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RV toilets are everyone’s absolute favorite conversation topic…right? Okay, maybe not, but they are an important part of any RV setup. They allow you to—er, go when you’re on the go, or when you’re parked in a Walmart parking lot, or even when you’re sitting in the middle of the desert. If you think about it, RV toilets are actually one of the main keys to freedom.
That said, many people don’t think about their RV toilet all that much. They simply use the potty that was given to them at the factory and leave it at that. But what if I told you that traditional RV toilets aren’t always the best option? What if I told you there are a number of other RV toilet types out there?
That’s right, you have options other than that toilet they installed in your RV when it was made, and you might just find that one of those other RV toilet types is better for you and your travel style. Today, we’re going to discuss the many types of RV toilets so you can make sure your throne is the best one for you.
Traditional RV Toilet
Best for: 1) Those who stay mainly in full hookup parks; 2) Those on a budget
First, let’s talk about the traditional RV toilet that is probably in your RV already. These are usually made of plastic, but there are also porcelain RV toilet options out there. This type of toilet is flushed using a foot pedal or a handle at the back of the toilet. This opens a ball piece at the bottom of the bowl, causing the waste to drop into a black tank below. The ball then closes and the bowl fills with water, sealing smells within the tank.
You will need to use a good amount of water when flushing solids in order to ensure they break down. That said, you can use a minimal amount when flushing liquid waste, something many boondockers do. Either way, you will need to keep up with your black tank, dumping it, spraying it out, and adding treatment.
- Already installed (no extra cost or installation effort required)
- Relatively minimal water usage
- Black tank maintenance required
- Does use some water
RV Cassette Toilet
Best for: Those with class B camper vans and pop-up campers
An RV cassette toilet is very much the same as a traditional RV toilet, at least in function. They do look a bit different and tend to be smaller in order to fit into smaller rigs, but the flushing mechanism works the same way.
The big difference? Cassette toilets dump into a small, portable waste tank (usually on wheels) that can be removed and dumped in a dump station or a bathroom. This type of tank makes an RV cassette toilet a versatile solution that works well when dump stations aren’t always available.
- Fits well in small spaces (no large black tank required)
- Easy to clean tank can be dumped in a public bathroom
- Tiny waste tank can’t hold much
- Does use some water
RV Composting Toilet
Best for: 1) Eco-conscious campers; 2) Those looking to save tank space while boondocking
Next up on our list of RV toilet types, there is the RV composting toilet. These have become very popular lately, and for good reason. You see, these toilets don’t use any water. Instead, they drop liquid waste into a tiny tank while putting solid waste into a container of compost starter, where it is mixed in and composted.
The urine tank can be dumped pretty much anywhere. Meanwhile, the compost resulting from solid waste can be thrown into a dumpster or compost pile when available.
Some people claim these toilets do not cause smells to enter the RV, while others say some smells do stick around. Either way, the smell is nothing worse than the fumes that often escape a black tank.
- No water required
- Waste can be disposed of in a trash can (no dump station needed)
- Can create smells
- Must purchase liner liner bags
- Some people are uncomfortable with throwing waste away
RV Macerator Toilet
Best for: 1) Those who stay only in parks with full hookups; 2) Luxury campers
The RV macerator toilet is an interesting RV toilet option. These actually macerate solid waste immediately after you flush. The liquid slurry is then pumped into a black tank until it is dumped.
Some people like this option because it seals the toilet off from the black tank completely, eliminating all smells that could otherwise enter the RV. It’s also nice to know you won’t be dealing with black tank clogs down the line. That said, this toilet uses a lot of water and requires electricity, so it really isn’t an option if you want to boondock at all.
- Breaks solids down, preventing clogs
- Black tank is sealed off
- Can dump with a small hose
- Uses a lot of water
- Requires electricity
- Dumps very slowly
RV Incinerator Toilet
Best for: 1) Those looking to save tank space while boondocking; 2) Those with a big budget
Unlike the toilet above, the RV incinerator toilet is an excellent choice for boondocking. As the name suggests, this toilet literally incinerates your waste, leaving you with nothing but ashes to dispose of.
Not only does this make disposing of waste easier—just throw those ashes away!—it also eliminates the need to deal with sewer hookups, “stinky slinkies” (i.e. sewer hoses), and poo water. In fact, this toilet doesn’t use any water at all.
The biggest issue with this RV toilet type? It’s incredibly expensive.
- Turns solid waste to ash that can be thrown away
- Does not use water
- Very expensive
- Uses liners
- Can take up to two hours to finish incinerating
Portable Toilets for RVs
Best for: 1) Campers in a small RV without a bathroom; 2) Tent campers
Last but not least, there is the portable RV toilet. These mobile commodes are ideal for people who are doing a van or trailer build and don’t want to put in plumbing. They also work well for tent camping.
Because they aren’t attached to anything, portable toilets can be used anywhere. They use a bit of fresh water (which is added to an onboard tank), and they store waste in a separate tank that can be dumped in a public toilet or a dump station.
The waste tank is very small. Additionally, these toilets tend to be quite small and awkward to sit on, especially if you happen to be a taller or larger individual.
- Can be taken anywhere
- Doesn’t require plumbing
- Uses some water
- Tiny waste tank
- Usually small and not very sturdy
Hopefully this overview of the various types of RV toilets helps you make the best bathroom decisions for your rig. Maybe that means sticking with the traditional RV toilet you have already, or maybe there is another potty option that would better suit your adventure style. No matter what, we encourage you to find the throne that makes you most comfortable.
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