LAST UPDATED: November 16, 2020

The Best Composting Toilets (Review and Buying Guide) in 2021

Best Choice Camco Standard Portable Travel Toilet Camco Standard Portable Travel Toilet
Best Value Reliance Products Luggable Portable Toilet Reliance Products Luggable Portable Toilet
Premium Pick Porta Potti Thetford Toilet Porta Potti Thetford Toilet

It’s no secret that humans produce a lot of waste. From using an excess of water and food to the natural waste we create, mankind leaves a hefty carbon footprint. Though some forms of waste are unavoidable, some steps can cut down on our ecological impact. Composting toilets are a major example. By cutting back on water usage, it can create an environment where the waste effectively deals with itself. 

Using the natural processes of bacteria and their interaction with air, these toilets drastically reduce the mass of waste. Sealed against odors and easy to maintain, you can use a composting toilet anywhere from a log cabin to a farmhouse. Of course, to reap the benefits, it helps to find the right fit. To help you track down the best composting toilets around, we’ve cultivated a list of the leading options and some tips on how to get started.

The Best Composting Toilet

If you are looking for a toilet that is going to work in multiple situations, the Camco Standard Portable Travel Toilet is a solid choice. It contains a 5.3-gallon tank, so the system can be flushed multiple time before it needs to be emptied. Large enough to feel like a regular-sized toilet, it is almost a foot and a half tall and has a foot-wide seat. The flush is powerful enough to move the water efficiently and push it out of the bowl. In terms of its composting abilities, both the structure and size of the base add a lot of value. It is relatively wide at the bottom. Not only does this stop it from tipping over, but it also maximizes the surface area for the bacteria to interact with the air.

Keep in mind that while the seal is tight, the plastic parts are vulnerable to damage if mishandled. Should one of these parts break, the seal would be entirely ruined. Take care when emptying the system.

Key Features
  • Holds 5.3 gallons of water
  • Powerful flushing mechanism
  • Measures 15.5 x 14 x 16 inches
  • Sealed against leaks
Specification
  • Brand Camco
  • Model 141541
  • Weight 10.8 pounds
PROS

Prevents odors and leaks

Easy system to maintain

Compact toilet with sufficient storage

CONS

Latches at the side are vulnerable to damage

Seal cannot be easily repaired

Threading on caps can break

Those looking to cut costs while cutting back on waste can turn to the Reliance Products Luggable Portable Toilet Seat. It holds five gallons of fluid and is about as basic as a portable toilet can be. The simple bucket design is made out of heavy-duty polymers. Resistant to all sorts of damage, this sturdy system is strong against cracks, heat, and cold. With a handle on the top for easy transport, it is pretty simple to maintain the system. The toilet lid at the top creates a firm seal, preventing odors and leaks. Ideal for camping trips, these buckets work best in natural settings where maintenance is easier. All things considered, this toilet offers a lot of value. 

Though this toilet does foster a probiotic material, it is likely to be emptied before this can be achieved. As such, the main benefits are convenience and reducing water consumption.

Key Features
  • Simple bucket design
  • Rises over a foot off the ground
  • Toilet seat creates a tight seal
  • Includes a handle for transportation
Specification
  • Brand Reliance Products
  • Model 9853-13
  • Weight 3 pounds
PROS

Easy to clean and maintain

Doesn’t require any plumbing

Ideal for camping and travel

CONS

Needs emptying before composting

Doesn’t self-clean with water

Not sealed enough for anaerobic state

Looking to make a permanent switch to this type of toilet and want something that’s built to last? The Porta Potti Thetford Toilet is a worthy candidate. By design it is highly versatile, and it has the ability to function over long periods. It is crafted with a classic toilet appearance though still stands out. The composting parts are sealed with precisely fitting components. If you want to make it a permanent installment in the room, the toilet can be affixed to the ground. Otherwise, it stays entirely portable. Coming with a handle and fullness indicator, this premium toilet even has a toilet paper holder on the front. Convenient and durable, this is an excellent choice for pretty much any bathroom. 

While this toilet is of extremely high quality, it does come at a proportionately higher price point. That said, for those looking for a long-term solution, it is a good way to go.

