An extensive guide to the best portable black water tanks that money can buy.
Camping in an RV is ideal for seeing the world at your own pace and disconnect from society for as long as you want. You have a place to sleep, cook, and even entertain. It’s also a good way to bond with your family if you decide to take a family trip.
While most people think of tents, sleeping bags, and campfires when they think of camping, there’s one other aspect of camping that one must consider – using the bathroom. If you find yourself often stopping at campsites that offer sewage disposal services, or you don’t travel for long periods of time, an expansion pack for your black water tank is probably something you won’t need.
However, those who spend most of their time traveling as far away from civilization as possible may want to consider purchasing an expansion pack for their tank.
There are many things to consider when buying a portable black water tank for RVs. For example, the capacity of the tank, drainage, the tow handle, and whether or not it comes with a full tank indicator, among other things. It’s certainly a lot to think about, but luckily for you, I’ve made things easier by answering all your pressing questions regarding portable sewer tanks for RVs.
RV Black Water Tank Buying Guide
The number of wheels that a portable septic tank for an RV comes with matters more than you know. You have two options here: 2-wheel or 4-wheel tanks. While 2-wheel tanks are much more cost-effective, 4-wheel tanks are easier to haul around. If you’ve never had to empty a tank before, you probably aren’t aware of their immense weight. A gallon of water weighs 8 lbs. Most portable sewer tanks can hold much more than this, so you do the math.
To say that these portable black water tanks for RVs are heavy would be an understatement. Ultimately, a 4-wheel tank is going to be the easiest to pull to your nearest sewage disposal.
The capacity of the tank is something else to think about when shopping for one. If you’re traveling alone, you may not need such a large black water tank. But if you are traveling with a large group of people, you may benefit from one that can hold more.
However, getting a bigger tank is that the fuller they get, the heavier they are. So while you won’t have to worry about dumping your tank as often with a larger expansion pack, you will need to consider how heavy it could get.
Lastly, one other thing to keep in mind is whether or not you have the space for a larger tank. Getting a bigger one would mean less space for you to store other items.
Full Tank Indicator
For obvious reasons, black water tanks aren’t typically made to be see-through. As a result, it can be hard to tell when they’re full. That’s why portable waste tanks that come with a full tank indicator should be on your list of things to consider. Full tank indicators come in the form of a bobber gage that will continue to rise the more it reaches capacity or as an indicator fill line.
If you’re not paying close attention to the tank indicator, you could end up having to deal with overspill.
The worst part about having a black water tank is going to be having to drain it. But if you’ve got a tank with a good draining system, it should be a piece of cake. Some tanks come with a cap and screw-on connections that make dumping sewage easy. A good sewage hose is also necessary to get everything out of the tank, so you want to make sure the one that comes with the tank is sturdy.
The location of the drain spout is also something you’ll want to take note of. Obviously, the closer it is to the ground, the less work you have to do.
As I mentioned earlier, transporting your sewage tank isn’t an easy feat. It’s heavy, and if you’re climbing up a hill to dump it, you’ll want to make your job as easy as possible. Tow handles are vital for black water tanks because they offer you an easy and convenient way to pull them around to the dumpsite. Tow handles can also hook onto the back of your RV to make carrying the black water tank on your RV that much more convenient.
Although most black water tanks already come with just about everything you need, it can’t hurt to purchase some extra accessories to have along the way. A clear gooseneck connector, for example, is an easy way to check and see if your tank has finished draining. You can also buy black water deodorizers to help with the smell while you’re traveling.
Best Black Water Tank for your RV
Here, I’ve listed the top 7 black water tanks I’ve found and broken them down for you by their features and their pros and cons. They vary from 2 to 4 wheel tanks, tanks with extra accessory kits, and gallon size.
Barker Tote Black Water Tank
The Barker 31342 Tote Tank is high on my list due to its 30-gallon capacity and heavy-duty wheels. This model comes with a sewer hose, a garden cap hose, two 3-inch hose adapters, and two 3 inch stainless steel adjustable clamps. What I love most about the Tote Tank is how easy it is to clean it.
- Easy to clean
- Has 30-gallon capacity
- Only has two wheels, making it more difficult to empty
Camco Rhino Heavy Duty Black Water Tank
The Rhino is ideal in more ways than one. While it only holds 21 gallons, it more than makes up for this in other ways. The Rhino comes with a ready-to-use kit that makes it easy for you to dump sewage. The accessories include a tank hose, ladder hook, and more. These accessories make it easier to clean and maintain the tank when it’s not being used. This tank can also be transported by hooking it onto a suitcase, other luggage, and even a golf cart.
- Easy to transport
- Easy to clean
- Only has two wheels
- Smaller than other tanks
SmartTote2 RV Portable Waste Tote Tank
The convenient and versatile SmartTote2 tank has 4-wheels and holds up to 35 gallons. It has large port openings, which means cleaning it out is easier than ever. It also has a handle that can hook onto your trailer hitch for easy transportation. It weighs just 29 lbs. and is ready to use right out of the box!
- Has 4 wheels
- The handle is known to break easily
Tote-N-Stor Portable Waste Transport
The easy-to-carry Tote-N-Stor is another good black water tank. It has the capacity to hold 32-gallons and is fairly easy to maneuver thanks to its rubber wheels. It also comes with a storage compartment for the fittings you usually need to drain your tank. The Tote-N-Stor also comes with 36 inches of 3 inches drain hose, 1 hose clamp, and a tow bracket included. It can also be used as a grey water tank.
