Are you planning to build or move into an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) or a tiny house? If so, choosing the right toilet is one of your most critical decisions.
You may not even realize how many toilet options there are! There are so many more options than just traditional toilets. 🚽
Let’s explore the best toilet options available for tiny houses, ADU, boats, container homes, tree houses, or whatever alternative spaces you have.
Researching your toilet options is important so you do not have to be like the many who learn the expensive way.
Let’s dive into the Guide to ADU & tiny house toilet options. 🧻
Several waterless toilet options that do not need a septic system are perfect for your backyard ADU or tiny house.
Portable toilets are the most versatile for those wanting to go on long hiking or remote trips.
Composting or urine-diverting toilets are eco-friendly alternatives to traditional water-based toilets that are also budget-friendly compared to incinerating toilets.
Table of Contents
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6 Considerations to Understand Your Toilet Needs
Understanding your toilet needs is a prerequisite before exploring specific toilet options. The right toilet for your tiny house or ADU will depend on factors such as:
Who will be using the toilet
Access to water
Access to septic systems
Carefully considering these elements will help you select the most suitable toilet, ensuring a comfortable and functional living space – the first time!
6 ADU & Tiny House Toilet Options
Armed with a better understanding of the factors to consider when considering your tiny house toilet options, it’s time to discuss the available options.
Each type of toilet has advantages and disadvantages, depending on your specific needs and circumstances.
Composting or urine-diverting toilets
Dry flush or cassette toilets
Regular toilet (flushing)
Each week there is 70+ gallons of water used to flush the toilet per person.
1. Composting or Urine Diverting Toilets 💩
Composting or urine-diverting toilets are eco-friendly options that require no water or septic system.
These composting toilets work by separating liquid and solid waste. This reduces smell and allows human waste to be turned into something useful.
The solids are sometimes combined with a composting agent like wood shavings, coconut coir, peat moss, or sawdust. They are then thrown in a trash bag or a compost pile to continue to break down through natural processes.
The environmentally friendly nature of composting toilets makes them an attractive option for tiny house owners seeking a compost toilet solution that involves the composting process.
2. Dry Flush or Cassette Toilet 🚱
Using sealed bags or cartridges to contain waste, dry flush or cassette toilets are compact and portable options.
These toilets are easy to install and maintain, ideal for temporary or mobile tiny house setups.
Dry flush toilets offer a simple and effective solution for managing waste in tiny houses, making tiny house toilets an essential component of a tiny house bathroom without the need for plumbing or sewage connections.
3. Incinerating Toilets 🔥
Incinerating toilets burns waste into ash, making them suitable for off-grid living but expensive to purchase and operate.
These toilets require a significant amount of electricity to function; hence, they may not be the best option for those with limited access to power.
While incinerating toilets may cost more upfront, they offer a self-contained, waterless solution ideal for certain tiny house setups. Some work with 12V or propane.
4. Macerating Toilets 🆙
You may have never heard of this toilet if you don’t live in a place with basements.
Macerating toilets use a pump to break down waste and can be connected to existing plumbing systems. This setup is suitable for situations where traditional plumbing is not easily accessible or for adding a bathroom.
While these toilets are more expensive than standard toilets, they still offer the benefit of connecting to a small-diameter pipe and easy installation.
These toilets can drain a shower and sink, making them perfect for alternative spaces.
5. Regular Toilets or RV Toilets 🚽
A traditional flush toilet or RV toilet requires access to water and septic systems but offers convenience and familiarity.
Some traditional flush toilets use less water (under 2 gallons per flush) and are considered more environmentally friendly, so they should be considered.
An RV toilet will use significantly less water (about a quart or less), making it more eco-friendly.
6. Portable Toilet ⛺️
Portable toilets are affordable and easy-to-maintain options for temporary or mobile tiny house setups. These toilets are lightweight and easy to transport, making them ideal for situations where you may need to move your tiny house frequently.
While portable toilets may not offer the same level of comfort and aesthetic appeal as other toilet options, they provide a practical solution for managing waste in temporary or mobile tiny house settings.
Some users often have a cover material like sawdust for the waste to absorb any smells.
