The first thing that comes to your mind when you want to start your adventure on the road is how you’re going to use the facilities. You only want the best when you are taking a number one or a number two. There are different types of RV toilets that you can choose from, aside from the traditional toilet that is similar to a household.
RV toilet alternatives that you can install in your RV are bucket toilet (fills up too quickly), cassette toilet (you’ll experience the odors of dumping wastes), dry or composting toilet (no smell, and can last for three to four weeks between unloading solids). These three types of RV toilet alternatives can meet your daily needs in the bathroom.
Dry or Composting Toilet: The Closest to a Regular RV Toilet
Unlike the regular RV toilet, a dry or composting toilet doesn’t use water. So when you have this type of toilet, you can expect your freshwater tank to last much longer. The best thing about this RV toilet alternative is it separates the liquid or the pee from the solids or the poo. It prevents the two from mingling and creating a rotten egg smell of raw sewage.
Another advantage of the composting toilet is there’s no need for a black tank. Now, a black tank’s purpose is to capture and store waste that is flushed down the toilet. By installing a composting toilet in your RV, you are free of any maintenance. This maintenance means no dumping a sewage mess or dealing with the stinky smell.
Lastly, a composting toilet is easy to empty, and the waste can be disposed of almost anywhere. Usually, the liquid tank lasts two to three days and, since it’s just urine, it can be dumped down any toilet or other responsible place. The solid tank contents can be dumped into a trash bag or through the nearest dump station.
The following are some of the best dry or composting toilets that you can find on the market.
Nature’s Head Self Contained Composting Toilet
When you are looking for an environmentally-conscious toilet alternative, Nature’s Head is a great fit. It is a waterless toilet that conserves natural resources. This toilet typically uses one to four gallons per flush, so it will help you save up to 20 gallons of water each day when you have this toilet.
Now, instead of flushing, you just turn the toilet handle to mix your toilet waste and catalyze the composting process. The Nature’s Head Self Contained Composting Toilet either has crank handles or spider handles. The crank handles use more energy and require more space, while the spider handles are better for tight-fit toilets.
The Nature’s Head Self Contained Composting Toilet’s top section looks and felt like a normal RV toilet. However, it is made with stainless steel, so you don’t need to worry about rust or corrosion. It is also much easier to clean, and its elongated seat also makes the toilet more comfortable to use.
The Nature’s Head Self-Contained Composting Toilet has its own fan, vent, and hose to keep the unpleasant smell from spreading inside your RV. The hose can be used to pump the composted waste into a public sewer. It only needs 12 volts to run, so you can use a battery or RV motor to suck out the waste.
On occasions where you forget to flip the switch or when the fan isn’t on, it will generate a stronger smell. However, since this toilet uses sawdust and natural peat, the smell can be bearable. Rather than the smell of a dirty toilet, it will smell more earthy, almost like the scent of woods with a light drizzle.
There are a couple of downsides to the Nature’s Head Self Contained Composting Toilet. One is it needs peat moss or sawdust, which has to be bought separately, and it doesn’t go down the public sewer. So you will have to find a safe location to dispose of the toilet waste. If you have a friend who has a garden, you can offer this free fertilizer to a friend.
The Nature’s Head Self Contained Composting Toilet is also a bit expensive, and you will need the budget to get it. In Amazon, the cost of this RV toilet alternative is $960.
Separate Villa 9215 Composting Toilet
Composting toilets work by evaporating the liquid and controlling the solid waste decomposition. It works best when solid waste stays separate from each other. The Separett Villa 9215 Composting Toilet uses a Swedish design so that you can expect minimalist Scandinavian engineering with this toilet. This model is made for US use, so its measurements and components match the US requirements.
This toilet has a bio-tablet for cleaning, but it’s only one. To keep your toilet clean, you just need to rinse it with white vinegar at least once a week. The outer part is made with plastic so that you can wipe it with a damp cloth dipped in mild soap. It is easier to clean than the regular toilets since there’s no scrubbing required.
However, the installation can be challenging since it does need plumbing. This process makes it a little tougher to install than the other composting toilet in the market. There is no need to fret since it comes with everything you need to install the toilet, such as Allen wrenches.
You also have to manually fit the pipes that guide the smell out of the house, meaning you can attract bottle flies and other toilet pests. The toilet comes with an insect screen to keep the pests out of your composting toilet. If you don’t want to decompose the waste inside the toilet, you would have to empty it at least once a month.
The Separett Villa 9215 Composting Toilet is a bit more expensive than the Nature’s Head since it costs $986 on Amazon.
Camco Portable Compost Toilet: Budget Friendly
When it comes to the composting process of the toilet, it is important to keep solids and liquids separate. The Camco Portable Compost Toilet separates the flush tank from the waste storage tank, and they are linked by two firm latches which prevent contamination, where the latches are designed to keep the toilet seat from sliding off when it is in use.
Now, this isn’t a dry toilet and only uses a few ounces per flush. It carries a 2.5-gallon portable cistern. This means that almost half the water is used for flushing a regular toilet. However, the mechanism can easily slide apart when you want to empty the toilet’s 5.3-gallon waste tank.
