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RV Basics 101: Types of RV Toilets

Updated on January 28, 2024



Reviewed by

Have you ever hit the road in your RV but got caught short with a toilet that doesn’t cut it? Yep, we’ve all been there.

The journey is epic, and the scenery is breathtaking. But then nature calls, and you’re reminded of your less-than-stellar RV toilet. Not exactly the highlight of an otherwise amazing adventure, right?

types of rv toilets

Just imagine, though… What if things could be different? Picture having a top-notch throne on wheels – efficient, eco-friendly, and easy to maintain.

This post promises to guide you through the maze of RV toilets – from gravity flush wonders to composting marvels. And who knows? By the end of this ride together, you might even look forward to answering when Mother Nature rings!

Understanding Different Types of RV Toilets

Diving into the world of recreational vehicles, one can’t ignore toilets’ crucial role. It’s an essential feature that varies greatly among different models and designs.

Gravity Flush Toilets

A prevalent choice among RV enthusiasts is gravity flush toilets. As their name suggests, these systems rely on gravity to transport waste from the bowl to a holding tank below. This design makes them relatively simple, reliable, and low-maintenance – features much appreciated in any journey across states or continents.

The dominance of gravity flush toilets isn’t surprising when considering its efficient mechanism paired with easy maintenance procedures. So, if you’re looking for something familiar yet effective – this might be your go-to option.

Macerator Toilets

If we step up in terms of sophistication, macerator toilets are another common type found within RVs. Dometic MasterFlush 8740, for instance, is known for its built-in pump system that grinds down waste before dispatching it into a separate holding tank.

This process ensures minimal clogging issues and more comfortable overall use but comes at an increased price point compared to other types, such as composting or cassette due to additional components required for operation.

Remember, folks: every adventure needs some preparation. Understanding how different toilet options function helps create smoother journeys under all circumstances because, let’s face it – nobody wants bathroom troubles while exploring nature’s beauty.

With various options available, like composting toilets that are eco-friendly or cassette toilets for their convenience, choosing the right toilet for your RV can significantly improve your overall experience. Finding a balance between comfort, functionality, and individual taste is key.

Key Takeaway: When it comes to RVs, the toilet plays a pivotal role. Gravity flush toilets are popular for their simplicity and reliability. For a touch of sophistication, consider macerator toilets with built-in pump systems.

Eco-Friendly Option: Composting Toilets

Have you ever considered a toilet that’s good for the environment? Enter composting toilets, an eco-friendly option in the world of RV sanitation. They use natural processes to transform waste into nutrient-rich compost.

The magic happens through decomposition – like how fallen leaves become part of forest soil over time. Your human waste isn’t much different. With some help from bacteria and fungi, it breaks down into simple organic matter perfect for plant growth.

National Park Service supports this claim by stating how efficiently these systems handle waste without water or chemicals. Plus, you’re contributing less to landfill build-up.

The Nitty-Gritty of How It Works

A standard setup involves two compartments within your toilet: one for liquid and another for solid wastes. The solids are mixed with a bulking agent such as sawdust or coconut coir to promote aerobic decomposition.

This process eliminates foul odors often associated with sewage because there’s no anaerobic bacterial activity involved – those little guys are responsible for producing stinky hydrogen sulfide gas during breakdown under low-oxygen conditions (think traditional septic systems).

Making Mother Nature Proud

Beyond reducing chemical use and conserving precious water resources, a composting toilet lets you give back directly to Earth. Once fully decomposed after about 4-6 weeks, depending on usage and environmental factors, the resulting compost can be safely used in non-edible landscaping projects according to EPA guidelines.

So, if you’ve got a green thumb or simply want to tread lightly on our planet while enjoying the RV lifestyle, composting toilets might just be your eco-friendly match made in heaven.

The Convenience of Cassette Toilets

Ever heard the phrase “easy as emptying a cassette toilet”? No? Well, let’s make it a thing. Because when you’re out on the open road with your RV, nothing beats the convenience and simplicity of cassette toilets.

A cassette toilet is like your home toilet shrunk down and made portable. The beauty lies in its design: it features an easily removable waste tank that you can take out for hassle-free emptying. Imagine this – no more lugging around heavy tanks or dealing with messy pipes.

How It Works

Cassette toilets have two main parts: an upper section for flushing and a lower one called ‘the cassette’. This cleverly designed waste holding tank has wheels and an extendable handle – much like carry-on luggage.

