All over the world, there is an ongoing revolution in bathroom design. Top designers are replacing the traditional toilet with eco-friendly composting toilets.
Benefits of Composting Toilets
Composting toilet systems are gaining popularity and for good reason. Check out these benefits of environmentally friendly composting toilet systems:
1# Water economy: Older traditional toilet systems use up to 26 liters (approx. 7 gallons) of water per flush. US federal law now demands 6 liters (approx. 1.6 gallons) low-flow toilet cisterns. The best composting toilet systems can save you more than 6,500 gallons (>24,000 liters) of flush water per person annually.
2# Manageable Sewage Flow: As a result of these massive water savings in the home, the sewage system and treatment plants save lots of energy and cut operational costs.
3# Healthier Ecosystem: Not much animal or plant life can be found in and around sewage treatment plants. The waste flow creates a dead zone that’s harmful to any local ecosystem.
4# Manure/Plant Nutrient: Traditional toilet systems have waste that depletes oxygen from the waste water flow. The best composting toilet system is designed to put back humus into the soil, add neutralizing toxins, and enhance the growth of microbes that fight off plant and animal diseases. However, federal law requires that the waste be buried at least 12 inches underground.
Disadvantages of Composting Toilet Systems
Some types of composting toilets may require additional power for fans and heating. Composters require a minimum temperature of 18 degrees Celsius (65 degrees Fahrenheit).
Composting toilets require a little bit more work compared to use-and-flush traditional toilets. But the green benefits are totally worth it.
The 3 Best Composting Toilet Brands in 2018
According to reviews submitted by homeowners and contractors, the three top composting toilet brands right now are:
- Nature’s Head
Let’s take a look at some of the top most popular models and find out what sets them apart from the rest.
This is hands-down the best model we have seen so far. It has a functional design and made out of stainless hardware. The sleek design has an elongated seat for increased comfort. It comes with its own fan and ventilation hose. And it easily and quickly assembles and disassembles, making emptying and cleaning easy. It uses urine-separating technology which makes it ideal for small cabins, campers, boats, and RVs. It’s portable and self-contained. It’s highly durable and provides the best value for your money.
Nature’s head is proudly American-made and has high-quality standards unmatched by any other manufacturer. The unit is very well built and its structure is crush proof. It can withstand all weights and even things landing on it when in a moving vehicle. It is easy to install and can last you many years. Just take care not to clean it using chemicals as that may compromise how it functions.
- Nature’s head systems are renowned for their odorless composting toilets.
- The units are also durable and lightweight, ensuring you get to use it for many years to come without needing a replacement.
- Superb customer support whenever any issues occur
- Not much work required. You only need to empty at maybe once every two or three months.
- The humanure produced is full of good bacteria and almost always pathogen-free, even when there has been a sick human. Most pathogens die outside the human body in a matter of hours.
- It’s not easy to tell when the urine container is almost full, and this may result in overflow into the waste tank and resultant odors.
- Some users report fixing the washout hose as a little complicated, though the directions are clear.
This model comes a close second to the spider handle design. It has a crank in its base that acts as an agitator to hasten the composting process. It features a molded design that looks and feels comfortable. To keep your environment fresh, it comes with an inbuilt 5-inch ventilation hose, a 12v power plug, and a bottle cap. It’s urine-diverting and almost weightless, so you can take it with you on trips, picnics, and camping.
This is a waterless toilet system so you will not have to worry about leakages or odor. It is lightweight and compact, making it the ideal best composting toilet system for tiny homes, RVs, campers, boat, cabin, or workshop.
These two units from the brand Nature’s Head take the two top positions for the best compost toilet unit models for their many individual qualities and also for the superb customer support the company provides.
- The pros for this unit are similar to those of Nature’s Head Self Contained with Close Quarters Spider Handle. However, I addition, this unit’s urine separating feature reduces waste and also reduces the danger of leakages.
- The lack of liquids and the unit’s construction makes it impossible for odors to escape, giving you a fresh toilet environment.
- The rounded corners of the tank make it much easier to clean than triangular tanks.