Some living the off-grid life may also have an inexpensive portable toilet to carry with them if they go on long hikes or similar adventures.
7 Key Factors to help Choose a Toilet for your ADU or Tiny House
Did you realize there were so many toilet options available? If you are overwhelmed, let’s summarize the toilet types before we share the top toilet options by type.
Here are the key factors and big questions you may need to review before deciding:
Top Composting or Urine Diverting Toilets
The most budget-friendly option for long-term use is the composting toilet.
These work well if you are on wheels and are permanently parked.
These toilets are popular among tiny house owners and ADU dwellers due to their eco-friendly nature, waterless operation, and odor-control features. Some popular composting toilets include:
Each of these toilets offers different features and price points to accommodate various needs and preferences, including some that do not need a compost medium.
Separett Villa Toilet
The Separett Composting Toilet are a high-end composting toilet with:
Internal fan for odor control
Unlimited liquids collection if attached to a grey water source
Easy to empty solids container
Read the full review — > The Waterless Separett Villa Composting Toilet: A Real & Honest Review
The Sun-Mar GTG composting toilet is a compact and environmentally friendly option suitable for small spaces. It offers:
No composting material needed
Easy to remove liquids and solids container
Sleek design makes it easier to keep clean
Despite its smaller size, the Sun-Mar GTG offers effective solid waste management and is easy to maintain.
Air Head is a self-contained composting toilet with the following features:
Easy to remove liquids container
Easy waste disposal
Odor control fan
Read the full review — > Air Head Composting Toilet Review
OGO is a small and modern composting toilet with the following features:
Separate container for liquids and solids
Compact design, ideal for tiny houses with limited space – could fit under the seat
Easy to install and maintain
Effective odor control system
Although it may not be as well-known as other options, the OGO composting toilet is an efficient choice for those seeking a high-quality, space-saving toilet solution.
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Top Incinerating Toilets
These toilet options fit better into permanently attached spaces than on wheels because of the electricity they use to burn the waste. These toilets can be expensive to purchase and operate and require substantial electricity.
The top incinerating toilets include
Cinderella is a high-quality incinerating option with a modern design and efficient waste disposal system. This toilet offers the following features:
Burns waste into ash, making it easy to dispose of and maintain
Requires a significant amount of electricity to operate
Comes with high-quality components
Offers a long warranty period
Cinderella is a worthwhile investment for those seeking a reliable and efficient incinerating toilet. There is no messy compost to empty or liquids to dump. There is also a version for travel setups.
Incinolet is a durable and reliable incinerating option suitable for off-grid living. This toilet offers the following features:
Requires no water
Burns waste into ash for easy disposal
Ideal option for those with limited access to water or septic systems
Offers a self-contained solution for managing waste
Although it requires substantial electricity, its durable construction and user-friendly features make Incinolet a popular choice.
Top Dry Flush or Cassette Toilets
Using sealed bags or cartridges to contain waste, dry flush or cassette toilets are compact and portable options. These toilets are perfect for temporary or mobile tiny house setups, as they can be easily installed and maintained.
Some of the top dry flush or cassette toilets include:
Laveo is a battery-powered dry flush toilet with sealed human waste bags for easy disposal. This toilet is perfect for those who want a simple, portable toilet option requiring minimal maintenance.
The Laveo dry flush toilet uses a continuous bagging system (Think Diaper Genie) to contain waste, preventing smells from escaping.
Thetford is a well-known brand offering a range of cassette toilets for tiny living and RVs. The toilet has a variety of models and features to choose from, with a range of options to suit different needs and preferences.
Thetford cassette toilets offer efficient waste management and odor control, making them a popular choice among tiny home owners.
Top Macerating Toilets
A macerating toilet is typically seen in basements or places where you must pump your waste up to the septic system.
Some have also installed this type of toilet when adding a bathroom, and the cost to install plumbing in the ground is too costly.
Some popular macerating toilet brands include:
Saniflo Sanicompact Dual-flush
The Saniflo dual flush toilet uses 1-1.28 gallons per flush and can discharge gray water from a sink.
