In this guide, we will answer what a composting toilet is and how it works, the various types of composting toilets available on the market today, how to choose between them, and then review some of our favorite models. We’ll also offer some tips for using your new system so you can enjoy all the benefits without any of the hassles.
What Should you know about composting toilet systems?
A composting toilet system is a waterless, renewable, and sustainable way to manage human waste. You may also hear “composting toilets” called “dry toilets” or “direct-toilet systems.” Composting Toilets are an alternative to the conventional flushable toilet that many people use today. The best composting toilets are:
- Eco-friendly, sustainable, and waterless
- Natural decomposition of human waste with no harmful chemicals involved. Composting is a process in which organic material breaks down into humus over time. The best composting toilet lets you do your business without any need for water or electricity to flush the toilet.
- Lightweight and portable.
- No odor. If done correctly, composting toilets do not cause any foul odors from human waste as a conventional toilet would. Composting Toilets also greatly reduces the amount of methane gas released into the environment compared to traditional flushable toilets and sewage systems.
Get more info about how a composting toilet works.
Installation & Maintenance
If you have decided on an expanded Composting Toilet for your bathroom, installation and maintenance are pretty simple. The big difference between traditional toilets is that the compost toilet needs a vent pipe to release odors not to stink up the house! Be sure that there is enough air circulation to keep smells from lingering too long.
The vent pipe needs to be exposed above the roof, but it can stay hidden from view if you are creative. It would be best if you had something that will channel air into the pipe when you flush and a place for compost to drain out of the toilet tank. Composting toilets don’t smell as long as there is enough venting available!
To get an idea of your vent pipe’s size, strength, and location, you will need a roofer or contractor. This is a step that can’t be skipped if you want to have a properly functioning toilet! After installation, all it takes is water and waste for your toilet to work just like any other one – except the waste goes in a different place.
How to Prep & Dump the Bins
If you have a composting toilet, there are three steps to keep in mind.
- The first step is the prep stage, where you will fill up your container with about one foot of organic material. This can be straw, kitchen scraps, or any other natural materials that break down quickly and easily over time. Add some water, so it is moist.
- The second step is the dump stage, and this happens daily, or every time you flush your toilet. It’s important to make sure there is enough water for everything to go down smoothly!
- Finally, it is necessary to put some organic materials (usually straw) over top of the compost so that the air can circulate and the decomposition process is slowed down.
This ensures that bacteria will break down anything you flush and keep any smells at bay!
There are a few different composting toilet types to choose from, so be sure to read on for more information before deciding which model would work best in your home.
Tips for Choosing the Best Composting Toilet
Composting toilets are available in a variety of sizes to suit nearly any need. The size you choose will depend on the number of people using it, how much space is available, and what your budget allows for.
A compost toilet can be flushed with as little as one gallon per flush or up to five gallons depending on the volume and consistency of waste material being expelled at once. This means flushing about two times daily (once after breakfast and again before bed). Soil quality also needs to be considered when choosing a composting system that suits your needs because aerobic bacteria break down organic materials faster than anaerobic bacteria do. To give these friendly organisms plenty of oxygen, composting toilets need to be vented properly.
Capacity per flush
The volume of waste material that can be expelled at once from a composter toilet largely depends on the type and age of the person using it. For example, someone who is lean with little body fat may only produce three ounces, while a two hundred pounds overweight individual could expel up to twelve ounces in one go!
Cleaning your vent configuration regularly will help prevent odors from escaping into the surrounding air or seeping back inside through any cracks around doors or windows. This ventilation system also needs sufficient airflow so that aerobic bacteria have everything they need for efficient decomposition without being starved out by other bacterial strains competing for resources (excess moisture, insufficient oxygen, etc.).
To help control unpleasant smells, a composting toilet should be installed in an area with plenty of ventilation, such as outside or near a window. In addition to using sawdust for odor control and covering your waste matter, so it doesn’t touch the sawdust, you can also install a vent pipe system that pulls air from inside through filters before sending it out into the atmosphere.
Some composting toilets use electricity to power fans that keep the air moving, while others rely on natural convection.
If you’re installing a composting toilet indoors, it’s recommended to locate it in an area without much foot traffic or regular opening and closing of doors because its odor-control system will help limit unpleasant smells but not eliminate them. Compost toilets also require at least one cubic yard per person (approximately two feet high) for efficient operation, so make sure your space has enough room before you buy!
Composting toilets are more expensive upfront than septic tanks. Still, they don’t have any recurring costs such as pumping out wastewater every three years or disposing of waste by truck (which can be costly depending on the distance to a landfill).
Composting toilets come with warranties for up to twenty years, so you’ll have time to adjust your lifestyle and save money by installing one in your home without having an unexpired warranty. This means that if something goes wrong during installation, it will be covered under their contract. You can also contact them directly when issues arise later on down the road, such as needing replacement parts or repairs before the warranty runs out!
A compost toilet recycles organic waste, while septic tanks are designed primarily to separate liquids from solids; they’re not intended for cleaning purposes like a sink is. Composting toilets absorb water quickly, which prevents any bacteria buildup that could occur with a septic tank.
Composting toilets do not emit any smells because it’s the bacteria breaking down organic matter that gives off odors! A properly installed compost toilet will even absorb excess moisture and release dry fertilizer for your garden when you’re done with it.
