The Best Composting Toilets: Choosing the Right One

The Best Composting Toilets: Choosing the Right One
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Everybody poops.

It’s one of those things that nobody talks about, but everyone accepts as a fact of life. For most people, going to the bathroom isn’t something you need to think about.

For those living in a tiny home (or off-grid dwellers), however, setting up an efficient and easy-to-maintain toilet becomes a much more discussion-worthy topic.

Most tiny home dwellers agree that a composting toilet is one of the best options for a tiny home. 

Picking out the best composting toilet, though?

Not so easy.

Today we’ll be reviewing some of the best composting toilets on the market to help you find the one that fits your budget and lifestyle.

Features

  • Dependable and built to last – made with all stainless steel hardware 
  • Easy to clean: state-of-the-art design allows for easy emptying 
  • Super comfortable and feels identical to using a normal toilet 
  • Designed to have no smell, thanks to vent vent hose and fan 
  • Comes with 5 year warranty
  • Top-rated on Amazon and “Amazon’s Choice” for composting toilets

OUR RATING



Our #1 Rated

5/5

5 out of 5

Other Great Options (In More Detail Below): 

  1. Runner Up: Separett Villa 9215 AC/DC
  2. Best Budget Option: Reliance Products Luggable Loo
  3. Third Best Overall Option: Sun-Mar Self-Contained Composting Toilet

How Composting Toilets Work 

Composting toilets rely on some of the oldest methods available for processing waste—natural decomposition. Instead of storing and treating waste as we do in industrial scale waste sewage plants, evaporation and bacteria are used to break it down.

When you’re getting a composting tank ready, most toilet manufacturers recommend you add in organic material like sphagnum moss or coconut husks. 

These create air gaps and help encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria that break down waste.

Human waste is composed of 90% water. Through the use of a vent system, composting toilets quickly evaporate this water and leave behind just solid waste. 

They also generally have a small lever that you turn after using. This moves an agitator in the composting tank that helps break up larger pieces of waste and aerate everything. 

When you combine all these features together you end up with a system that operates without any odor and a need for added water.  

The Benefits of Composting Toilets

What makes composting toilets so perfect for tiny dwellers and those living off the grid, is how self-contained the process is. 

Commercial composting toilets are designed to store and decompose waste with minimal input or upkeep.

With RV toilet systems you’ll generally need to empty out a black water tank every week or so. Most commercial composting toilets only need to be emptied out once a month.

This is what your composting toilet should look like when it is ready to be emptied:

 

Even better, the waste can be transferred to a large compost bin or simply disposed of in a dumpster. It’s the same thing as throwing diapers away and is completely legal and safe.

This gives you tons of flexibility depending on if you’re stationary or in a Tiny House On Wheels (THOW). With the ventilation systems built into these toilets, there are no detectable smells when used properly.

To recap, the biggest benefits of composting toilets include:

  • Requires no additional water
  • Safely stores waste
  • Allows sustainable use of waste as compost
  • Waste can be disposed of in standard dumpsters safely and legally if needed
  • No discernable odors
  • Separates liquid and solid waste automatically
  • Able to run off of AC or limited DC power

Best Overall Pick: Nature’s Head Self-Contained Composting Toilet

Features

  • Dependable and built to last – made with all stainless steel hardware 
  • Easy to clean: state-of-the-art design allows for easy emptying 
  • Super comfortable and feels identical to using a normal toilet 
  • Designed to have no smell, thanks to vent vent hose and fan 
  • Comes with 5 year warranty
  • Top-rated on Amazon and “Amazon’s Choice” for composting toilets

OUR RATING



Our #1 Rated

5/5

5 out of 5

The Nature’s Head Composting Toilet is, without a doubt, the best composting toilet on the market today. It’s a fully self-contained unit built from durable composites with all stainless steel hardware.

This makes it highly corrosion resistant and able to stand up to impacts. The design of the Nature’s head is optimized for motion. 

It was originally built for boaters and RV’ers, so everything about it is built to safely contain waste even while moving frequently.

The seat and body are molded into a single piece for comfort and durability. If you look at the Nature’s Head toilet, you’ll immediately notice it closely resembles a traditional flush toilet. 

This allows your guests to use it without the unfamiliarity that comes from some other tiny house and off-grid toilet options. It has a urine diverter system and a removable urine tank that can be easily disposed in two ways:

  1. Drained in a traditional toilet
  2. Used as fertilizer in your garden

It requires no water to operate and uses just 1.7 amps of power per 24 hours of fan use. This allows it to be used continuously in off-grid situations. 

The Nature’s head design is optimized to maximize its compact shape and size. In keeping with this goal, they offer it with both a standard handle and a ‘spider handle’ for ultra close quarters.

The standard handle requires five inches of clearance on the side while the spider handle needs just two. One of the best features about the nature’s head is how adaptable it is.

Whichever handle you choose can be mounted on either the left or right hand side of the unit.

Overall, the Nature’s Head is a rugged and highly functional product. It does exactly what it’s advertised to do and does it well.

Pros 

  • Proudly manufactured in America
  • Built with all stainless steel hardware
  • Simple, clean design that can be easily taken apart and emptied
  • Full-size toilet seat, just like a traditional toilet, for a familiar experience
  • Requires no water
  • Includes vent hose and fan

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Composting stops below 55℉
  • Requires permanent installation

Features

  • Resembles a familiar toilet for a very comfortable experience
  • Compact and takes up little space
  • Requires no water
  • Separates liquid and solid waste
  • Provides an easy-to-use experience
  • Fully ventilated
  • Only needs emptying once a month for a family of four
  • Nearly odorless
  • “Amazon’s Choice” product and highly rated on Amazon

OUR RATING



Our #2 Rated (For Best Overall Pick)

4.5/5

4.5 out of 5

The Separett Villa 9215 is an updated version of the company’s celebrated Villa line of composting toilets. It’s designed to replicate the appearance and experience of a traditional flush toilet as much as possible.

