Top 5 Best Marine Toilets on the Market (2021 UPDATE)
What is the best marine toilet you can buy today? Getting it right is important. No one wants a malfunctioning lavatory while they are out on the open water.
You should also want a unit that is eco-friendly, odorless, and as quiet as possible. However, there are many types of boat toilets out there that purport to be all that and more.
So that you don’t get ‘bogged down in your search we have brought together and reviewed 5 top-rated marine toilets. For our findings at a glance, just head to the table below. For a dedicated buyer’s guide plus the full lowdown on each toilet, keep on reading.
Best Boat Toilet – Our Top 5 Picks
- Best Boat Toilet – Our Top 5 Picks
- Best marine Toilet Reviews
- Best Marine Toilet Buyer’s Guide
- The different types of boat toilet
- What to look for when buying a marine toilet
- Marine Toilet FAQ
- General marine sewage discharge regulations/requirements in the United States
Best marine Toilet Reviews
Having a top-of-the-line marine toilet is a must-have for boat owners. Now it’s time for us to give you the low-down on a few of the best in the business.
1. TOP PICK ELECTRIC: Jabsco 37010 Series Electric Marine Toilet
The Jabsco 37010 has a push-button operation, and a high-capacity macerator and bowl scavenger pump. In plain language, this means dry bowl valves and hand pumps are now things of the past.
By just pushing a button, the self-priming flush pump rinses the bowl, while the macerator and scavenger pump grind the waste and pump it out of the toilet, making this an extremely “polite” toilet for your boat.
The priming feature on this Jabsco depends on the flexible impeller flush pump, which also handles a greater quantity of solids in suspension than any other type of rotary pump.
The bowl has dimensions like the commode in your home, 29″ long, 14.4″ wide, and 14.8″ high.
Everyone who is familiar with former marine toilets will thank you effusively for installing a Jabsco 37010. The Jabsco is a generously sized toilet by marine standards, much to any hardy captains’ delight.
For fitting the toilet you’ll need to check the following specs alongside the space you have available.
The compact version of the toilet is 13 1/4″ x 17 3/4″ wide x 16″ long. The inlet hose is 3/4″ in diameter; the outlet hose is 1″ in diameter. The bowl comes with a 1″ to 1 1/2″ adaptor for the discharge hose.
The Jabsco parent company, Xylem, is all about sustainability and is focused on solving their customers’ most pressing water problems and setting industry standards for fluid technology applications and water resources. For many skippers, this is an important thing to know.
Truthfully, all the problems found with this boat toilet were concerned more with older versions of the Jabsco, and, even then, the problems were fixable.
The Jabsco 37010 appears to be an excellent marine toilet, and the company seems intent on wanting to save the world’s water supply while making outstanding products at the same time.
2. TOP PICK PORTABLE: Camco 41541 Portable Toilet
Camco’s 41541 portable toilet is perfect for camping, boating, and almost every outdoor recreational activity.
If you haven’t considered purchasing a toilet for use almost anywhere, you may want to consider doing so when you see the many conveniences you attain from owning the Camco.
The top half flush tank holds 2.5 gallons of water and has a standard toilet seat and lid. A cap is included and is located on the top of the device to contain fresh water to fill the flush tank.
It measures 16.38″ high, 13.75″ wide, and 16.13″ in diameter. It weighs only 11.5 pounds when it is empty, but supports up to 330 pounds.
The bellow-type “flush-and-pull” slide valve flushing system makes the entire process simple. And the toilet kit includes a packet of TST biodegradable toilet papers for customers to try.
On the other side is the bellows-type pump that washes the water into the tank to remove waste.
Beyond using this on your boat, this commode can even be used as a precautionary measure when the family is taking a long road trip.
Camco is manufacturing an affordable, handy, multi-purpose portable toilet. It’s difficult to ask for much more than that considering the price you pay.
3. Thetford 92360 Porta Potti 550E Curve Portable Toilet
With its contemporary, sleek, home bathroom design, Thetford has hit the mark on comfort, ease of use, and outdoor luxury with this toilet. The size, bells, and whistles make this porta-potty stand out from the rest of the crowd.
