Last Updated on January 11, 2022
RVing allows us to explore and travel while spending time with family and friends. You get to visit any destination while maintaining the freedom to move to new adventures as you discover them. The choices for fun are endless, but that is not the first choice you have to make. When I was looking to buy an RV, I considered that I would be living in it full-time, so I knew it will lose value fast. But which RV is the best to get and which is the most affordable?
Is it a gas guzzler, or can you save money with a smaller rig? It totally depends on your needs and what you’re looking for in an RV. But I can give you some tips to help you find the perfect one for you.
We all know that there is no one “best” RV for everyone. What might be the perfect fit for one person could be a total disaster for someone else. Whether you’re a full-time RVer or just hitting the open road for weekends and holidays, everyone wants to get the most bang for their buck. Keep reading to learn more!
The RV you pick will be based on a few factors.
- How often will you be traveling?
- Do you have pets?
- How many people will be traveling with you?
- Will you be mainly in RV parks or boondocking in the middle of nowhere?
- Will your trips be short, or will you be living in the RV?
- Are you planning to RV in the very hot or very cold weather?
There are different classes of RV, each with specifications that meet your needs based on the answers to these questions. Depending on the class that best works for you, these are the top picks for you to consider.
Class A RVs
These are larger bus-style RVs that can sleep between 8 and 10 people. These are better suited for RV-living and longer trips, so you have most of your home comforts on the road with you.
These are great choices for groups of people who want to camp together, especially for extended trips. They are also great if you’re traveling with pets and family because they offer more space. The top Class A RVs for the money are:
Newmar is a name you can trust in the RV world, and their Dutch Star is a luxurious RV with all the features you could ask for. Choose from 13 different floor plans, including one with a king bed and a 35-inch radius shower. Spacious kitchen, dinette, and living space with two sofas are standard, and you can add on a washer and dryer. You also get three slide-outs to create space for the whole family.
Tiffin Open Road Allegro is a great runner-up option for class A RVs. For the money, the Tiffin is reliable. Typically Tiffin is known for diesel rigs, but the Open Road Allegro is an affordable gas engine RV. Along with the powerful engine, these RVs come with innovative technology and an interior with all the comforts you need.
Class B RVs
Class B RVs are smaller and commonly referred to as campervans or sleepers. They are easier to drive than the larger Class A RVs, making them a good fit for off-roading adventures. The smaller size means a lower price overall, but these RVs still come with plenty of comforts.
These rigs are not as cumbersome to drive, which makes them great for weekend getaways and off-roading. Additionally, they are cheaper to maintain and operate than Class A RVs.
Since Class B RVs are self-contained, you can take advantage of boondocking anywhere you like. They also serve as a great option for weekend getaway trips or shorter RV vacations. The best Class B RVs to consider are:
The Coachmen Beyond can be at the top of many lists. This RV gets great gas mileage and is a comfortable living space for 2. If you need more space for some daytime visitors, the kitchen and living area is spacious enough to accommodate this. If you plan to travel all year round, the Polar Package option will take care of you no matter what the weather.
The Winnebago Revel is another great Class B pick. Winnebago is a name that has dominated the RV industry for years, and this model is a top pick. For smaller RVs, the Revel is an affordable and reliable pick that doesn’t cut out comforts. This RV provides ideal living space for three but if you have a third person, a power-lift bed can be raised to make room for everyone.
Class C RVs
The Class C RVs are a mix of both Class A and B RVs. You get some of the living comforts of a Class A RV with the easy maneuverability of a Class B. Class C RVs are smaller and built on a truck chassis, but they still provide a dedicated living space. However, they do not offer the same comfort and convenience as a Class A or B.
Class Cs are best for people traveling alone or in pairs who don’t want to spend too much on an RV. The top Class C RVs to look at include:
The Winnebago Navion, which can sleep up to 4 people comfortably and has three different floor plans to choose from. You have optional upgrades for increased comfort, including an entertainment package with theater seating, an insulated sleeper deck, and solar and water tank upgrades for longer trips.
