RV toilets are the unspoken campervan accessory we love to hide, either by tucking it out of sight or closing it off within a small bathroom space. Campervan toilets aren't there to be a conversation started but they can be completely necessary at times, so we're talking toilets and breaking down popular RV options to help you decide which works best for your lifestyle.
How do you decide on the right RV toilet?
- How will you primarily be traveling or spending time in your van? How long do you plan on camping off-grid without access to a public bathroom?
- Will you have access to a RV dump site to dispose of waste properly?
- What's your van layout? Are you planning to build a bathroom enclosure in your van, or do you need to store your toilet in a drawer/cabinet?
- How frequently will you be using your toilet?
- Do you have accessibility concerns and need a residential-style seat height?
Three Types of RV Toilets
Permanent RV toilets are the closest in appearance and size to a standard residential toilet, which means that these toilets are user-friendly and designed for comfort. Permanent toilets require a full plumbing system including a water line, black water tank, and electricity, and are permanently installed typically in a restroom/shower enclosure within the van.
- Easy to use
- Permanent toilets installed in a restroom enclosure make your van feel more like a traditional home.
- Electric-powered flush
- Foot or hand flush
- Plastic or porcelain construction
- ADA-compliant seat height for accessibility
- Requires proper plumbing system with connections to water supply and black water tank
- Black water tank requires access to an RV dump site to dispose of waste.
- Requires electric wiring for the flush mechanism.
- Requires yearly plumbing system winterization and cleaning to maintain the plumbing system and prevent leaks/clogs.
How to Empty a Permanent Campervan Toilet:
Permanent RV toilets are emptied at traditional RV dump sites located typically at travel gas stations or RV parks. Check out RVdumps.com for sites in your area. To connect you'll remove the septic line cap and connect your RV septic hose to both your black water tank and the septic inlet. You can also upgrade to a hose connector with your septic inlet to help clean out your tank more efficiently each time you empty your black water tank.
Cassette toilets combine the permanent installation of a standard RV toilet with portable waste disposal of traditional portable toilets. The removable "cassette" houses the waste tank inside the toilet system, removing the need for a black water tank, and complicated plumbing or waste disposal.
- Optional bench style or swivel seat options available.
- Waste can be dumped in conventional toilet or RV dump site
- Electric flush
- Right-hand or left-hand options available on most models to easily choose cassette door location
- Plastic or plastic with ceramic bowl inlay construction
- Taller profile is similar to the height of residential toilets, improving comfort and accessibility (Not ADA Compliant)
- Permanent toilets installed in a restroom enclosure make your van feel more like a traditional home.
- Requires permanent installation of toilet. (Cassette tank is portable)
- Requires regular cleaning of cassette interior to prevent solid waste buildup
- Requires service door installed on the outside of the van or restroom enclosure.
- Requires connection to water supply and electricity
- Lower tank capacity than complex black water tank systems.
How to Empty a Cassette Campervan Toilet:
Cassette RV toilets are emptied at traditional RV dump sites located typically at travel gas stations and RV parks or can be dumped into an at home toilet. Check out RVdumps.com for sites in your area. For removal you'll access the cassette holding tank through your service door and remove it fully. You can then wheel your tank to the dump site area using the handle and attached wheels. Pour out your tank using the nozzle and dump as suggested in your owners manual.
Portable composting toilets offer much smaller waste holding tanks that make it easy to move, clean, and replace. Without the need for permanent installation or plumbing/electrical connections, portable toilets can be easily stored in a cabinet and kept out of sight, eliminating the need for a full bathroom enclosure in your van.
- Do not require plumbing, electrics, or extra blackwater tanks
- Use chemicals to break down solid waste and reduce odors or bags to contain waste.
- Smallest campervan toilet size -- perfect for shower/toilet areas.
Tank can be emptied into any standard toilet or RV dump site
2.6-5 Gallon capacity or bags are easily removed and replaced.
- Water tank for flushing built-in to toilet models, including manual hand flush.
- Certain models include mounting brackets for more secure installation
- Can be easily stored away in a cabinet or storage area, eliminating the need for a bathroom enclosure.
- Portable tank toilets have lower tank capacity than complex black water tank systems and cassette toilets
- Portable dry-flush toilets with refillable bags are not compostable and do not help break down waste naturally
How to Empty a Portable Campervan Toilet:
Portable composting campervan toilets are emptied at traditional RV dump sites located typically at travel gas stations and RV parks or can be dumped into an at home toilet using the attachment nozzle. Check out RVdumps.com for sites in your area.
