Life with the Stoopens

Mary Reviews the Best Budget and Composting Toilets for Our Homestead


If you’re planning on renovating or adding a bathroom, or just find yourself in need of a new toilet, you might feel overwhelmed by the number of choices available today.

You first step should be to accurately measure the space your new toilet will occupy.  You’ll need distance from the back wall to the floor opening and side-to-side measurements if your toilet is tucked into a corner or other smaller space.  Include front-to-back measurements if appropriate.  Inaccurate measurements or eyeball guesses can turn this project into a real stinker in a hurry.

Most traditional toilets rely on a tank that holds fresh water behind and above the bowl.  When the toilet is flushed, this water is released to force out the dirty water and refill the bowl with clean water.  The most common models are gravity based, but some are pressure assisted.  In pressure assisted models, the water in the tank is stored under pressure.  This pressure does result in a slightly (to somewhat) noisier flush, but does allow the toilet to use much less water to get the job done.  Going from one flushable tanked model to another shouldn’t require any plumbing modifications, but, again, make sure your measurements are accurate.  If you’re looking for a top flushing toilet, this site reviews some top picks and gives pros and cons for each listed model.

Today, you can also find a number of tankless toilets available.  These models tend to take up less space since there’s no tank and no stored water.  Tankless models tie directly into your home’s water supply.  Though many homeowners like the sleek look of this type of toilet, many homes just do not have adequate water pressure to make them viable choices.  Be sure to understand your home’s water pressure limits and the minimum requirements of any tankless model before you buy.  

One feature that many Americans haven’t seen is the half-flush option on toilets.  Many other countries not only make this feature widely available, but actually mandate it in some cases.  These toilets give you the option to initiate a water-saving half flush for liquid waste and our more familiar full flush for solid waste.  You can check out this list of some top-rated models, including pros and cons of each, that could meet your home’s needs, including water-saving models.  With colors to match any decor and some that even clean themselves (sort of) at prices that should fit into almost any budget, you’re sure to find the perfect model for one of the busiest seats in the house.

For the ultimate water-saving toilet, you might be considering a newer composting toilet.  These are ideal for RVs, mobile tiny homes, and remote homes without access to local water supplies.  Since these toilets are fairly new to the American landscape, not all localities have updated sanitation laws to allow for their operation.  Be sure to familiarize yourself with any applicable laws before going this route, including laws concerning the use of hygienically-treated human waste as compost (or the legal disposal of such waste).  While different models have slightly different modes of operation, composting toilets rely on containment and breakdown of human waste.  Done properly, it’s a perfectly hygienic and odorless process that results in compost that can be used in the same manner as any other compost.  Some models might require the addition of some medium (like sawdust or peat moss) to help facilitate decomposition, but not all of them do.  Some models are completely waterless, but others do require some water.  Also, different models rely on different processes to remove waste from the toilet.  Most models require electricity to operate, but more and more models (usually on the higher end of the price spectrum) are now able to operate on battery or even solar power.  For toilet tips that go beyond how to scrub the toilet bowl, check out this site that reviews waterless composting toilets and addresses concerns about odor and sanitation.  Because of their advanced function, composting toilets do tend to cost a bit more than their more traditional counterparts, but can be an ideal solution in a number of cases.