Sun-Mar Excell Composting Toilet

I admit, I am a first class procrastinator. I have been thinking about getting a composting toilet or building an outhouse at the camp for a couple of years. I think having a back up bathroom of some sort would be a good idea. You never know when the septic tank is going to fail, usually it is when you least want it to fail, such as just before friends arrive for the long weekend in July.

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So, while adding another inside bathroom would be nice, I am not crazy about adding another bathroom that empties into our existing septic system. I would prefer to have a back up that doesn’t involve the septic tank. On the other hand, I am not crazy about going to the outhouse in the middle of the night, especially on those cold April evenings.

Composting Toilet

I’ve pretty much decided that I am going to add another toilet, only it’s going to be a composting toilet. I’ve been looking at composting toilets for awhile, trying to get an idea of what would be a good one, and trying to decide if they are worth the couple thousand dollars that most of them cost. Compared to a new septic system, $2000 is a steal.

Types of Composting Toilets

There are several types of composting toilets, although they all do essentially the same thing. However, you can buy a composting toilet that is completely electric free, or you can buy an electric composting toilet, or one that uses power from a 12 volt battery.

The manual and 12 volt battery models would be perfect for a camp that is off the grid, however I am on the grid, so an electric powered model would be OK with me.

An electric composting toilet uses electricity to provide heat to dry the waste materials and to turn the rotating drum to mix it up for aeration. You can also hand turn the drum using a crank, which is the usual method on non-electric models, but you don’t have the heating component. I like the idea of drying “things”, it speeds up the composting.

I am still shopping, and still saving my nickels and dimes however I thought I might write about a composting toilet or two over the next few weeks, see if I can decide which one is right for our cottage.

The first one is touted as the “best selling unit in North America” the Sun-Mar Excel Self-Contained Composting Toilet, Model# Excel

This electric composting toilet is self-contained, meaning you don’t need a separate holding tank under the camp to catch the waste, it stays in the composting unit.

It is designed to be odorless, which is always a nice thing when it comes to toilets. Liquids are evaporated, although the manufacturer does include an 5 inch emergency drain in the rear.

Standard 110 Electric Outlet

This composting toilet plugs into a standard 110 volt outlet and is rated for three to four people to use full time and six to eight people for weekends only.

No Special Toilet Paper

No special toilet paper is necessary, it uses the standard stuff.


Installation requires drilling into your wall or ceiling for venting. You need a vent pipe either through the outside wall or up through the roof.


The Sun-Mar Excel has a three to five year limited warranty.

Sun-Mar Excel Self-Contained Composting Toilet, Model# Excel

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