This toilet can be installed 9 feet below the sewer line.
SuperFlo Toilet System
The Superflo toilet can pump waste 32.8 feet up, making it a beast when you need a toilet for your alternative space.
It also has a noise-cancelling feature.
Top Traditional Flush or RV Toilets
If you can opt for an ultra-high efficiency flush traditional toilet or RV toilet that uses less water, you can contribute to living more sustainably.
Ultra-high Efficiency Traditional Flush Toilets
American Standard Dual Flush
The American Standard toilet will help conserve water by only using 0.92 – 1.28 gallons per flush. This amount of water usage makes this an ultra-high-efficiency toilet.
The dual flush function will determine if you use just enough water to rinse liquid waste away or need just a bit more for the solid waste.
The well-known Dometic toilet is a gravity flush toilet that uses just one pint of water to flush. This toilet has a power flush feature to clear the bowl quickly and efficiently. This toilet is a cost effective sustainable option to reduce water usage and have waste containers to empty.
Top Portable Toilet Options
Portable toilets provide an affordable, easy-to-maintain solution for temporary or mobile tiny home setups. These toilets are lightweight and easy to transport, making them ideal for situations where you may need to move your tiny house frequently.
Some top portable toilet options include
- Reliance Luggable Loo
- Dometic 972
Reliance Luggable Loo
The Reliance Luggable Loo is as basic as you can get.
It is a 5 gallon bucket and a toilet seat.
Panmout Portable Toilet
For an even more portable toilet option, the Panmout foldable toilet can be used in a pinch for emergencies.
It folds up to the size of a large frisbee.
The Dometic 972 option will fit perfectly under a seat or in a cabinet. It is lightweight so it is not cumbersome when having to remove for use.
It is so compact that you may want to put in on a stool to use it.
This toilet will use some minimal water, but since it is considered more portable, it is not typically used as a full-time toilet.
Your Tiny House Toilet Cheatsheet
Here is a quick table to help you sort out all the tiny house toilet options.
|Toilet Type||Connections||How it Works|
|Regular Flush Toilet||Water and Septic||Uses water to transport waste to a sewage system.|
|Macerating Toilet||Water and Septic||Waste is moved up to sewer drain line.|
|Dry Flush or Cassette Toilet||Possible AC power||Captures waste in sealed bags.|
|Composting Toilet||Some can connect to grey water; 12V||Waste is separated and composted|
|Incinerating Toilet||Power||Burns waste to ash|
|Portable||Some use minor water to wash basin; some use battery||Easy to transport and require frequent emptying, typically daily.|
I hope you are not overwhelmed. It may have surprised you how many tiny house toilet options there are.
Numerous toilet options are available for ADUs and tiny houses, each with its advantages and disadvantages.
You can find the perfect toilet solution for your tiny house or ADU by carefully considering your specific needs, preferences, and local regulations.
The key is to select a toilet that fits your space, maintains a pleasant living environment, and aligns with your values and lifestyle.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do tiny homes have a toilet?
Many tiny homes that are off-grid opt for a self-contained toilet that doesn’t need water or a sewer system to function like the composting toilet.
What is the best toilet for off-grid living?
A composting toilet is a favorite for off-grid living because it is sustainable and does not use water or need a sewer connection.
What is the best kind of toilet for a tiny house?
Composting toilets are an ideal choice for tiny houses, as they don’t require a water connection or septic system and can create nutrient-rich compost in as little as six months.
Are there toilets that don’t require plumbing?
There is a whole world of toilets that do not need plumbing like a composting toilet, incinerating toilet or cassette toilet.
What are the alternatives to toilets?
A cassette toilet or composting toilet are alternatives to a “real toilet”
What do permanently attached tiny homes use for toilets?
Tiny homes typically use either incinerating toilets or composting toilets. Some may choose to use a regular flush toilet.
Can you have a toilet without a septic system?
There are many options, including a composting toilet, incinerating toilet or portable toilet.
Can I use a traditional flushing toilet in my tiny house?
Yes, you can use a traditional flushing toilet in your tiny house with permanent access to water and a septic or sewer system.