The 5 Features to Look for in a Composting Toilet


Not all composting toilets are built with real-life user experience in mind. From urine diverters that don’t account for male/female anatomical differences to inconvenient maintenance and cleaning, we know both maintenance and daily use can be a pain. And don’t get us started on those nooks and crannies!

After years of R&D and a combined 34 years of composting toilet use amongst our team, we’ve come up with the 5 most important features to look for in a composting toilet. 

Your composting toilet should not cause separation anxiety. For an easy stink-free composting toilet experience, you need to make sure the solids stay solid and the liquids are successfully diverted into the liquids compartment. If your urine diverter does not live up to its job, you’ll end up with too much moisture in your compost and alas, the dreaded smelly composting toilet (for more info, take a look at our “Troubleshooting a smelly composting toilet” article). And just because the separation is working for some members of the family doesn’t mean it’s working for everyone.

You need a diverter that’s been tested among different anatomies and sizes (yes, even kids can use a composting toilet without issues). For a diverter that knows what it’s doing check out the THRONE urine diverter 

Nobody wants to carry their composting toilet outside to dump it upside down. It’s heavy, inconvenient, and simply unnecessary. We prefer a container that can be removed from the toilet base and dumped on its own.

Most composting toilets have collection compartments too small to actually start the composting process during use. It takes several months to a year (depending on the conditions) for actual composting to happen. Because most users will need to empty their toilet 2 to 4 times a month, you don’t need to churn the dry parts; simply adding an absorbing ingredient (for example Coco Coir) after each use is sufficient. You can read our article about different covering materials here. You can also use a bag in your dry compartment, which makes for way easier emptying and cleaning. Use compostable bags for your humanure, or simply dump the contents from the bag directly on your humanure composting pile. 

While it does sound intuitive, many tiny home, skoolie, or van builders will tell you that if you want an off-the-shelf composting toilet, you’ll need to plan your entire build around it. And truth be told, do you want to build your home around a toilet? We didn’t think so. 

With the Throne DIY composting toilet system you can plan and build your composting toilet based on your needs, your home, and your style. From tiny van toilets to rustic outhouse or a sleek Skoolie toilet, you can design your bathroom just the way you need it. And not have your toilet control your blueprint. 

Many composting toilets have way more nooks and crannies than anyone wants to clean, especially considering the type of liquids and solids that inevitably find their way into them. The worst part: some of these nooks and crannies are inaccessible and you can’t clean them without taking the entire toilet apart.

In our opinion, a composting toilet should have no hard-to-clean spaces and the material shouldn’t stain. It sounds so easy, doesn’t it? 

The Throne composting toilet system is built to provide exactly that. The Throne urine diverter is manufactured from non-staining LLDPE, which is durable and easy to clean. And the Throne composting toilet is built without annoying nooks and crannies, so you don’t have to worry about getting out the “biohazard toilet toothbrush”. 

Living tiny and/or off-grid can be a sustainable choice, not only for the environment but also for financial reasons. An off-the-shelf composting toilet is often one of the three most expensive appliances for building your off-grid home (next to a fridge and electrical/solar setup). But it doesn’t have to be that way! There are plenty of practical options on the market that are less expensive, including building your own DIY composting toilet. Another advantage for DIYing your composting toilet: match it to your style, your bathroom design, and the size of your home! 

The free Throne Composting Toilet DIY plans prove that DIY doesn’t have to mean rustic, either! Take a look at our plans and ideas for creating that perfect custom composting toilet. 




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