When you buy a recreational vehicle (RV), you’re essentially buying a house—and sometimes a car, too. That means you have a lot to think about, especially if this is your first RV. Our team created this RV buying guide to assist you in making the best decision for your needs.
This guide will talk about the different types of RVs and help you determine the best RV option for you.
While exploring the world of options available to you is one of the more enjoyable aspects of purchasing an RV, there are a few things you should think about before you begin shopping.
RVs are put into different classes, and size is one of the most important differences. Some RVs can only accommodate two people, while others can accommodate up to ten. Think about how many people you want to travel with regularly, and buy an RV that can fit that many people.
Are you considering purchasing an RV for weekend camping trips? Or do you want to go full-time, driving thousands of miles across the country to visit national parks? Answering this question can help you decide what kind of features you want in a camper and how important things like gas mileage are to you.
Towable Or Drivable
Aside from size, the main difference between RVs is whether they can be driven or need to be pulled. Drivable RVs, such as Class A, B, and C motorhomes, are attached to a van or truck chassis. These are much more expensive than towable campers like fifth-wheel RVs and toy haulers, but they do not require a separate vehicle to tow.
Do you own a vehicle with enough towing capacity to tow a camper? Because it is often easier to repair a car or truck than an RV in most places, consider whether you are comfortable with the uncertainty of owning a drivable RV.
Like car brands, RV brands have different reputations for customer service and quality. No matter what RV you buy, you will have problems at some point. How a company helps camper owners solve these problems is very important.
The cost of a recreational vehicle varies greatly. On the one hand, small, entry-level options can be found for under $4,000, while luxury Class A campers, on the other hand, can easily cost more than a million dollars.
An RV is more challenging to finance than a car or a house. You’ll need more money up front and the ability to pay a higher interest rate if you need to finance your purchase.
Later in this RV buying guide, we’ll go over how to finance a camper in greater detail.
RVs Come in a Variety of Styles
As we mentioned earlier in our RV buying guide, there are two types of campers: drivables and towables. There are several subcategories of RVs within those categories, and understanding the distinctions between them can help you narrow down your options in your search for the ideal camper.
Motorhomes in the Class A category
- Average price range: $50,000-$200,000
- Length: 25-45 feet
- Ideal for: Long-term travel families or groups
Class A motor coaches are like luxury cruise ships when it comes to RVs. They are the biggest RVs that can be driven, and they are often the most expensive.
Thanks to slide-outs, a Class A motorhome will have large living areas and top-of-the-line amenities. Standard features in this group include a bathroom with a shower, a large bedroom, and a well-stocked kitchen.
With drivable RVs, Class A units are the closest thing to an actual home on wheels. But because they are so big, it can be hard to get in and out of smaller RV parks and campsites.
Motorhomes in the Class B category
- 17-24 feet in length
- Price range: $80,000 to $140,000
- Ideal for: Full-time solo travelers or couples traveling together.
Class B RVs are nimble drivables that pack in enough amenities to make full-time RVing comfortable for one or two people. Most of the time, they are built on the frame of a commercial van, like a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter or Dodge Ram ProMaster.
Many Class B RVs include a wet bath and a fully equipped kitchen. There is usually at least one large bed, often cleverly integrated as convertible furniture. Several of these vehicles also have pop-up tops that can create more vertical space or even a bunk area.
RV manufacturers have paid more attention to this category as “van life” has grown in popularity. As a result, RVers in 2023 will have many options within the class. Class B RVs with strong four-wheel-drive systems, solar panels, and batteries can go off-roading and sustain your party without being connected to the power grid.
Motorhomes in the Class C category
- 21-41 feet in length
- Price range: $50,000 to $100,000
- Ideal for full-time travel with small families
Despite their name, Class C motorhomes are larger than Class B RVs but smaller than Class A vehicles. As a result, they’re frequently the “goldilocks” solution for smaller families or couples looking for a little more space.
Class C RVs have comparable amenities to Class A RVs. Because Class Cs are smaller, fewer are available. Class C RVs are incredibly comfortable, with spacious bedrooms and bathrooms. Most kitchens are fully functional.
RVs with fifth wheels
- 25-45 feet in length
- The average price range is $25,000-$125,000.
- Ideal for full-time RVers who own towing vehicles
Fifth-wheel campers, also known as “fivers” in the RV community, are the largest RVs in the towable category. The “fifth wheel” is the part of the RV that locks it to the truck bed so it can be towed. For its size, this design allows for a surprising amount of maneuverability.
This class of RVs has similar features and amenities to Class A and C RVs but in a towable package. Their design allows for a loft space hanging over the bed of the towing truck, which is frequently used as a large master bedroom.
As a towable, a fifth-wheel RV lets you take the camper off the towing vehicle and use it on its own. If you want to go exploring outside of your base camp, this can save you a lot of fuel.
