinking of making the switch from a flushing toilet to a composting toilet, it can be quiet overwhelming working out the best options as there is so much information out there.
We have waded through all of that information for you, to bring you the ultimate buying guide, including the pros and cons of a composting toilet compared to a flushing toilet, and our top six composting toilets.
What Are Composting Toilets?
A composting toilet works by using evaporation and composting process to essentially recycle human waste. This can then be used to fertilize soil. In effect, they are a small, self contained, waste disposal unit.
Composting toilets work quickly to break down solid waste and toilet paper to ensure that there are no lasting odours. Liquid waste is evaporated, leaving you with dry, safe to handle, odour free compost for your garden.
Composting toilets work without the need to use water to flush the toilet. This saves you money in the long term, as does the fact that you have good quality compost without having to purchase it. Your garden will thank you for making the switch!
Below you will find a comparison table to be used for a quick reference guide to each model of composting toilet we have chosen. Use this table to quickly and easily compare features.
Manual Handle for Faster Composting?
Reviews of the Best Composting Toilets
This section will give a more in depth look at each model so you can learn a little bit more about the features of your favourite ones from the table.
“Sanitary, odourless and leak proof.”
The Thetford 62360 Porta Potti 550E Curve Portable Toilet has a similar design to a standard flushing toilet, so it will integrate seamlessly into your bathroom. It also has a wider bowl than many composting toilets and is the same height as a standard home toilet, offering extra comfort when using it. It even has a toilet paper holder built in that can be hidden when the toilet is not in use.
The level in the tank is easy to evaluate by looking at the indicator, so you know when you need to empty the tank or refill the fresh water. With pivoting spout and carry handle, the tank on this model is quick and easy to empty and clean.
The Thetford 62360 is one of the cheaper models, and is a good option for anyone who is just starting out on their first composting toilet and wants to keep their bathroom as traditional looking as possible.
“Easy to read tank waste level and fresh water level indicator.”
The Sanitation Equipment Visa Potty Model Toilet is a square shaped unit that would fit into a smaller space quite well. The extra deep bowl makes this model comfortable to use, and very similar in feel to a flushing toilet.
The bowl has two directional jet which can be used to flush water through the bowl to clean it. The piston is easy to use and replaceable.
The indicator levels are easy to read to know when to empty your toilet or top up the fresh water tank. The spout used to empty the tank is detachable so cleaning it is easy. The vents in the tank also help to make cleaning easier.
The lid on this model can be locked closed if you are planning on using the toilet for camping trips. This prevents any spillages.
The Sanitation Equipment Visa Potty Model Toilet is ideal for anyone who is budget conscious while not wanting to compromise on features. It is also an ideal model for anyone who actively camps or goes on day-long boating expeditions as it’s easy to transport from the home to a remote location.
“The toilet employs an easy to use bellow type flush and pull slide valve for easy flushing.”
The Camco 41541 Portable Toilet – 5.3 Gallon is the perfect fusion of portable and stylish. The design is sleek and clean enough to go into a standard home bathroom and not stand out like a sore thumb.
The detachable tank clips onto the bowl easily using a latch on either side. When the tank is attached, the toilet is just over sixteen inches high, which is a good height for anyone who has mobility issues and finds sitting down and standing up difficult.
The sealing slide valve that is incorporated into the flush locks the tank closed after use. This is perfect to prevent leakages and also prevents any odours drifting out of the tank.
This model is the cheapest model on our list at under $100, but don’t let the price tag fool you – this is no budget model. The Amazon star rating shows this model to be a firm favourite with users.
The Camco 41541 Portable Toilet is ideal for anyone who has a smaller budget but still wants a toilet that looks decent in their bathroom.
“This model is designed for medium to high capacity use; ideal for 2-3 people in a residential setting.”
The Sun-Mar Excel Non-Electric Self Contained Composting Toilet is by far the most environmentally friendly model available. It uses no electric and no water at all. It has been certified as 100% non-polluting.
While the design doesn’t look like a traditional toilet, it doesn’t look like a typical camping style toilet either. It’s sleek and modern to look at, and the design is quite quirky. It would make a nice feature in your bathroom.
The model has a handle to speed up the composting process if required. The handle is recessed, which means it’s not visible when not in use, so it doesn’t spoil the look of the toilet and there’s no risk of painfully clipping your ankles on it as you pass.
Whilst the high price tag might be a bit off putting, this model will save you money over time due to not using any electricity or water.
The Sun-Mar Excel Non-Electric toilet is ideal for families who truly want to go green. It’s also perfect for the design conscious who are worried that a composting toilet won’t look as good in their bathroom.
“The Nature’s Head Composting Toilet is the most innovative design, offers the best value, and the most reliable solution for personal sanitation requirements of any product in the field.”