Key Features
  • Compact toilet made of white and gray polymers
  • Battery-powered flushing system
  • Large bowl and comfortable seat
Specification
  • Brand Porta Potti
  • Model 92306
  • Weight 13.45 pounds
PROS

All parts are tightly sealed to prevent leaks and smells

Simple to empty and clean

Includes paper holder and tank indicator

CONS

Comes at a relatively high price point

Only viable for long-term use

Bottom isn’t wide (which could cause tipping)

If you want something that can improve your overall travel experience, the Playberg Folding Portable Toilet is a solid option. It can fold down to a compact size, letting you store it easily and fit it in with your other on-the-go gear. It comes in a medium-gray color and features a sturdy seat that sits on reliable hinges. The toilet features an eight-gallon bowl that lets you go a significant amount of time before emptying it. Entirely analog, this toilet is about as energy efficient as it gets. It is sturdy enough to last and takes minimal resources to function effectively. You can adjust the size almost effortlessly, making it a unique addition to any camping trip. 

It’s worth a mention that, despite its convenience, this toilet doesn’t have a flushing mechanism. As a result, though it will eventually compost, it will be a bit trickier to clean since it has only a single compartment.

Key Features
  • Compact and foldable design
  • Includes a paper holder
  • Holds eight gallons of waste
  • Easy to clean and maintain
Specification
  • Brand Playberg
  • Model N/A
  • Weight 8 gallons
PROS

Lightweight and good for travel

Doesn’t require any plumbing

Made of durable material

CONS

Can be tricky to empty

Consists of only one compartment

Vulnerable to cracks in extreme cold

After a toilet that is compact yet still flushes effectively? Consider the Zimmer Portable Camping Toilet. It touts a relatively innovative design that incorporates the flow of water and the virtues of a composting toilet. The tank can hold three gallons of water (for flushing). The compost area, also called the holding tank, can take up to five gallons of matter. It is an excellent solution for an individual since it can handle up to 70 flushes before needing a refill. The toilet is extremely petite, rising only 16.5 inches off the ground. It is fairly lightweight when empty, making it a good solution for camping and other outdoor activities. Easy to maintain, this toilet is designed to last for a long time. 

It should be noted that this toilet is quite low to the ground which can be difficult for some in terms of accessibility. If that is a concern, a taller option may be a better-suited composting toilet.

Key Features
  • Flushes up to 70 times before needing a refill
  • Holding tank has a five-gallon capacity
  • Measures: 16.5 x 13.5 x 12 inches
  • Made of heavy-duty polyethylene
Specification
  • Brand Zimmer
  • Model FBA_ZI-CT101
  • Weight 9.75 pounds
PROS

Ideal for personal use when outdoors

Tight seal prevents odors and leaks

Lightweight design makes travel easy

CONS

Requires access to fresh water

Latches at side can break off

If broken, the seal can’t be repaired

If you’ve ever experienced a mobile toilet tipping over, you know all too well the benefit of the SereneLife Outdoor Portable Toilet’s stable design. It is a heavy-duty model, coming with a carrying case for ease of transport. The toilet itself features a holding tank of over five gallons, more than enough to go long periods without emptying it. The tank fullness indicator lets you know when it’s time to do upkeep. Until then, this comfortable toilet can stay put for maximum convenience. It has a comfortable seat that is wide enough to feel like a standard toilet. Coming high enough off the ground for ease, the toilet flushes powerfully for a continuous clean look. It sits on a steady base, remaining still until it’s time to empty it. 

Bear in mind that this toilet’s strong design comes with a higher price point. However, the sturdiness and high-performance value make it well worth the investment — especially for those planning to use it over extended periods.

Key Features
  • Includes 5.3-gallon holding tank
  • Has a strong and reliable seal
  • Sits atop a wide and stable base
  • Comes with carrying case
Specification
  • Brand SereneLife
  • Model SLCATL320
  • Weight 11.25 pounds
PROS

Easy to clean and maintaining

Tank level indicator keeps you apprised of fullness

Carrying case makes transport easier

CONS

Comes at a higher price point

Difficult to repair if broken

Heavy weight makes it less convenient to move

Especially if you don’t know precisely where you are going to use the toilet, the Alpcour Portable Toilet is a good option. Its versatility makes it suited to anywhere from a camper to a boat to a simple hiking trip. When it’s empty, the toilet is lightweight (thanks to the quality polymer construct). This, coupled with the included carrying case makes it ideal for those who spend time away from standard plumbing. It comes with a 5.3-gallon waste tank, meaning you can go for a substantial amount of time before needing to empty it. While it is a bit more costly than some options out there, this model is made to last. Easy to clean and with a tight seal meant to withstand damage, this is a worthy candidate for frequent travelers. 

