Best Cassette Toilet: Ultimate Guide to Van Life Toilets

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As a van lifer, finding a toilet on the go might not be as difficult as you think, with plenty of public restrooms available on your journeys. However, having your own toilet option, even as a backup, can provide peace of mind and convenience in those moments when you’re in a remote location, stealth camping, or during emergencies. 

As someone who lived in my van full-time for almost a year, I understand the importance of having a reliable toilet solution, which is why we want to introduce you to cassette toilets – a popular choice for van dwellers. I use a Dometic series cassette toilet in my van and can’t imagine traveling without it.

Cassette toilets provide a portable and convenient way to manage your bathroom needs while living on the road. With a separate waste container and flushing system, these toilets are designed for easy maintenance and disposal. With a portable waste tank and freshwater flushing systems, these toilets avoid needing to install a permanent black tank. If you’re wondering about the best cassette toilet for van life, you’ve come to the right place!

In this article, we’re going to dive deep into the world of cassette toilets, discussing some top contenders, and offering a detailed buying guide. So sit back, relax, and let’s explore the best ways for you to take care of business during your van life adventures.

What is a Cassette Toilet?

A cassette toilet is a type of RV or van toilet that has a removable waste tank, allowing you to easily empty it at a dump station or into a regular toilet. 

The way a cassette toilet works is quite straightforward. It has a flushing mechanism for the toilet bowl, which usually relies on a separate water supply that you need to fill. The waste is stored in a detachable tank, which often comes with a level indicator to let you know when it’s time to empty it.

My Dometic toilet stays out of sight

In comparison to other types of van life toilets, such as portable toilets, composting toilets, and bucket toilets, cassette toilets offer a balance of comfort and convenience.

Portable toilets are usually bulky, messy, and difficult to empty as you need to carry the entire unit when emptying. Cassette toilet waste is separated into an easy-to-carry container making it significantly easier to empty and clean.

Composting toilets typically separate solid and liquid waste, meaning that the unit is larger than cassette toilets.

Bucket toilets are the simplest form of portable toilets where waste is collected in a bag and needs to be disposed of immediately. Bucket toilets typically don’t have any odor control mechanism.

Cassette toilets are easy to install, require no plumbing, and if maintained properly, produce minimal odor. I remember being worried that the smell would be problematic in such a small space, but by using the recommended cassette toilet tabs it was never a problem.

There are some drawbacks to using a cassette toilet. You’ll need to use cassette toilet chemicals that help control odor and break down waste, and you’ll need to empty the waste tank regularly. Also, the capacity of the waste tank is limited, so you might need to empty it more frequently.

Despite these disadvantages, cassette toilets are an excellent option for van life and camping adventures. They provide a convenient and comfortable solution to waste management without needing plumbing, making them a popular choice for those who value portability and ease of use.

How to Use a Cassette Toilet

Using a cassette toilet is quite simple, and by following these steps, you’ll have a clean and efficient experience.

First, find a suitable location to install the cassette toilet in your van. Make sure it is secure and stable. Some models can be fixed to the floor or wall, while others are freestanding. I had my cassette toilet freestanding under a seat bench.

My Dometic toilet is stored under a seat bench

Then, fill the flush water tank with clean water. Some models have a built-in water tank, while others need to be connected to an external water source.

Next, add the appropriate amount of chemical additive to the waste tank. This will help reduce odor and liquefy the waste. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how much and how often to add the chemical.

Now you’re ready to use the toilet as you would normally. Press the flush button or pedal to rinse the bowl. The waste will be stored in the sealed waste tank.

It’s important to check the waste level indicator regularly to see how full the waste tank is. When it reaches about 80% capacity, it’s time to empty it. Remove the waste tank from the toilet unit. Some models have a handle or wheels to make it easier to carry. Make sure the tank is closed and locked before transporting it.

To properly dispose of the waste, find a suitable place like an RV dump station or a public restroom. Do not dump the waste in nature or in places where it can contaminate water sources or harm wildlife.

Open the spout or valve of the waste tank and pour out the contents into the designated receptacle. Rinse the tank with water and add some more chemical additives if needed. Close and lock the tank and return it to the toilet unit.

By following these easy steps, you’ll have a seamless experience using your cassette toilet while on the road.

Best Cassette Toilet Reviews

Here are the top five cassette toilets with their pros and cons, along with a brief description of each to help you make an informed decision.

Dometic Portable Toilet – Best Overall Cassette Toilet

This Dometic toilet is a go-to choice for its ergonomic design and comfortable seat height. With a 2.6 gallon flush water tank and a 5 gallon waste tank, this toilet uses a manual flush hand pump system. Additionally, it features a prismatic tank level indicator and a spring-loaded latch for secure tank separation. This is the toilet I use in my campervan and it works wonders. It’s one of the best cassette toilets on the market.


