5 Best Composting Toilets 2020 (Self-contained & Central)

Best Composting Toilet

The composting toilet is one of the most versatile toilets on the market. Unlike the flushing toilet, it does not require water or complex installation procedures. All you have to do is place the composting toilet in a chosen installation space, and you are good to relieve yourself.

Therefore, it is a very flexible toilet, especially for those traveling in an RV.

Advantages of the Composting Toilet

  • Easy to use. There is no installation to perform
  • Makes compost naturally from human waste
  • Automatically separates urine from solid waste and outputs an odorless dry compost
  • Easy to disassemble and discard waste
  • Prevents bad odors from escaping

Disadvantages of the Composting Toilet

  • The price. It is more expensive than a traditional flushing toilet
  • Usually taller. Not adapted for people with disability or children

If you are fresh on the market for the best composting toilet for the money, we have you covered.

Below we hand-picked a few popular composting toilet models and give you our impressions. Let’s find out which one you need to buy!

You can also read other product reviews of flushing toiletToto toiletAmerican Standard toilettoilet seattoilet flapper.

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​PRODUCT

​FEATURES

Nature's Head NH-SPH

1. Nature's Head NH-SPH (Best Overall Composting Toilet)

  • Affordable and excellent value
  • Easy to disassemble
  • Separate liquid and solid compartments
  • Ergonomic seat
Nature's Head NH1

2. Nature's Head NH1 (Best Composting Toilet for Beginners)

  • Value for money
  • No installation necessary
  • Easy to dump waste
  • Large crank agitator handle
Sun-Mar EXCEL NE-WHITE

3. Sun-Mar EXCEL NE-WHITE (Heavy-duty Composting Toilet)

  • Made for heavy-duty use
  • Comfortable front foot rest
  • Efficient vent hole location
Sun-Mar CSEM-01400WB

4. Sun-Mar CSEM-01400WB (Superior Build Construction)

  • Excellent build construction. Durable and long-lasting
  • Small and compact
  • Electric powered. Makes waste automatically
Separett Villa 9210

5. Separett Villa 9210 (Equipped with Child Seat)

  • Equipped with a child seat
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Separate compartments for solid and liquid

PRODUCT

1. Nature's Head NH-SPH

(Best Overall Composting Toilet)

Nature's Head NH-SPH
  • Affordable and excellent value
  • Easy to disassemble
  • Separate liquid and solid compartments
  • Ergonomic seat

2. Nature's Head NH1

(Best Composting Toilet for Beginners)

Nature's Head NH1
  • Value for money
  • No installation necessary
  • Easy to dump waste
  • Large crank agitator handle

3. Sun-Mar EXCEL NE-WHITE

(Heavy-duty Composting Toilet)

Sun-Mar EXCEL NE-WHITE
  • Made for heavy-duty use
  • Comfortable front foot rest
  • Efficient vent hole location

4. Sun-Mar CSEM-01400WB

(Superior Build Construction)

Sun-Mar CSEM-01400WB
  • Excellent build construction. Durable and long-lasting
  • Small and compact
  • Electric powered. Makes waste automatically

5. Separett Villa 9210

(Equipped with Child Seat)

Separett Villa 9210
  • Equipped with a child seat
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Separate compartments for solid and liquid

1. Nature's Head NH-SPHBest Overall Composting Toilet

Nature's Head Self Contained Composting Toilet

Even if Nature’s Head composting toilet is expensive by any standards, it is still relatively more affordable when compared to other types of models in this composting toilet review. Indeed, if the price is an important consideration for you, you should seriously consider this toilet.

What we like about this unit is that it is built from a high-grade plastic that will not corrode, degrade or crack over time. It is also able to withstand heavy-duty use even if the person using it is a little on the heavy side. You will be able to use this model for years to come without it suffering from damage.

Indeed, the build construction is simply superb as it is manufactured in the USA and has a lot of quality control going on to ensure that you get a superior composting toilet.

Additionally, you can disassemble the base of this composting toilet in a matter of seconds for dumping. It has a separate compartment for urine and solid waste.