Keep in mind that the toilet does require routine maintenance to ensure that the plumbing system stays in good condition. Be sure to take care of the flushing mechanism to keep this toilet working for as long as possible.

Key Features
  • Comes with 5.3-gallon waste tank
  • Water sprays over full 360 degrees
  • Includes leak-resistant valve
  • Seal remains tight over time
Specification
  • Brand Alpcour
  • Model N/A
  • Weight 5.3 gallons
PROS

Powerful flusher for cleaner bowl

Requires no external plumbing

Compact design for easy transport

CONS

More demanding maintenance needs

Large capacity means heavier when full

Only suited to small groups of people

Considering the unique design and thin frame, the Thetford 92820 Porta Potti offers a lot of benefits for those focused on style. While the tank is fairly compact, it is large enough to work as a stationary toilet with a dedicated spot. The lid creates a tight seal at the top, aided by the strong hinge that won’t get damaged easily. It incorporates a large tank that enables powerful flushing. The sealed part between the two compartments remains tight despite extreme temperatures. This is the component that prevents odors and spills. When it comes time to change out the waste area, you use the carrying handle to get the job done fast. The two parts detach efficiently and have big enough openings to rinse out quickly.

Though this option is really popular, it is on the higher end of the price spectrum. However, if you are looking for something to last that won’t be an eyesore, this is a good way to go.

Key Features
  • Innovative design for maximum compactness
  • Powerful flushing action
  • Reliable and user-friendly latch
  • Tight and consistent seal
Specification
  • Brand Thetford
  • Model 92820
  • Weight 11 pounds
PROS

Unique design allows easy cleaning

Fits in even the smallest areas

Made of highly durable polymer

CONS

Seal can be sensitive to extreme temperature

Latches can be challenging to control

Difficult to take apart for repairs

Whether your planning on camping or leaving on a boat trip, the Camco Premium Portable Travel Toilet is a handy item to have around. Without any content, it weighs a mere 11 pounds. This way you can easily get it to and from a location. The large water tank extends the time between waste tank emptying. The toilet is over a foot tall, limiting the amount you have to bend to sit. It incorporates a quality seal at both the valve point and the connections along the sides. The threading is sturdy and no part of it is vulnerable to pressure (a common result of aerobic bacterial interactions during composting). With an effective flush and an easy-to-clean bow, this toilet is deserving of an honorable mention. 

Keep in mind that, while the toilet is light when empty, as soon as you add water and begin to use it, the toilet gets a lot heavier. When it’s full, the toilet can ring in at over 42 pounds.

Key Features
  • Has a 2.6-gallon holding tank
  • Elbow plumbing for ease of cleaning
  • Flushing wipes away debris 
  • Universally compatible design
Specification
  • Brand Camco
  • Model 41535
  • Weight 11 pounds
PROS

Large enough for single user

Strong plumbing drains tank quickly

Seal prevents odors and spills

CONS

Heavy when full (over 42 pounds)

Tanks can be tricky to detach

Holding tanks is relatively small

Best Composting Toilets Buying Guide & FAQ

Whether you are completely overhauling your plumbing system or just looking for an addition to your camping gear, composting toilets are a helpful thing to have around. Of course, to get the most value out of it, there are a few things to keep in mind when you make your choice. The first is what you want to get out of it. Think about where you plan to use it and how long you’ll need it to last. 

Figure out why you want a composting toilet. Is it to preserve water and cut down on waste? Is it a matter of convenience; something to add ease to your camping trips? Maybe it is a more practical demand like an RV setup or a plumbing solution for your boat. Depending on the situation you’re using it in, you will have different requirements. Be sure to do your research to get a full understanding of what to expect from a composting toilet. 

Do You Need a Composting Toilet?

There are a few key reasons that people seek out a composting toilet. While there are a lot of situations where you can favor traditional plumbing, this kind of toilet offers a unique alternative. For one, they don’t require proximity to amenities. You can use them for quite a while before having to clean them out. Plus, at any time that isn’t maintenance-related, they work like any other toilet. 

The main idea is taking the convenience of the modern world and bringing a scaled-down version of the infrastructure wherever you go. It can make a camping trip more enjoyable, a boat ride more convenient, and save you a lot of time. The advantages extend beyond convenience, too. 

  • Composting toilets let you responsibly dispose of waste and ensure that your area is kept clean and hygienic.
  • The compact structure and inherent portability let you bring the toilet on any trip so you don’t need to commit to a location. 
  • Eco-friendliness is another benefit since these toilets require substantially less water than conventional models. 
  • The cost-effectiveness is particularly noteworthy when you opt for a composting toilet in place of extensive repairs to your existing plumbing. 

