Are There Saniflo Alternatives? (Answer: There Are)

Having trouble with your Saniflo system and looking for a better alternative? Unfortunately, most standard gravity-aided toilets don’t work in smaller spaces cramped below your main floor. Luckily, hope isn’t lost.

There are a few Saniflo alternatives to replace your troublesome unit. Some of them actually work well below the main drain line. These include the sewage ejector pump, composting toilets, and chemical toilets.

Although these alternatives won’t exactly match Saniflo systems to a T, they’re sure to get things up and running again. This article dives deep into three suitable alternatives to a Saniflo system.

Saniflo toilet

3 Alternatives to Saniflo

If you’re having trouble with your current toilet system, here are three systems you can use other than Saniflo.  

1. Sewage Ejector Pump

Do you have a private bathroom in the basement? Chances are, it’s not a standard gravity-flush toilet. As long as the toilet’s drain pipe stays above the main drain line, gravity will take over the waste transport when the toilet is flushed. But if the toilet’s drain pipe lies below the main drain line, it won’t work. That’s where sewage ejector pumps come in. 

How Does an Ejector Pump Work?

As its name implies, the ejector pump drains wastewater by pushing it up to the sewer line. They require heavy-duty power to pump sewage up to the main drain line.

If you think about it, the sewage ejector pump works much like a Saniflo system. The only major difference is that, unlike a macerator-powered Saniflo system, a sewage ejector pump doesn’t squish solid waste into liquid waste. Instead, it passes on the solid waste as is to the main drain line, provided the waste doesn’t exceed 2 inches (50.8 mm) in thickness.

Here’s a brief breakdown of the inner workings of a sewage ejector pump:

  1. When waste from your toilet or bathroom goes into the holding tank, the pump is activated by a float switch. The float switch controls the waste levels in the basin by switching the pump on when the water level goes up and off when it goes down below a certain threshold.
  1. Once the wastewater and its contents reach a certain level, the ejector turns on and starts to pump the waste out of the tank into the main sewer line.
  1. The process repeats every time the float switch activates the pump when wastewater has passed a certain threshold.

Aside from the above, other components that allow a sewage ejector pump to work its magic include:

  • A sump basin. An ejector pump usually sits in a sump basin located under the bathroom plumbing. Wastewater and sewage are stored in the sump basin until they’re ready to pump out. The sump basin can hold up to 30 gallons (113.56 L) of waste.
  • Venting. A vent outlet is necessary for every sewage pump. This is because it allows sewer gases to escape as the basin fills up with sewage. Without a vent for air to escape, pressure will build up, which could pop the lid of the tank and cause unpleasant smells to spread throughout your house. To prevent this from happening, the vent should extend a couple of inches (50.8 mm) through the roof.
  • Check valve. The check valve prevents waste that has already been pumped out from going back into the sump basin. Check valves are operated by a pressure differential. In other words, above a certain pressure, the valve automatically opens.

The great thing about sewage ejector pumps is that, unlike the traditional gravity-assisted toilet, you don’t need to take apart your bathroom’s concrete floor to pave the way for new pipe installation.

However, it does require some maintenance. Remember to regularly check the vent for clogging as it may interfere with the escape of sewer gases and cause odors to escape into your home. You can unclog the vent yourself, or you can contact your friendly neighborhood plumber for help. 

2. Composting Toilets

If all you want is a toilet in your basement and not an entire bathroom, a composting toilet is a viable solution. As you may already know, composting relies on microorganisms and oxygen to break down organic matter into less harmful waste. 

composting toilet

Composting toilets can be installed in places where traditional flush toilets are impractical. They’re also a good solution if you’re in a place with no sewer line.

There are two main types of composting toilets:

  • Central system composting toilets. Central system composting toilets hook up to a septic tank just like standard toilets. A central collection system (usually a tank or drum) is typically stationed below or adjoining the toilet level. A system of pipes takes the waste into the drum or tank, where composting occurs.
  • Self-contained composting toilets. Self-contained composting toilets, on the other hand, are a one-unit system. Unlike the central system, self-contained composting toilets are portable.

Central system toilets can hold more waste and therefore don’t have to be emptied as frequently as self-contained toilets.

Composting toilets are easy to install and more economical than Saniflo systems. With composting toilets, there’s no added plumbing expense. Composting toilets are also environmentally-friendly and estimated to save more than 7,000 gallons (31822.63 L) of water per person annually as they require little or no water.

3. Chemical Toilets

If neither option suits you, you can always switch to a chemical toilet. These are the less popular alternatives since they’re used in highly mobile applications. Unlike macerator upflush systems, chemical toilets don’t have plumbing. Any waste dumped into the toilet stays there until it’s removed. 

To help counter the bad odor, the chemical toilet’s holding tank stores waste acted on by chemicals (collectively called biocides) that kill germs and reduce the bad smell.

chemical toilet


There you have it! While some people worry about using an upflush toilet because it can cause plumbing issues and cost more than standard toilets, these alternatives could be the solution to Saniflo problems. What these systems lack in efficiency, they compensate for in lower maintenance costs over the long run.