- The unit lacks a footrest for shorter users like kids. Nonetheless, it is about the same height as your regular home toilet.
While Nature’s head grabs the two top spots for the best compost toilet systems, this model from Sun-Mar is the ultimate best in waterless toilet systems. It is also a high capacity unit that can be used not only for trips and camping but works well in residences and light commercial applications. It’s a low profile unit that can complement any kind of bathroom whether as an indoor or outdoor waterless toilet unit.
The Sun-Mar Excel is 100% non-polluting and comes with a built-in bio-drum that processes the compost without releasing bad odors into the bathroom environment. The compost is ideal for garden manure. The Sun-Mar self-contained composting toilet is designed to accommodate up to 4 persons in a residential setting or up to 8 people in a weekend outdoor getaway. It has a detachable footrest and a built-in vent stack. It also includes an emergency drain and works with an electric outlet. The model is NSF/ANSI certified.
- Most recognizable and trustworthy brand name.
- The Sun-Mar has awesome customer support in North America.
- Safely converts human waste to soil fertilizer.
- Has an emergency drain, which makes managing the waste easier even for a weak or old person.
- Rounded corners make the waste tank easy to clean
- Dimensions fit in most RVs, campers, and boats.
- Since it’s a high-quality brand and model, the asking price is higher than other brands and units.
- Taller than a normal toilet, even though it’s a low-profile unit. But it comes with a footrest so it’s still comfortable for shorter people.
This is the ideal best composting toilet system for an RV or a camper. It can fit in tight spaces and is fit for approximately 50 uses. Its 5.5-gallon capacity tank meets NPS, BLM, and USFS requirements. It is a reusable and washable toilet system with a roto-molded polyethylene plastic tank. The lid assembly includes the lid itself, a washout hose adapter, and a 3-inch hose.
This unit is so popular it was the compost toilet of choice for the Mt. Everest Cleanup Project of 1998, which is a high-value endorsement, telling you how efficient and eco-friendly the Eco-Safe toilet system is regarded worldwide.
- Best price point. It’s the perfect choice for light use. For instance, if you only occasionally go outdoor camping or for outdoor picnics in the woods.
- It has a sturdy construction, making it crushproof
- Fits inside a 20mm rocket box, so you can easily secure it during your road trips or boat cruise.
- It only has one chamber to hold solid waste and urine. This means you have to empty it out regularly or the whole place might fill with odors.
How to Install the Best Composting Toilet
Every composting pit comes with its own set of instructions in the manual. Nonetheless, there are some common points to watch out for to ensure a safe, leakage-free, and odorless toilet.
1. The Vent Stack
Each composting toilet unit comes with a vent stack that can be installed in a single-storey building, mobile home, RV, camper, or boat. For upstairs toilets, you might need more vent stack material. Vent pipes for self-contained composting toilet units are normally made of PVC. Make sure they don’t have any horizontal runs, downward slopes, or too many bends. Install as straight as you can make it.
2. Electric Parts
Fans, coolers, heaters, and other electric parts should be installed to ensure proper airflow and to stop uncomfortable odors.
The diffuser comes mostly with Sun-Mar composting toilets. Its purpose is to ensure up flow, protect against winter freeze, and protect the toilet vents from bad weather.
4. Vent Joints
All indoor vent joints should be silicone while the outdoor joints need to be glued up with CPVC glue.
Before designing the piping, you need to consider visibility and the need for insulation during the winter months. Piping should always be installed running up the inside and outside walls, with a slightly angled connection going through the wall.
Emergency safety drains should always be installed, especially if you live in an area where power outages are common or if the composting toilet will be for heavy use.
How to Care Of the Best Composting Toilet
Once you have installed your composting toilet you need to know how to prep, dump, and clean it.
Prepping the Compost Toilet Solid Waste Tank
- The first thing you need to consider is what you will use for compost material. Peat moss is a popular alternative and so is Coconut Coir. Coconut Coir is a little harder to find but is preferred for its water retention capabilities and excellent drainage and airspace.
