In the distant past, the only way to travel for prolonged periods over land meant uncomfortable rides on horseback or by wagon. And it wasn’t just the rides that were solely unpleasant. The living conditions could try the hardiest pilgrim.

You would either have to camp out in tents or sleep under the moon with just a bedroll and the local fauna for company (yes, that includes mosquitos, spiders, snakes, and other potentially hazardous “locals”).

Fortunately, nowadays such travels are far, far more convenient and enjoyable thanks to recreational vehicles or RVs.

So Why Use an RV?

rv on the road

RVs have been a staple, especially in the United States, for people who like to be on the road for extended lengths (some even making it their permanent means of shelter, particularly in pockets of areas dedicated to mobile homes).

As such, RVs should provide all the comforts expected of a regular home would in the same situation: a functional kitchen, a comfortable bed, basic furnishings, but perhaps most importantly, a clean and environmentally friendly toilet.

After all, in the aforementioned olden days, going au naturale would likely not fly in the current civilized society, nor would it be easy to avoid being seen (or even recorded in this digital age of camera phones and closed-circuit cameras at every corner).

While many RVs come with a built-in toilet, some discerning consumers would prefer to customize their own. In such cases, there are considerations needed, such as the brand, the features, and the toilet sizes.

That last feature is particularly important, as the toilet of choice, at the very least, should fit snugly inside the RV without sacrificing too much space.

But what should one consider in order to discern among the many possible RV toilet sizes? Let’s take a look at some key factors to help give tips on choosing the right toilet for your particular RV.

What are the Different Types of Toilets for RVs?

rv toilet

There are generally 5 types of toilets available for consumers. These are the Cassette, Gravity Flush, the Macerating Flush, the Vacuum Flush, and the Portable.

  1. Cassette – This is basically the most compact choice of toilet option for RVs. The cassette actually refers to the waste tank, not the toilet itself, which has a section pulled out manually when cleaning and disposing of the waste.
  2. Gravity Flush –  The “traditional” toilet in both form and function for RVs. This essentially means, the waste is flushed into the waiting holding tank right under it (hence the “gravity” part of the type). Thus, there should be sufficient space for the holding tank to work properly. Gravity flushes usually use pedal mechanisms to use the flushing action.
  3. Macerating Flush – This toilet type is effectively a “blender,” powered by a motor to process and to disintegrate the waste before going into the holding tank. As such, the resulting compost is more viscous and easier to dispose of later. Due to this, the placement of the holding tank can be from a distance from the toilet (unlike the gravity flush which necessitates its placement directly under the bowl). Space considerations should be made for both the toilet and the mechanism, but it does give some freedom in selecting the areas where the components are placed.
  4. Vacuum Flush – This is the most complex of the toilet types available, as it is a combination of a vacuum pump and a macerating process. More efficient and can be positioned at a different location than the toilet lies the macerating flush version. However, it is understandably more expensive and requires more attention to maintain. It would also require considerations of how much water and electrical power you have access to at any given time.
  5. Portable Toilet –  While this is actually a bit of a cheat in this case, as portable toilets (colloquially referred to as “Port-o-Potty’s”) aren’t exactly installed as part of the RV itself. However, space is still a consideration in terms of how the RV will transport it during trips. Would it be placed inside the RV? Or would it be more convenient to have it attached outside and detached as needed? There are pros and cons to either choice.

Questions and Answers in Choosing the Right RV Toilet

man leaning on rv

Before going into the actual talk of toilet sizes for your RV, there are other considerations that should be nailed down first namely:

How Big is Your RV?

It probably should go without saying, but the overall size of your RV should be the first thing you should take into account before choosing between the toilet sizes. There’s no point in getting a great toilet, with all the flourish and perks, and then, later on, find it’s too big for your RV. Generally, the RV or motorhome would fall under 3 categories which usually dictate how big it is, from Class A, Class B, to Class C.

  • Class A RVs are generally the largest of the bunch, as big as a moderate-sized passenger bus or trailer trucks. There should be ample room in Class A’s that size shouldn’t be much of an issue.
  • Classes B RVs are the usual camper vans, just barely larger than regular sized commuter vans. It is admittedly odd that the smallest of the bunch should be the second type, but if yours falls under this category, then your options for toilet sizes are understandably limited.
  • Class C RVs are the middle ground RV sizes, ranging from about 30 to just short of 40 feet in length. This dedicates almost as much room for amenities as the Class A RVs, so there’s elbow room for choosing toilet sizes.

How Many Toilets Do You Want for Your RV?

toilet paper

Before going into the actual talk of toilet sizes for your RV, there are other considerations that should be nailed down first namely:

How Big Is Your RV?

So you know how big your RV is going to be, now how many do you want? While this quite obviously favors the Class A RVs for their massive size and space availability, while smaller RVs would likely be stuck with a single toilet.

If you do have a large enough RV to accommodate more than one toilet, you will have to choose a size that can be placed in different areas of the RV. If you’re going for a number of portable toilets, can your RV handle transporting multiples along for the ride?

It makes sense to have multiple toilets if you are going with a large group or extended families.

How Long Will You Be Travelling?

It seems trivial, but the length of time you’ll be dedicating to travel should be considered in comparing toilet sizes for your RV. Do you foresee short trips or extended vacations? The bigger the toilet, the more water it will likely need to keep it clean.

Due to this, being on the road longer means access to water sources would vary. Moreover, the water reservoir would have to be large enough to be convenient for the trip without needing to refill it too often.

Another point of consideration when traveling for longer periods is whether the RV can accommodate spare waste tanks.

Which is More Important to You: Comfort or Portability?

Let’s face it: the more comfortable a toilet is, the more space it would likely demand from your RV. On the other hand, a more space-efficient and compact toilet would sacrifice some comfort levels. Speaking of which…

Who Are You Traveling With?

This opens up other questions that should be addressed like the size of your group, what the age levels are of your traveling companions, their heights and widths, and such.

This is particularly important if there are elderly folks included in the group. This necessitates a higher profile for your RV’s toilet to avoid potential accidents that may occur.

This means the toilet should ideally have similar dimensions to a regular house’s toilet to allow for ease of use, as well as entrances and exits.

Where Do You Want the Toilet to Be Placed?

Do you want the toilet of your RV to be placed at the back of the vehicle? Or do you want it to be in the middle of the RV, near the main door?

Given the choice of placement, does it interfere with any other amenities such as the bed or sleeping area or the kitchen? By determining where you would prefer the toilet to be installed, you would get a better idea of the toilet sizes that best fits.

How Much is Your Budget?

The bigger the budget, the more options you have in nailing down the toilet size that’s best for your RV. This also determines whether you’re going for cheaper materials and less ergonomic construction of parts.

Put it simply: if you have the cash to spare, then the more likely you can afford a bigger, more comfortable toilet for your RV.

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Choosing the Right Toilet Size for Your RV – In Summary

toy rv

These important considerations in coming up with the right toilet size for your RV should help you make a sound decision.

Ultimately, this can be a case-by-case situation, but having these points in mind will hopefully assist your goal of finding the right choice among toilet sizes for your recreational vehicle in time for your next trip!