So you’re thinking about getting a composting toilet. I totally get it. I’ve been in your shoes, scrolling through endless reviews and features, all of which declare themselves to be the best. 

This isn’t just a quick decision.

There’s a lot to sift through to find the right one, and there are some big points to consider before making a purchase.

After all, it is an investment.

This guide is your go-to for breaking it all down and gives you some thinking points to help you choose the best composting toilet for your space. 

Key Takeaways

  • Types: Various options for campers to homeowners.
  • Power/Water: Check your access before buying.
  • Users: Consider kids, guests, and mobility.
  • Size: Match the toilet to your space.
  • Budget: Plan for at least $1,000.
  • Maintenance: More than a regular toilet.
  • Eco-Friendly: Good for the planet.
buying a toilet

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I can earn commissions. If you decide to purchase through my links, it is at no cost to you.

Types of Composting Toilets

There is a variety of composting toilets.

There’s a composting toilet for every need, whether you are looking for a portable option for camping trips or a composting toilet for your home.

For those who love camping trips but hate the lack of proper sanitation, a portable composting toilet can be a game-changer.

Some composting toilets are designed for small spaces, occasional, full-time, portable, or permanent use.

Self-Contained Composting Toilet vs Centralized Toilet System

These toilets can be put in two categories: self-contained or centralized. Each type will likely be associated with the space where it will be used. 

The self-contained toilet is generally easier to install and is ideal for smaller spaces. This article will focus on these types of toilets.

The centralized toilet system is more complex but can handle waste from multiple toilets, making them suitable for larger homes and full-time use. 

tiny house, scene, clip art

Choosing the Best Composting Toilets for your RV, Tiny House, Van, or Container Home

Here is a 9-point checklist of things we will cover and thinking points to help you choose the best composting toilet for your space.

Factor to Think onQuestions to Consider
Power SourceDo you have access to 12V or 110V power for a fan?
Water SourceDo you have a gray tank or no water access?
Who will be Using the ToiletIs it just family, or also guests and people with mobility issues?
SizeDo you have room for a larger unit or need something compact?
CapacityAre you okay with frequent emptying, or do you want a larger capacity?
Disposing of the WasteDo you have a compost bin, or will you use trash bags?
BudgetLooking for a budget-friendly option or a high-end model?
Compost Material or NoneOkay, with buying and storing compost, or do you want a toilet that uses no compost?
Ventilation SystemWilling to install a permanent vent, or do you need a flexible solution?

9 Factors To Consider To Help you Choose the Best Composting Toilet

Got questions?

When you’re in the market for a composting toilet, consider factors like size, capacity, and whether it’s self-contained or requires a separate composting chamber.

Also, think about how easy it is to empty and maintain.  If you’re planning an off-grid lifestyle, a composting toilet is almost a necessity

1. Power Source Needed

Some composting toilets have an electric 12V built-in fan (can convert to 110v) to help remove odor and prevent smells.

The power draw is usually minimal, but if your power source is limited, you may want to consider this. 

2. Access to Water and a Gray Tank

If you don’t have access to water or a gray tank, a dry toilet is a great option.

If your access to water is limited or you are limited on space to carry a large amount of water, then a composting toilet is a no-brainer.

3. Who will be Using the Toilet

A decision that may be overlooked is who will be using the toilet. Not the number of people using it but who, specifically.

Will it be just for your family, regular guests, or someone with mobility or physical limitations?

  • Since some toilets are emptied by removing the entire toilet, it may present a problem for someone with mobility or physical limitations.
  • If children are using the toilets, special toilet seat adapters could assist in ensuring the urine-diverting functionality works properly. 
  • Will the toilet be used in a rental space where those without experience will be using or emptying it? You may want one easy-to-use, but getting a toilet system that uses compost may be a decision you’ll need to make when you choose the right toilet.
PRO Tip

Using a composting toilet is not hard once you know how to get that solid waste inside the tank. Sit further back on the seat!

4. Size and Capacity

The size of the space the toilet will be housed should be considered.

Some toilets need a lot of space to turn the handles or access bolts to remove the toilet and dump the waste.

If there is a need to store the toilet under a seat or a bench, a shorter toilet will be needed. 

5. Capacity

The capacity of the toilet should also be considered because the frequency of usage will determine when you need to empty the unit.

The tank would fill up much faster with a family using it versus one adult. 

Are you okay with dumping the solids every couple of days, or would you rather only empty them every four to six weeks? 

6. Disposing of the Waste

Where will you dispose of the liquid and solid waste? Will you have a compost bin or use a trash bag in a trash can? Who will be cleaning the toilet?

If you are traveling in an RV or Tiny Home, you likely won’t have a compost bin, so you must dispose of it in a trash bag.

If you have a toilet that has to be removed and taken out to be dumped, I can see where carrying a toilet around may turn some heads. 

7. The Cost of a Composting Toilet

The prices of composting toilets will vary in many situations where a composting toilet will work.

A portable one for occasional use will be cheaper than one installed in a home for full-time use. Some basic options may cost $50, while the more expensive options could cost over $2,000.

A good budget is at least $1,000 for a toilet for full-time use.

Some can get second-hand toilets that others are switching out for a different type of brand. 

8. Determine your Composting Needs

Not every toilet needs compost material. It’s almost weird to call them a composting toilet if they do not use the material.

If you have no desire to store and buy compost, you will have fewer options, but they work as well.

A no-compost toilet means one less supply to have on hand.

