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Best RV Brands

Close to 25 million Americans plan to take their recreational vehicles on vacation this summer. But with billions’ worth of new recreational vehicles (RVs) sold each year and dozens of brands to choose from, maybe you aren’t sure where to start looking for an RV for your own getaway.

An RV, new or used, is typically a large purchase. To help you make the best decision without wasting time —  or money — we picked out the best RV brands in several categories, listing pros, cons, average prices and what to expect from its available warranties. Each brand had to have a positive Better Business Bureau rating or positive consumer reviews on RVInsider, an online forum for RV owners. To learn more about how we picked these brands, check out our methodology and warranty explainer below.

Towable RV brands

There are two main types of RVs — those you drive (motor homes) and those you tow (towables). Towable RVs, which hook up to your car, truck or SUV, represent 85% of the RV market. They tend to be less expensive than motor homes and offer the benefit of being able to be off-loaded at a campsite, freeing up your vehicle for sightseeing or trips to the grocery store. The two brands in this section only make travel trailers, but there are other companies we discuss below that make both towables and motor homes.

Airstream

A+ BBB rating
4.5 out of 5 stars by consumers on RVInsider (76 reviews)

In an effort to make camping trips more comfortable for his wife, the founder of Airstream, Wally Byam, created the Airstream prototype. His first design — a kind of pop-up tent on top of a Ford Model T Chassis — rapidly evolved and Airstream became a company in 1931.
Warranty: Two-year limited basic warranty with roadside assistance.

Pros Cons
Quality
The average RV lifespan tends to be about 20 years, but Airstream says it makes trailers to last generations. Online, you can find functional Airstreams from the 1950s for sale.
Higher price
More than 350 labor hours are put into making each trailer, one reason Airstreams pricier than competitors. At time of publication, the average price for new and used Airstream listings on online classifieds site RV Trader was about $83,000. The least expensive new Airstream trailer starts around $37,000 MSRP.
Lower depreciation
Airstreams usually keep their value well over the years.
Older look
Airstream only has one exterior style — the signature shiny aluminum it has had since the 1930s.

 

Casita

A+ BBB rating
N/A RVInsider Rating

All Casita RVs are lightweight travel trailers. “Casita” means “little home” in Spanish and these RVs tend toward the smaller side. To save space and weight, many features have two purposes. Seats convert into beds and fold-down kitchen cabinet doors convert into counter space. Though it’s notably missing from RVInsider reviews, other forum reviews we found said the trailers are well-built.
Warranty: One-year basic limited warranty, one of the shortest on this list.

Pros Cons
Fuel efficient
With a lightweight, aerodynamic design, Casitas are relatively fuel efficient to tow — some can even be pulled by sedans.
Small size
The biggest Casita is only 17 feet long. While some models can sleep up to six people, expect to bump elbows.
Price
Besides the lower cost of gas needed to move it, the sticker price isn’t bad, either. The average price for new and used Casitas on RVTrader at time of publication was $15,939.
No frills
Given the brand’s main aim to be lightweight, you won’t find a regular-sized refrigerator or a four-burner stove. The shower and toilet share the same space.

Luxury motor home RV brands

You don’t have to sacrifice luxury when it comes to “RV-ing”. If you are able and willing to pay the price of marble floors and leather couches in 40-feet worth of vehicle, here are two of the best RV brands for luxury.

As a refresher, Class A motor homes look like tour busses and are typically the largest and most luxurious. Class B motor homes are also called “camper vans.” And Class C motor homes are known for their distinctive cabs extending over the cockpit.

Tiffin

A+ BBB rating
4.3 out of 5 stars by consumers on RVInsider (320 reviews)

From recessed lighting to two bathrooms (one with a double vanity), your heart’s RV desires could probably be satisfied by Tiffin. In a survey by RV Insight, a website aimed at full-time RVers, three of Tiffin’s models ranked in the top 10 spots for RVs with the highest customer reviews. And it’s one of the few RV manufacturing companies still independent and family-run.

