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5 Different Types of RV Toilets (With Pictures)

RV with mountain view

When making plans for an RV, almost the entire thought process goes into the size, performance, and aesthetics of the vehicle. The humble bathroom, however, is typically an afterthought. Nonetheless, a road trip, even in the most exquisite RV, can quickly turn into a dreadful experience if what you have for a toilet is basically a bucket.

Experienced campers know the value of a good toilet; it not only serves your needs, but it also does not allow bathroom smells to make their way into the rest of the vehicle. Moreover, good RV toilets can handle a sizeable load and are easy to empty. This ensures that bathroom breaks are the least of your worries during your cruising experience.

As such, it is necessary to familiarize yourself with the various types of RV toilets so you can make an informed decision when choosing one.


Gravity Flush Toilets

Gravity Flush Toilet
Image credit: ProTexPro, Shutterstock

These are the most common type of toilets found in RVs. These toilets utilize the force of gravity to flush their contents away. However, it also needs a source of pressurized water to allow you to flush. Most commercial RVs are equipped with this toilet, as well as a black tank that stores waste until you get to a designated dumpsite where you can dispose of it.

Just like normal toilets, RV gravity flush toilets also vary according to size and style. If you have a small camper, you can opt for the smaller, round toilet while owners of large RVs can enjoy the comfort of raised, elongated bowl toilets. As for style, that is pretty much up to you. Nonetheless, both types of toilets work the same way.

The benefit of RV gravity flush toilets is that they have been around for a long time, which means that they are well understood and thus, repairing them or finding their spare parts should not be a problem. They are also cheaper than most options.

Pros
  • Budget friendly
  • Easy to maintain
Cons
  • Emptying can be problematic for inexperienced users

Macerator Toilets

Macerator Toilets

If you are more of a contemporary person and think that gravity flush systems are archaic, then RV macerator toilets might be a good choice. Rather than using gravity to flush the contents, macerator toilets utilize water and electricity.

This gives them an upper hand over gravity flush systems because the waste storage tank does not have to be under the toilet tank, which allows you more flexibility on how to utilize the space in your RV. Additionally, macerator toilets grind the waste into a slurry that is easy to store and dispose of.

What’s more, most macerator systems utilize a 1-inch hose for dumping the waste, which is much smaller than the 3-inch hose found in traditional systems. This allows for a simpler and cleaner dumping process while reducing the smell and potential for disaster.

Nevertheless, it is not all sunshine and rainbows when using macerator systems; for example, due to having a smaller hose, the dumping process typically takes longer and requires a specific technique to prevent a pressure buildup in the tube. As such, you have to be more careful than you would while emptying the old system.

Moreover, macerator systems require more water to flush, as well as a bigger battery to provide electric energy.

When it comes to costs, macerator systems can leave a dent in your wallet, as they are not only pricey but also require regular maintenance.

Pros
  • Extremely convenient
  • Allow you more space
Cons
  • Pricey

Cassette Toilets

Cassette Toilets
Image credit: Virrage Images, Shutterstock

Cassette toilets combine the benefits of gravity flush toilets with portability. The toilet looks and functions like a regular gravity flush toilet. However, the waste holding tank is portable, which means that you can detach it from the RV at any time.

The benefit of a cassette toilet is that you do not have to attach a hose to the RV to empty the holding tank’s contents. You can simply detach the tank once you get to waste receptacle and have it emptied, washed, and then reattached.

The cassette toilet’s holding tank also has a much larger capacity than most. This allows you to go for longer periods without emptying.

Nonetheless, when full, the holding tank can weigh as much as 40 pounds, which can be cumbersome to carry when you go to empty it.

Pros
  • Portable holding tank
  • Large capacity to allow for longer periods without emptying
Cons
  • Cumbersome to carry when full

Composting Toilet

Composting toilet
Image credit: Cass Tippit, Shutterstock

If your trips on your RV routinely take you through the roads that are less traveled, where access to water and dumping stations is not guaranteed, you should consider a composting toilet.

A composting toilet stores solids and liquids separately. They use composting material, such as coconut coir and sphagnum peat moss, to break down the solids.

Once you get the hang of it, you will enjoy the benefits of a composting tank, such as not having to use water, no clogging issues, and no odors.

However, you will need to empty the holding tank frequently, as it is quite small. Therefore, a composting toilet is not ideal for large families. Additionally, you will have to learn how to use it properly, as improper use can lead to an awful experience.

While composting toilets are convenient, they are not for everyone.

Pros
  • Does not require water
  • Not susceptible to clogging and odors
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Requires training to use

Portable Camping Toilets

Portable Camping Toilets_Shutterstock_Vyaseleva Elena
Image credit: Vyaseleva Elena, Shutterstock

A portable camping toilet consists of a commode with a holding tank attached to it. You can place this toilet anywhere, as it is not part of the RV. When you get to a dump station, you will simply empty the tank, wash it, and return it to the RV.

Nonetheless, a portable camping toilet has several drawbacks. For starters, you will have to dump raw sewage yourself. With other types of toilets, you at least have a tube or composting material to obscure it. Here, however, you get the entire visual and smell experience.

Additionally, a portable toilet is not ideal if you have several people in the RV, as you will have to keep emptying it.

But if that is not a problem for you, a portable toilet is a cheap and hassle-free option.

Pros
  • Cheap
  • Convenient
Cons
  • Requires regular emptying
  • Can be smelly

Think About It

Put some thought into the kind of toilet you want in your RV, as it will go a long way in keeping you comfortable during your travels. The most convenient ones, however, tend to be pricey. However, convenience is relative, as what is convenient for a large family might not be convenient for a few people.

Therefore, think about the number of people that are going to be using it, as well as the road that you will be using in order to ensure that there are dumping stations on that route. You also want a toilet that does not require regular maintenance.

Which is the best RV toilet for you? Let us know.


Featured Image Credit: randmdavidson, Pixabay

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