As a species thriving on the land, human excreta used to be treated naturally during the early stages of civilization. Not until we invented flushing toilets, human waste used to be treated naturally. But the flushing method has taken a heavy toll on the natural fresh-water reservoir including the groundwater by using up tons of it. However, today, we'll be discussing a revolutionary invention called 'Composting Toilet' that saves a lot of water by treating human excreta in a unique way -- composting it into manure. Both commercial and homemade / DIY composting toilet models are intended to utilize the common deteriorating and decomposition process of balancing nitrogen and carbon ratio without the help of water.
As we can see, this sanitation system has an extraordinary advantage over the regular method by processing excreta in a natural way. It is completed by the microorganisms (fundamentally microscopic organisms and parasites) under controlled conditions. That’s why we also call them "dry toilets" and "eco toilets".
Nonetheless, if you want to spend your money in this system, make sure you have a full understanding of their mechanism. You have to pay close attention to every detail before buying any model because you wouldn't want anything but the best composting toilet for your home or your RV since they can cut a big hole in your pocket.
Why you should trust us
The ToiletsGuide team consists of a group of experienced plumbers and interior designers who specialize in this field due to their dynamic professionalism. Professional duties gave us access to numerous cutting-edge bathroom fixtures and plumbing tools that was difficult for the general public to access. That is why we are committed to our fellow plumbing community members as much as to the ordinary mass who need to have basic knowledge on different types of bathroom fixtures since they are the real buyers.
We founded this website with a mission to share detailed and reliable information about products in what have our confidence. We do our recommendations based on empirical researches. We rely on our first-hand experience with a particular hand-picked product before placing it on top of our list. Our comprehensive reviews have the data analysis chart open for everyone. It takes time to complete each review as we go through a series of field-testing.
However, it is important to mention that we do not have any connection with any brand or company for the purpose of promotional jargon or whatsoever. We believe that our how-to blogs, reviews, and buying guide speak volumes for themselves and we expect our readers to take time to go through the whole piece before making a buying decision.
How did we pick these products?
As mentioned earlier, we adapted a research protocol that required empirical evidence before drawing a conclusion about a certain product. First, we ran a 30-hour extensive online research when we sifted through hundreds of magazines and expert reviews, user feedback, comparisons, and manuals provided by the manufacturers, to single out 20 most advanced, logically priced, most reliable compost toilet models available on the market.
Then we arranged a series of field-tests on each of the selected units from different brands. For this task, our team needed cooperation from a community-based volunteer group that graciously responded to our calls. Over the intensive testing period that lasted about a week, we collected enough data for categorizing our final candidates.
We ranked the top 5 choices based on their efficiency, ergonomics, capacity, installation, portability, discharging simplicity, build quality, aesthetics, and reliability. Remember, these products are expensive, so we were not able to run experiments on all the available products. Instead, we collected online-based user data of the products we couldn't test ourselves.
The quest didn't end there though. We arranged short interviews with the top industry experts and leading plumbing engineers for getting their insights into our listed models. Their suggestions helped us rank our top 5 list categorically.
We worked hard to put together the final list. Hopefully, you will be able to find your dry toilet here.
Our Top 5 Best Composting Toilet
So, what is the best composting toilet? There's no general answer to this. Keep your eyes glued to the following section as we've answered all your questions, including the pros and cons, features and many other eye-catching details there.
How composting toilets are different
Composting toilets have turned out to be useful in areas with water issues, amid dry territories without running water supply. They have helped individuals ensure sanitation in dried areas and mobile residential units like RVs and portable houses on wheels. So, what is the mechanism of composting and what makes these particular toilets different from the regular flush toilets?
The basic mechanism of a composting toilet involves the use of carbon additives such as coconut coir, sawdust, peat moss, bokashi that are applied after each use. This promotes the aerobic decomposition and lessens the odor by depending on mesophilic composition and this whole biological process reduces pathogens in the septic system. The result is outstanding and at the same time, environment-friendly.
Why use a composting toilet?
As water usage concerns arise, we have to pay attention to the fact that the customary flushing toilet system generally uses up to 30% of a family unit's everyday water consumption. That's a huge amount of water if you consider the yearly figure. In the United States, supplanting your conventional toilet with a composting one can spare the whooping 6,600 gallons of water for every individual every year. Now consider the cost of energy spent on piping and supplying that water. In fact, we are on the verge of a global crisis for fresh groundwater, and if we don't take any effective measures to curb our water usage, soon enough we'll be facing a global fresh-water crisis. Using composting toilets would be a great leap in this respect.