The product is 17.8″ x 15,5″ x 17.6 ” in size and is higher than many other styles of portable toilets, making it one of the most comfortable portable toilets on the market.
It has a holding tank level indicator to reveal when dumping is necessary, an integrated toilet paper holder, a spout for removing liquid waste, and an easy cleaning design.
The Thetford’s amenities make it perfect for camping, trucks, boats, long trips, toilet training, RVs. vans, emergencies, and home health care.
The Thetford is to porta-potties as the Taj Mahal is to a shed. The design is lovely, and the amenities do impress. The best feature could be the added height of the unit which makes it easier to use. It is expensive when compared to the lower-priced Camco however.
4. TOP PICK MANUAL: Jabsco Twist n Lock Manual Head Marine Toilet
This manual Jabsco Marine Toilet has powerful swirl action when flushing along with a flush lever control.
It can be mounted as a right- or left- handled unit, and the external seal housing, which is full-sized, allows for quick replacement of the seal and instant access to the pump cylinder.
The Twist “n” Lock safety handle can, with one 90-degree turn of the handle, apply a lock that will guard against symphonic flooding and waste backflow. To return to natural draining, turn the handle back to its original position.
Clean seal replacement is easy because of the full-size external seal housing. It also allows for instant access to the pump cylinder.
The high-power, self-priming pump installs above or below the waterline, and easier pumping is at your fingertips thanks to the automatic vacuum breaker.
And, the redesigned bowl has crevice-free contours and smooth moldings.
Jabsco seems to be a flourishing company and certainly has the credentials needed to build quality toilets. A clear majority of its customers are happy with its products.
5. TOP PICK: Nature’s Head Dry Composting Toilet
This unit has a hand crank agitator for fast composting. It is a snap to install and is as user-friendly as you can get.
It also features a molded design with a 5′ vent hose, bottle cap, and a 12v power plug. Nature’s Head unit is the most expensive of all the products we have listed so far, but it is also the most innovative and most reliable.
It is self-contained, urine diverting, and waterless, making it ideal for many applications.
This head has been tested and designed to withstand harsh weather conditions and high usage.
The odorless, compact, lightweight unit is useful at your home, in a cabin, a tiny house, a survival situation, an RV, a boat, and many other applications.
The product measures 19.8″ x 20.8″ x 20.5,” and weighs 27.2 pounds.
For environmentalists, and sustainers, this toilet packs a double punch. It uses no traditional electricity, and it adds compost to the soil.
It can be a bit heavy for some to dump the waste, however, in one user review, a 60-year-old woman says she handles all the maintenance by herself in her home.
Best Marine Toilet Buyer’s Guide
The different types of boat toilet
There are a number of types of marine toilets that you can opt for depending on your needs, budget, and preference.
Let’s take a closer look at what they are.
Best electric marine toilet
First up is the popular electrical marine toilet. There is a wide range of products available in this category, the prevailing difference being the type of pump used.
The entry-level electric boat toilet (and therefore the cheapest) generally use pumps that feature a combined chopper and impeller. The problem with these is that they are very noisy to operate, (an issue that can cause embarrassment for guests).
Because of the inbuilt electric pump system, these toilets can be installed above or below the waterline.
Other advantages include the convenience of the electric operation, (you do not need to manually pump to flush the toilet) and the fact they are so simple to use.
Furthermore, if the toilet includes a macerator there is less chance of refuse clogging the lines.
From a negative perspective, electric marine toilets cost more and are more difficult to install.
Manual boat toilets
Most manual head marine toilets utilize a hand or foot pump system to dispose of the waste.
The great thing about manual toilets is the fact they are cheap, relatively easy to install, (no need for power lines) and reliable.
They generally give off more odors, however, as the manual pump flushing system clears less efficiently than the electric models.
Portable boat toilets
It could be that you’re on the lookout for the best marine portable toilet.
There are a few benefits to the ‘porta-potty’. The number one reason to opt for a portable toilet for your boat is affordability and convenience.
They do not need to be permanently installed as the waste is simply collected in an inbuilt tank beneath the unit. You can empty this waste at any sewage collection point once you have moored.
