Pros and Cons of Composting Toilets

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Mulling over the idea of getting a composting toilet for your boat, RV, cabin, or home? If you think this lifestyle change will be well worth it, we’ve got the details that will help you make the most informed decision based on its pros and cons.

The pros and cons of composting toilets are as follows:

1. Environmentally friendly 1. Not always practical
2. Cost-effective 2. May require electricity
3. Space-saving 3. May still emit a slight odor
4. Easy to maintain

In recent years, there’s been a renewed interest in cultivating a sustainable lifestyle, which got many people thinking of incorporating green strategies into their everyday lives.

One such idea is getting a composting toilet that utilizes aerobic bacteria to break down human waste and eventually make it useful like outdoor compost. If you’re interested in finding out the pros and cons of composting toilets, here are the things you need to know the most:

The Pros of Composting Toilets

1. Environmentally Friendly

Did you know that one mere flush of a toilet to wash down your human waste can often require 1.6 gallons of perfectly usable water?

Multiply that by the number of family members in the house and the number of times each person goes to the toilet. You’ll soon realize that the amount of water wasted for flushing alone is nothing short of shocking.

One of the primary reasons for conceptualizing a product such as a composting toilet is sustainability. And short of doing your call of nature in the woods, this is the most sustainable you can get.

It does not require gallons of water to run and even adds the bonus of converting your human waste into compost to go back to the earth and help plants grow and thrive.

2. Cost-effective

Apart from environmental reasons, a big factor that prompts many people to go ahead and buy a composting toilet is that they can save a significant amount of money by having one. Most models are cheaper than investing in a septic tank system for your home.

It can very easily last as long as conventional systems, thereby giving composting toilets a higher return of interest over time.

While some might argue that one composting toilet could already cover the cost of several traditional toilets, your initial investment will reap returns over time when you see the savings on your water bill.

3. Space-saving

Composting toilets are designed to fit in small spaces such as tiny homes, RVs, cabins, and a lot more. If you have one or more of these things mentioned, you will appreciate how a composting toilet does not take as much room as a regular one.

The designs also let users generally feel comfortable while on them, mimicking the feeling of using a more spacious and conventional toilet.

If you live in an area where a sewage system is not present, you will find that composting toilets are beneficial for your situation.

4. Easy to Maintain

Composting toilets might be smaller than conventional ones, but they are equally durable and built to last for years.

As a waterless way of disposing of your waste, it has fewer parts that require operation – which basically translates into fewer parts to worry about breaking down sometime in the future.

Maintaining it regularly is also not as difficult as many people imagine it to be, as you need to be mindful about emptying the chamber regularly.

The Cons of Composting Toilets

1. Not Always Practical

Composting toilets might seem like an efficient way of addressing the environmental and economic problems associated with going to the bathroom. The truth is, we are still living in a world where this remains as an alternative and not the mainstream.

Composting toilets often do not work in different cities or spaces, especially highly urbanized areas that can pose a challenge for environmental codes that do not permit the use of composting toilets. It is also not a good option for multifamily setups or apartment complexes that have little ventilation.

2. May Require Electricity

More and more composting toilets have advanced features like electronic monitoring and connectivity, which will require the use of electricity. If you are living fully off-grid, then a composting toilet will not work for you.

You might need to buy a battery to hook it to if a toilet is necessary for your situation. If you choose to go the non-electrical route, bear in mind that the composting process will take more time to finish.

3. May Still Emit a Slight Odor

While many great brands of composting toilets will insist that their offerings do not emit odors, this claim remains to be seen. Many highly satisfied owners of particular composting toilets may sometimes mention that theirs still emit an odor, no matter how slight it is.

This is especially true if you fail to empty your composting toilet regularly or do not completely achieve the separation of waste.

While this can certainly be a downside for some, it is still an easy fix with a good cover and regularly maintains the toilet’s moisture levels. Both will make clean-up and maintenance easy and will certainly result in little to no odor!

Recommended Composting Toilets – Our Top 3 Picks

Feel that you’re ready to make the big change after learning about the pros and cons of composting toilets? Here are a number of great picks that you can choose from.

1. Nature’s Head Self-contained Composting Toilet

Nature’s Head is also known for composting toilets with excellent features for the price tag, and the same can be said for their Composting Toilet with Close Quarters Spider Handle Design.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

This model is a portable and self-contained composting toilet that also features urine separation. I have owned this composting toilet for many years, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in a composting toilet.

Its toilet head was designed by two seasoned sailors who wanted a composting toilet that was more user-friendly than any other model out in the market while withstanding harsh marine conditions.

This particular model is known as the go-to composting toilet of people in an environment where electricity or plumbing is hard to come by, such as vacation cabins, campers, barns, and yes, even trucks.

Compared to other holding tank systems, this composting toilet has little to no foul odors for as long as maintenance has ensued.

It has the additional benefit of recycling your bathroom air as a way of improving how your entire environment smells, thanks to the air circulation fan that’s built right into the unit’s head.

Fashioned out of stainless steel hardware, it is designed not just to weather the seasons but also to be as useful as possible for many years.

This five-minute YouTube review is a quick rundown of what makes Nature’s Head Self-Contained Composting Toilet with Close Quarters Spider Handle Design, a favorite among many tiny house enthusiasts, so check it out!

2. Nature’s Head Dry Composting Toilet with Standard Crank Handle

Nature’s Head offers a popular and cost-effective composting toilet model in the Dry Composting Toilet with Standard Crank Handle. It is loved by many satisfied customers who have had it for as long as five years.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

It’s designed as a self-contained composting toilet with a urine-diverting feature for easy segregation of human waste.

The waterless operation feature makes it very economical, allowing households to save a significant amount of money off their water bill while preserving the world’s natural resources as well.

The unit itself is lightweight, nearly odorless, and comes in a compact design that is easy to fit even in tiny homes, cabins, RVs, and boats.

Stainless steel hardware contributes to the toilet’s durability and longevity. Satisfied customers comment a lot on its price point and value, including the stellar customer service for the few units that eventually had parts that required replacing many years down the line.

This YouTube review of Nature’s Head Dry Composting Toilet with Standard Crank Handle gives you a thorough look at what it’s like to use this particular model for a family that prioritizes sustainability while living traveling for adventure:

3. Nature’s Head Self-contained Composting Toilet

And finally, our third recommendation still comes from the composting toilet giant Nature’s Head. They do not sponsor us. I’ve just owned a few composting toilets, and they are the best.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

The Self-Contained Composting Toilet with Spider Handle Design is yet another model that has its own loyal fanbase, thanks to the practical features it offers.

Its compact design works really well for tiny homes while not giving users the feeling of being cramped when using it.

Customers attest to its claim of not emitting a discernible odor, whether the lid was partially or fully closed. The no-nonsense “sit and go” use is also very much appreciated. Installation can be done in less than thirty minutes too.

The Self-Contained Composting Toilet with Spider Handle has a huge capacity. If you and another person use it full time, you need to empty it every 1 to 1 ½ months.

Conclusion – Pros and Cons of Composting Toilets

So to recap, the pros and cons of composting toilets are as follows:


  1. Environmentally friendly
  2. Cost-effective
  3. Space-saving
  4. Easy to maintain


  1. Not always practical
  2. May require electricity
  3. May still emit a slight odor

In my opinion (and experience from owning one), the best composting toilet is the Composting Toilet with Close Quarters Spider Handle Design. The design, durability, and price point make it the best option.

Click here to see it on Amazon.

Use this for your boat, RV, cabin, or even in your home to save money, space, and the planet.