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.

Practical Sailor has been independently testing and reporting on sailboats and sailing gear for more than 45 years. Supported entirely by subscribers, Practical Sailor accepts no advertising. Its independent tests are carried out by experienced sailors and marine industry professionals dedicated to providing objective evaluation and reporting about boats, gear, and the skills techniques required to cross oceans. Practical Sailor is edited by Darrell Nicholson, a long-time liveaboard sailor and trans-Pacific cruiser who has been director of Belvoir Media Group's marine division since 2005. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license, has logged tens of thousands of miles in three oceans, and has skippered everything from pilot boats to day charter cats. His weekly blog Inside Practical Sailor offers an inside look at current research and gear tests at Practical Sailor, while his award-winning column,"Rhumb Lines," tracks boating trends and reflects upon the sailing life. He sails a Sparkman & Stephens-designed Yankee 30 out of St. Petersburg, Florida.

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