You also get a fan as well as a vent hose that will channel any bad odors away from the composting toilet. Since this is a self-contained toilet, this feature is extremely important to prevent the formation of bad odors.

The only issue we find with this composting toilet is that it is not the most aesthetically pleasing model out there. Also, the vent hose is only 5 feet and it could have been longer. However, based on features and price, we have no problem recommending this model to you.

Pros:

  • More affordable price when compared to other models
  • Easy to disassemble in a matter of seconds for waste dumping
  • Separate compartment for liquid and solid waste
  • A full-size seat that is ergonomic and comfortable

Cons:

  • Not the most aesthetically pleasing
  • The included vent hose is only 5 feet which are short

2. Nature's Head NH1Best Composting Toilet for Beginners

Nature's Head Dry Composting Toilet

This composting toilet is very similar to the model we have just reviewed above. In fact, it is almost a carbon copy with the exception of the single handle at the side that allows you to crank the agitator with greater ease. This makes it easier to use for absolute beginners.

Moreover, it sports the same comfortable full-size seat that is ergonomic and will be able to accommodate a person of any size. Since this is a self-contained composting toilet just like the previous model, you have no installation to do. Simply find an installation space in your bathroom or RV, and you are good to go.

There is also a 5 inches vent hole to the side that allows the composting toilet to evacuate any bad odors. With this purchase, the manufacturer will include a 5 feet vent hose. This hose definitely could have been longer, but it is what it is.

All in all, if you’re looking for a simple, ergonomic and relatively affordable composting toilet, then this model by Nature’s Head is one of the best composting toilets that you can buy. It is extremely easy to use and can be dumped in a matter of seconds.

We recommend it if you have never bought a composting toilet before as it will help you get a better idea how to use this type of toilet while still not spending a fortune right off the bat.

The only issues we find with this model is that the vent hole is not protected. Insects may easily get inside. Moreover, the vent hose could have been a bit longer as well.

Pros:

  • Relatively affordable. Value for money
  • No installation to perform
  • Compartments can be disassembled in seconds for dumping
  • Large crank agitator handle at the side for mixing the waste

Cons:

  • Short 5 feet vent hose included in the package
  • The vent is not protected. Tiny insects can get in the waste compartment

3. Sun-Mar EXCEL NE-WHITEHeavy-duty Composting Toilet

Sun-Mar Excel Non-Electric Composting Toilet

The Sun-Mar Excel is a heavy-duty composting toilet that is ideal for 2 to 3 people. It has an excellent built construction and can be used for medium to heavy-duty use without suffering from damage.

Moreover, what we like about this toilet is that there is a small footrest after the front so you can use this composting toilet bare feet and in any environment. 

You will also find an air vent at the top of the toilet that will allow it to evacuate any bad odors from the waste compartment. 

The only caveats we note is that there is no hand crank with this composting toilet so you will have to let the Sun-Mar Excel do the work for you instead. In addition, the overflow drain does not have the best design and a bit too high. It can easily get clogged.

Pros:

  • Designed for heavy-duty use
  • It can accommodate 2 to 3 people
  • Footrest at the front for better ease-of-use
  • Vent hole for channeling bad odors away from the toilet

Cons:

  • ​No crank handle
  • Overflow drain can easily get clogged

4. Sun-Mar CSEM-01400WB – Superior Build Construction

Sun-Mar Compact Composting Toilet

This composting toilet is very similar to the Sun-Mar model we have just reviewed above. What we like about this model is that the build construction is superior to other models. It is made from a high-grade plastic that will not break or crack regardless of the weight of the user.

Additionally, there is a footrest at the bottom, but you can easily retract it when not in use. This will allow you to save even more space when needed. The bowl is not the biggest but definitely big enough so as to accommodate the bottom of a person, whether big or small.

Unlike the previous model, the vent hole is located at the back and not at the top. This allows you to connect your vent hose in a more aesthetically pleasing manner.

But what we like the most about this model is that it is electric powered, so it will do the mixing automatically for you. There is no need for a crank agitator in this device. Taking its size and functionality into account, we recommend this unit from Sun-Mar as the best composting toilet when it comes to portability and ease-of-use.