You do have to consider the fact that freshwater (10 or 20 liters) has to be added for flushing, (and obviously needs to be refilled as often as required). You also have to carry the necessary chemicals onboard.
Finally, there is a composting toilet. This is becoming a very popular choice for boat owners (and beyond as they suit any type of mobile convenience application).
So what goes into making the best composting toilet for boats? Odorless operation and ecological friendliness are the two biggest considerations.
Boat owners love the fact composting toilets very rarely smell. There is no need for hazardous chemicals and they do not cause pollution.
This type of toilet uses two receptacles, (one for number one, the other for number two).
The composting toilet works by allowing oxygen to dry and compost the waste. Peat moss or sawdust is added to the waste to speed up the decomposition as well as cover any smells.
The whole system is very reliable and needs little maintenance. They are also the best waterless toilet as there is no need for water and the waste can be safely disposed of.
An issue that may put people off the composting marine toilet is the fact they are taller than other types. In fact, if space is limited you may not be able to fit one into your boat.
They are also more expensive to buy.
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What to look for when buying a marine toilet
If you remain uncertain about the type of boat toilet you wish to buy, you may want to consider the following issues in order to narrow down your choice.
These are just a few areas you should consider before you buy.
It goes without saying that you should never dump your waste overboard. However, the level of eco-friendliness each toilet has does vary.
The best electric marine toilets will include a macerator pump. This will grind up the solid waste before it is disposed into the holding tank.
Not only does this increase the amount of refuse you can store, but it also helps speed up decomposing once the waste is fully disposed of.
As we mentioned above – nothing beats the compost toilet for eco-friendliness. Yes, they cost more, however, if you really care about the environment and wish to lessen your impact on it, there is no better choice. They also smell a lot better too.
When buying a marine toilet you should definitely consider the materials the unit is made from.
A porcelain bowl is stronger, easier to clean and more familiar than a plastic model. However, they are more expensive.
Most portable toilets opt for plastic construction because weight is clearly important, as is the price point.
If your boat utilizes a saltwater system the macerator mechanism should be constructed from stainless steel or bronze.
Likewise, you will need anti-corrosive materials used on trimmings and fasteners – especially if your toilet area doubles up as a shower.
Footprint & Hook Up (access points)
You should also consider the footprint of the toilet and the space you have available. That goes for height too in the case of potential composting toilet installation.
The toilet needs to fit your headspace. Serviceable areas also need to be reached once the toilet is in place.
There is also the issue of installation and hook-up. How will you link the toilet up to the power if you have chosen an electrical model? Is the wiring up to the current draw of the motor?
You need to think about the raw-water intake and overboard discharge. These need to be located on opposite sides of the keel if possible.
Again, the composting toilet wins on this. Not only will your decomposing waste be odor-free, but you will also be able to use it as fertilizer for the garden.
Vacuum-flush systems (available on some electric and manual models) are also good at tackling nasty odors.
They utilize onboard fresh water to flush, (which is one issue to consider). However, the system is cleaner and helps eradicate odor by washing away bad-smelling bacteria.
Finally, there is an issue of noise. Cheap electric toilets and manual units are generally the loudest when operated. Those pumps and macerators will make a din.
However, more expensive models do attempt to quieten the mechanisms by design. And if you prefer to perform your morning ablutions without waking everyone else onboard, a quiet toilet may well be worth the asking price.
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Marine Toilet FAQ
Q. What are the three types of marine sanitation devices (MSDs)?
The three types of sanitation device (Type I, Type II, and Type III) can be described as follows:
Type I sanitation devices
Type I MSDs are flow-through devices. This type of sanitation system is suitable for vessels up to 65 feet in length, and normally use a combination of maceration and disinfection to treat the sewage.
The process involves pulverizing the solids, with the resulting material treated with disinfectants such as chlorine tablets. The aim is to reduce bacteria levels to below the established limits under the Clean Water Act so that the sewage can be legally discharged.
Type II sanitation devices
Type II MSDs are again flow-through devices. These are normally used in larger vessels and work on a biological basis.
