Incinerator toilet

Pros and Cons of Incinerating Toilets

As they’re capable of efficiently and effectively removing human waste, it’s no wonder that the incinerating toilets are held in high regard by homeowners who can’t really eliminate waste in a standard way. What is more, there are numerous models of incinerating toilets available on today’s market. If you want to buy one, you’ll never run out of options!

That being said, these kinds of toilets do have a couple of drawbacks when compared to traditional toilets. But do their advantages outweigh their disadvantages? Or maybe it’s the other way around? If you’re looking for an answer to this question, you’re in the right place.


An Overview of Incinerating Toilets

Illustration of an incinerating toilet

It goes without saying, but those who consider getting a toilet of this type for their bathroom need to have a very firm grasp of what incinerating toilets are and how they work. After all, different pieces of sanitary hardware tend to have different features.

If an incinerating toilet seems like the best option to you, it’s very important that you learn as much about this type of sanitary fixture as possible. After all, maybe it’s not the best option for your particular needs. And there’s only one way to determine whether you should buy one or not – by comparing the advantages and disadvantages of these fixtures.

Types of Incinerating Toilets

As their name suggests, incinerating toilets deal with human waste – both liquid and solid – by burning it down. In most cases, getting rid of the ash created by a toilet of this type is relatively easy. On today’s market, one can find incinerating toilets of all sizes and shapes. However, they can still be separated into two broad categories: electric-powered and gas-powered models.

Electric Incinerating Toilets

To incinerate human waste, these toilets rely on electricity – hence their name. When the user of an electric incinerating toilet releases the foot pedal, the liquid or solid waste is transferred from the liner to the special, sealed chamber.

As you can already guess, that’s where the incineration takes place. Inside the sealed chamber, the waste is burned into ashes, and it can take up to an hour for this process to be completed. One particularly great thing about these kinds of toilets is that they can be used even during the incinerating process.

Gas Incinerating Toilets

These models operate in a way that’s very similar to that of the electric incinerating toilets, with one of the two main differences being that they’re powered by propane or natural gas. The second difference is that the gas-operated models do not empty until their holding tanks are full.

And when it comes to the length of incineration, these toilets take between one and four hours to complete the process. In most cases, the duration of incineration will depend on the model’s capacity. One of the biggest advantages of the gas-operated incinerating toilets is that they self-sterilize in use – there’s no need to sterilize their chambers.

What are the Pros and Cons of Incinerating Toilets?

Pros of Incinerating Toilets

Close-up of an incinerating toilet


Unlike regular flush toilets, which remove the waste with the help of water, incinerating toilets are completely waterless. As you can already guess, this can reduce utility bills as it allows you to cut down on water usage.

Check out this post on how to flush a toilet without water as well.

No Need for Plumbing

This is the direct consequence of the advantage described above. Since they use no water to remove the waste, incinerating toilets do not require complicated plumbing pipework. In other words, one doesn’t need to turn his bathroom upside down in order to set up a toilet of this type.

No Bad Odors

As explained above, incinerating toilets remove human waste by burning it instead of flushing it away. The result of this is a complete absence of horrible odors that typically come from backed-up sewage lines. While it’s true that waste ashes also have a bad smell, it is barely noticeable.

Space-saving Design

A vast majority of incinerating toilets don’t produce more than just a single tablespoon of waste ashes per one use. This allows them to sport a very compact construction, particularly when compared to many other kinds of toilets available on today’s market. Moreover, the average incinerator toilet is a one-piece toilet.

Not as Vulnerable to Temperature Changes

These kinds of toilets work consistently in cold weather as they contain no water that could freeze. If you live in an area where freezing temperatures are a common occurrence, installing an incinerating toilet is a great idea.

Cons of Incinerating Toilets

Destruction of Composting Nutrients

Since they turn human waste into ashes, incinerating toilets also destroy composting nutrients. For those who like to use all kinds of waste – including human waste – for fertilization, an incinerating toilet is probably the worst choice.

High Energy Costs

Energy bill

While it’s true that these toilets can help you cut down on water use, they undoubtedly increase the consumption of gas or electricity. Therefore, installing an incinerating toilet into your bathroom is guaranteed to lead to higher energy costs. Also, a toilet of this type typically costs three to four times more than a regular flush toilet.

They Can Be Inconvenient

Another issue with incinerating toilets is that they can be quite inconvenient at times. Before every use, you have to apply a liner – that’s how things work with most models and it can be quite problematic if you have kids who are forgettable. However, the main inconvenience is undoubtedly the fact that some models cannot be used while they’re in the process of waste incineration.

Moreover, you cannot flush this type of toilet when the power is out.

Is an Incinerating Toilet the Right Choice for Me?

Once we take into account all of the advantages and disadvantages listed above, we can come to a conclusion that these toilets would likely excel in particular settings while not being able to offer a suitable performance in others. If you can’t really decide whether you should get yourself an incinerating toilet or not, consider the following criteria:

Availability of Water

Talking about the benefits and drawbacks of incinerating toilets is impossible without mentioning water. Those living in areas plagued by water-related troubles can only benefit if they opt for an incinerating toilet – it uses no water at all and instead removes human waste by burning it.

The Climate

While it’s true that they perform quite well in most conditions, regular flush toilets can start acting up once the temperature approaches a freezing point. If you live in a region with a cold climate and the idea of having to pour antifreeze into the toilet bowl from time to time doesn’t really sound appealing, you won’t make a mistake by going with an incinerating toilet.

The Cost

As mentioned above, incinerating toilets cost quite a bit more than the regular models. In addition, they increase the consumption of gas or electricity and can really take a toll on one’s wallet. However, those living in regions where water is particularly expensive can still save a lot of money in the long run if they opt for an incinerating toilet.

Do Incinerating Toilets Require a lot of Maintenance?

Toilet and tools

Incinerating toilets work as they should only when they’re properly maintained. However, this can be said for almost all types of toilets. To reduce the chances of potential issues, you will have to clean your model’s ash container every now and then.

Another thing you’ll have to do (although not that often – just once a year) is to thoroughly rinse the toilet’s exhaust system. Stay away from the chemicals and use only clean water while doing so. Also, don’t forget to disconnect your incinerating toilet from its fuel source each time you’re about to perform maintenance on it.

What is the Best Brand of Incinerating Toilets?

Believe it or not, this is not that important – almost all brands of incinerating toilets currently present on the market offer models that sport a great performance and have many convenient features. Some of the most popular brands include EcoJohn, Incinolet, and Cinderella. These three brands also have the most well-developed customer services out of all incinerating toilet manufacturers out there.

The Conclusion

Incinerating toilets can be a great alternative if the water resources are scarce – there’s no doubt about that. They don’s use water to eliminate the waste, which also renders them odorless and compact. In addition, these toilets require no traditional plumbing and aren’t as vulnerable to temperature changes as traditional toilets are.

However, they also have drawbacks – some models cannot be used during the incineration process and the energy costs can be quite high. Depending on the availability of water in your area, as well as your budget and the type of climate you live in, an incinerating toilet may or may not be a good choice for you. Hopefully, this article made it a bit easier for you to make the ultimate decision.

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