Consider this for a minute; this type of toilet, except all the advantages referenced above, still guarantees the final result that excludes infections and pathogens. What is more, this guarantees a greener future if used globally. However, you need to know how to use a composting toilet before you buy one.
The name “composting” has become popular for chemical functions. It stands for the oxygen-consuming process that may occur with an expansion in temperature triggered the microbial activity. In cases of moderate or cold composting, the temperature may not have to increase as earthworms does the job (vermicomposting).
These toilets are being used as an alternative toilet due to low water consumption. However, you can point out both the benefits and shortcomings of this system.
First, we will look at the benefits:
- Environmental friendly
- Does not use water
- Easy to install
- Produces compost for gardens
- Does not use much of electricity
- Operation is odorless
- Does not much space to install
- Comes with a very decent guarantee coverage
We will not shy away from the shortcomings:
- Not everyone can afford it because it is quite expensive
- Has to be manually emptied
- Can only be used by a few people
Things to consider before buying a composting toilet
There are dozens of competent composting toilets for sale. Like any other product on the market, there are many things to be considered before buying one of these. We suggest you check for the points mentioned below:
1. Self-contained vs central units
Based on the storage system, there are two types of composting toilets i. e. Self-contained (active composters) and Central composting toilet system.
Based on the power input, there are two types of self-contained models:
There are two types of Central models:
Let’s explain this in an easy and simple way. You can have a unit that can compost the waste inside a tank that is associated with the commode, or get the one which interfaces with a bigger tank in an alternate area. Self-contained composting units are perfect for facilities that do not require frequent use.
Toilets that are connected with a central unit work well for more number of users since they have a bigger capacity. Self-contained units are a lot less expensive and less demanding as they do not require extra tanks.
Benefits of self-contained composting toilets include:
- Easy to clean
- Functions better in winter
- Eco friendly
- Does not require plumbing works
Drawbacks of self-contained compost loos include:
- Electrical issues may come up
Other than these two major types, Vermifilter toilet is another type where earthworms facilitate the decomposition process.
The capacity of any toilet depends on the amount of waste it can compost without flooding. The capacity mainly depends on how often the unit is used by what number of individuals in a certain period.
On the off chance, you might want a toilet for a small cabin that isn't as often visited, at that point, you should get a small capacity unit. Assuming that you are searching for a toilet for your living place, you may need a bigger capacity toilet as it might be utilized all the more often.
The hygiene care of the humus toilets is extremely important, both for the proper functioning and the comfort of the user. The handle should be ergonomically designed and easy to use. Moreover, you should opt for a canister that is large enough to hold waste for a long period of time.
Always choose the toilet with a good solid blending capacity and a receptacle evacuation system, as these two factors are significant to easy maintenance of the toilet.
4. A power source (electric or non-electric)
When setting up this particular sanitation system, you should devise an electrical framework. This framework helps to dispose of the composting manure, by speeding up the composting procedure.
On the off chance that you are searching for a composting latrine for a remote area that doesn't have electrical hookups, it is better to have a unit that is intended to work without power. This way, the power supply issue for this type of toilet can be resolved in most underdeveloped areas of a country.
5. Local laws
Prior to buying a composting sanitation system, you should check out the local laws for waste management. Composting toilets are new to the market, which is why certain states and regions have not updated their laws on the treatment of human waste. You may be fined in these areas for using a compost toilet for violating human waste management rules.
To solve the problem, contact a legal advisor just to be clear on the issue. Anybody owning a large piece of land shouldn’t be worried. They are made for provincial spots and lodges at any rate. In any case, you can see that most urban and rural areas aren't going to be ok about a neighbor composting crap in the back yard.
6. Weight & dimensions
Weight is another important factor to consider when buying this type of toilets. A portion of the low capacity models are generally light and could essentially be installed at any place.
Needless to say, a few models are heavy. However, heavy and vast capacity units could be more than 100 pounds. This may not exactly make it perfect for an upstairs space, particularly in a little lodge or camp. Most models are built with porcelain or hardened fiber plastic. The other parts made of sturdy non-corrosive materials.