Best Composting Toilets Reviews
Nature’s Head Dry Composting Toilet with Standard Crank Handle – Best Overall
You’ll never struggle with your bathroom again! Nature’s Head Dry Composting Toilet with Standard Crank Handle is incredibly easy to use. It comes complete with built-in features designed to make every aspect of using the toilet as pleasant as possible.
With just one crank of the handle, you’ll create a perfect compost mixture that breaks down waste quickly so it can be deposited into a septic tank or spread on garden beds. Throw in some sawdust for odor control, and rest assured, knowing that this modern marvel will last for decades without an expensive service call.
Villa 9215 AC/DC – Best Compact Dry Toilet
The Villa 9215 is the most advanced, least troublesome composting toilet. Great for on-grid or off-grid living: it operates on AC power. You’re not limited to just using DC power if you want, though, because adaptors are available in either AC or DC. Its single-speed fan can be used with a direct vent ductless system (not included) and operates at 20 feet when connected to that type of ventilation system.
YITAHOME Portable Travel Toilet – Great Choice For RVs
Find your new Favorite Friend in the wild with this portable travel toilet! It’s lightweight for easy transportation and simple to set it up. Two spouts: one for clean water, which moistens the waste, and a second outlet that helps push everything down into the tank below.
With the Yitahome Portable Travel Toilet, you’re always ready for emergencies! Forget about messy cardboard boxes when you have your own personal toilet that fits in a convenient carrying case. The toilet is environmentally material friendly and has a large capacity of 3.2 gallons. With the exclusive efficient double water outlets flush, even 5 cups worth of liquid cleanses away easily! That’s why it’s so efficient and durable with use over time no matter how many times you need it! It also has a comfortable seat to relax on while seated upright – this way, and there are no spills or messes when going to the restroom anywhere.
Camco 41541 Portable Travel Toilet
Relax in the great outdoors with this Camco 41541 Portable Travel Toilet! This toilet is perfect for camping trips and other outdoor needs, allowing you to avoid disgusting public restrooms. The detachable 5.3 gallon holding tank leaves room to put items on top of it or store it separately from your tent, so they stay dry.
It’s even strong enough to handle tough jobs like a large doggy duty that wear out typical toilets! With a two-inch side latch system, it easily attaches and locks onto most standard round holes, which means you can enjoy the peace of mind knowing there won’t be any unfortunate accidents while nature calls.
TOOCA Portable Camping Toilet
No need for port-a-potties because now there’s a new way to go. The TOOCA Portable Camping Toilet is the compostable portable toilet that fits in a small bag and can fit into your purse or pocket with ease! Great for camping trips, picnics in the park, car travel, RVing, concerts in field coddle seats at Coachella…the possibilities are limitless and non-ending! Now you don’t have to skip out on those adventures with friends and family just because our favorite secluded spot might not have facilities nearby – problem solved!
How Much Electricity Does the Fan Use?
The fan can use up to 60 watts of power at full capacity, which is a significant amount for the average North American household. However, because it runs only one minute every five minutes with an intermittent duty cycle, the actual electricity consumption will be minimal: about four kilowatts per day or $0.02 worth of energy (assuming a cost of $0.12 per kilowatt-hour).
Does the Composting Toilet Smell Bad?
The composting process actually prevents bad smells because it creates an aerobic environment where bacteria break down the waste and produce a natural, earthy odor. This is in contrast to traditional toilets that trap odors underwater (or worse).
Where Do I Get the Peat Moss?
Peat moss can be purchased at any garden center or home improvement store. You are paying for a renewable resource that will last for years to come, and it's also cheaper than gravel (about $0.50 per pound). A 40-pound bag of peat moss costs about $20-$25, depending on where you buy it.
How does a composting toilet work in an RV?
An RV composting toilet has to be installed permanently and can't be used on the go. The system is much more complicated than a portable unit, but it's still possible with enough time and money. It requires an electrical outlet for the ventilation fan (so check your local campsite before you commit) or solar panels if available.
How do you use a composting toilet?
A composting toilet is pretty simple to use. Fill the container with peat moss, water, or some other dry material that will absorb liquid and mix it into a slurry of sorts before adding your waste (which should be well-mixed beforehand). The mixture then dries out and gradually turns into compost over time.
How much does a composting toilet cost?
The average cost of a composting toilet is about $800. Composting toilets are still very much in the minority. Most people don't know how to install them, so you will need professionals for this job (unless you're handy).
What is a composting toilet system?
A composting toilet system consists of two parts: the storage container and a vent fan. Typically, these are connected via an airtight seal with a valve mechanism to prevent odors from escaping or entering your home.
Do you have to empty a composting toilet?
Yes, because it can't be left to accumulate for longer than a month. The container should have enough capacity to hold feces and urine from an average-sized adult all at once. Otherwise, you'll need to empty the toilet every day or two.
What do you do with composting toilet waste?
Composting toilets produce a nutrient-rich, earthy soil called compost. This is beneficial for your garden because it provides all of the nutrients necessary to grow plants and vegetables without any need for artificial fertilizers or pesticides that might harm pollinators and other wildlife in the area.
If you are considering composting toilets, the information in this article should have helped clarify some of your questions. We hope that we’ve done a good job answering any lingering thoughts and concerns about installing composting toilets for residential and commercial use. Whether you’re an individual looking to install one toilet or someone responsible for managing multiple restrooms across several buildings, there’s likely something here that will be helpful. Thank you so much for reading!