Composting Toilets vs. Traditional RV Toilets: Which One is Right for You?

Composting Toilets vs. Traditional RV Toilets: Which One is Right for You?

When it comes to choosing a toilet for your van or RV, there are two main options to consider: composting toilets and traditional RV toilets. Each type has its own advantages and considerations, and the choice ultimately depends on your personal preferences, lifestyle, and environmental consciousness. In this article, we will compare composting toilets and traditional RV toilets to help you determine which option is right for you.

Composting Toilets

Composting toilets have gained popularity among van lifers and RV enthusiasts who prioritize sustainability, minimal water usage, and the ability to stay off-grid for extended periods. Here are some key factors to consider:

1. Eco-Friendly and Sustainable

Composting toilets are designed to promote environmentally friendly waste management. They use the natural process of decomposition to break down human waste into compost, which can be safely disposed of or used as a fertilizer for plants. Composting toilets help minimize water usage and reduce the environmental impact associated with traditional sewage systems.

2. Water Conservation

Composting toilets require little to no water for flushing, making them an excellent option for those who want to conserve water while living on the road. This is particularly beneficial when camping in remote areas where water availability may be limited.

3. Off-Grid Capability

Composting toilets allow for extended periods of off-grid living since they do not require a connection to traditional sewage systems. They provide a self-contained waste management system, making them suitable for boondocking or camping in locations without access to dumping facilities.

4. Odor Control

Modern composting toilets are designed to minimize odors through ventilation systems and the use of natural composting materials like peat moss or coconut coir. With proper maintenance and management, odors can be effectively controlled.

Traditional RV Toilets

Traditional RV toilets, commonly found in motorhomes and campers, are more akin to residential toilets. Here are some considerations regarding traditional RV toilets:

1. Familiarity and Convenience

RV toilets closely resemble traditional flush toilets found in homes, making them familiar and easy to use for many people. The flush mechanism, water supply, and waste disposal process are similar to those in residential settings.

2. Ease of Maintenance

Traditional RV toilets typically have a simple waste disposal process. Waste is stored in a black water tank, which needs to be regularly emptied at designated dumping stations. Some models may require the use of chemicals to control odors and facilitate waste breakdown.

3. Availability and Accessibility

Since traditional RV toilets are commonly used in RV parks and campgrounds, finding dumping facilities is usually easier compared to composting toilets. This convenience may be important if you frequently stay at established campgrounds or RV parks.

4. Water Usage

Traditional RV toilets require a significant amount of water for flushing, which can be a concern when boondocking or in areas with limited water availability. Water conservation may be less achievable with this type of toilet.


Choosing between a composting toilet and a traditional RV toilet depends on your priorities, environmental values, and lifestyle preferences. Composting toilets offer eco-friendly waste management, water conservation, off-grid capabilities, and odor control, making them ideal for sustainability-minded individuals. Traditional RV toilets provide familiarity, convenience, ease of maintenance, and accessibility to dumping facilities, which can be advantageous for those who frequently stay in established campgrounds. Consider your needs, sustainability goals, and comfort level with alternative waste management systems to make an informed decision about the right toilet option for your van or RV lifestyle.

Back to blog