Trailers for Travel
- 12-35 feet in length
- Price range: $18,000-$75,000 on average
- Ideal for weekend RVers and full-time traveling couples
A travel trailer is smaller and less luxurious than a fifth-wheel RV. While you’ll still have a comfortable place to sleep, cook, and relax, these campers lack features like kitchen islands and full-size closets.
Because of their smaller size and fewer features, they are more maneuverable. They can also go places larger fifth-wheel campers cannot, making them better suited for boondocking.
Travel trailers are also far more fuel-efficient than fifth-wheel RVs. The cost difference can quickly add up if you intend to travel long distances in your RV.
- 7-18 feet in length
- Price range: $12,000-$80,000 on average
- Outdoor sports enthusiasts will enjoy this
Toy haulers are frequently the same size as travel trailers but serve different functions. Unlike travel trailers and fifth-wheel campers, toy haulers have a “garage” space that allows travelers to transport small vehicles or large outdoor sports equipment.
Toy haulers are ideal for people who combine camping with other outdoor activities. Toy haulers have enough room to carry surfboards, snowboards, and small vehicles like dirt bikes, snowmobiles, and ATVs.
Manufacturers have improved designs in recent years to add more functionality. Many toy haulers can easily convert your garage space into a deck or screened-in porch.
Is Buying a New Or Used RV Better?
RV buyers have a wide range of new and used options. Each option’s overall benefits and drawbacks are similar to those of buying a new or used car, but there are some significant differences.
Advantages and disadvantages of a new RV
- Excellent condition
- Easier to finance
- Warranty Coverage
- Greater cost
- Value rapidly depreciates
- Untested components like plumbing or electrical
Advantages and disadvantages of a used RV
- Doesn’t depreciate as quickly as a new RV
- The previous owner may have addressed “off-the-lot” issues
- Typically, no warranty is included
- Parts may need to be replaced
- Replacement parts for older RVs are more challenging to source
Where Can I Buy an RV?
When you’ve decided on the type of RV you want, it’s time to go shopping. Please obtain quotes from several sources. While the demand for RVs is high, you should take your time making a decision.
Buying an RV, like buying a car, has traditionally been done through a dealership, and RV dealers can either represent a single brand or sell various brands. While visiting dealerships can be time-consuming, there are a few benefits.
There are service departments at many dealerships, which can be a good place to get your RV fixed. You can also see an RV up close and do a dealership walk-through, which is extremely useful when evaluating factors such as build quality. In the case of drivable RVs, you can test-drive one.
Some car dealerships provide in-house financing. While this loan has a higher interest rate than a bank loan, dealerships are usually more lenient with credit and more likely to offer loans.
Buying an RV online is the best way to see the options available, thanks to RV marketplace sites and dealerships with online inventories. It’s also a great way to get some of the best deals.
There are a few other advantages to purchasing an RV online. When shopping for RVs online, you can easily compare models and prices while reading RV owner reviews to better understand how a camper performs. You can also easily compare prices and features without listening to a salesperson.
But if you only shop online, you won’t be able to see an RV in person. Most RV manufacturers provide detailed floor plans and 3D and video tours to help you see inside the models, but nothing beats seeing and feeling the craftsmanship up close.
If you’re looking for a used RV, looking through classified ads online and in places like local newspapers can help you find a good deal.
If you buy an RV from the owner, you can inquire about the vehicle’s history. This information can help you make better decisions. If you decide to purchase the RV, you’ll have a better idea of what to expect.
How to Get an RV Loan
Depending on your financial situation and the RV you want, you may need to finance your camper. It’s critical to understand that this is not the same as financing a car or a house.
Most people first choose to use a traditional lender, but an RV cannot be purchased with a standard auto loan, and a home mortgage loan is also not an option. Some lenders offer loans for RVs, but these loans usually have much higher interest rates and stricter requirements for who can get one. Several online lenders specialize in RV financing, so check with them.
Many RV dealerships provide in-house financing. While dealerships are more flexible with loans than other lenders, they typically charge higher interest rates. When purchasing something as expensive as an RV, even one-tenth of a percentage point can make a significant difference over the life of the loan.
RV Buying Guide: Choosing the Best RV for You
Purchasing an RV is a significant financial and personal decision. Most people want an RV to help them get out and explore their surroundings, and everyone does it uniquely. This RV buying guide should help you come to a decision about what you need.
Here’s a quick rundown of the process:
- Examine your requirements and travel objectives.
- Determine which type of RV best meets your needs and goals.
- Choose between purchasing a new or used RV.
- Purchase an RV in person or online.
- Compare prices.
- If you need financing, seek it out.
Finally, purchasing an RV is about having fun and experiencing new things. It’s worth your time to shop for the best deal on the right RV to get you on (and off) the road, especially if this is your first time purchasing an RV.
Once you find the RV that is right for you, make sure to remember Two Creeks Crossing Resort as an excellent destination in East Texas. Our lovely resort is the perfect place to relax and enjoy nature. With beautiful surroundings and comfortable accommodations, we know that you’ll love your stay with us. Contact us today to learn more!