Unlike many other composting toilets, the Villa looks a lot like a traditional toilet. It doesn’t have any apparent tanks or solid waste storage areas, and doesn’t require any action after you’re done using it.

It has a built in urine diversion system, but lacks the urine-holding tank found on many other toilets. You’ll need to either connect it to your own tank, or run it to a greywater or other drainage system.

One thing that separates the Separett from similar composting toilets is the way the solid waste is stored. Instead of using a central holding container, it actually has a compostable storage bag.

It’s designed to hold waste securely when in use and is easy to remove. They estimate one bag used by a family of four will need to be replaced every three to four weeks. 

An important thing to remember with the Separett is that it doesn’t actually compost waste in the toilet. Composting only begins once waste has been transferred to a compost bin. 

This does have its advantages though. It allows the Separett to store more waste in a smaller overall toilet because of the lack of organic material to aid in composting.

The Separett Villa composting toilet is an easy-to-use toilet option for those living off the grid. It doesn’t have the same go-anywhere capability of some of its competitors, but does offer a more traditional flush toilet experience.

Pros 

  • Compact
  • Requires no water
  • Separates liquid and solid waste
  • Provides an easy-to-use experience
  • Fully ventilated
  • Only needs emptying once a month for a family of four
  • Nearly odorless

Cons

  • Doesn’t have the ability to store liquid waste
  • No composting takes place in the toilet itself
  • Expensive
  • Requires power to run the fan
  • Needs to be permanently installed

Best Budget Option: Reliance Products Luggable Loo 

Features

  • Dirt cheap
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Can be used anywhere
  • Fully self-contained
  • Seals up airtight
  • 5 year warranty
  • Simple to use and set up
  • Over 1100 reviews, “Amazon’s Choice” product, and a 4.5+ rating on Amazon

OUR RATING



Our #1 Rated (Best Budget Option)

5/5

5 out of 5

The Luggable Loo is about as basic a toilet option as you can get for your tiny home. It’s basically just a 5-gallon bucket with a plastic toilet seat on top.

The genius of it is that these types of buckets are plenty strong enough to hold most people. 

They’re also designed to seal up airtight. For something that’s going to hold waste this is absolutely perfect.

The Luggable Loo is made to work with Reliance’s Double Doodie bags. Most people to start by putting a regular plastic trash bag in the bucket then fitting the Double Doodie bags into them.

This protects the bucket from potential spills and makes disposing of waste incredibly easy. The system comes with both a snap on toilet seat and a fully airtight lid. 

It has a sturdy metal handle built into the loo that allows you to move it around. This makes it much easier to transport waste to a compost bin or a dumpster for disposal.

We’ll level with you—this isn’t the most elegant or easy-to-use toilet for a tiny home. 

However, it is both effective, portable, and perfect for those wanting a simple but functional toilet option at a fraction of the cost of other higher end composting toilets. 

Pros 

  • Dirt cheap
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Can be used anywhere
  • Fully self-contained
  • Seals up airtight

Cons

  • Doesn’t separate liquid and solid waste
  • Composting will not take place in the toilet
  • Requires frequent dumping 
  • Uses a plastic bag for each use
  • Quickly generates odors if not emptied

Our 3rd Overall Best Option: Sun-Mar Self-Contained Composting Toilet 

 

Features

  • Totally water-free
  • Capable of working entirely without power
  • Produces almost no odor
  • Suitable for residential use of a family of three
  • Compact and easy to install
  • Bio-drum composting is efficient and low maintenance
  • Recessed handle takes up no space when not in use
  • Competitively priced
 

OUR RATING



Our #3 Rated (Overall)

3.5/5

3.5 out of 5

Sun-Mar has been producing their Excel line of composting toilets for decades. Their Excel-NE model provides all the benefits of their main line without the need for AC power.

It uses their variable diameter composting bio-drum design. Instead of a powered motor they include a recessed handle that you can spin after each use. The unit is capable of supporting daily use by a family of three.

Unlike many of the other composting toilets we’ve reviewed the Sun-Mar Excel isn’t designed to evaporate off liquid waste. It needs to be hooked up to an approved drain pit or sewage system to remove excess moisture from the composting mix.

The non-electric version can be fitted with a small DC fan to help aid in odor reduction. One thing that we noticed was that the bio-drum system makes emptying more efficient than with other composting toilets.

It has a separate drawer at the base of the unit. This allows you to remove fully composted material without having to deal with fresh waste. 

The size and shape of the Excel is very similar to traditional toilets. It’s much more palatable for guests to use and easier to get accustomed to using regularly.

Pros 

  • Totally waterfree
  • Capable of working entirely without power
  • Produces almost no odor
  • Suitable for residential use of a family of three
  • Compact and easy to install
  • Bio-drum composting is efficient and low maintenance
  • Recessed handle takes up no space when not in use
  • Competitively priced

Cons

  • Requires a drain 
  • Without DC fan has greater odor than other models
  • Learning curve is steeper than with other composting toilets

Choosing the Best Toilet For Your Situation

If you’re designing your tiny house, a composting toilet just makes sense. They require no water, store waste safely and without odor, and are generally maintenance-free. 

You can go the DIY path, but if you’re interested in a commercial toilet, it’s hard to go wrong with the Nature’s Head. It’s compact, ruggedly designed, and easy to use.

Have any thoughts or experiences? Share them in the comments below!

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