The Gulf Stream Conquest offers 15 different floor plans, so there is something for everyone. Gulf Stream has been a top name in the industry for years, and this Class C is one of their top picks for affordability, reliability, and maneuverability. Standard floor plans offer comfort and all the popular amenities, and there are several upgrade packages for those who want a little more.
If you already have a truck and you want to use that to tow, you can buy a travel trailer. Those are cheaper, but they require to be hooked up to your truck. Smaller travel trailers can be even towed with regular cars. There are many different sizes of travel trailers, here are some of the smallest and lightest with bathrooms.
Airstream manufactures some of the most recognizable travel trailers in the RV industry. They are known to be well-made and well-liked all over the U.S. They were bought up by Thor a few years ago, but they continue to lead the industry with their unique and iconic design.
Another trailer we should talk about is Oliver. The company makes top-quality, four-season, double-insulated, fiberglass trailers. The Oliver is perfect for people who plan to RV all year round. Due to its aerodynamic styling and light aluminum frame, it is easy to tow. Additionally, it can withstand high wind and snow.
Truck campers typically provide enough space to accommodate at least 2 people, along with some camping gear. They give you a safe and warm place to camp, either directly on the bed of your truck. The biggest advantage of truck campers is that they are lightweight and you can use your truck. Truck campers are easier to store in your backyard or in the garage. Insurance providers can also add coverage to your existing truck policy so you get additional savings there too.
While truck campers give you a place to sleep, they lack in bathroom and cooking facilities. However, there are aftermarket options that can help you add these features if needed.
The Wolf Creek 850 is a hard-side, non-slide, wet bath truck camper suitable for both long and short beds. It comes at a price of around $20k and with all conveniences of a motor home. Rear awning, 5 cubic foot refrigerator, dual 20 pound LP tanks, exterior shower, heated holding tanks, roof rack, ladder, sewer hose storage, and Combo Bunk Cab with dinette. It might be a great choice for you.
Fifth-wheelers are the largest RV you can get. These are very heavy so you need to make sure you have the right vehicle for towing. People who buy fifth-wheelers typically do so because they want a permanent home on the road. Like truck campers, you need to hook up and unhook every time you park and start moving again.
Fifth wheels can sleep up to 8 people and offer kitchens and bathrooms. Most of them are large enough for families with kids as well as pets. They also include entertainment centers with wide-screen TVs, full kitchens with dishwashers, beds, ovens, microwaves, washer/dryers, and much more. They are expensive though so you need to make sure you have the money to buy one if this is your dream home on wheels.
The top picks for fifth-wheelers are:
The Keystone Montana, a popular pick for families and those planning to live off the grid for a while. The camper comes with a pull-out exterior kitchen so you have the option to spend more time outdoors while the indoor kitchen has a large fridge, oven, and convection microwave. All the features to make this your home away from home.
New Horizon is known for the custom-built fifth wheelers and the Summit is their top seller. This is a great pick for casual campers and full-time RVers. Rigs are handcrafted and built strong and the company is known for its quality construction. You get your choice of floor plans and comforts so you can make this RV your own.
The best RV for the money can be different for everyone. You need to decide what type of lifestyle you lead and your budget before buying one. With so many options for RVs out there, with proper research and time spent, I’m sure that you’ll find the perfect one for you.
Once you have a list of the features and comforts that matter to you and know exactly how the RV will be used, these top picks are a great place to start your search.
You must know that an RV is never an investment, it is a depreciating asset. Unless you solely buy it for renting it out, it will lose value very quickly in the first two years. If you’re not going to use it long-term, do not go for a motorhome or fifth wheeler.
It will also have issues even if you buy it new. This is something that you have to bear in mind before making any kind of purchase. It will take a year or so to go through fixing all the initial problems. Always do your research and know precisely what you are getting into before taking the plunge.
For this reason, if you want a few years of issue-free operation, the best buy is usually a 1-2-year-old unit. I personally owned two rental units, and both were great. Rental RVs are well taken care of, and many rental companies want to sell them when they are about 1-2 years old, so they can still sell them for a reasonable price. Once you find the right fit, you will be ready to make your purchase and hit the road.