You can try different composting options to decide what works best for your needs. These options are sawdust, coconut coir, and peat moss

9. Ventilation System

Are you willing to install a permanent ventilation pipe to vent your toilet outside the building or space? It could be more challenging in a van or trying to remain stealthy. 

Vent pipes typically connect easily to traditional plumbing piping, so you don’t have to deal with specialty fittings. 

3 Maintenance Considerations for a Composting Toilet

Traditional toilets have very basic maintenance. You clean them and ensure no one puts things that are not supposed to go in them. 

A composting toilet will require more maintenance because you could have to empty liquids and solid containers.

You also have to ensure liquids do not get in the solids container and that the fan is working properly, as well as just keep the toilet clean. 

1. Emptying the Solids Container

There is some variety in emptying the solid container.

If you compare the Nature’s Head toilet to the Air Head or Separett toilet, the Nature’s Head entire toilet has to be unbolted and taken out to empty.

The Separett toilet has a removable container and uses compostable bags.

You can see how different removing an entire toilet versus grabbing handles on a bag are compared. 

2. Odor Control

If your toilet separates the urine and solids, there will be less odor. The compost in the solids bin, which has carbon, will help neutralize the nitrogen in waste, further reducing odor.

If there is an odor, it will likely be in the liquid part, which could mean it needs to be emptied every day, depending on the number of people using the toilet. 

PRO Tip

Keep a spray bottle handy with 50/50 white vinegar and water to spray the toilet after each use to reduce odor. 

3. Purchasing Compost and Storage

Purchasing the material will become part of your cost and decision if you decide on a compost system.

While most types of compost are easily available, they must be stored somewhere. This storage could take up valuable space you may not want to sacrifice. 

If you are more remote for a while, finding the composting material could be difficult if you run out. 

Who is Buying Composting Toilets

As we move out of 2023, the demand for sustainable living options like composting toilets is rising. 

Composting toilets are well-known in places like off-grid cabins, Boat Houses, Tiny Homes, or Van ConversionsAccess to water is often limited, and septic tank systems are costly. You may not want to use 2 gallons of water per flush. That is a lot of water to waste and to carry!

Some homeowners are installing a central composting system instead of conventional toilets if they want to cut their water usage and save some precious resources! 

Bathroom functions are a necessary part of our existence. These toilets solve many issues and offer a cost-effective solution to your sanitation needs.

Unlike traditional flush toilets, composting toilets are waterless and turn human waste into compost.

How Composting Toilets Work

Composting toilet systems often divert urine and solid human waste into different holding tanks. They are often waterless, unlike traditional toilets.

Managing human waste responsibly is crucial, especially in off-grid or eco-conscious settings.

By separating the urine and feces, the odor can be reduced and further eliminated with an electric fan. The solids are often mixed with a compost material and begin composting.

The urine container may connect to the gray water system or be stored to be emptied and used as fertilizer for non-edible plants. 

No water or septic system is needed!

Composting Toilet Pros and Cons

Pros ✅

  • Reduces water usage
  • Eliminate the need for Black Tank
  • Eliminate the need for a costly septic tank system
  • Eco-friendly
  • Offers the opportunity to live in more remote or off-grid places

Cons ❎

  • Have to empty the waste containers
  • Possible odors
  • Having to teach guests to use the toilet
  • Finding and storing the composting material

Composting Toilet Problems

One of the problems those with this type of toilet could have is finding someone to repair it if it has issues.

Granted, many of the toilets do not have a lot of electronic pieces to break, if a quick fix doesn’t remedy the problem, finding another toilet at the local hardware store won’t be likely. 

Other problems could be:

  • Odors – usually from the liquids
  • Overflowing containers
  • Finding a place to dump the waste
  • Solid and Liquid waste not being separated properly due to incorrect usage, leading to mold growth in the solids

Well-Known Composting Toilet Brands

If you have searched for composting toilets for more than 10 seconds, you have likely encountered some well-known ones on the market.

The bigger competitors are Nature’s Head Composting Toilet, Separett, OGO, Sun-Mar, and Air Head. 

Here is some help in determining the Best Composting toilet for your space.

Search on Amazon ➡

Final Thoughts

Choosing a composting toilet isn’t just about picking the first one you see online. It’s about aligning the toilet’s features with your lifestyle, space, and eco-goals.

Each factor is crucial when you choose the best composting toilet, from power sources to who’s using them. 

So take your time, weigh the pros and cons, and make an informed decision. After all, this isn’t just a toilet—it’s a step towards a more sustainable way of living.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the easiest composting toilet to use?

The Sun Mar GTG is so easy to use because it does not use compost, and guys can choose to sit or stand. Plus, it is budget-friendly!

What are the drawbacks of a composting toilet?

You have to empty it!

What is the best composting toilet for off-grid?

See how four brands compare to help you decide:  The 4 Best Composting Toilets for RVs and Camper Vans

What is the best composting toilet for small spaces?

Select one that fits under a bench or seat, like the OGO Composting Toilet

How long do Composting Toilets take to Compost?

The final composting process does not take place in the toilet. The material emptied from the container into a compost bin outside will need 6-12 months to cure before use. 

Author
  • Erin Hybart

    Meet Erin, a real estate enthusiast with a wealth of knowledge and an insatiable curiosity for all things Real Estate and living with intention. She passionately advocates for alternative, affordable, and eco-friendly housing solutions. She believes in pushing the industry's innovation boundaries and thinking outside the box. As a licensed real estate agent in Louisiana, Erin dedicates herself to assisting clients in buying and selling properties and mentoring fellow agents to succeed in their own Real Estate businesses. In addition to her professional pursuits, Erin channels her expertise into captivating house-flipping adventures.

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