If you’re asking about tiny house toilet options, then read on. Tiny homes are becoming an ever more popular alternative to traditional homes. It’s not difficult to see why. For many, space is limited, and a tiny house can provide many of the comforts we’ve come to expect from larger homes, just in a smaller package.
Many people choose tiny houses because they’re saving money or want to live out independently and don’t yet have the funds necessary to buy a larger property. Those who already own a home and simply want to cut down on clutter and bills may also find themselves drawn toward this idea.
Of those looking for possible alternatives to housing, some are thoroughly convinced that living in a tiny house will change their lives for the better. In fact, there are even several active communities dedicated to discussing everything from tiny house designs and blueprints to full-time life in such a home. But one of the biggest concerns is tiny house toilets and the best ones to buy in the market.
How much can you build a tiny house for?
Tiny houses can really be built for as little as $10,000, but once all the amenities are added up, it’s not uncommon for them to run closer to $40,000 or 50,000. This is far more affordable than buying a typical two-story home and can also mean less work if you’re solely interested in contracting out the building process rather than doing any of the construction yourself.
Many homeowners find that they actually don’t want or need much space unless they’ve got kids or pets clamouring after a room of their own. While this isn’t an option necessarily available to everyone everywhere, it is increasingly common as people seek to take back their lives from all the demands of modern life. When you own just what you need and nothing more, there’s less upkeep involved.
Houses have been getting bigger over the past century, but increasingly, people are rethinking that idea. In fact, tiny homes built with sustainable materials could be pretty beneficial even when the house isn’t especially small. The US, for example, has a terrible track record when it comes to waste management and recycling. Perhaps by building smaller houses, we can cut down on a lot of this unnecessary environmental damage?
While some celebrities have stayed loyal to traditional living spaces (the Kardashians come to mind), many others have opted for tiny homes, or at least small ones. One of the more famous tiny homes belongs to Jay-Z and Beyoncé (no, not that one ), whose abode is on wheels and has even earned its own recognition from The Guinness Book of World Records as being the most expensive apartment in New York.
The move away from larger homes isn’t just about celebrity culture either. There are quite a few brave individuals out there who have chosen to trade their suburban-style houses for smaller spaces with simpler amenities. Some people simply don’t need all of those rooms anymore, while others are interested in living closer to each other. However, it’s also possible that many others have realized that they can still live comfortably without needing that much space.
More often than not, these tiny houses feature all of the amenities someone would expect from a larger home. This includes things like electricity, running water, and even the internet. Many of them are smaller than 300 square feet, but this is generally considered more space than most people need.
How popular are tiny houses in the US?
One person who some of her fellow celebrities may have inspired is Deynna Hardison. She made headlines earlier this year when she began living in an Airstream trailer with her husband on their family farm. Their goal was to save enough money to move into something larger eventually, but they only spend about $300 per month on bills while also being close enough to grandkids for visits. They simply wanted a different type of lifestyle. Hardison said at the time, “We wanted to do this for years. We never dreamed we would be able to do it now.”
With that in mind, we understand the question that most people will ask when it comes to living in a tiny house. How will you get rid of waste? What are the best sewer options for tiny houses? Are there cheaper tiny house toilet options that I can go for right now? These questions are answered because this is among the biggest concerns, especially if you live off-grid with your family.
Tiny House Toilet Options
With that in mind, we understand the question that most people will ask when living in a tiny house. How will you get rid of waste? What are the best sewer options for tiny houses? Are there cheaper tiny house toilet options that I can go for right now? These questions are answered because this is among the biggest concerns, especially if you live off-grid with your family.
One of our readers inspired this project who asked us to build a composting toilet for her tiny house.
We know that this is not a common question and had to get deep into the nitty-gritty of research on how to help solve this problem. Our team pushed through trying to look into what other people did, and you can see that in some articles here and there.
There are mainly two sewer options for off-grid homes: Blackwater and greywater. Oftentimes, many people mix up these terms, which makes everything more confusing than it really is. Therefore, we will try our best today to avoid any confusion or unwanted questions about these terms in future posts.
Black vs. Greywater sewage options
When I first started reading about tiny houses, the subject of sewage disposal inevitably came up. Then, I was doing a lot of research into composting toilets and was very eager to install one. It felt like an ideal and perfect fit for a tiny house on wheels because it would be self-contained and easy to maintain. Little did I know how much information there is out there about this topic.
I’m going to start this post by giving some background information on my black vs. greywater systems so you can decide which type of installation might work best for your system. Feel free to promptly skip ahead if you just want the nitty-gritty details straight away!