First, the sewage is aerated to encourage the bacteria already present in the sewage to multiply and begin to break down the material.
The resulting liquid waste is treated with chlorine tablets and UV disinfection. The process takes longer because of the need to hold the waste while it biologically breaks down, however, the end result is a higher level of treatment before discharge.
Type III sanitation devices
Type III MSDs incorporate the use of holding tanks. This only stores the sewage for later discharge, under controlled conditions at the marina.
The effluent stored in type III devices is not treated for overboard discharge.
Q. What chemicals should I use in my marine sanitation device?
This will depend on the type of MSD, as not all require chemicals for operation. However, the most common way to treat effluent is chlorine tablets or liquid capsules.
The best course of action when in doubt is to consult the user manual of your marine toilet. This will tell you the type of chemical to use, as well as provide details of the quantities and how often chemicals should be added.
During regular use, it is recommended that you check your system levels on a weekly-to-biweekly basis.
Q. Where can I pump out my (Type III MSD) holding tank?
Holding tanks are emptied out via the process of pumping the waste into a designated onshore or mobile facility. This generally comes in the form of a waste disposal vessel or local marina with the appropriate infrastructure.
State agencies maintain information about pump-out facility locations. Your marina will also be able to help point you in the right direction if they do not have the facility to do it onsite.
Q. Can I discharge raw sewage into the sea?
Off the coast of the USA, it is illegal to discharge raw sewage (or sewage that is insufficiently treated), within three miles from shore.
There are also specific no-discharge zones where legal compliance and/or the issue of fines are used to prevent sewage from being discharged.
To discharge sewage beyond the 3-mile limitation, you will need Type I or II devices that have sufficiently treated the waste before disposal.
Q. How do I comply with a no-discharge zone?
When traveling through a no-discharge zone you will have to ensure that there is no discharge from your vessel’s marine sanitation device.
This involves securing your Type I or Type II marine sanitation device manually.
You can do this by closing the seacock and removing the handle. Then padlock the seacock in the closed position.
Another method is to use a wire tie to hold the seacock in the closed position. A final added prevention method is to lock the toilet door so that the marine toilet cannot be used.
Q. What about Graywater? Can I discharge that from my vessel?
The regulations around Graywater depend on whether it has been mixed with sewage effluent or not. It also depends on the type of vessel.
For recreational vessels, there are currently no federal rules regulating the disposal of greywater. AS LONG AS IT IS ONLY GRAYWATER. In this case, you can discharge the water anywhere.
However, if it is mixed with sewage, the resulting discharge must meet sewage effluent requirements.
Q. Can I use a composting toilet on board my vessel?
Yes, you can use a composting toilet onboard your vessel, however, unfortunately, they are still considered a Type III marine sanitation device, meaning the sewage will need to be disposed of in the appropriate manner; i.e pumped out at a facility. No overboard discharge is allowed.
General marine sewage discharge regulations/requirements in the United States
As a summary of the various questions above, here are the general discharge requirements as regulated in the United States.
Section 312 of the Clean Water Act
Section 312 of the Clean Water Act is designed to ensure that applicable vessels use U.S. Coast Guard-certified marine sanitation devices (MSDs) while in U.S. navigable waters.
Further, the regulations stipulate that:
- Untreated sewage discharges are prohibited within three miles from shore.
- In order to discharge within three miles, sewage must be treated using a U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type I or Type II MSD.
- Alternatively, sewage may be stored onboard in a holding tank (Type III MSD).
Treated and untreated sewage discharges are prohibited in:
- Freshwater lakes, reservoirs, and other freshwater impoundments whole inlets or outlets are such as to prevent the ingress or egress by vessel traffic.
- Rivers not capable of navigation by interstate vessel traffic.
- No-discharge zones (NDZs) (as applicable).
In these areas, sewage has to be kept on board in a Type III MSD holding tank. If you are an owner of a flow-through MSDs (Type I or Type II), you will need to secure the device to prevent overboard discharge.
There is a No-Discharge Zones (NDZs) by State webpage that will provide you with more information on the location and applicability of NDZs.