However, this composting toilet is not perfect. The price is quite high and the urine compartment is a bit low and not very ergonomic.

Pros:

  • Small and compact. Does not take a lot of space
  • Made from a high-grade plastic. Durable and long-lasting
  • Electric power. Will automatically make the waste for you
  • The vent hole is located at the back for a more professional vent hose connection

Cons:

  • The price. It is expensive
  • The urine compartment is at the base and not very ergonomic

5. Separett Villa 9210 – Equipped with Child Seat

Separett Villa 9210 Composting Toilet

The Separett Villa is one of the most popular composting toilets on the market. This model is one of the few models that make provisions for children as it has a child seat that you can attach on top of the main seat.

Also, the bowl of this composting toilet is designed in such a way so that it physically separates solid waste from liquid waste. The solid waste compartment has a deep blue coloration so that you can clearly see it in the dark.

When it comes to dumping the waste, you will have no problem there as this top-rated composting toilet uses a detachable compartment system that will allow you to quickly and easily remove each compartment for dumping.

The efficient design of this composting toilet will guarantee that it does not create any bad odors and it even has a vent to channel bad odors away from the toilet. In fact, the only problem with this model is its high price. Other than this, it is simply perfect especially if you want children to use it too.

Pros:

  • ​A child seat can easily be added
  • Aesthetically pleasing. Looks like a regular flushing toilet
  • Bowl has 2 different compartments for liquid and solid waste
  • The vent hole is located at the top. Moves bad odors away from the toilet

Cons:

  • The price could have been a little bit more competitive

How to Buy the Best Composting Toilet

How to Buy a Composting Toilet

Before finding the best value composting toilet for the money, there are some important factors to take into account. Since this is an expensive bathroom accessory, you want to make sure to consider those various aspects carefully.

1. Self-Contained or Central Composting Toilet

There are 2 main types of composting toilets on the market. Self-contained and central composting models.

Self-contained composting toilet: The self-contained composting toilet usually has the compost tray or composting chamber located at the base of the composting toilet. This base can easily be removed to easily discard the waste when it is full.

One of the major advantages of the self-contained composting toilet is that it is more affordable and easier to use when compared to the central composting toilet.

Central composting toilet: On the other hand, the central composting toilet does not have the compost tray inside the composting toilet. Instead, it uses a waste pipe that directs the waste to a separate storage area. This has the major advantage of not keeping waste inside the toilet, and therefore, it prevents odors from building up.

The disadvantage is that you need a larger installation space for the central composting toilet and it is also usually more expensive than the self-contained composting toilet.

2. Electric or Manual

When choosing between an electric or manual composting toilet, it simply boils down to ease-of-use. An electric composting toilet has a small motor that activates the mixer which takes care of mixing the waste with the coco coir inside the composting chamber.

With a manual composting toilet, you will find a hand crank agitator that you need to rotate a couple of times to mix the waste. The major advantage of a manual composting toilet is that it is usually less expensive than an electric model.

However, if you don’t like mixing the waste with your hand every time you use the toilet, then the electric composting toilet will easily justify the slightly more expensive cost.

3. Capacity

Capacity is simply how much waste the composting chamber can store. Of course, if you plan to use the composting toilet frequently or if it will be used by a small family of 3 members or more, then it is better to go with a higher capacity model like the Sun-Mar EXCEL NE-WHITE. ​

4. Dimensions

The dimensions of the composting toilet will depend on how much space you have inside your RV or bathroom. Don’t forget to leave at least 10 inches between the wall of your bathroom and your composting toilet. This way, you will have better accessibility to the composting toilet.

5. Easy to Clean

You want your composting toilet to be covered with a material that not only makes it aesthetically pleasing with a mirror shine finish but also easier to clean. Since most composting toilets are made from high-grade plastic and not the common vitreous china you find in a traditional flushing toilet, you must clean it more often.

6. Warranty

Since it can be difficult to repair the composting toilet, ensure that the manufacturer offers you a sort of warranty. Most of the time, a warranty period of at least a year is more than welcome. But if you want the extra security, you may want to look for a longer warranty.