Water System Overview
Unfortunately, wastewater treatment doesn’t receive the same attention as water supply, but that’s starting to change. New research is being done on systems that can eliminate or minimize the need for chemicals in wastewater treatment by harnessing nature’s processes to do the work. This research is sometimes referred to as “bio-sand” treatment because it uses a biologically active medium (similar to bio-sand filtration) which is typically filled with bacteria and other microorganisms.
I tend to get overwhelmed when I read about these types of systems, so I didn’t really want one! Don’t laugh… it’s true. They are still rare, though, so most people don’t know how they work or all the components. That lets me off the hook for now, but I am still determined to find out how they work, so I’ll know how to build one when my tiny house plans are complete.
If you want the run-down of all the parts without having to read through my ramblings, here is a good video explaining it all. Step by step info on building your own is available in this post.
I have decided that if I’m going to live in a tiny house with no mains water or power supply – which is what my current plan looks like – then I had better start with the most basic sustainable system possible. This means treating grey water and black water with just composting toilets and biofilters (bio-sand filters), with no chemicals at all, to avoid contaminating the local environment.
This will be a very simple but quite laborious system that I hope to improve upon later. The composting toilets are just buckets with lids, but they are being used without any additives or chemicals whatsoever – not even bio-enzymes. After around three months, the bucket gets removed and emptied into an underground septic tank, where it sits for at least another year before it is suitable for use as fertilizer.
My tiny house septic system is now nothing more than a hole in the ground covered by rocks to stop erosion, rodents digging it up, and rainwater washing everything away. If I find that the soil underneath cannot soak up all of this free fertilizer, I’ll have to look into pumping it away and finding a system for that.
This year I have been building a cycle track, so when my septic tank has been fertilized by humanure, I can add some of the compost back into the ground wherever I see fit. And through this method, both ends of the cycle are closed.
The greywater is sent out to irrigate fruit trees, which will produce food for people who ride my mini Velo-railway. As such, there is no wasted water or energy, and nothing goes into landfills or drains directly into our waterways. However, if you do not like the idea of using recycled sewage on your fruit trees, then it can safely be sent down a soakaway (that does not drain into rivers or dams) or sent down the drain to be treated at a sewage treatment works.
Poop is full of useful nutrients, and composting it instead of flushing it directly into the sewer helps close both ends of our cycles, reducing environmental impact. On top of this, it also creates rich soil for people who want to use the mini-rail way’s rainwater harvesting system for their fruit trees or vegetable gardens.
The black water, however, does not go straight onto the garden but instead flushes out through a greywater irrigator first before draining into one of my underground tanks, where it will be stored until I can fertilize some fruit trees with it (or maybe just spread it around the mulch that is already in the garden). For now, though, I will let it drain into my septic tank (a 55-gallon drum) until it reaches capacity or more fruit trees become available.
The greywater irrigator is a two-chamber system that has been put together by myself. The first chamber is a standard kitchen sink with a half-moon-shaped lid on top and about 2 feet of 1 inch PVC running between this and the second chamber, which rests below it. The bottom chamber has many small holes drilled through both sides, along with another more giant hole cut out for one side so we can access the filter whenever we want to clean it out.
As Tiny house living gains momentum, more people are looking for practical ways to build a tiny house. One dilemma that many prospective tiny houses face is the toilet option. Do you go with no composting toilet or a regular flushable toilet?
Most people would cringe at the thought of not having a bathroom in their home. But remember, when you decide to take on this lifestyle, one of the first things to give up is your sense of entitlement for “modern convenience.” However, if you’re brave enough to be open-minded and think outside the box, there may be an option that works for you.
After much research into composting toilets, I found that Nature’s Head Dry Compost Toilet was perhaps the most “people-friendly” (it even has a normal toilet seat) of the many options available. Maybe it would help to briefly explain how it works for those who haven’t heard of it before.
You start this toilet by either adding peat moss or coco coir to the back of the base (the smaller compartment), and every time you use the bathroom, you scoop your business into this same spot. The material inside will slowly break down over time into compost that can then be used in your garden. You only need to add sodas every few months to speed up the process. Finally, on top of where you’re dumping all this waste is an aerator fan that helps dry everything out, so there’s less odor.
Taking the time to read through all of this, I’m sure you can see that it’s a pretty nifty little product. It helps keep your plants happy, reduces the amount of household waste entering our planet’s already strained ecosystems and lets you live with less guilt about throwing so much garbage away every year. But don’t take my word for it. Feel free to visit this thread on the forum where people constantly share their experiences with these composting toilets.