- 32-gallon capacity
- Easy to drain
- Does not come with a level indicator
SmartTote2 Portable RV Waste Tote Tank
Although on the smaller side, the SmatTote2 Portable RV Waste Tote Tank is still a good purchase. It holds up to 12 gallons and can be used with any RV. It also comes with two rubber wheels and a built-in handle. This black water tank includes a level indicator that allows you to see just how full your tank is. This prevents overflow and a potential mess.
- Comes with a level indicator
- Can be used with any type of RV
- Easy to use
- Two wheels
- Smaller than other tanks
So as you can see, you have several good options when choosing a black water tank. It all just depends on your needs and what you’re looking to get out of the tank.
Barker 4-Wheeler Tote Tank
The Barker 4-Wheeler Tote Tank can hold up to 32 gallons and is made out of blow-molded polyethylene, zinc-plated steel, and aluminum, which means it’s pretty heavy duty. It’s got a smooth and quiet rolling tank, so you won’t need to worry about disturbing your neighbors when you go to drain it. Perhaps the best part about this tank is that you don’t have to lift it to drain it. You open the 3″ waste valve and connect the hose.
- Easy to drain
- Can hold up to 32 gallons
- 4 wheels
- The tank’s wheels have been known to fail
Tote-N-Store Portable Waste Transport 4 Wheeler
This black water tank has a built-in storage compartment that comes with a 3/4 inch garden hose cap, a 3-inch garden hose cap, a 3-inch straight hose adapter, a 15-inch garden hose, a 3-inch x 36-inch waste drain hose, and clamps. It’s an easy tank to drain, thanks to a convenient vent system. You can also keep track of the tank’s fill level thanks to the translucent sight tube that comes attached. Not only that, but you also get a built-in handle and a three-year warranty when you buy the Tote-N-Store 20123.
- Easy to empy and fill
- Comes with a warranty
- Comes with a built-in storage compartment to hold all of your tank’s accessories
- Has 4 wheels instead of 2
- Some people have reported leaks coming from their tank
Portable Black Water Tank Scenarios
Portable black water tanks come in handy more often than you might think. As I mentioned earlier, they are ideal for people who travel for extensive periods of time or travel with many people. There are several instances when you might need a portable black water tank.
Without a black tank, you are left having to find a spot for you to dump your sewage. If you’re in the middle of nowhere or you don’t want to risk losing your spot at a campsite, a black water tank can easily be transported without you having to move your entire RV. Not to mention, it can also hold extra sewage until you can find a proper drainage area, which may not be nearby.
Other times, you may not want to stop as often if you have a timeline and don’t want to fall behind. In this case, a black water tank can be useful as it can hold extra sewage until the next time that you stop.
How many gallons does an RV black water tank hold?
The amount of sewage that a black water tank holds depends on the size of your RV. A black water tank will typically hold around 18 to 64 gallons.
How do you bypass an RV holding tank?
Having to dump your tanks over and over again continuously can be inconvenient for some, particularly if you’ve made your RV your primary residence. As a result, you’ll end up bypassing the holding tanks altogether. But to do this, you have to replace the entire toilet and plumbing system in your RV. This can be extremely costly, and you will more than likely need to hire a professional company to do it for you.
Can you put bleach in your RV black water tank?
Because of the contents that your black water tank holds, your first instinct will be to want to douse it entirely in bleach once you’re done emptying it. However, this may not be a good idea. Bleach tends to dry our rubber seals in the tank and can ruin your sewage system.
The best way to clean your black water tank is by using an all-purpose cleaner, and if you have to use bleach, mixing it in with water to make a solution. You should not be pouring just straight bleach into your tank.
How often should you dump your black water tank?
Believe it or not, there is such a thing as dumping your black water tank too often. As much as you don’t want to be carrying gallons of sewage around, it’s important to wait until your tank is at least two-thirds of the way full before you empty it.
The longer you let it sit, the more time the solid waste will have to break down. Waste that isn’t broken down has the potential of getting stuck in the tank when you go to empty it. Not to mention waste can end up getting caked inside the tank, making it incredibly difficult to clean. I recommend dumping once a week to avoid any unsavory messes.
What is the difference between a grey and black water tank?
Your RV should have three tanks: a black water tank, a grey water tank, and a freshwater tank. Your freshwater tank should be pretty self-explanatory. It’s the water you use to shower or to wash dishes.
Your greywater, however, is what is referred to as the water you’ve used to shower or after you’ve finished washing the dishes. Your grey water tank will typically have soap and food residue in it, but nothing more than that. It is still important to clean your tank often and to dump it in the appropriate areas.
On the other hand, your black water tank is the tank that contains your sewage, aka human waste. Because the contents in your black tank are a biohazard, it’s important to dump them correctly. You also want to purchase a black water tank that is reliable and won’t fall apart on you.
At the end of the day, the subject of black water tanks isn’t exactly exciting, but it’s something to consider when you’re getting ready to go on a trip in your RV. There’s nothing worse than being stuck in the middle of nowhere unprepared.
With a portable black water tank, you’ll be able to enjoy your vacation without having to worry about constantly stopping to drain your sewage. And when the time comes to do it, it will be easy and effective thanks to the products we’ve reviewed.
Remember that it’s important to clean out your black water tank every time you use it by running fresh water through it. This will help to eliminate odors while keeping it clean. It would be best if you never emptied your black water tank in non-designated areas as it could have severe consequences.
It’s safe to say that a black, grey, and freshwater tank are necessities for campers, and when you’re choosing a tank for your RV, why not go with the best one?