Cottages, tiny homes, RVs, and campsites give you the opportunity to escape modern society and experience what nature has to offer. But there may not be plumbing lines or even septic tanks, so to ensure that you always have a place to relieve yourself when nature calls, it’s a good idea to invest in an eco-friendly composting toilet. 

Composting toilets come in a range of sizes, from semi-permanent installations that resemble standard toilets to small portable toilets that can be packed into an RV or carried to a campsite. These toilets collect and break down the waste using aerobic bacteria to create reusable fertilizer. Learn more about composting toilets and how to choose one of the best compost toilets for your next camping trip. 

Best Overall: Separett Villa 9215 AC/DC Composting Toilet
Best Budget: Camco 41541 Portable Travel Toilet
Best Self-Contained: Nature's Head Self-Contained Composting Toilet
Best for Camping: Dometic 970-Series Portable Toilet
Best for RV: Alpcour Portable Toilet

Best Compost Toilets: Reviews and Recommendations

To pull together a list of the best compost toilets, I researched 25 different products, including the Loveable Loo, the Biolet composting toilet, and the Sun-Mar GTG urine-diverting composting toilet. My experience with using and setting up composting toilets was an essential component for selecting a range of top products. This knowledge helped me to identify and understand the benefits, drawbacks, and product specs, including the type of composting toilet, the size, tank capacity, connections, and odor management systems.

I considered split-system composting toilets for semi-permanent installations at a cottage or home, while self-contained composting toilets could be used at home, in the RV, or at a campsite. Compact toilets with a small tank capacity tended to be better for portable use, while larger toilets that took up a lot of space were best for at-home use because they couldn’t be easily packed into a vehicle for transportation. 

Additionally, products that used electrical or water line connections to improve the function and odor management of the toilet stood out from similar options, but I also kept in mind the increased installation difficulty compared to waterless, self-contained composting toilets. 

Best Composting Toilets: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall: Separett Villa 9215 AC/DC Composting Toilet

Split-System Installation. Separett

Why It Made the Cut: Equip the cottage or a tiny home with this composting toilet for convenient off-grid living.

Specs:
Type: Split system
Tank Capacity: Two adults, two kids
Weight: 34 pounds

Pros:
— Built-in fan
— Includes all parts for direct venting
— Urine diverting and waterless
— Comes with compostable bags and waste container

Cons:
— Complex installation process

The Separett Villa 9215 AC/DC Composting Toilet is a split-system product that’s ideal for a semi-permanent installation at home or at the cottage. It diverts the incoming urine to a gray water system or a holding tank, while the solid waste is collected in a compostable bag for easy emptying. It comes with the parts required to support venting up to 20 feet and it has a built-in, single-speed fan. The fan needs a power source to function, but it does include adaptors for both AC and DC power so that users can connect the fan to standard on-grid AC power or they can connect it to a DC battery. 

The toilet isn’t intended to be used without a compostable bag and it has a tank capacity large enough for a family of two adults and two kids to regularly use the toilet, emptying once every three weeks. It weighs about 34 pounds, but it isn’t designed for portability, so this shouldn’t matter beyond the initial installation. 

Best Budget: Camco 41541 Portable Travel Toilet

Affordable Travel Toilet. Camco

Why It Made the Cut: Keep this portable composting toilet in the truck or car for roadside emergencies or use it for the campsite.

Specs:
Type: Self-contained system
Tank Capacity: One adult
Weight: 10.8 pounds

Pros:
— Inexpensive composting toilet
— Lightweight design improves portability
— Detachable waste storage tank for easy emptying
— Durable construction for outdoor use

Cons:
— Small tank capacity

Add this affordable Camco 41541 Portable Travel Toilet to your list of camping must-haves to ensure that there is always a convenient place to go when nature calls. The Camco can also be used in a cottage, at home, or even as an emergency solution on the side of the road when there isn’t an available toilet nearby. The Camco composting toilet weighs just 10.8 pounds, so it’s easy to pick up and pack.

Despite being one of the most affordable travel toilets on the market, it isn’t made with cheap material. Users can rely on the durable polyethylene construction to withstand scratches, gouges, and other damage that may occur when the toilet is used outdoors. When the tank is full, simply detach the waste storage tank for simple waste disposal according to the local regulations. Just keep in mind that this is a portable composting toilet, so the tank fills up quickly and should be emptied at least once a day if it’s being used by more than one person. 

