When you thought about heading for the open road in your RV, you probably did not expect to spend any time thinking about toilets. That probably was not part of your dream. However, it is an essential item that you must consider.
If you do not have a good bathroom option, it will quickly put a damper on any trip you take. You want a toilet that is well-built, functional, fits your budget and meets your needs. That are far more options than you most likely realized.
Continue reading to find out the details about RV toilets so you can make the best selection for your RV toilet needs.
What is an RV Toilet?
An RV toilet is a toilet that you can use while hitting the highway in your RV. Each one functions a little differently than the others. For example, some toilets use water while others do not. Some are permanent, while others are portable. There are also some that macerate and compost.
Types of RV Toilets
1. Cassette Toilet
A cassette toilet is a portable type of toilet. This type of toilet is fixed into place. A cassette toilet is similar to a portable camping toilet. This type of toilet is often used by van owners because they have a smaller space.
A cassette toilet has a holding tank that must be dumped. Therefore, you will be able to smell and see what you are dumping when you go to a dump station.
The holding tank is the only part of the cassette toilet that is portable. It is easy to dump and has less chance of spillage. It is accessible from a hatch on the outside of your RV. The tank does need to be cleaned before you replace it.
The rest of the toilet is similar to a gravity flush toilet in that it has a control valve for the flow of water into the toilet bowl.
A cassette toilet has a higher capacity which makes it ideal for large groups or families. However, the holding tank can get heavy, as much as 40 pounds.
2. Composting Toilet
A composting toilet does not use water. Instead, it separates the liquids from the solids. This is an ideal option if you have limited water supplies. It is best for a single traveler or a couple.
If a composting toilet is used properly, it does not have a foul odor. However, it may have a smell that is similar to soil. It does have a vent fan to move the air from the bowl to the outside. However, this is not the best option for large groups or families because you will have to change the tank frequently.
The way a composting toilet works is after it separates the solids from the liquids, composting material, such as coconut coir, is used to break down the solid material. It does not have tubes or water. There is a holding tank, but it is not large.
This is a rustic type of toilet. It is for those who want to rough it a bit. A composting toilet is an expensive option and requires some time to learn how to use it properly. You are able to avoid odors, clogs, and stopping to dump them. However, you must empty and clean it regularly and properly.
3. Dry Flush Toilet
A dry flush toilet for an RV is an electric option that does not require water. If you are familiar with the diaper genie, this toilet works much the same way. However, these toilets have a cartridge that holds a unique metallic liner. This liner is somewhat like a bag.
The purpose of this is to handle the solid and liquid waste. When you flush the toilet, the mechanism inside the toilet tightly twists the bag and seals in the material. There is a section at the bottom of the toilet that stores the twisted section of the bag.
The cartridges hold the liner bags and last for about 17 flushes. The indicator on the toilet lets you know when there are two flushes left. When it is full, you can throw away the used cartridge in your regular trash.
You then replace the entire cartridge with a new one. The cartridges can be expensive, especially if you are replacing them often. On the other hand, you will never have to see or smell the contents that you are flushing.
With this option, you do not have to visit a dumping station or use up your fresh water.
4. Incinerator Toilet
An incinerator toilet is waterless and electric. It basically incinerates the waste to nothing. All that is left is ash. This is safe for an RV and the environment. You also never have to handle waste with this type of toilet. Once the waste is in the bowl, there is a button to drop it into the chamber.
Once there, the incinerator cycles on a heater and blower. These operate well over 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit to get rid of all of the waste. This process does take about an hour to complete.
You are still able to use the toilet while it is incinerating. However, this type of toilet is on the expensive side and requires a vent through the roof of the RV.
5. Macerating Toilet
A macerating toilet is a fancy type of system. It has blades that are powered by a motor to soften and thin out the waste. It is then transported to a holding (black) tank.
During this process, the contents are ground into a slurry that is easier to store until you can dispose of it. Most of these toilets are powered by electricity, but there are a few powered by water.
A large benefit to this type of toilet is that the holding tank does not have to sit below the toilet tank. Instead, the slurry is pumped into the holding tank by a hose powered by electricity. This can help with toilet placement if you have spacing concerns in your RV.
A macerating toilet uses a much smaller hose (one inch) than a traditional RV toilet system, which is three inches. This allows the dump process to be easier and cleaner. However, this type of toilet is expensive.
It may take longer to dump the waste because of the smaller size hose. You must be careful during this process because pressure can build up, leaving you a complete mess.
The process must be monitored to ensure that you do not blow a fuse or run dry. You may use more water with this type of system. This system must be cleaned regularly, about once a year.
If not, it can slow down over time, and solids could get stuck. Also, if you have low water, the slurry may not completely flush and cause build-up.
6. Portable Toilet
A portable toilet is going to require the least amount of setup and have a short learning process. This toilet can be put anywhere. It has a simple design. It has a commode with a small holding tank attached. The tank can be dumped into a toilet or at a dump station.
A portable toilet is a more rustic type of toilet. You can also take it with you if you are going to be away from your RV for an extended period of time. It is super convenient, simple, and hassle free.
There are some downsides to consider. This waste is going to be raw sewage that you have to dump. There are no tubes to hide it. There is nothing breaking it down. Everything that goes into the toilet is going to be what comes out of it.
It can have a very bad odor. Therefore, it must be cleaned and emptied regularly. If this sounds gross to you, then this is not the toilet for you.
On the other hand, it uses significantly less water. You also do not need to be hooked up to your RV.
7. Traditional Gravity Flush Toilet
A traditional gravity flush toilet is the most common and traditional type of RV toilet you will find. The flush system of this toilet is reliant on gravity to flush away the contents of the toilet. They must be connected to pressurized water to flush, similar to what happens with your toilet at home.
A commercial RV has a traditional gravity toilet and black tank where all the waste is stored. You must dispose of the waste at a dump site. Just like toilets in your home, the style and size of a gravity flush toilet vary. This allows you to select an option that fits your size and height specifications.
If you have the space, you can select an elongated bowl on a high toilet. This provides more comfort to you. However, your RV may not have the space so that you might need a rounder and smaller option.
Regardless of which you choose, the toilet functions the same way. It flushes the contents as they are into a black tank for storage. In addition, you can put chemicals in the tank to break down the waste. This helps reduce blockages, produce a more manageable waste consistency, and make dumping easier.
This type of toilet is well tested and the industry standard. They are easy to replace or repair. This is a more affordable option.
8. Vacuum Toilet
A vacuum toilet is one that has a vacuum flush and a macerating pump. The vacuum provides more powerful flushing and then turns the waste into liquid. These toilets are more flexible in where they can be placed in your RV. There are several options making it a more convenient option.