Warranty: Class C Tiffin RVs have a one year limited warranty with roadside assistance and a three-year limited structural warranty. Class A Tiffin RVs have a one-year limited warranty with roadside assistance, a five-year delamination limited warranty on fiberglass and a 10-year construction limited warranty,

 

Pros Cons
Premium
A Tiffin RV can resemble a resort hotel room that just happens to be able to go wherever you want, when you want. You could add features such as a fireplace, bedroom ceiling fan and central vacuum.
Gas mileage
All that marble adds up. Tiffin RVs can weigh nearly 40,000 pounds — that adds up to a lot of gas to boogie down the road.
Price
A Tiffin RV can cost as much as a house or, at least, a townhouse. Prices in the $300,000’s are not uncommon.

 

Newell

A+ BBB rating
4 out of 5 stars by consumers on RVInsider (7 reviews)

From the tires up, Newell builds RVs from scratch to your order specifications. At a 2018 RV showcase, Newell showed off a model that sleeps eight and has two full bathrooms, “inexhaustible hot water,”  eight-foot ceilings, 14-foot-wide rooms (with slide-outs extended), and can tow 25,000 pounds, just in case you want to be able to take your two favorite cars with you in a trailer.

Bougie accommodations means a bougie price though. All new models for sale on the Newell site, and there are only four of them, start at more than $1 million; three out of these four models are over $2 million. Prices in the millions aren’t uncommon even for used Newell inventory, but for models a decade old or more, you might be able to find them priced under $400,000.

Warranty: Two-year, 24,000 mile limited warranty for coaches that qualify.

Pros Cons
Luxury
Short of a helicopter pad and swimming pool, Newell offers as much luxury as one could possibly want in an RV.
Price
Not everyone has a cool $2 million (or $400,000) to drop on an RV.
Depreciation
Like all RVs, Newells will depreciate. Whatever you’re spending on an RV, you are, in fact, spending, not investing.

 

Specialty RV brands

Whether you need to actually climb every mountain or sing about it on stage in a different city every night with your band, here are two of the best RV brands that are designed for specialty purposes.

EarthRoamer

A+ BBB rating
NA RVInsider reviews

If you need a luxury RV to go off-road, climb a mountain, ford a stream and ask for more, check out EarthRoamer. Built on a truck chassis, these RVs look like the athletic jock cousins of Class C RVs.
Warranty: Five-year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty and a three-year “bumper-to-bumper” warranty.

Pros Cons
Off-road capability
Snow, gravel, ditches and rivers, the company says an EarthRoamer RV can handle it.
Price
A new, top-of-the-line model can cost $1.5 million. But the price of a 2008 pre-owned model with 75,000 miles is currently listed for $160,000.

 

Hemphill Brothers Coach Company

A+ BBB rating
N/A RVInsider reviews

Do you need a fancy RV for you and 11 of your bandmates, backup dancers or camera crew? If yes, check out Hemphill Brothers. High-profile figures from Beyoncé, Diana Ross and Oprah, to the pope to even politicians such as former President Obama are known for using them.
Warranty: N/A

Pros Cons
Space
Most RVs are designed for around 8 people max. A Hemphill can handle a dozen.
Undisclosed warranty
Perhaps because many of its RVs are custom-built, there is no mention of a warranty period on its website.
Reputation
The company has a long list of famous customers over the years, including the U.S. Secret Service.
Price
This may be a case of ‘if you have to ask about the price, you can’t afford it.’ Models older than a decade can still sell for $400,000.

 

Economical RV brands

If you don’t feel like breaking the bank, here are two RV brands that sell a wide variety of RVs including new models priced below $20,000. If you are looking specifically for a conventional RV travel trailer, Casita, in the section above, actually has the lowest new prices we found.

Jayco

A+ BBB rating
3.8 out of 5 stars by consumers on RVInsider (495 reviews)

The Jayco Flight was the top-selling RV in the world for 10 years in 2015, according to the company. It offers everything from camping trailers to Class A RVs and everything in between.  Jayco is owned by Thor Industries, the largest RV manufacturer in North America and parent company to other recognizable brand names including Airstream.
Warranty: Two-year basic limited warranty and three-year structural warranty.