Portable dry-flush toilets are not compostable and must be emptied in appropriate disposal receptacles. We suggest you do not dispose of in public facilities. Read Laveo Dry Flush Toilet Owner's Manual for more disposal and maintenance information.
Toilet Brands We Offer
Dometic Composting Portable Toilets are available in a range of sizes and capacities. Larger capacity means you can go further without worrying about finding a dump site. The reliable and simple self-contained toilet system with bellows-operated flush rinses the bowl clean every time.
For Dometic portable toilets you'll need to maintain the waste chamber by flushing it out with clean water each time you dump and add in a RV safe septic additive. To empty the chamber, you can dump in a RV septic holding tank or down a common house toilet. Flush out and clean holding tanks with soap and water to keep your portable toilet hygienic.
Great for non-frequent users looking for compostable solutions that's better for breaking down waste and has less impact on our environment. The waste tank separates from the lower chamber for quick carrying, and you can easily dump waste using integrated pour spout.
- Dometic 976 Portable Toilet - 5 Gallon - Grey
- Dometic 975 MSD Portable Toilet with Mounting Brackets - 5 Gallon - Grey
- Dometic 966 Portable Toilet - 5 Gallon - Platinum
- Dometic 966 Portable Toilet - 5 Gallon - Parchment
- Dometic 964 MSD Portable Toilet w/Mounting Brackets - 2.5 Gallon - Platinum
- Dometic 962 Portable Toilet - 2.5 Gallon - Parchment
The Laveo portable toilet is a dry-flush toilet that does not require plumbing, water, or traditional portable toilet cleaning. Easy to replace waste bags and waste powder make it simple to contain and clean out without water or other septic additive.
Laveo dry-flush toilets are mountable or can be paired with a Laveo non-slip rug to keep your toilet secure while on the road. When it's time to dispose of waste, you can simply remove the airtight isolated bag after approximately 15 flushes and toss the wrapped waste in the trash. Be sure to dispose of waste properly.
Laveo dry-flush toilets require electricity to operate and offer optional battery and 12V wall plug, wall plug connection, or DC connection to attach to your van's 12V plug. Unlike Dometic Portable toilets you'll need power to operate each time you "flush". The flush-like action will create an airtight compression on the bag and reopen for a total of 15 flushes per bag refill.
Thetford Permanent, Cassette and Portable Toilets are all available at Campervan HQ. Depending on the type of toilet you want to go with, you'll experience the same Thetford quality with each.
Thetford Permanent Toilets offer a more comfortable and convenient height compared to portable and dry-flush toilets. They install into a septic line which drains to a black water tank and requires regulate clean outs, plumbing, and electricity to operate.
Thetford Cassette Toilets are named for their removable cassette tank systems that stores and easily transports waste to the appropriate dump site. The cassette base includes wheels and a handle for easy removal and transportation without carrying your tank in hand. The complete system includes a water holding tank, a waste level indicator so you can know when it's time to remove your cassette, and an electric flush.
Options include the Thetford C223CS pedestal style cassette toilet, Thetford C402C bench style cassette toilet, or Thetford C403L bench style cassette toilet. Bench style cassette toilets can be installed with cassette access on the left or right (relative to a person seated on the toilet) for maximum use versatility and placement of access door, choose the right-hand or left-hand option when you order.
You'll also need to install a Thetford service door (sold separately) to access your cassette from the outside.
Thetford Portable Toilets are available in a range of sizes and capacities. Larger capacity means you can go further without worrying about finding a RV dump site. The reliable and simple self-contained toilet system operates with a manual hand-flush lever that does not require electricity or running plumbing. The included water holding tanks makes this portable toilet easy to use and easy to put away when not in use.
Great for non-frequent users looking for compostable solutions that's better for breaking down waste and has less impact on our environment. Easy to dump waste using integrated pour spout.
Choosing the right RV toilet for your adventures is vital. Be sure to ask yourself those initial questions to better understand your needs, wants, and ability to maintain.
At the end of the day, the convenience of having a RV toilet will help you confidently travel, camp and explore in new places. Again, always be responsible when dumping your waste. Consider the environment and what impacts your waste will have. Never bury toilet paper, always dispose of waste properly, and remember to clean your toilets and waste tanks regularly.