7. Easy to Dump

Since you will be dumping waste from your composting toilet after every 60 to 80 uses depending on the capacity, it needs to have a mechanism that allows you to dump both the urine tray as well as the compost tray.

For maximum ease-of-use, you want to avoid a model that requires you to use special tools like a screwdriver to remove the compost tray. In fact, most top-rated composting toilets have a clicking mechanism so that you can remove the trays quickly and easily.

How to Prep and Dump the Composting Toilet

How to Prep and Dump the Composting Toilet

Preparing and dumping waste from your composting toilet is easier than you think. But before we do, here is a short list of accessories that you may need:

  • A bag of coco coir or sphagnum peat moss
  • Large plastic bag
  • Pair of gloves

How to Prepare the Composting Toilet

Step 1 - Disassemble your Composting Toilet

Start by disassembling your composting toilet. Remove the compost tray from the rest so that you can easily work with it. We recommend that you place it on a tall surface like a table so that you can have easy access to the compost tray.

Step 2 – Prepare the Coco Coir

Mix water with the coco coir. Out of the box, coco coir comes dehydrated, so you need to rehydrate it.

However, be careful not to overhydrate it. Do not hesitate to break it into small pieces with your hand. Also, don’t forget to wear a glove while doing this. Once it has the consistency of soil, you can stop and pour the hydrated coco coir in the compost tray of your composting toilet.

Step 3 - Reassemble the Composting Toilet

Once you have added the hydrated coco coir or sphagnum peat moss to your compost tray, you can reassemble the composting toilet, and it is ready for use. A regular composting toilet can accept anywhere from 60 to 80 uses before you need to dump it.

How to Dump the Composting Toilet

Dumping the composting toilet is equally easy. All you have to do is again disassemble the composting toilet so that you have easy access to the compost tray. But before you do, don’t forget to remove the liquid compartment first.

Then, place a plastic bag over the compost tray and turn it upside down such that the waste inside the compost tray falls in the bag. Give it a few taps to help residue that stuck in the compost tray full in the bag.

You are now ready to dump your urine and solid waste in a government-approved area.

Composting Toilet Tips

Here are a few tips when using the composting toilet that will help you use this device more efficiently.

Tip 1: Makes with Coffee Grinds

The base material used in a composting toilet is usually coco coir or sphagnum peat moss. This material tries to hide the odor of your excrement as much as possible. However, it is still not completely odorless. One way to get around this is by adding coffee grinds to this substrate.

It will help absorb bad odors more effectively. You can also use sawdust that you can get free of charge from your local lumberyard instead of coffee grinds.

Tip 2 - Add Worms

Worms that are usually found in the soil helps in breaking down with the waste material into smaller parts.

Therefore, if you add worms in your composting toilet tray, they will help break down your waste faster and more efficiently. Best, the compost tray is made from a plastic material that is non- degradable so worms will not be able to damage it.

Tip 3 – Regularly Clean the Composting Toilet

Due to the material used inside the compost tray, the surrounding of the composting toilet can easily get dirty. Therefore, it will require regular cleaning for hygienic reasons. We recommend you clean in and around your composting toilet every 3 days or so.

Tip 4 – Use Scented Candles

Scented candles are very cheap and yet a highly effective way of keeping bad odors at bay, especially when using the composting toilet. Best, they last a long time as well.

Tip 5 - Use the Hand Crank Agitator

The hand crank agitator in a manual or electric composting toilet is there to help you mix your waist with the coco coir much faster. Many people using the composting toilet usually forget to use this helpful feature.

However, every time you use the composting toilet, you should crank the hand agitator a couple times to give it a good mix.

Conclusion

As we have seen in this compost toilet review, the composting toilet is superior to the flushing toilet in the sense that you do not have to make complex installations. ​

​If this is your first time using a composting toilet, then you cannot go wrong with the ​Nature's Head NH-SPH. ​

And if you need a model for the whole family, including your child, then consider the Separett Villa 9210.


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