Best Self-Contained: Nature's Head Self-Contained Composting Toilet

Easy Install. Nature's Head

Why It Made the Cut: Set-up or install this self-contained composting toilet and take advantage of the built-in fan for convenient waste storage ventilation.

Specs:
Type: Self-contained system
Tank Capacity: Two adults
Weight: 28 pounds

Pros:
— Built-in fan
— Includes all parts for direct venting
— Urine diverting and waterless
— Only needs to be emptied every four to six weeks

Cons:
— Bulky size

The Nature's Head Self Contained Composting Toilet doesn’t need to be permanently installed, but the bulky size makes it a poor option for camping or RV use. Instead, this self-contained composting toilet is an effective solution for a tiny home or a cottage. It doesn’t take long to set up and weighs just 28 pounds. That said, the built-in fan only comes with a 12-volt plug, so if the plan is to connect the toilet to a standard 120-volt power source, it’s important to also purchase a 12-volt adaptor. 

Nature’s Head composting toilets come with all the pieces necessary to install the toilet, including five feet of venting hose. It has a large tank capacity that should only need to be emptied about once every four to six weeks in a home with two adults. When the liquid waste tank is full, removing it from the toilet is simple. The container even comes with a screw-on lid so that the contents do not spill during transportation. 

Best for Camping: Dometic 970-Series Portable Toilet

Compact Commode. Dometic

Why It Made the Cut: Make the campsite a little bit more convenient with this portable composting toilet, instead of having to duck behind a tree when nature calls.

Specs:
Type: Self-contained
Tank Capacity: One adult
Weight: 11.7 pounds

Pros:
— Push-button flush
— Lightweight and easy to carry
— Durable construction for outdoor use
— Full-size seat improves user comfort

Cons:
— Small tank capacity

The Dometic 970-Series Portable Toilet isn’t going to be the right choice for users who are looking for a semi-permanent option that needs infrequent emptying because it has a small waste storage tank that should be emptied about once every day. However, for hikers and campers, this compact composting toilet is a convenient solution. It has a push-button flush system and a full-size toilet seat, so that users don’t feel like they are sitting on a children's toilet when they need to go.

The composting toilet is lightweight at just 11.7 pounds, making it easy to carry, pack, and set up. It has a built-in handle to improve portability and a locking clasp to keep the toilet closed during transportation. In order to make the disposal process easier, the composting toilet is equipped with a rotating liquid waste spout. The durable design also helps to ensure that the toilet won’t get damaged when it’s placed down on hard rocks, gravel, tree roots, and dirt. 

Best for RV: Alpcour Portable Toilet

Set Sail. Alpcour

Why It Made the Cut: Use the piston-pump-flushing system and attachable rinsing sprayer for a clean flush every time.

Specs:
Type: Self-contained system
Tank Capacity: One adult
Weight: 11 pounds

Pros:
— Attachable rinsing sprayer
— Piston pump flushing system
— Lightweight and easy to empty
— Includes a travel case

Cons:
— Small tank capacity

Making the switch to a portable composting toilet doesn’t need to be uncomfortable. The Alpcour Portable Toilet comes equipped with several features to help improve the function and user experience, including a built-in piston pump flusher for a more powerful flush. If the piston pump doesn’t quite get the job done, this composting toilet also has an attachable rinsing sprayer that uses water from the water storage tank to rinse any remaining waste into the self-contained system.  

The portable composting toilet is ideal for an RV or a boat because it’s lightweight and easy to carry. It even comes with a travel case, so users don’t need to struggle to grip the smooth, durable exterior. Just keep in mind that the composting toilet has a small tank capacity, so it may need to be emptied about once per day if the toilet is being used by more than one person. 

Things to Consider Before Buying a Composting Toilet

Take some time to learn what to look for in a new composting toilet before settling on a product. Consider the size, tank capacity, type, and more, so you know you will be satisfied with your choice. 

Size and Tank Capacity

One of the most important factors to consider when you’re looking for the best compost toilet to install in your home or take on your next camping trip is the size of the toilet. It may not seem as important as the tank capacity, but if the toilet doesn’t fit in your vehicle or it’s too bulky for the bathroom at the cottage, then it likely isn’t the right choice for your purposes. 

These composting toilets can also be heavy, making them difficult to lift and maneuver, so if you need a portable toilet for the RV or to take on the boat, then you should research the size and weight to find a suitable product.