Now go ahead and get all excited about installing one of these in your tiny house! BUT WAIT! Before you head off to buy one of these babies (like I almost did), there’s something fundamental you need to keep in mind. Most composting toilets need a specific amount of space to be able to work well, and that means there is very little wiggle room with most typical tiny house designs. In other words, if you have a tiny house, these toilets probably aren’t going to work for you!
Not all hope is lost, though. There are some great composting toilet models out there that do not take up much space at all. Genesee makes a sawdust bucket toilet that only takes up a small fraction of the space of most typical composting toilets. This model from Nature’s Head actually sits on top of the normal-sized toilet seat, so it doesn’t take any extra space at all! These options will allow you to install a composting toilet in your tiny house without taking up any extra space at all.
Composting Toilet Options for Tiny Houses
One of the biggest problems with tiny houses is that they are so small and can greatly impact overall liveability, especially if you want to install a composting toilet. That’s because most composting toilets take up a significant amount of space, often more than a typical full-size commode! The primary issue with this is that nearly all tiny house floor plans assume a standard-sized commode, usually 30 inches or 36 inches wide. Toilet options for tiny houses: Full size, wall hung potty, and RV toilets
If you want to use a standard-sized toilet in your small dwelling, then look into the benefits of wall-hung toilets. A wall-hung unit is just what it sounds like: a standard-sized toilet that is NOT installed on the floor but instead is simply mounted to the wall. This saves space and offers a few other advantages, which I’ll get into below.
Full-size toilets are relatively inexpensive at most home improvement stores. Lowes sells a variety of different manufacturers and models, so be sure to do your research! Also, small online retailers such as Northern Tool often have sales or coupons on full-size units, making them more affordable.
A full-sized unit will take up just about anywhere from 2ft x 3ft to 4ft x 4ft of floor space in your tiny house bathroom, depending upon manufacturer/model/retailer. Remember that even though this style of toilet is a standard size, the outer ‘footprint’ can be variable depending upon how it attaches to your floor. If this interests you, please read our article on the importance of proper floor preparation.
The flush tank sits atop a porcelain bowl, and both units are very narrow, making them perfect for tiny house bathrooms. Some great full-sized options from Northern Tool + Equipment.
pros and cons
- The same height as ADA-complaint Toilets
- Best for the disabled
- Best for the elderly
- Same brands can cost slightly lower
- Less comfortable for children
- Not comfortable for shorter adults
- Not for RVs
DIY composting toilet for tiny house
A DIY composting toilet for a tiny house will free up space in your tiny house and allow you to travel off-grid if that’s what you’re into. They also tend to be relatively cheaper than other solutions, provided they fit within your budget. And lastly, unlike a commercial brand sprayer/macerator pump system, DIY composting toilets can be adapted to any space.
pros and cons
- Easy to Maintain
- Environmentally friendly
- May still emit a slight odor
- Not always practical in RVs
A typical flush tank-style toilet only takes up about a foot of floor space in your tiny house bathroom so that you can fit one or two side-by-side in a very small bathroom. It also leaves space for a tiny house toilet sink combo, but you might have to pay more. Standard size toilets have an average bowl height of 33″; this is too tall for most people who need to squat while using a commercially available composting toilet. Squatting is required to use a flush tank-style toilet, which makes it difficult to maintain solid poise.
Flus Tank Pros and cons
- These toilets are space-saving
- It is ergonomic
- Modern toilet solutions
- Locks cleaner
- It’s a contemporary look
- It saves a lot of water
- Reduced noise when flushing
- Difficult to install
- Higher prices
- Suitable for only western-style commode
Floor Mounted Toilet
The floor Mount of a standard Toilet has a tank and a classic bowl. The tank is clearly visible and a bowl connecting the toilet to the floor. The floor-mounted toilets can be complicated to install. But they are perfect for tiny houses on a permanent foundation.
Floor Mounted Toilet pros and cons
- Simple installation-Tiny House toilet plumbing made easier because of the DOY instructions and videos to guide you.
- Easier to repair
- Much cheaper
- Takes more space
- Non-adjustable height
Wall hung potty for tiny houses
Wall-hung toilets are also an option. These units save floor space, but they can be expensive and difficult to install if not made well.
Make your own for between $50-$150
DIY composting toilets that require no electricity or running water and can transform waste into fertilizer are transforming the tiny house building industry. The average person uses 50 gallons of water each day flushing their toilet. Toilets are typically one of the highest users of water in a household outside of showers. These DIY composting toilets can help save thousands of gallons of wasted freshwater yearly, depending on how many people live in your house. Plus, they don’t require special venting, nor do they need electrical power.
