Note to Testers: Sports Section Not Required

Bananas and toilet paper prove to be no match for today’s electric-flush toilets.

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Note to Testers: Sports Section Not Required

Practical Sailor could not do an onboard, real-life, long-term test and evaluation of so many different toilets. This was a controlled bench test. We compared size, weight, price, style, warranty, features, and functions. We reviewed packing, instructions, documentation, what parts were included, construction and ruggedness of materials, ease of installation, and installation options.

Note to Testers: Sports Section Not Required

For performance comparison, we hooked up the pumps to a 12-volt battery, installed the proper hoses for water intake and waste discharge, evaluated ease of electrical and plumbing hookup, noted maintenance issues, and compared functions. We tested for amp draw, noise level during flush, and ease of use. We mixed up equal batches of “faux poo,” which comprised a banana, 4 feet of West Marine tissue paper, and 1 cup of dyed water. We evaluated the amount, speed, and efficiency of rinse water input and waste discharge.

Some of the units required pressurized water for filling and rinsing. Many of these types of toilets also came with a pump on the inlet side to deliver the required pressure. Some, however, did not. For these units, we hooked up a standard 3/4-inch garden hose with 48 pounds per square inch of pressure. Theoretically, the few toilets that used the garden hose had the advantage of a higher water pressure during fill and rinse cycles, but ultimately, testers did not notice any significant performance advantage in those units that used the garden hose over those that used their own in-line inlet pumps.

Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.

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