You use the top part just like any other toilet; do your business, flush away (usually using a hand pump or electric flush), but here’s where things get interesting. Instead of everything going into some large inaccessible holding tank beneath your RV, waste goes directly into the handy-dandy detachable “cassette”.

Ease of Emptying

Gone are those dreadful days when you had to move your entire rig close to dump stations just to clear out sewage. With these ingenious devices, simply unlock from inside the bathroom compartment, slide it out by its handle from the outside access door under the vehicle side wall, and then off you go.

All set to bid goodbye at any public restroom or dedicated dumping station without wrestling bulky hoses or worrying about back splashes…yuck.

Note: Use appropriate gloves and sanitizing procedures for health safety.

The Cassette Toilet Advantage

If the ease of emptying didn’t convince you, consider this: cassette toilets save water. They usually need less than a pint per flush. Plus, they’re often smaller than traditional RV toilets – perfect for those cozy, compact spaces.

We can’t promise your road trips will be completely smooth – traffic is still a factor. But when nature unexpectedly calls mid-journey, rest assured we’ve got you covered.

Key Takeaway: 

Embrace the simplicity of cassette toilets for your RV adventures. Picture a mini, portable home toilet with an easy-to-remove waste tank. Say goodbye to heavy tanks and messy pipes – it’s as simple as sliding out ‘the cassette’ and emptying at your convenience. Plus, these compact lifesavers save water too.

Cassette toilets bring convenience to RV life with their portable design, featuring a detachable waste tank for easy emptying. You no longer need to lug around heavy tanks or navigate messy pipes; simply unlock and slide out the ‘cassette’. Plus, they’re water-efficient and perfect for compact spaces.

Choosing the Right RV Toilet

Selecting the proper toilet for your recreational vehicle isn’t as straightforward as one might imagine. Comfort is important, but practicality and convenience should also be considered. With several types of RV toilets available, making an informed decision can be daunting.

Your choice will depend on individual inclinations, monetary limitations, and the sort of RV you possess. This means considering factors like space availability inside your vehicle or even environmental considerations.

Personal Preferences Matter

Different people have different needs regarding their bathrooms – this applies to an RV bathroom, too. Some folks prefer simplicity with minimal maintenance, while others don’t mind extra features if they add comfort or make life easier on road trips.

A gravity flush toilet is often chosen because of its straightforward operation: waste gets flushed directly into a holding tank by simply opening a valve. If, however, more advanced technology appeals to you, then perhaps consider macerator toilets, which break down waste before sending it off to the holding tank.

Budget Considerations

We all know money talks; hence, cost plays a significant role in choosing an appropriate RV toilet. High-end models boasting fancy features such as automatic flushing systems may seem appealing but come with heftier price tags than basic options that do what they’re designed for – disposing of human waste efficiently.

Type Of Your Vehicle Matters Too.

The size and design of your recreational vehicle play crucial roles, too. A compact cassette toilet fits perfectly into smaller vehicles due to its removable waste tank, whereas larger motorhomes could easily accommodate full-size composting units that offer eco-friendly waste management.

Choosing the right toilet can greatly enhance your RV experience. A bit of research and consideration about what you really need will help you make a choice that matches your personal preferences, budget, and vehicle type.

Key Takeaway: Choosing the perfect RV toilet isn’t just about comfort, it’s also about practicality and your budget. Personal preferences, cost considerations, and the type of your vehicle all play key roles in this decision. From simple gravity flush toilets to eco-friendly composting units for larger vehicles – pick what suits you best for a great on-the-road experience.

Maintenance and Care for Your RV Toilet

Your RV toilet is vital to your recreational vehicle, so keeping it in top shape is crucial. To ensure your RV toilet stays in good condition, a few simple steps can make the task easier.

Regular Cleaning Is Key

Cleaning your RV toilet regularly helps prevent buildup that can cause odors or damage over time. It’s best to use RV-specific cleaning products, as they’re designed not to harm the seals and gaskets within the system.

Beyond regular surface cleaning, remember to treat the holding tank too. Specialized treatments will help break down waste and control smells. These are available in liquid, drop-in pods, or dissolvable packets.