- Peat moss is acidic, with a pH value of 3.3, while Coco Coir has a neutral pH value of around 6.4. This means Coco Coir is most ideal for use in fertilizing the soil for any types of plants.
- Once you have your composting material, grab 2 to 3 liters of water, a shovel, a bucket, and a pair of gardening gloves.
- Remove the seat of the composting toilet tank
- Break up your peat moss or Coco Coir into small pieces and lay it on the floor of your bucket.
- Hydrate the peat moss or coco noir until it’s all damp, but not dripping wet.
- Remove the peat moss or coco noir and stuff it at the bottom of the tank until it comes to just below the level of the agitator
- Re-Install the toilet and you’re good to go. Remember, do not line the tanks with a plastic paper bag.
Prepping the Urine Container
- The composting pit’s liquid waste container holds approximately 2.2 gallons.
- Never wait until it’s full before dumping. Always clear it out when it’s about 65% full.
Emptying the Liquid Container
- Lift the toilet seat at a 45-degree angle
- Grab the liquid tank and carefully lift it out then cap it
- Safely dispose of the liquid some distance away from any buildings or social spaces
- Rinse the liquid container with a little water to remove any urine buildup.
- Return the liquid bottle in its place and securely clamp it into position.
Dumping the Solids
- Get ready to dump the solids when the tank is about two thirds full or when the agitator becomes difficult to turn.
- If you have been using the composting toilet recently, wait at least 8 hours since your last number two use.
- Start by wearing gloves, removing the liquid bottle, and capping it to avoid knocking it over
- Unplug the power cords and vent hoses
- Take the base outside and overturn the contents into a composting bag.
- Fill up the composting bag with a generous dose of hydrated peat moss.
- Reconnect your toilet components
- Remove gloves and wash hands
How to Clean a Composting Toilet
If you are the sole user of your best composting toilet, it may be enough to just use a steamed towel or a hot damp cloth to wipe your toilet seat and lid. However, if you are sharing with a bunch of people you may feel better putting in a little more effort.
Starting with the lid and toilet seat, use an enzyme catalyst or an enzyme detergent. This will not only give a sufficient clean, it will also speed up the composting process through bacterial fermentation.
For the composting toilet bowl, spray some of the enzyme detergents just like you would use any other toilet detergent on a traditional toilet. Let the enzyme settle for a short while then clean up the toilet bowl with a toilet brush. If necessary, use a wet cloth or a damp paper towel to clean out any lingering stains.
Just like the toilet bowl, spray some of the enzyme-based detergents onto the foot pedestal. With a few minutes then use a toilet brush and finish up with a wet paper napkin.
Q & A
Do All Composting Toilets have an Agitator? How Often Should I Rotate It?
Not all composting toilets have an agitator in their solid waste tanks, but those with an agitator tend to compost more uniformly and produce better quality humanure. And agitator also works to dispel any odors. Use the agitator in the mornings or after a prolonged period of non-use
Do I Need an Expert to Install my Composting Toilet?
You don’t need extensive DIY know-how to fit your composting toilet. Simply follow the instructions and use the correct tools and you will be fine. However, when in doubt, it is better to have a professional fit it rather than have to buy expensive replacements.
Can I Use Wet Wipes to Clean Out my Composting Toilet?
Please do not use wet wipes as they usually contain harsh chemicals that will disrupt the composting process. Furthermore, wet wipes will not decompose.
What Products are Best for Cleaning?
Always use biodegradable cleaning products. Regular household products or commercial cleaners contain harsh chemicals that will ruin your compost and kill off all the good bacteria in the humanure.
Protecting our environment is a noble thing to do. Composting toilets make sense, save water, and save lots of money on plumbing and interior design. There are many different brands but the top 3 best composting toilet brands have superior design and user-friendly layouts.
In our review, we chose our 3 brands on the basis of how well they compost and how easy they are to set up, use, and clean. We also considered factors such as cost and customer support. The 3 top composting toilet systems have luxurious designs with sturdy configuration and are all lightweight. Making them ideal for road trips, boat cruises, and outdoor adventures.