  • Ergonomic and comfortable design
  • Manual flush saves electricity and water
  • Prismatic tank level indicator
  • Easy waste disposal with spring-loaded latch


  • Manual flush requires some effort
  • Small flush water tank capacity
  • Heavier compared to other models

SereneLife Toilet

The SereneLife Toilet is a budget-friendly and functional choice. The seat height and size are standard, and it uses a bellow-type flush with a hand pump. With a 2.5 gallon flush water tank and a 5.3 gallon waste tank, it offers side latches for easy separation and a sliding gate valve to prevent leaks and odors.


  • Functional and affordable design
  • Leak and odor prevention
  • Easy waste disposal with side latches


  • Plain design might not suit everyone

Thetford Porta Potti 565e

The Thetford Porta Potti 565e boasts a sleek and modern design with a comfortable seat height. Its electric flush runs on 6 AA batteries, and it has 4 gallon flush water and 5.5 gallon waste tank capacities. The integrated pour-out spout and vent button makes waste disposal incredibly easy and mess-free.


  • Stylish and versatile design
  • Electric flush for convenience
  • Large, durable tanks
  • Easy waste disposal system


  • Requires batteries for flushing
  • Bulky and heavy design
  • Frequent chemical refills needed for odor control

Camco Standard Travel Toilet

The Camco Standard Travel Toilet is another affordable option with a functional design. It uses a bellow-type flush with a hand pump and offers a 2.5 gallon flush water tank and a 5.3 gallon waste tank. The sliding gate valve and side latches provide a secure seal and easy waste disposal.


  • Budget-friendly and functional design
  • Leak and odor prevention
  • Easy waste disposal with side latches


  • Bellow-type flush requires more effort
  • Frequent refills are needed to keep the flush water tank full

Kohree Toilet Camping Porta Potty

The Kohree portable toilet is a functional option with a 3.2 gallon flush water tank and a 5.8 gallon waste tank. It uses a bellow-type flush hand pump and features a sliding gate valve for a secure seal. Additionally, side latches make waste disposal a breeze.


  • Affordable and functional design
  • Leak and odor prevention
  • Easy waste disposal with side latches


  • Plain design might not suit everyone
  • Frequent fresh water refills needed

Cassette Toilet Buying Guide

Purchasing a cassette toilet for your van life needs can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! By taking into consideration factors such as size, installation, flushing, and maintenance, you’ll be well on your way to a comfortable and convenient bathroom solution. Let’s dive into each factor.

First, size matters. It’s essential to consider the dimensions, weight, and capacity of the cassette toilet and make sure it fits well within your van space. Measure the available space before buying a cassette toilet and choose a model with enough capacity for your usage. A lightweight and portable design is usually preferred for easy transport and space-saving.

Installation is also important. Decide whether you want a fixed or portable cassette toilet. Fixed cassette toilets require some installation work, such as securing it to the floor or wall, connecting it to your water system, and creating an access door for the waste tank. On the other hand, portable cassette toilets do not require any installation but take up more space in your campervan and need to be moved around when using or emptying them.

Think about the flushing mechanism. Do you prefer an electric or manual flush? An electric flush requires electricity and a water connection, making it easier and more efficient to use. A manual flush doesn’t require electricity or a water connection, but it may need more effort and water to operate effectively.

Most cassette toilets have separate units used to dump more easily

Consider maintenance. Easy maintenance is crucial for a hassle-free experience. Choose a cassette toilet with clear instructions, level indicators, and convenient features. Opt for a model made of durable materials like high-density polyethylene or ABS plastic to ensure longevity. Also, make sure the holding tank capacity is sufficient and leakage is minimized. There is specific toilet paper that assists with maintaining cassette toilets. Using regular toilet paper can make emptying your cassette toilet system more difficult.

By keeping these factors in mind, you’ll be able to find the perfect cassette toilet to make your van life adventures comfortable and enjoyable. Remember, it’s all about finding the right balance between portability, affordability, and ease of use that suits your specific needs. 

Our Verdict

Throughout this article, we’ve discussed various aspects of cassette toilets, from their functionality to their advantages and disadvantages.

Their convenience allows you to dispose of waste at any flushing toilet, making them an attractive option compared to a traditional RV permanent toilet that requires specific dumping stations.

We recommend the Dometic cassette toilet for your van life or camper van needs, thanks to its design, reliability, and user-friendly features. This investment will ensure a comfortable and stress-free experience while traveling and exploring the great outdoors.

Remember that proper maintenance and responsible waste disposal practices should always be observed when using a cassette toilet. By taking care of your equipment, you’re contributing to a greener and cleaner environment for yourself and future generations of travelers.

Here’s to enjoying many memorable journeys with the peace of mind that comes from having a reliable and discreet bathroom solution onboard. Safe travels!

Photo of author


Robert Johnson is the founder of Van Simply. He spent eight months traveling full time in his converted camper van and takes frequent shorter trips to explore the world. He enjoys taking his van on surf trips, visiting national parks, and meeting up with the wonderful people he has met on his travels.

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