* Incinerating vs. Composting Toilet: Which Is Better?

If you are looking for a much more eco-friendly solution to all of the waste that you and your family produce, you may be interested in either incinerating toilets or composting toilets. Of course, these are also good options to consider if you are living off the grid and need a functioning toilet that works without being connected to a water supply.

So, when it comes to these two types of toilets, which one is better? Which one should you choose?

Incinerating vs. Composting Toilet

Incinerating and Composting Toilets: The Basics

Before we start talking about the main differences between these two things, let’s first take a quick look at what incinerating toilets and composting toilets are at their most basic level.

What Is an Incinerating Toilet?

An incinerating toilet is a special type of toilet, that as the name implies, incinerates waste. Incinerating toilets use electric heat to quite literally incinerate all the waste into ash that is bacteria-free. Each incineration usually results in about a tablespoon of waste, and this ash is then virtually odor and bacteria-free.

Simply put, these toilets burn your waste. Any fumes and smoke created during the process are vented off through a separate vent.

What Is a Composting Toilet?

A composting toilet, unlike an incinerating toilet that burns waste, transfers the waste into a separate container. Here, thanks to enzymes and bacteria that break the waste down, the waste is turned into compost. This compost takes the appearance of regular soil or compost, that can then be used for other purposes.

Just like a compost heap turns old food into usable compost, a composting toilet does the same, but with human waste.

The oxygen-rich environment allows large amounts of aerobic bacteria to turn waste into compost, with virtually odorless water vapor and carbon dioxide being emitted. Just like with an incinerator, these fumes are vented off through a separate vent.

Incinerating vs. Composting Toilet: What Are the Differences?

Now that we know what both incinerating toilets and composting toilets are, let’s talk about the main differences that you need to consider before choosing either of the two.

There are seven major differences to consider, so let’s take a look.

Power Requirements

Something important to consider here is if you live somewhere that has electricity readily available for use, as well as if you want a toilet that requires power.

If you plan on being off-grid, and you’d rather not have to rely on a power source, a composting toilet is the better choice. Yes, there are electric composting toilets out there, but there are non-electric ones too. When it comes to incinerating toilets, however, they require a constant power source.


The fact of the matter is that both incinerating toilets and composting toilets are eco-friendly. However, if you want to be as eco-conscious as possible, the better choice is probably the composting toilet.

The reason for this is because incinerating toilets do release some greenhouse gasses when the waste is burnt. Composting toilets do not do this. Moreover, incinerating toilets also use electricity, plus they require bowl liners too, neither of which are particularly eco-friendly.

Ease of Use and Convenience

If you want a toilet that is very low maintenance, an incinerating toilet is probably your best bet. With an incinerating toilet, the most work you will have to do is to push a couple of buttons to flush the waste into the incineration chamber, and then to incinerate the waste. That’s it.

On the other hand, the issue with composting toilets is that you often have to use various cranks and levers to stir the waste. The waste needs to be stirred in order to allow the bacteria to do their work.

Another factor to consider is that incinerating toilets are very permanent installations as opposed to composting toilets that are often quite portable.


Composting toilets do not use any sort of liners, and the waste can end up staining the bowl, plus it can at times smell too, particularly on hot days.

On the other hand, with incinerating toilets, the waste is first caught by a special bowl liner, and never actually touches the inside of the toilet bowl, thus causing less of a mess. If you want to keep things as clean as possible, then incinerating variety is the way to go.

Toilet Capacity

In terms of incinerating toilets, the ash can accumulate fairly quickly, and they need to be emptied fairly often. Their capacity for holding the ashes from burnt waste is very limited, and therefore requires more effort in this sense. If you are 3 or 4 people, this might mean daily emptying.

On the other hand, composting toilets can go for up to 6 months without being emptied.

Disposal and Use of By-products

What is awesome about composting toilets is that the compost that is created can then be used as garden fertilizer, for worm farms, and for other purposes.

The ash created from incinerating toilets on the other hand does not have any valuable uses.


What can also be said is that composting toilets, especially the non-electric varieties, often cost much less than incinerating toilets.

You can spend about twice as much cash on an incinerating toilet as on a composting toilet.

Which of the Two Should You Get?

Which one of these two you get is going to depend on what your preferences are in terms of the above differences that we just discussed.

If you like keeping things clean, you want a permanent installation, you don’t want any lingering smells, and you want something easy to use, an incinerating toilet is the better option.

However, if you want to be able to use compost for gardens, you like being super eco-friendly, you don’t want to spend too much, and you don’t want to have to rely on electricity, then the composting toilet is your best bet.


As you can see, both composting toilets and incinerating toilets have their specific advantages and drawbacks.

So, before you end up making a decision as to which one to get, take all of our above factors into close consideration.