Types of Composting Toilets

As with any piece of plumbing equipment, there are a few different types. The kind from which you’ll see the most benefit depends largely on where you plan to use it. Consider whether you need to stay on-the-go, your access to water, and the ability to empty it when picking the type you want. 

While some things will stay the same across the board (holding tank, seals, etc.), there are nuanced differences between the different types of toilets. Getting the wrong one will detract from the convenience, so familiarizing yourself with the different options is helpful. 

Dry Composting Toilet

The least expensive of the different toilet types, the dry option doesn’t have a water tank. It is very straightforward in design and is best suited for short-term use. It consists of a single compartment. The polymer exterior seals in the waste, which is only exposed when the seat is raised. Because this leaves a bit of exposure to the waste, it is better to use these on quick camping trips where it can be stored away from the living space. 

Since it is exposed to oxygen, it is an aerobic sort of compost. This results in slower results, though it still functions well as a receptacle. Given the basic design, these toilets are also the easiest to maintain. The simplicity of design limits the number of moving parts and results in less risk of damage. 

Flushable Toilet

This popular kind of toilet is common because it incorporates the flow of water. It cleans out the bowl steadily and makes the entire process more hygienic. These options have two separate tanks. The first holds the freshwater. An electrical system (usually battery-operated) will power the water pressure. Higher-quality toilets of this type will incorporate a gauge to let you know how full it is at any time. 

The other tank holds the compost (waste). It seals in the material so that there are no odors or spill risks. This tank will be larger than the water counterpart, especially since it holds both waste and water. So long as the base is steady and the parts are easy to clean, this is a good way to go. It is ideal for camping, especially when there is a water source near to camp.

Self-Contained Toilets

Higher-end composting toilets fall into this category. These toilets are meant to be placed in a dedicated location. Usually, these are for when someone is outfitting their entire plumbing system (whether in an RV or at home). It drastically reduces water consumption and doesn’t increase maintenance needs. 

The base of the compost part will have a valve at the back. This connects to a septic line, letting you drain it out without having to take the system apart. Keep in mind that these toilets are the most useful for areas with access to running water. The toilet connects directly to the system, limiting upkeep demands. 

A portable plastic toilet in the foreground
Composting Toilets

What to Look for When Buying Composting Toilet

When determining which composting toilet is right for you, there are a few important things to keep in mind. The first thing you need to identify is the type of toilet you’re looking for. Assess where you plan to place it and how often it’s going to be used. From there, you can investigate the specific features of each composting toilet. 

First, you will want to look at the overall capacity. Check the size of the water tank and the holding tank. This is a bit of a double-edged sword for the flushable options. When the tank is smaller, it needs changing more often. When it’s larger, it is heavier when it comes time to empty it. The key to getting the right composting toilet is balancing the convenience of use against the demands of maintenance. As long as you do this and look at the basics, you can find a well-suited option. 

  • Indicator: Check if the toilet comes with a tank indicator to let you know when the water is running out (or if the waste tank is getting too full). To prevent spills during maintenance, you need to empty it when there is still some room. Be sure that the toilet lets you know when it comes time, especially if you think you might forget. 
  • Durability: Next, figure out how durable it’s going to be. Especially if you are picking a heavier-duty option and investing more, you want it to last. Look at the material used in construction. Make sure that it is a sturdy polymer that won’t crack under pressure. You want it to be tough against heat, too. 
  • Weight: After this, look at how heavy it is going to be. Think about the weight when it’s empty, but also when it’s full. Water is heavy and waste weighs even more. If you don’t want to carry something that weighs a proverbial ton, opt for something with a smaller tank. However, be sure that it will have enough capacity for your group size. 
  • Maintenance: No one likes chores, but they are necessary to keeping everything in working order. When it comes to your composting toilet, opt for something that doesn’t need too much upkeep. Choose toilets with wide pipes, a flush that cleans the bowl, and a reasonably large holding tank. 
  • Water pressure: The water pressure is going to directly play into how clean the bowl stays regularly. Choose a flush that is strong but doesn’t wastewater. It will ensure you get the maximum amount of uses between changes. The spray nozzle will control the flow’s direction. Whenever possible, find something that sprays over 360 degrees. 