The Nature’s Head Dry Composting Toilet with Standard Crank Handle is another model that uses no water at all, making it a good choice for those concerned with saving water.
This model is described as user friendly, and it’s quick and easy to install. The model comes with a 12V plug, but also has a crank handle that can be used instead of the electricity, or can be used in conjunction with it to speed up the composting process.
The toilet is odourless and lightweight.
The design of this model of toilet is very close to normal flushing toilet design, with the only real difference being that the tank makes the bottom of the toilet a little bulkier than a standard U-bend.
The Nature’s Head Dry Composting Toilet is ideal for anyone who wants to have a composting toilet while maintaining the look of a standard flushing toilet.
“This toilet doesn’t have the foul odours associated with all other holding tank systems.”
The Nature’s Head Self Contained Composting Toilet comes with an inbuilt fan that refreshes the air in your bathroom, eliminating any odours quickly and efficiently.
As with the other Nature’s Head model we chose, this model looks the closest to a standard flushing toilet and won’t stand out as different in your bathroom. This model boasts an elongated, standard size seat making using this toilet much more comfortable than other models of composting toilets.
The stainless steel hardware makes this model durable and easy to clean. Designed by sailors for use on a ship, this toilet is sturdy.
The most popular model of our top picks on Amazon, this model is a firm favourite that won’t disappoint you.
The Nature’s Head Self Contained Composting Toilet is ideal for anyone who wants the benefits of a composting toilet but doesn’t want to lose the comfort and design of a standard home toilet.
How to Choose the Best Composting Toilet: Buyer's Guide
Like with any household buy, there are many factors to consider when choosing your composting toilet. You need to find the right model for you and your family. Some important elements to consider when choosing your composting toilet are:
The first thing to consider is how much you want to spend on your toilet. If DIY is your thing, you can make your own composting toilet for around $20. If budget isn’t an issue, you can go up to well over $1500!
Most composting toilets require an electrical outlet. If your bathroom doesn’t have one, and you don’t intend on installing one, then you will need a non-electric model.
If you plan on leaving your toilet in the bathroom, then design may be your primary concern. If, however, you enjoy camping, sailing etc., then it may that you want to take your toilet with you. Try to choose a light weight model if this is the case for you.
If this is your first composting toilet, then it is recommended that you choose an easy to clean, easy to empty model. If you’re an expert composter and getting down and dirty doesn’t worry you, then some of the cheaper models are excellent once you get the hang of emptying them correctly and agitating the compost.
If you’re still a little undecided about whether or not composting toilets are for you, then it is worth considering buying a budget model first before you invest in an expensive composting toilet only to find you don’t want to use it. Also, it’s advisable at first to keep your pipes available in case you do change your mind and want to go back to a flushing toilet. You can always get these sealed off or removed once you are confident that composting is for you.
Pros and Cons of Composting Toilets
Composting toilets are fantastic if they are your sort of thing, but they sure aren’t for everyone. If you want to make the jump to a composting toilet, but you are still not sure if it’s for you, check out our pros and cons lists below.
These lists will give you a better idea of what exactly composting can entail and whether or not you want to give it a go.
Composting Toilets – The Pros
Low cost maintenance
Once your composting toilet is installed, the costs of running it are virtually zero. If you choose a non-electric, waterless toilet, then the costs are literally zero. This can save you a fortune in the long run.
Composting toilets are easy to install. You won’t need a plumber! Anyone can install these, saving you money again, and making the process of taking your toilet with you on trips easy.
Less water wastage
Waterless composting toilets obviously use no water at all. The ones that require some water use around five gallons of water to fill the tank, which averages around fifty seven flushes. It is estimated that a composting toilet saves over seven thousand gallons of water per person per year.
Not only are you saving water, but you are saving the environment in other ways too. A flushing toilet sends what is essentially toxic waste through a chemical processing system and then into the sea. Composting uses natural decomposition to reduce the waste. It can then be used to fertilize soil rather poison it.
Composting Toilets – The Cons
The smell can become a problem with composting toilets, especially in warmer weather if you don’t choose an odourless model. This can be combatted by using a fan or some sort of air freshener, but until you get used to it, it can be quite pungent!
Composting toilets usually take up a larger surface area than a standard flushing toilet, so if space is an issue, this is definitely something to factor into your decision.
Guests may think a composting toilet is weird! Although other people’s opinions shouldn’t put you off making the change, if you regularly entertain large numbers of guests, this could be an issue.
The look of composting toilets is certainly quite different to a standard flushing toilet. If design is a big factor in your decision making process, then you can consider buying one of the more expensive models which have a cleaner, more traditional look about them.
We hope that this article has helped you if you are thinking about buying your first composting toilet.
Of course, you should still carry out your own research to truly decide if composting is for you or not, but this article is a good starting point to give you an idea of the things you need to consider and some of the models of composting toilet available and what they entail.