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5 Most Common Types of RV Toilets You NEED to Know

Understanding the different types of RV toilets is crucial for every RV owner. Handling waste is the biggest downfall of RVing, so you want to know what you’re dealing with and what RV toilet is best for you!

Diehard campers don’t mind doing their bathroom business in a bucket, but most RVers don’t fall into that category! We prefer to travel everywhere with a complete bathroom, let alone a proper toilet!

But, like those diehard campers, RVers still have to dispose of their own waste. We also have to store it and even cart it around with us at times… that’s the stinky truth of the RV lifestyle!

That’s why it’s important for every RVer to understand the difference between the various types of RV toilets. You need to know which type of toilet best suits your travel lifestyle and how hands on (and “nose on”) you’re willing to be.

5 Different Types of RV Toilets

Human waste certainly isn’t a fun topic to read about (or write about!). So, we’re going to cover a lot of information as quickly as possible. Prepare yourself for an info dump! (Pun intended.)

I’m going to list out the types of toilets that are most common in RVs, campervans, and travel trailers. I’m going to spend the most time on the most popular and briefly cover the others. Let’s go…

1. Gravity Flush Toilet

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Types of RV Toilets

A flush RV toilet is the most common type of RV toilet. Most RVers prefer this kind because it’s most like your household toilet. It flushes (usually with a press of a foot pedal), and your waste disappears into a black water tank under your RV.

The biggest difference between a traditional gravity toilet and your regular toilet at home is it doesn’t have a water tank on the back. Instead of a water flush system, it relies on gravity to “push” your waste down the hole that opens when you press the pedal.

Even though these toilets don’t have a water tank, they do rinse the toilet bowl with water when you press the pedal. However, it uses a lot less water than your residential toilet to ensure you don’t drain your water supply too quickly.

That being said, gravity flush toilets do use more water than other RV toilets. If you do a lot of boondocking, this can become a problem.

Gravity flush tanks are dumped using a sewage hose that connects the waste tank to a sewer dump station. You drive up to the dump station, connect the hose, open the line, and gravity does its thing.

Even though handling the sewer hose is a bit gross, it’s the least “up close and personal” option.

Many RVs can have an optional macerator installed to help grind up solids before the waste exits the hose. More on that later.

2. Composting Toilet

Types of RV Toilets

A composting toilet is a dry toilet that usually separates liquid waste from solid waste. A “dry toilet’ means it does not use water to flush or rinse your toilet bowl.

In most cases, a composting toilet is a toilet seat attached directly to a waste holding tank (kind of like a toilet seat on top of a big bucket). The liquids go into a bottle that you can dump in a public toilet. Or, where it’s acceptable per local rules, can be diluted and sprinkled on the ground.

The solid waste is (usually manually) mixed with a composting medium like coconut coir or peat moss. This eventually breaks down the solid waste into compost. You can then dispose of it in a compostable bag in a dumpster or use it as fertilizer for non-edible plants.

There is a lot of hype about composting toilets in the market today. They are more environmentally friendly since they create compost instead of biohazardous sewage. Sewage, by the way, is created when wet and solid waste mixes. So, by separating them, it’s better for the environment.

Another reason they are popular is you can go dry camping (boondocking) longer since they don’t require water. You can also combine your black and gray tanks into one big gray tank, which again means you can dry camp longer.

As boondockers ourselves, you’d think Jennifer and I would like composting toilets. In truth, I hate them. Despite the optimism of compostable toilet advocates, they’re stinkier than I can handle. Plus, I don’t like carrying waste inside the interior of my RV.

I certainly appreciate the environmentally friendliness of these toilets, but they’re not the best option for me. However, that doesn’t mean they’re not a good option for you! To each their own.

3. Macerator Toilet

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A macerating toilet is a type of gravity flush toilet but with an added feature. It macerates or grounds up what is known in the RV world as a “poo pyramid.”

A poo pyramid is the unfortunate result of solid waste and toilet paper clumping together into a mound. This mound builds up in your black water tank and, if it gets big enough, is nearly impossible for gravity to do what it’s meant to do.

That’s where the macerator comes in. A macerator works a lot like your garbage disposal in your kitchen sink at home. It pulverizes waste so it won’t clog your sewer hose or get stuck in your black water tank. It can even pump waste up an incline!

The downfall of this toilet is it requires more water and electricity than other traditional RV toilets. But it does get the job done!

4. Incinerator Toilets

Incinerator toilets do exactly what the name suggests: incinerate your waste. With a push of the button, it heats the toilet bowl to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit and burns your waste into ash.

It’s a great option if you want a dry toilet that doesn’t require you to get overly hands-on with your waste. It can be pricey, though, especially since it requires special toilet bowl liners.

5. RV Cassette Toilet

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A cassette toilet is a portable tank that you can remove from your RV by hand and roll over to an appropriate dump station. It’s touted for its ease of use because you don’t have to move your entire RV over to the dump station to get rid of your waste. It’s basically a suitcase on wheels that transports unpleasant baggage.

It’s a popular choice in Europe that’s becoming more popular here. But, as you can hear in the above video, I’m not sure how well America is going to receive it in the long run.

In a lot of ways, it’s a more user-friendly version of a portable toilet. A portable RV toilet is also known as a porta potty or portable camping toilet. It’s a self-contained toilet that you can carry and place anywhere. It’s a good choice for anyone who wants a toilet that can go from the back of your truck, to inside your RV, to outdoors on a campsite, and so on.

Best RV Toilet Paper & Holding Tank Treatment

Just like you need to know your RV toilets, you need to know about RV TP and holding tank treatments! It’s vital to keep your systems running smoothly and smelling good (or, at least not smelling bad!).

Here are some helpful resources:

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