Deciding between a porcelain RV toilet vs plastic requires understanding these toilets’ significant differences. One toilet can turn the RV into a mobile extension of a modern home, while the other focuses more on functionality.
Here’s a glimpse of how these two RV toilet types perform in a head-to-head matchup.
|Porcelain RV Toilet
|Plastic RV Toilet
|Aesthetics and function
|Moderate to high
|Low to High
Did we pique your interest? Good! In that case, read on because you’ll want to know if it’s time to replace your plastic RV toilet with China.
Let’s start with a brief rundown of these two RV toilet materials.
- Porcelain RV Toilets – These toilets are similar to those in homes and connected to a plumbing system. They feature a nonporous material for effortless cleaning while relying on ceramic’s natural antimicrobial properties to ward off germs.
- Plastic RV Toilets – Most plastic RV toilets are standalone gravity-flush units with a self-contained compartment for holding human waste. This attribute makes plastic commodes portable.
Some plastic toilets have a ceramic-like coating to make them impervious to moisture seepage. Unfortunately, this layer wears off over time, increasing the likelihood of an “unsanitary” commode.
Deciding on the ongoing plastic vs porcelain toilet debate requires comprehending these RV toilets’ differences.
Having a porcelain toilet in the RV is like having a piece of home. Unsurprisingly, many luxury and high-end RVs feature porcelain or ceramic toilets to give families a homey toilet experience on the go.
On the other hand, plastic toilets’ focus is solely on function—carrying human waste—without impacting the RV’s weight. As such, unlike porcelain fixtures, plastic toilets serve no purpose in terms of aesthetics or comfort.
Plastic RV toilets win this round, tipping the scale at 10 to 15 pounds at most. After all, lightweight construction is one of their biggest advantages.
Meanwhile, porcelain RV toilets can weigh about 30 to 50 pounds. Although it might not seem that hefty, some RVers might be too conscious about putting extra weight on their mobile homes, as this will increase fuel consumption.
3. Weight capacity
Commodes made from plastic can hold at most 300 pounds—and that’s stretching it. Most manufacturers would recommend a max capacity of 250 pounds for their plastic products.
Meanwhile, porcelain toilets for RVs can tolerate a much heftier load, usually at least 300 pounds. That said, it’s not uncommon for you to come across RV ceramic commodes with a weight capacity of up to 1000 pounds.
From this comparison, you can also draw the conclusion that plastic toilets are not as durable as their porcelain counterparts.
A benefit of durable construction is reliability, making porcelain toilets winners in this category. These fixtures can withstand the rigors of RVing while remaining impervious to weather fluctuations.
An issue with some plastic RV toilets is the liability of their parts. For example, plastic hinges can break. On the bright side, plastic commodes are more affordable than ceramic versions, so you can replace a broken toilet without breaking the bank.
Many porcelain RV toilet reviews underscore the fixture’s ease of cleaning, which extends to its sanitation. As porcelain is non-porous, commodes made from this material will not absorb human waste and its odor. Moreover, these toilets have antimicrobial properties.
On the other hand, plastic is porous, so unsanitary substances will seep into it, thus developing an unpleasant stench over time. It’ll also be a breeding ground for bacteria that can pose health risks.
Although porcelain is pricier than plastic, some RV toilet brands and models have nearly identical prices.
For example, the Dometic 310 porcelain RV toilet only costs a few dollars more than the plastic Thetford Aqua Magic V, with the two setting you back $115 and $112, respectively.
The dealbreaker would be shipping costs. Experience tells us lightweight items are more affordable to package and send out. Meanwhile, hefty objects (i.e., a porcelain RV toilet) can be more expensive to ship.
7. Cost and Value for Money
The price difference between ceramic and plastic RV toilets is less pronounced than most people think. There’s no question about these RV toilets’ functionality. However, porcelain units edge plastic in reliability, sanitation, and durability.
Moreover, ceramic RV toilets give you a residential toilet experience while on the go. They look more stylish, too. And if you pick a porcelain unit with a sprayer, we cannot think of a better value.
8. Pros and Cons
1. Porcelain RV toilet
- Non-porous structure makes it easier to clean and maintain
- Ceramic has antimicrobial properties
- Less susceptible to pressure (not easy to break)
- Lasts longer
- Hefty (can impact RV weight and fuel economy)
- Generally pricier
2. Plastic RV toilet
- Available in different types and forms, including portable units
- Most are inexpensive
- Higher likelihood of pressure-related breakage
- Its porous nature increases the chances of staining and can make cleaning more challenging
Which is Better?
Porcelain RV toilets are our hands-down favorite. It’s reliable, durable, and effortless to clean, with substantial antimicrobial properties. Although pricey and hefty, its “luxurious” charm should make any RV stand out.
Taking sides in the porcelain RV toilet vs plastic debate might seem a no-brainer, with ceramic products winning in almost every metric. However, plastic RV commodes still have a place in modern motorhomes due to their lightweight construction.
Budget remains a driving force in this comparison. Although the prices of plastic and ceramic RV toilets are becoming nearly similar, the latter’s heft can influence other cost-related concerns, including RV fuel economy.
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