If you want the waste to decompose safely, you can purchase Camco TST as it deodorizes the toilet as well as partially treats your waste before you dump it out. It is also biodegradable, so it’s safe for septic tanks and outdoor disposal. Now, filling the toilet is easy since it has two caps located below the toilet cover.
One cap can be unscrewed to fill in your flushing water, and the other cap can be pressed down to flush the toilet. The toilet seat is comfortable, compact, safe, and can be wiped clean with a damped rag. The best part about this toilet is the top flush tank is separated from the bottom waste tank by using a sliding gate valve.
The valve is both waterproof and scent proof so when you snap the latches shut, the two sections of the toilet will securely hold together. You can lift the toilet without worrying about any smelly accidents.
Now, with the Camco Portable Compost Toilet’s disadvantage is time. The tank is not as big as the typical composting toilet, so you would need to empty the toilet daily. It is easy to carry around and completely odor-free, which makes it great whenever you are camping.
The Camco Portable Compost Toilet is not made with a plastic liner, so you will need to bleach your holding tank when cleaning it. This is the cheapest RV toilet alternative that you can buy in the market since it only costs $94.61 on Amazon.
Sun-Mar GTG Composting Toilet: Basic and Simple Design
The Sun-Mar GTG Composting Toilet has a D-shape seat and a conical base that aligns with European sensibilities. It is a great way to bring style into your RV. It is a one-piece toilet that can be installed in minutes.
With this composting toilet, there are separate chambers for liquid and solid waste. This means there are no cranks or mechanisms for turning your solid waste. This means that it doesn’t compost naturally in the toilet, so you still have to dump it into a dump station. It is made from fiberglass and held together with metal hinges as well as screws. With these features, this composting toilet is heavier than the others mentioned here.
If you are looking out for the weight of your RV, this might not be the best composting toilet for you. You have to remove and empty the urine bottle and waste bucket individually. Once the fiberglass cracks, the toilet is prone to smells and leaks.
Now, the cracks are not life-threatening, and you can repair them with basic tools. However, it may take a lot of time to fix the crack. So, to avoid this from happening, you would need extra care to keep it usable. If not, then you may end up with more trouble than it’s worth.
The Sun-Mar GTG Composting Toilet costs $629 on Amazon.
Cassette Toilet or Cartridge Toilet
A cassette toilet is known as a permanent toilet with a portable black tank. This toilet system has been used around the United States for decades and can be found on Class B RV motorhomes. The major benefit of a cassette toilet is its portable holding tank.
The portable tank can be removed and dumped into dump stations or public bathrooms instead of the traditional holding tank. Don’t mistake a cassette toilet for a portable toilet as they are different. A cassette toilet is permanently attached to an RV. However, both the portable and cassette toilets have a portable waste tank that can be removed for dumping.
There are three main components for the cassette toilet: the toilet, portable waste tank, and water source. As mentioned above, the toilet is permanently secured to the outer wall of the driver’s side of the RV. The toilet bowl turns up to 180 degrees on its base to maximize the small space that you have in the RV.
The flush button on the toilet is installed on the wall of the bathroom above the toilet. The water is connected to the RV’s central water tank, and next to the flush button is the waste tank level indicator. There are some models that have their own water holding tank for flushing.
The cassette toilet is the closest to the normal RV toilet that is installed in a motorhome. The portable waste tank usually sits below the toilet and can be accessed from a door on the driver’s side. There will be a lock on the door to prevent theft of the portable waste tank.
Thetford Porta Potti 135: Smallest Cassette Toilet
If you have limited space in your RV, the Thetford Porta Potti 135 is the best choice for you. Now, since this is a small toilet, the waste tank can only hold 2.6 gallons. This means that you would have to empty it twice as often as you would other cassette models.
The freshwater tank also holds about 2.6 gallons which offer about 27 flushes whenever it is full. The Thetford Porta Potti 135 comes with a bellow flush handle and a rotating pour-spout, making it easy to empty. This model is durable, has a clean design, and has a removable seat and cover.
It is also easy to use and has a sealed valve that keeps odors in the holding tank. Rest assured that you can keep your RV smelling great even with the Thetford Porta Potti 135. The dimensions of this toilet are 13.54 x 12.13 x 15.12 inches and weigh eight pounds.
The Thetford Porta Potti 135 is available on Amazon for $134.99.
SereneLife Outdoor Cassette Toilet
The SereneLife Outdoor Cassette Toilet is a go-to comfort wherever you are and lets you go whenever nature calls. The waste tank is able to hold 5.3 gallons, so you can go without having to empty it on multiple days. It has a double-sealed drain valve that prevents leaks and odors from ensuring that the smell won’t spread in your RV.
The SereneLife Outdoor Cassette Toilet is budget-friendly, has a large holding tank, an easy rotating pour-spout, and a large freshwater tank. It has a piston pump that you can use to simply flush up to 50 times with the 3.2-gallon freshwater tank. It also comes with a discreet carrying case in case you need to dispose of the waste in a dump station.