Watch What Goes Down The Bowl

What you put into your RV toilet can significantly impact its longevity and performance. Always use quick-dissolving RV-friendly toilet paper. Regular household tissue takes longer to dissolve, which might lead to clogs.

Avoid flushing anything other than human waste and suitable TP down the loo – even if it claims “flushable,” trust me on this one.

The Importance of Seal Lubrication

The seal at the bottom of your RV’s bowl holds the water needed for proper operation. If this gets dry or cracked due to lack of lubrication, bad smells could creep back up from below. Use an approved RV toilet seal lubricant to keep things in check.

A well-lubricated seal not only prevents odors but also extends the life of your RV toilet. Incorporate it into your maintenance regimen, and you’ll be grateful later.

Addressing Problems Promptly

If you notice something off with your RV toilet – maybe it’s a strange noise or an unusual smell – don’t ignore it. These could be early signs that something is wrong. Acting promptly can prevent minor issues from becoming major headaches down the road.

Grasping the complexities of RV lavatories may seem intimidating, but once you comprehend its function and how to maintain it well, you’re ready for an abundance of travel.

Key Takeaway: Make sure to keep your RV toilet in great condition by regularly cleaning it with products designed for RVs and treating the holding tank properly. Remember, only flush quick-dissolving, RV-friendly toilet paper and human waste. Regularly lubricating the seal helps prevent nasty smells and extends its life too. And don’t forget – if you notice anything odd, tackle those issues right away to save yourself trouble down the road.

Common Issues and Troubleshooting for RV Toilets

But like all mechanical parts, it can sometimes act up.

One common issue with RV toilets is water not holding in the bowl. This could be due to a faulty seal. You can fix this by cleaning the blade seal thoroughly or replacing it if necessary.

Clogged Toilet

A clogged toilet is another frequent troublemaker in an RV’s bathroom setup. Excessive use of toilet paper or using non-RV specific paper often causes this.

The solution? Use only RV-specific biodegradable toilet paper. Also, make sure you’re using enough water to flush properly.

Toilet Odor Problems

Rancid smells emanating from your lavatory are not just unpleasant; they indicate that something’s off balance in your waste tank.

Various issues may cause odors: lack of proper ventilation, bacterial imbalance within the tank, or simply infrequent emptying.

To combat these nasty aromas:

  • Add some waste digester treatments.
  • Ensure good airflow through vents.
  • Maintain regular waste disposal routines.

Broken Water Valve

Inconsistent flushing? You might have a broken water valve on hand. While diagnosing and repairing plumbing problems might seem daunting, RV repair guides are here to help. You’ll need a new water valve kit, and in most cases, it’s an easy DIY job.

Maintaining your RV toilet is crucial for smooth trips on the road.

The trick? Regular upkeep and prompt attention to any issues that crop up.

Remember: a well-functioning RV toilet is a must when nature calls while you’re out enjoying nature.

FAQs About RV toilets

What kind of toilet is best for an RV?

The best type of RV toilet depends on your needs. If you want convenience, a cassette toilet is great. For those eco-conscious, composting toilets are perfect.

Should you put toilet paper in an RV toilet?

You can use special biodegradable TP designed for RVs and marine use to avoid clogging the system.

What can I use for my RV toilet?

You’ll need specific products like septic-safe TP, tank deodorizers, and waste digesters to keep your rig’s bathroom clean and fresh-smelling.

What is a cassette toilet in an RV?

A cassette-type commode features a detachable waste container, making dumping easier than traditional fixed-tank systems.


Navigating the world of RV toilets is no longer a daunting task. We’ve unpacked everything from gravity flush wonders to composting marvels, and you’re now armed with all the knowledge you need.

Remember: your comfort on the open road can be transformed by choosing an efficient, eco-friendly option that’s easy to maintain. And remember: troubleshooting issues doesn’t have to ruin your adventure – understanding common problems and how to fix them is key.

The journey ahead promises epic views and even better pit stops, partly thanks to your new insights into RV toilets. You’re ready for Mother Nature’s call!

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<span style="color: #01343d">About</span> Editorial Staff

About Editorial Staff

We’re passionate about all things RV and camper, and love sharing tips, “how-to”, and reviewing the latest products to help make your camping experience a success!

<span style="color: #01343d">About</span> Editorial Staff

About Editorial Staff

We’re passionate about all things RV and camper, and love sharing tips, “how-to”, and reviewing the latest products to help make your camping experience a success!