Similarly, the tank capacity should be factored into your decision. Small tanks won’t hold as much waste and will need to be emptied more frequently before the waste can be fully broken down. This means that the waste won’t be suitable for use in the garden because it could contain harmful bacteria, like E. coli. 

Larger tanks will do a better job of composting the human waste and they don’t need to be emptied as often as a small-capacity waste storage tank. However, if the tank is too big, it can reduce the portability of the toilet. Manufacturers often measure the tank capacity based on the number of people that will be regularly using the toilet. So, if you need a composting toilet for a family of four, make sure to find a product that is rated for four or more people. 

Type

There are two main types of composting toilet, including a self-contained system or a split system. These two types are differentiated primarily by the waste storage location.

Self-contained composting toilets are the most common option available. They are relatively inexpensive and easy to install. While self-contained composting toilets can be portable or semi-permanent fixtures for a home or cottage, the entire composting process is contained inside the toilet. A self-contained system is composed of a detachable waste storage tank and a drain for liquid waste. Some products may also have a water supply line or a water storage tank to improve the flush.

Split-system composting toilets are bulky, semi-permanent fixtures that are best suited for a home or cottage. They function similarly to a standard home toilet in that split-system composting toilets carry the waste from the toilet to a central bio-drum, hopper, or storage tank for composting. This requires the installation of plumbing lines to carry the waste from the toilet to the waste storage location. Split systems that are designed with a hopper significantly improve the composting process by increasing the airflow to the waste to aid the aerobic bacteria. 

Odor Management

Regardless of whether you are installing a split-system composting toilet or setting up a self-contained composting toilet, you need to consider ventilation. If the tank is not properly ventilated, the foul odors and gasses can build up, suffocating the aerobic bacteria and slowing the composting process. Some products come with an electric fan to help vent the odors and gasses before they can build up in the tank. This moves oxygen into the tank and forces stagnant air out. 

If the composting toilet doesn’t have a built-in fan, then you may need to install a fan or increase how often you empty the toilet. You can also use organic materials, like sawdust, to help block the odor without hurting the aerobic bacteria in the waste storage tank.

Electric and Water Connections

As mentioned above, many composting toilets come with a built-in fan that needs a source of electricity to function. These fans can typically be plugged into a standard 120-volt outlet, though some travel toilets may also have an adapter to connect to the car, truck, or RV. It can be easy to skip this part of the installation process, especially if it’s difficult to track down an electrical outlet, but if you don’t connect the fan, you’ll need to empty the toilet more frequently to prevent the buildup of noxious odors and gasses. 

There are also some composting toilets that are designed to connect to the water line in order to help flush waste down the toilet. If you don’t want to worry about a fixed connection to a water line, but do want to use water to help improve the flush, then it’s a good idea to look for a composting toilet with a water storage tank. 

FAQs

Q: How does a composting toilet work?

A composting toilet collects waste in a tank where aerobic bacteria work to break down the waste, creating usable fertilizer. The toilet is designed to separate the solid and liquid waste to further facilitate the composting process. Users will need to empty the liquid waste every few days and will also have to empty the solid waste tank once every two weeks to two months, depending on the tank capacity.

Q: How often should you empty a composting toilet?

Composting toilets should be emptied about every two weeks to two months, depending on the tank capacity, the frequency of use, and the number of people using the toilet. Keep in mind that portable composting toilets will probably need to be emptied more frequently because they are designed to be compact with small storage tanks.

Q: What do you do with composting toilet waste?

The waste collected in a composting toilet needs to be emptied regularly. If the waste has broken down enough, it can be used in the gardens to boost the health of your plants, but if the waste has not broken down to the point where it can be used as fertilizer, you’ll need to find an alternate place to dispose of waste. Consider dumping liquid waste outside or in an RV dump station. Solid waste can typically be disposed of in the trash, similar to throwing out used diapers or pet feces. However, the disposal of composting toilet waste is regulated by the local government, so you should speak to your local waste management facility to find out the recommended method based on your location. 

Q: How much do composting toilets cost?

The price of a composting toilet can range from just $100 for portable products, like the Sun-Mar self-contained composting toilet, to $2,000 for a semi-permanent split-system installation. 

Final Thoughts

For convenient off-grid use, install the Separett Villa 9215 AC/DC Composting Toilet. Or you can go with the inexpensive Camco 41541 Portable Travel Toilet to ensure you have a place to relieve yourself during road trips, at the campsite, or on the boat.

This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.


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