Wall hang toilet options pros and cons
- Classy design
- Adjustable height
- More comfortable for elderly
- Comfortable for disabled
- High cost
- Complex installation
Top RV toilet options
There are a variety of composting toilets that you can buy for your RV or tiny house. Some are very basic and cost-effective, while others are more complex and high-tech. There are pros and cons to each one, but the most important part is taking the time to research what would work best in your space.
RV composting toilet options
The Nature’s Head Composting Toilet by The Humanure Handbook provides 1 or 2 people with flushes that recycle into storage tanks. It gets stored until there is enough to take outside and dump into an external compost pile (see photo above). It has no water, electricity, sewage hook up, or venting needed, making it perfect for tiny house living. Another great advantage is that this toilet can work well with tiny house toilets and shower combo for relatively larger tiny houses on a foundation.
- Good customer support
- Huge capacity
- Easy to install
- Absolutely no odor
- A vast improvement over the last options
- Relatively expensivehttps://www.walmart.com/ip/Ozark-Trail-14-5in-Portable-Folding-Toilet/23760414
Ozark Trail 14.5 Inches Portable Folding Toilet
If the Nature’s Head is not available, the alternative is the Ozark Trail 14.5 Inches Portable Folding Toilet which uses no water and vents through a pipe to the outside. However, it does need electricity to run a fan that pulls air from inside the storage area below, filters it to remove odors, and then pushes it under pressure up into an upper vent pipe to release outdoors.
Pros and cons
- Rugged and collapsible
- Very lightweight (300lbs)
- Easy to set up
- Compatible with Ozark Trail waste bags
- It folds down to just 5”
- Durable construction
- Relatively expensive
Sun-Mar GTG Composting Toilet
This option by Sun-Mar separates liquids from solids allowing liquids to drain into a leaching bed while solids are composted away in separate bins (see above). The composting process is done in a large tank containing the solids and a special electric macerator that grinds up waste into tiny pieces for optimum composting. The food waste is mixed with peat moss to enhance decomposition further, and it is said to take about one year for this process to be completed.
Pros and cons
- Easy to install
- Best for RVs and Tiny houses on wheels
- Low environmental impact
- Easy to use
- Separates fluids from solid waste
- Fans to diminish bad smells
- Poor customer service
Nature’s Head Two-bucket system
This option by Nature’s Head has only two buckets; one bucket holds solids while the other collects urine (see above). A foot pedal drops a steel bar onto a spinning auger that chops up the material into small bits then directs it into a storage box below. Air passes through a filter before being vented out an upper vent tube while liquids drain down into a lower collection bucket which needs to be emptied when it’s full or about every couple of days. There are three powder-coated options for the exterior finish on this unit, and a higher-end model with an electric fan is available. The production model costs $995.
Pros and cons
- No odor
- Easy to clean
- Easy to prepare the Coco coir
- Easy to dispose of water
- Environmentally friendly
- You save on water
- No chemicals are used
- It is cost-effective
- It doesn’t need to be emptied frequently
- Liquids are separated from solid waste
- Terrible design (A review from customer)
- Requires 12-volt electricity
Sanitation Equipment Corporation (SEC) Five-gallon flush system
The Sanitation Equipment Corporation Company offers a more convenient option with their 5-gallon flush toilet attached to a continuous feed water tank, so no electrical hook-up is needed. A pressurized flush valve flushes out the waste into an evacuated storage container below. When it gets full, you can either pump the waste into your main sewer line through a small transfer pipe that comes with the unit or you can take off the top of the tank and dump the waste into your toilet or RV dump station. The company offers many different models, including an end model with an electric fan. The production model costs $995.
Pros and cons
- Pressure assist
- Dual flush systems
- Easy to use
- Environmentally friendly
- Very expensive
You can have a real toilet in a tiny house, but only if you plan to live on-grid or on a tiny house on a foundation. If otherwise, you will have to choose some of the best off-grid toilets from the list above. These toilets are created to save on water and at the same time be feasible enough to work on tiny spaces. An excellent tiny house toilet for you is the one that works depending on your space and budget.
Which is the most effective composting toilets for Tiny Houses?
The Solid Waste Alternate Technology Incubator at Kodiak College in Alaska has done extensive testing on various composting toilets to determine their effectiveness. They have determined that the most efficient composting system is the Nature’s Head Composting Toilet.
How often should Tiny House Toilets be flushed?
This will surely depend on several factors, including the type of the toilet and the features in Place. It’s up to you to check some of the best alternatives that work perfectly for you.
What type of toilet is the best for a tiny house?
Composting and incinerating toilets are the best alternatives for tiny houses.