Unlike other cassette toilets, it comes with a spout with its own carrying case. All you have to do is insert the components, cinch it up, and you will be ready to go. It is also ultra-lightweight and convenient for RV living. It also comes with a cool carrying bag so you can take it out of your RV and bring it with your outdoor adventures.
You can say that this cassette toilet is the whole package. The dimensions of this toilet are 16.5 x 14.6 x 16.9 inches and weigh 11.3 pounds. The SereneLife Outdoor Cassette Toilet is available on Amazon for $96.99.
Earthtec ETEC Non-Stick Sanitary Cassette Toilet
The Earthtec ETEC Non-Stick Sanitary Cassette Toilet comes with a nano-technology coating, so every time you flush, nothing gets stuck to the sides and minimizes undesirable odors. The tank can hold five gallons with a 2.8-gallon freshwater tank capacity to flush up to 50 times.
The waste holding tank comes with a swing-out discharge for an easy empty process. However, some customers are complaining about the nano-technology for not being great in heat or sunlight. The heat can ruin the coating and make it more of a hassle for the RVer. Now, if you are an RVer that chases the sun, this might not be the best option for you.
The Earthtec ETEC Non-Stick Sanitary Cassette Toilet measures 16.5 x 14.6 x 16.9 inches and weighs 12.96 pounds. It is available on Amazon for $150.14.
Zimmer Portable Cassette Toilet
The Zimmer Portable Cassette Toilet is also great for small RVs as it offers great portability and versatility. It has a basic model for people who are looking for short-term portability. This cassette toilet offers a surprisingly large waste tank and a great simple flush pump.
The tank can carry about three gallons of fresh water and 5.3 gallons of wastewater. Now, it doesn’t require any power for flushing and can flush up to 70 times. It is easy to carry around and made out of heavyweight and durable polyethylene.
The main advantage of the Zimmer Portable Cassette Toilet is its smart simplicity, and it’s not about frills and features when it comes to this toilet. It has a sealed valve that makes sure there’s no leak, and it is smell-proof every time. There’s no need to assemble it since it arrives fully assembled.
Rest assured that this sturdy and compact machine will get the job done, and keep doing it for your RV. When you don’t have the budget to buy a cassette toilet, this is the best choice for you. It is easy to carry around unless it is full, so you may want to empty it ahead of time if you plan on carrying it from one place to another.
The Zimmer Portable Cassette Toilet is available on Amazon for only $69.99.
The Bucket Toilet: Great for Off Gridding
When using a bucket toilet in your RV, you might be worried about the smell that it might put out since, technically, it’s just a bucket with a toilet seat on it. When you live in a small space, you want your toilet to be out of sight and mind.
You want to lessen the gross factor by separating the two because if you only have one, they will tend to mix together, and you don’t want that to happen. When using one bucket toilet, you may cause the water to slosh around, and you might splatter human waste all over the place, creating a hygiene crisis.
Now, these are just some of the reasons why you don’t want to stick to one bucket toilet. It is best to have two bucket toilets that are designated for pee and poop. Having two bucket toilets is not only for good hygiene purposes, but also it is great for your health.
Fecal matter contains all sorts of viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens, which can cause different types of sickness. Now, it doesn’t take a scientist to use and create a bucket toilet.
Setting Up and Using the Bucket Toilet System
To avoid any confusion, make sure to label one bucket as ‘pee’ and the other one as ‘poo.’ Make sure that you have a lid for each bucket to avoid the smell from spreading inside your RV. Line the poo bucket with a sturdy plastic bag and one that is environmentally friendly.
You can put some carbon material near the toilet area, such as kitty litter, shredded paper, etc. Of course, do not forget to have toilet paper nearby so that you are always ready to go.
Once your toilet bucket is ready to go, choose the appropriate toilet and do your business. Put the toilet paper that you’ve used into the poo bucket, and remember never to put the toilet paper in the pee bucket. Once you are done using the poo bucket, sprinkle about 1/2 a cup of carbon material on top of the fecal matter.
The next step is to close the lid on the toilet after use. Every day, or whenever the buckets are full, dump the pee bucket in the nearest dump station.
Things to Remember When it Comes to Bucket Toilet
If you want to use a bucket toilet, you need to make sure that you have a lid. You can use the lid that comes with a standard five-gallon bucket, but it won’t be too comfortable to sit on. Do not use the standard toilet seat on top of your bucket toilet.
One of the main reasons why is that a standard toilet seat won’t form a tight seal over the bucket. This means that the smell will get out, and it can attract flies into your RV. It will also not sit securely, so you might end up falling into your toilet bucket.
You can create your own bucket toilet seat by cutting a hole out of plywood and then using nails and caulk to attach to a regular toilet seat. Now, if you don’t want to do all the work, you can also buy one on Amazon for $15.99.
When choosing the right RV alternative for you, you need to look at its convenience, features, and if it is worth the price. From DIYs to different toilets that you can buy on the market, you can ensure that your life on the road will be as comfortable as possible. There is no need to find a place to relieve yourself or hold it in since you can’t find the next rest stop. Making sure that you have an RV toilet alternative can make full-time RV living much easier.