The size is also important when you are planning to use a unit for different residential options, such as households, and outhouses. In contrast to numerous cutting-edge sanitary solutions, a composting toilet has a moderately stout appearance and some of them look vintage being made on wooden platforms. This is why they are not suitable for small spaces.
7. Ease of installation
Among all other sanitary fixtures, a toilet can be the most unsafe. This is for the most part since you have to seal it legitimately, and on the off chance that you don't, you will have huge amounts of holes staring you in the face! Being an independent unit, a composting toilet is a lot less demanding once installed properly.
All that you have to do to set them up is following the installation manual coming with each unit. All the fitting parts are usually included. If it's an electric one, you need to have a power plug holder. Make sure that the ventilation pipe is properly placed with the right height. There is a urine holder for storing the urine separately. The system is modular when it comes to adjusting the parts and you need to place them correctly. This is how you get them fully operational, regardless of your expertise level.
8. Price & warranty
Much like everything else, composting toilets come in a wide range of costs. You won't find a good model at a cheap price. They are, all things considered, costlier than a traditional flush toilet. This is for the most part since they are specialized system housing carefully engineered modular parts that are built with expensive materials.
When a self mulching toilet is kept up properly, routinely cleaned, and consistently emptied, there is no reason that any piece of it should breakdown rapidly. Still, smart people would go for a model that offers guarantee or warranty coverage.
The safety concerns for a composting toilet can be separated into two areas. The first one is the compost. In the event that you have a defective toilet, you might face a spread of dreadful microscopic organisms or pathogens. The most ideal way to guarantee the wellbeing of this system is to consistently keep up with the toilet.
The second safety concern is the use of electrical parts. These should be normally tested and maintained. You should be more cautious about this part, particularly when the toilet is not used all that frequently, you may experience problems with the unprotected electrical hookup, which can be dangerous.
Composting toilets: installation and maintenance
No matter how good your composting toilet is if you do not know how composting toilets work, and how to handle them with care, you cannot expect a great result out of it. Follow proper installation procedures and maintenance steps for prolonging the lifespan of your unit.
In this section, we will be giving you some maintenance and installation tips.
A look at the installation process first:
You should ensure there is enough space to discharge the waste tank into, and then turn the fomenter handle to extract the solid compost. You need to set a ventilation hose in a way that the outer part remains outside.
If the ventilation pipe is excessively long or has twists in it, you can set an electric fan for speeding up the ventilation to process. The fan typically keeps running on 12-volt. All that you need to do for the installation of the main unit is connect it with the outside vent (as these will depend on where you are setting up the facility).
Before using one of these systems it is important to fill it with peat as the 'priming' soil. Around two gallons of peat or coconut fiber should be enough for regular tank sizes. Add some greenery and make sure it is not excessively wet. The mixture ought to be clammy. If it is thoroughly dry, add a little water to soak it.
Now the maintenance procedure:
The maintenance process of these toilets includes two simple steps. The first is that you have to turn the handle each time you add solids to the receptacle. This enables the composting to process by blending the waste and greenery.
The other step is to maintain the proper hydration of the compost, and ensuring they are cleaned routinely. The fluid container will hold around two gallons of pee, and should be discharged in every couple of days. The solid waste holding tank requires less frequent cleaning. It depends on how frequently the toilet is used. When the solids container is purged you should refill it with peat greenery blend once again before you use it.
This process is applicable for all the composting toilets available on the market. The difference is mostly in the way the solids are blended and how the tanks are evacuated. Make sure you read the user manual carefully before using these toilets.
Before we conclude, let's not miss out on some other famous brands that you might want to learn about: C Head, Clivus Multrum, SmartJon, Nature Loo, Mulltoa, Biolan, CM2, Thunderbox, Laveo, Bts, and Natsol Bio Let.
Hopefully, this review covers all the vital points regarding composting toilets. From our end, we did our homework on them and found that there is no single best model that should be ideal for every setting. Keeping that in mind, we ranked our top models based on their unique features and areas they excel way more than their peers.
As the water crisis keeps rising, we will learn how critically important it is to save fresh-water. A little change, such as acquiring a composting toilet, can have a profound impact by saving millions of gallons of clean drinking water per individual every year. It is up to us to add a little improvement in our living conditions for the advancement and the collective wellbeing of humans.
You can check some other toilets here and choose the one that fits you.
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