Listed by National Sanitation Foundation under Standard 41 for composting capability, the first toilet so recognized. Large capacity. Built-in fan for vent stack. Odorless. Offers a small emergency drain.
Required AC/DC electric kit not included, must be purchased separately.
Decent height and size. Comes with a cover to seal in odor. Has a toilet paper holder on the side. The bottom of the seat is open when you remove the bucket. Can hold a good amount of weight. Sturdy. Bucket has a handle.
Not a complete composting system, but could be used for that purpose with the right tools.
Besides having a large 12-liter tank that can provide up to 60 flushes, this portable toilet has a convenient sewage drain and an air pressure relief button. Additionally, the toilet comes with a water gun for a more thorough cleaning experience.
May leak a tiny bit during transport if it is too full, so care must be taken when moving this model.
Can be hard-mounted or mobile. No discernible odor. Good design for catching waste. Includes a fan. Works well for boating. Good size. Company stands behind the product.
This is not an inexpensive option.
Medium-capacity model. Compact and low-seated design. Odor-free. Quickly decomposes waste into soil. No water connection is needed. Durable.
It might be a little on the small side for some users.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Composting toilets are an excellent way to “go green,” whether you’re an RV enthusiast, have a hunting cabin in the woods, or just want to live off the grid. Some people even install them in their homes to cut down on their water bill.
Rather than flushing and wasting water, solid waste is composted with things like tree bark, leaves, and wood shavings. The result is a product that can be used as fertilizer for your flower beds and shrubs. The liquid waste is usually collected separately and allowed to evaporate, or it is emptied on a regular basis.
Composting toilets require more maintenance and care than regular toilets to avoid odors, insects, and other health hazards. In addition, most require a 12-volt battery or 110-volt plug in order to power the ventilation fan that comes with them. The choices on composting toilets can be a bit overwhelming at first glance.
Composting toilets are usually a bit larger than regular toilets because they need to have one or more composting or collecting chambers in them. The width of them isn’t much different than regular toilets, but the length from front to back is generally longer than a normal toilet. Take this into account when you’re planning on where it will be installed.
Measure your bathroom before comparing toilets, then have those dimensions close at hand comparing models.
The rough-in distance on a normal toilet is the distance from the wall behind the toilet to the bolts that secure it to the floor. Most rough-in distances are around 12 inches. You also need a rough-in distance on composting toilets, but for different reasons.
Many composting toilets have hinges on the back to allow access to the composting chamber beneath the seat. When you swing the top back on its hinges, there needs to be enough room behind the toilet for it to open up to a right angle. Otherwise, the composting chamber isn’t properly accessible for cleaning, emptying, and maintenance.
Before buying your composting toilet, measure the area where you’re going to install it and ensure there is plenty of room for opening the toilet.
These toilets are very simple to install, but it still takes about two to three hours to properly situate them, hook up the electricity for the fan, and run venting pipes.
The venting pipes require the most work, cutting, and fitting. This is the most time-consuming part of the installation.
Composting toilets are manufactured to be lightweight, so they are generally made from high-gloss polypropylene or ABS plastic. Some parts (such as the crank handles and latches that hold them in place) are stainless steel or aluminum. The fan motor is metal, and some fan blades may be as well.
Composting toilets aren’t generally known for being available in designer colors. Most of them are white, off-white, shades of grey, or speckled granite.
The composting chamber needs to be rotated to mix the solid waste with the bulk materials in the chamber. This aerates the mixture and provides oxygen for the aerobic bacteria that do the work of breaking down the waste material. The process generates some warmth that tends to dry out parts of the materials. Mixing it on a regular basis is essential to maintaining just the right amount of moisture without it becoming either too dry or too wet.
The location of the crank handle varies from one manufacturer to another. Some have the handle on the side, but others have it enclosed in the front of the unit. The second method is a bit more aesthetically pleasing (and expensive), but that’s the only difference.
The average weight for composting toilets (out of the box) is around 30 pounds.
Most composting toilets don’t come with the bulk material for the compost tank, although some come with a small amount in a separate bag. Read the description carefully to find if it does or if you have to purchase it separately.
There are two methods of dealing with liquid waste in these toilets. One is simply to collect the liquid in a container and empty it on a regular basis. The other method involves evaporating the liquid and venting it out through vent pipes or tubes. Some composting toilets combine the two methods so you don’t have to empty the container quite as often.
Note that some liquid tanks don’t come with a cap, so be careful transporting them when you’re emptying them.
Toilet tissue: Thetford Aqua-Soft Toilet Tissue
Although a composting toilet can break down most toilet paper, this two-ply toilet paper from Thetford is specifically made for RV and marine use in composting toilets.
Cleaning vinegar: Heinz Cleaning Vinegar
There are potential spills with any toilet. Composting toilets need a little extra strength cleaning, and this cleaning vinegar from Heinz cleans and deodorizes.
Inexpensive: For $50 to $100, you can find portable toilets that are intended for camping. These are plastic toilets that aren’t true composting toilets. They use plastic bags to collect the waste instead of composting it.
Mid-range: Toilets from $600 to $1,000 are true composting toilets that have two or more chambers to separate solid and liquid waste, as well as fans for assisting with evaporation and odor-control needs.
Expensive: From $1,000 to $2,000 are more sophisticated three-chamber composting toilets, with a sleek elegant look not found in some of the less expensive units.
Q. Is the composted material safe and sanitary?
A. Yes. What comes out of a composting toilet isn’t human waste anymore. The aerobic bacteria in the tank completely break it down, removing the pathogens and viruses normally found in human waste. The finished material is not only safe, it is also easy to handle.
Q. What do I do with the composted material when I take it out of the toilet?
A. It is fertilizer. It can be used to fertilize the soil around any non-food plants, trees, or shrubs.
Q. Can the composted material be used in my yard?
A. Yes. Most people are too squeamish to try it but it is perfectly safe to use that way.
Q. Do composting toilets really work?
A. Yes. They require some extra effort on your part, but they work surprisingly well in addition to being eco-friendly.
Get emails you’ll love.
Learn about the products you’re wondering if you should buy and get advice on using your latest purchases.