The Most Important Features of Composting Toilets

Though there are differences between each make and model, there are some things all composting toilets have in common. To be a viable waste disposal solution, be sure that your toilet has all of these features. Especially if you are looking for a long-term plumbing solution, the performance value hinges on having all these features. 

Holding Tank

The key to any composting toilet is its ability to hold in fluids. Now, depending on the type of composting toilet, there will be one or two tanks. Those with a single tank tend to have the simplest design. Nonetheless, the tank must be able to hold a sufficient amount of waste. It also needs to be made out of a sturdy polymer that is easy to clean and resistant to impact. 

If there is a second tank (like on a flushable toilet), the two need to be connected well. This prevents the risk of slipping and stops the toilet from breaking when used. The water tank needs to be equally as strong as the holding tank, despite being smaller than the holding tank. 

Seat

Essential to performing as a toilet, the seat is a necessary part of the composting toilet. It serves two main functions. The first is fairly obvious. It is the part you sit on when using the toilet. It ensures that you don’t slip. This feature varies in comfort level and size, though will always be present on the toilet. 

In addition to acting as seating, the toilet seat also seals in any odors or particles left in the bowl. While flushing options rinse out the area, it still helps to have a top that seals in everything that’s left behind. Look at the hinges and make sure that they aren’t vulnerable to breakage. The lid should be removable to make maintenance easier. 

Drainage

Finally, the compostable toilet should have a viable drainage system. The first aspect of this is the seal. It needs to have a valve that prevents backflow. This keeps everything clean and hygienic and ensures that the toilet functions properly. It is also necessary to keep the environment pressurized to properly release the waste. 

The drain lets go of all of the waste when it comes time to empty the toilet. This means that you want something with a wide enough pipe. If you plan to connect it to a septic system, it helps to check compatibility. Otherwise, just be sure that it is reasonably straightforward to maintain. 

Care and Maintenance for Composting Toilet

To get the full value of the composting toilet, it’s essential to practice proper maintenance. While a high-quality selection will have fairly basic requirements, it is still important to complete routine upkeep. It’s pretty simple, and most of the needs are the same as with a standard toilet.

The key is keeping it clean. It’s as easy as taking a cleaning wipe to the outside of the toilet. Wipe under the seat and use a toilet brush to scrub any debris on the inside of the bowl. The higher the water pressure, the less demanding this is. An important consideration is caring for the bacterial culture in the septic tank. Be consistent with the cleaner you use to regulate the composting process. So long as you do these things, taking care of the toilet is easy. 

  • Empty the holding tank regularly, making sure that it isn’t too full when you dump it out. 
  • Check that the batteries are charged to make sure the flushing component works. 
  • Keep spare batteries close by to replace them when needed. 
  • Wipe down the outside of the toilet to prevent germ buildup. 
  • Store it with the seat down to prevent odors and keep it from getting dirty. 
  • When you drain the toilet, be sure to do it in a designated spot. 
  • If you are emptying it during a camping trip, be sure to do it downstream of your camp. 
  • Before putting the toilet back together, clean out all of the attachment points. 
  • Store it upright and, whenever possible, keep it in a consistent location to avoid spills.
A portable plastic toilet in the woods
Composting Toilets

Best Composting Toilet FAQ:

It’s common to have some questions about your composting toilet. After all, you are going to be using it regularly. To get the best-suited option, it helps to have as much information as possible. We’ve addressed the most frequent inquiries, so you can have a full picture of what to expect from your toilet. 

Q. How much water does a composting toilet save?

A: It’s estimated that a composting toilet can save over 6,500 gallons of water a year. This number assumes that an individual is using the composting toilet exclusively. 

Q. How much does it cost to install a composting toilet?

A: In most cases, it is very cost-efficient to install a composting toilet. Many choose to do the installation themselves. 

Q. Do you need electricity for a composting toilet?

A: The toilet only uses electricity to flush. Since most use batteries, there doesn’t need to be an AC connection. Some are completely analog, though they aren’t as convenient.

Our Top Pick

After careful consideration, we’ve named the Camco Standard Portable Travel Toilet as our top pick. It is the least demanding for maintenance and is designed to last a long time. With a sizable holding tank and powerful flushing, this toilet is both versatile and convenient. It is well-suited to those looking to reduce water consumption and retrofit their RV setup.  

Final Thoughts

Now that you’re fluent in the nuances of composting toilets, you can make your pick. It could be the Camco Standard Portable Travel Toilet or the value of the Reliance Products Luggable Portable Toilet. There’s an option for every off-the-grid environment to help you save water and live more comfortably.