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Cassette Toilet Vs Black Tank: Which Should You Choose?

Written by Philip Lopez / Fact checked by Paul Lemaire

cassette toilet vs black tank

One of the things we value when RVing is having a good place to go to when nature calls. This brings us to the cassette toilet vs black tank debate.

A cassette toilet seems ideal for one person or two. The daily disposal makes this item clean, but you need to hold the dump storage. On the other hand, a black tank provides a larger waste tank capacity, but you need to be mindful of clogs.

Let’s get to know each type of toilet below.

Table of Contents

What Is a Cassette Toilet?


An RV cassette toilet comes with a portable holding tank more petite than a black tank. This toilet is affixed permanently near the wall, with the waste container easily accessible for disposal. The tank sits just below the toilet.

The most significant advantage of using this type of toilet is the convenience of endless dumping options. However, it would help if you did this task more frequently as the tank is small.

A cassette toilet has a few moving parts, making it easy to clean and repair. Since there are no exterior dump lines, you don’t have to worry about the contents freezing in the winter.

How Does a Cassette Toilet Work?


Like any typical toilet, a cassette toilet has a flush, a bowl, and a holding tank. It has a sliding valve between the tank and the bowl to keep the waste in place during traveling.

Using a cassette toilet isn’t that different from a black tank:

  • You need to make sure that you use anti-clogging toilet paper. Before you poop, add water to prevent the toilet paper from sticking to the bowl’s sides.
  • Make sure to close the lid before you flush so no aerosolized bacteria are spread out.
  • When the tank level indicator turns red, it’s time to empty the contents. You can get the tank out through the rig’s lockable door outside.

What Is a Black Tank?

As its name implies, the black tank is where the waste goes from the RV toilet. These wastes include human waste, flushed water, and toilet paper. You should use RV-specific paper or these alternatives to prevent clogging the pipes.

This tank is more extensive than cassette toilets, so you don’t have to make frequent trips to dumpsites. The only limitation is that you need to dump the waste in a city sewer, which is hard to find.

How Does a Black Tank Work?

The black water in toilet tank is essentially all your toilet sewage. It can weigh as much as 50 gallons, depending on how large the tank is.

You don’t want to wait for the container to fill up to the brim, or you’ll end with a terrible mess. Monitor your sensors or observe how the toilet flushes down. If it makes a burping sound, the tank must be emptied.

Comparing Cassette Toilet With Black Tank


Now, let’s take a closer look at the features and usage of each toilet type.

1. Installation And Cost

Getting a cassette toilet for RV is cheaper than a black tank system. Unlike black tanks, cassette toilets only have a few parts to install.

  • You only need to hook the toilet onto a wall and screw it to the floor. Then, connect the water hose to the water system and seal the base with a silicone joint.
  • To install a black tank, you’ll need a sound plumbing system to allow you to work a flush toilet in your RV. The black tank should be below your toilet, near the gray tank, which stores all the dirty water from showers and sinks.

2. Dumping Process

  • Emptying a cassette toilet is pretty straightforward. You can do it in any dump area without waiting in long queues, which is less tiring after a long day.

Simply take out the portable waste tank and remove the spout cap to pour the waste contents.

The best part is that there are many places to dump. You can do it in vault toilets, campgrounds, and home toilets. However, you need to dump a cassette toilet system more frequently.

    • Dumping the contents of the black tank is also relatively easy.

It only takes a simple hose hookup to the sewer, but you need to find a nearby dump station, which may not be available when boondocking.

The only silver lining is that you can do the cleaning less frequently than with cassette toilets, about once every 3-5 days.

3. Cleaning And Maintenance

  • After you dump a cassette toilet, you can clean the holding tank immediately. Simply add water to the tank, shake it around to remove any residue, and then pour it out.

Having a cassette toilet for camper purposes seems easier to maintain because the few moving parts are readily available for replacement.

  • Keeping the black tank clean needs a lot of work.

You should use your favorite deodorizer or chemicals to keep it odor-free. Before you hit the road, you need to add some black tank treatment to prevent clogging the plumbing system with toilet paper and solid waste.

A black tank also needs a regular deep cleaning process to help maintain its normal operation. You don’t want any blockage to happen because it means expensive costs to hire a plumber and replacement of some parts.

4. Capacity

Cassette toilets are smaller than their black tank counterparts. A small cassette toilet can hold waste of up to five gallons. Because of their small capacity, these models are ideal for 1-2 people only.

A black tank capacity provides a larger capacity of 15-50 gallons. This significant amount of storage best suits a larger family.

5. Sanitation

With all toilets, you have to deal with unpleasant smells when the waste gets stored for too long.

In this regard, the black tank can potentially secrete more odor because its large tank capacity can contain more waste for several days. On the bright side, it’s more sanitary, as you can dump the waste hands-free.

On the other hand, a cassette toilet won’t stink your RV up too much, since you have to remove the waste after a day or two. However, you must carry a dirty container with your hand, which can be too up close and personal.


There’s actually no definite answer on which is better in the debate between cassette toilet vs black tank. Everybody has a preference, and it all depends on what you think will work best for you.

A cassette toilet works well for 1-2 individuals RVing in winter, while a black tank suits a larger family that likes to dump wastes without getting near them.

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