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Incinerator Toilets: Can You Really Vaporize Your Waste?

There are lots of situations where traditional sanitation is not available. Boats, RV’s, off grid properties all need ways to deal with waste and may times just hold onto it and transfer to a traditional sewer treatment facility. While this works, there are some alternative options. We personally use waterless toilets and have tried many alternative toilet types.

Composting toilets are one option to break down waste with bacteria into a dirt-like substance. But what if you don’t want to deal with it at all? Enter the incinerating toilet that vaporizes waste!

What Is an Incinerator Toilet?

An incinerator toilet is a self-contained, waterless unit that works to dispose of human waste. It does this by literally incinerating your waste and turning it to ash. Sounds pretty wild, huh? But it really works. Here’s how:

Source: incinolet.com

How Do Incinerator Toilets Work?

Incinerator toilets operate using either electricity or natural gas/propane. However, you have to empty electric incinerator toilets more often than propane toilets. Once the toilet is full, you’ll turn the incinerator “on.” The cycle time differs depending on what kind of toilet you get. It may be as short as 30-40 minutes for electric toilets and up to 4 hours for gas toilets.

During the incineration cycle, the toilet’s interior chamber heats to as high as 1400 degrees Fahrenheit. So yes, you really can vaporize your waste! An exhaust vent hooked up to the toilet vents smoke and fumes out of the room during the cycle, so there is little to no odor. Once the incinerator cycle is over, all you’re left with is a tiny pile of ash.

Pros of Using an Incinerator Toilet in Your RV

If you’re wondering if an incinerator toilet is right for your needs, keep reading. There are pros and cons to this type of toilet. Let’s start with the pros.

First, most people find an incinerator toilet to be relatively easy to use and maintain. After the initial setup, there isn’t a lot of extra work for you. All you need to do is press a button, and “poof!” your waste is gone (in around 1-4 hours). There is much less “ickiness” compared to a composting toilet.

Source: cinderellaeco.com

There is even less cleaning. This is because an incinerator toilet uses special liners. You have to put in a new liner every time you go to the bathroom (which is a con). But the good news is, the liner keeps the toilet bowl clean!

Another positive is that incinerator toilets are completely waterless. This is great for boondocking, so you conserve fresh water and black water tank space. It is also virtually odor-free, so you don’t have to worry about stinky black tanks ever again!

And you can use an incinerator toilet in below-freezing temperatures. So, even if it gets chilly, your waste can be managed appropriately. Conversely, a composting toilet needs a warm place for microbes to do their work.

Incinerating toilets also sanitize the waste due to the high heat. Ashes are germ-free and will not transmit disease. This does not mean that the bowl section is completely germ-free, but dealing with the remains is much cleaner.

Finally, incinerator toilets are a great choice for RVers, and boaters because they are extremely compact. Their small size makes them functional and easy to use in a compact bathroom. We all know how tiny those bathrooms can be, after all.

Source: incinolet.com

Cons of Incinerator Toilets

Although there are many reasons to get an incinerating toilet for your RV or boat, there are some drawbacks.

First, these toilets are costly. You can spend around $2,000 to $3,500 or more on one of these toilets. Ouch! This price tag makes them the most expensive toilet on the market.

The largest con to incinerating toilets is their shear energy use. Typically, electric incinerating toilets use between 1.2 to 2.5 kWh per cycle and 2000 to 4000 watts! This is a significant load that might be hard for off-grid properties to handle. While they save tons of water, they sure make up for it in energy costs. While propane-fueled toilets use almost no electricity, their energy consumption is still very high per flush.

Another con is that there is sometimes a slight smell after incinerating. This is definitely nothing to squawk about if you have had a black tank before, though! The incineration cycle also takes some time. You can still use the toilet in some models while it is incinerating. However, most models will get overloaded if the unit is used too often. Overload can cause smell issues or damage to the burner. This means your toilet could be out of commission for a couple of hours.

Other Waterless RV Toilet Alternatives

Chances are, if you’re reading this, you are in the market for a waterless RV toilet.  But if you can’t stomach the price tag of an incinerator toilet, there are other options. You could opt for a dry flush toilet or a composting toilet. Both are totally waterless. And they come with a lower price tag than an incinerator toilet.

Incinerate Your Waste

Everyone’s gotta go, but the type of toilet you use is up to you. If you want something waterless, compact, and virtually odor-free, the incinerator toilet is a great option. You will enjoy the ease of use and the lack of work needed to deal with waste. Just be prepared for a hefty price tag if this is the way you decide to go. 

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About Tom Morton

Tom, a Pacific Northwest native, is our technical genius. Born in Washington and raised in Alaska before settling in Michigan. He's the man who keeps our operation running, both figuratively and literally.

With a background in Electrical Engineering, Tom specializes in RV solar systems and lithium batteries. He made history as the first documented individual to use a Tesla battery module as an RV battery. Tom has personally assisted countless RVers with system installations and has educated thousands more through his videos and articles.

Cinematography is another of Tom's passions, showcased in his work on the Go North series. You can see his camera skills on display in The RVers TV show on Discovery Channel and PBS where he also stars as a co-host.

Tom's mechanical expertise extends beyond RVs to boats, planes, and all things mechanical. He's renowned for taking on maintenance and repair projects single-handedly and is often spotted underneath RVs, making him the technical backbone of our endeavors.

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Stacey Shub

Sunday 5th of June 2022

Can you use solar as the power soure? i am trying to figure this all out - to run electric from the pole to my tiny house will be over 20K. no way.

Mortons on the Move

Sunday 22nd of January 2023

Solar can do anything, you just need the right amount. I really will depend on how much it uses and how much battery / panels you have. Check out our solar sizing article to run the numbers https://www.mortonsonthemove.com/how-much-solar-power-do-you-need/

Stacie

Wednesday 13th of April 2022

We have been using our incinolet for two years now and mainly love it. The only time it gets annoying is if the wind is blowing the wr9ng way and does send the stink back in the house (we live in a container home.) It is super easy to clean, and gives way for bad humor, such as, "I'm gonna go put another log on the fire." Considering the costs of installing a septic system, this is a great solution for those who are living smaller, more eco-friendly lives.

Mortons on the Move

Saturday 23rd of April 2022

Thanks for your thoughts!

Poo Bear

Wednesday 30th of March 2022

Sounds like you two have got your shit together!

John

Thursday 4th of February 2021

Another great blog Would this be something that a manufacturer would be better off doing or is it a simple enough project to add a fuel line, electrical along with possible circuit requirements, ventilation and remove unused black tank? For boondockers, is the incineration process a wait until you are on hookups item so that you do not kill your batteries or deplete your propane and if so, how long can you stay out before heading in? I really appreciate you guys giving us information and innovations provide options to fine tune our experiences to our lifestyles. Thanks, again

Dave Broer

Thursday 4th of February 2021

This isn't a new concept. GM's RV from the 70s did this using heat from the exhaust. I'm not sure why the concept isn't used more.

Mortons on the Move

Thursday 4th of February 2021

Yea that was the thermasan, a bit different in concept but did the same thing. I actually have lots of info about that original system and should write an article about it :)