Gear Review: Once you go Lavac, you never go back

You might remember the great toilet crisis, followed by our installation of a manual Lavac toilet.


Or maybe you’ve repressed it?


IMG_0808The installation was 5 years ago this month. We have the no electricity Lavac Popular Model. We get no kickback for our review; we are just happy customers. The custom handle in this photo was provided for us by the coolest crew in the world, Ryan and Christine, who took a lot of time, energy, and I’m certain dollars in order to create the coolest Lavac flushing handle you will ever see.


Other than vinegar treatments, and changing the lid seals one time, in 5 years we have done absolutely no maintenance on the toilet. We have not rebuilt the pump. We have not needed to.


This is absolutely, fan-freaking-tastic-ly, amazing. There is not a single marine product that we have purchased that I am more happy with than my manual Lavac toilet. You might find this enthusiasm weird, but if you are a boater, or have done any work on septic systems, you may also understand.


I cannot tell you how many times we rebuilt the pump in the three years we owned our Jabsco toilet prior to buying the Lavac but we at least changed the joker/choker valve at least once a year and rebuilt the entire pump more than once.


Yes, a Lavac (even the manual kind like ours) is expensive, but you want to know how much I would pay to not open up a pump that is full of crap? At least as much as a Lavac. Seriously, no contest. And when I say a pump full of crap I am not being metaphorical.


The only downside: In certain sea states, and at heavy angles of heel on a port tack (Lavac is to starboard) we find that there seems to be a pumping effect from the inflow that can fill the bowl even when the lid is open. This is true even with an antisiphon valve. Our bowl top is above the waterline when we are flat but not when heeled or rolling and so in those conditions we have to shut the seacock. We didn’t sail enough sea miles wit our Jabsco to know whether this is an effect of our configuration, installation and plumbing or the type of toilet.


  1. We bought a Lavac to replace our forward head - for my birthday. I was so excited! But we just couldn't fit the dang pump handle ANYWHERE. Now I am jealous. But happy for you ;)

    1. I used to have callouses on my hand fron that stupid t-handle most marine toilets have!

    2. Probably matches the one I usually have. But it's gone a ways right now, as we've been in the yard for 2 months. Next week I get to start building it back up, hopefully. Enjoy that fancy, callous-less Lavac! :)

  2. FYI, we had a Raritan PHII that also had issues on port tack which required us to close the seacock, so that is not a issue specific to this model.

  3. Love ours, but I have had to rebuild the pump- Once- in ten years

  4. Ever since I bought my Lavac about 10 years ago, I've never had a single problem and no longer get paranoid about guests flushing toilet paper. After an Atlantic crossing from Canada with a broken toilet (can't even remember the make and I'll spare you the terrible details), I fell in love with my I just take it for granted. I didn't find it expensive.
    I don't have the "overflow" problem you described because mine gets its water from a "distribution" tank - one boat, one underwater throughull.

    1. Always loved the idea of a single underwater intake.



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