Pros Cons
Price
The average price for current new and used Jayco listings on RV Trader is about $38,000. Jayco’s least expensive new RV travel trailer, the Hummingbird, is just under $18,000 MSRP.
Service complaints
Despite an overall positive rating on RVInsider,  customers had negative things to say on consumer websites about how Jayco handles RV servicing and service complaints.
WarrantyA  two-year basic warranty is better than other, more expensive models on this list.

 

Dutchmen

A+ BBB rating
4 out of 5 stars by RVInsider consumers (165 reviews)

While Dutchmen and Airstream are both owned by Thor, they are very different siblings. Dutchmen focuses on modern styles and affordable prices. Dutchmen manufacturers RVs for eight other brands, including Coleman, and puts an emphasis on continued service after purchase.
Warranty: One-year limited base warranty and a 3-year structural limited warranty.

Pros Cons
Choices
Under the Dutchmen umbrella, you have a wide range of RV classes, sizes, floorplans, amenities and pricing. Anyone from a beginner to an experienced RVer could probably find an RV to suit them.
Lower quality
Dutchmen seems to focus more on low prices rather than high quality.
Lower price
The average price for current new and used listings on RV Trader is $30,000. A new, 17-foot-long Aspen RV, built by Dutchmen, starts under $19,000 MSRP.
Shorter base warranty
While it does have a 3-year structural limited warranty, its base warranty is only for a year.

 

Wheelchair-accessible RV brand

RV travel might be a great option for people who are disabled. It could be easier to get in your RV and go rather than researching whether accommodations, restaurants or travel centers are ADA compliant.

Winnebago

A+ BBB rating
4 out of 5 stars by consumers on RVInsider (530 reviews)

New for 2019, Winnebago designed three RV models with wheelchair accessibility in mind. Accessibility was considered in the construction of the RV’s doors, seating, bedroom, bathroom and halls. Plus there’s room enough for service animals or pets. Winnebago says the accessibility enhancements on these models aren’t add-ons but, rather, part of the RV.
Warranty: One-year, 15,000 mile basic limited warranty; three-year, 36,000 mile structural limited warranty; 10-year limited fiberglass roof warranty.

Pros Cons
Accessibility enhancements (AE)
It seems convenient to be able to buy an RV with AE integrated into the design, rather than having to buy third-party parts and pay for installation, which may involve cutting into the RV’s frame and voiding any warranties.
Price
Of all the types of RVs, Class As are the most expensive and they’re the only type that have AE. The least expensive new AE model starts at $202,295 MSRP and as of publication, there weren’t any used models on the market.

 

Methodology

All brands had to manufacture their own RVs. Brands such as Coleman that have their RVs manufactured by other brand names were not considered. Brands must sell their RVs in the U.S. although they could also do business in other countries. They also had to have at least a 4 out of 5 stars consumer rating on RVInsider or at least an A rating by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Brands that had both a four-star rating and an excellent BBB rating were given preference. One brand couldn’t be in two categories.

RV warranties

For each best RV brand we included information about its warranty. But what is an RV warranty? An RV warranty pays for the parts and labor to fix something if it breaks during normal use within a set period of time and/or miles. It is given by the manufacturer of the RV and there is no deductible. If something breaks and the RV is past the time or miles limit of the warranty, then it is on the owner to fix it.

Types of RV warranties. Because an RV has many different parts, it may have many different types of warranties. So, in case you’re wondering what a base warranty covers and what a delamination warranty even is, here they are.

  • A “base” or “basic” warranty is what’s commonly known as a “bumper-to-bumper” warranty. It covers almost the entire RV, almost everything that is made by the RV manufacturer.
  • An appliance warranty is a warranty on specific appliances in the RV, such as the washer, refrigerator, etc. Most of the time, the RV manufacturer does not make the appliances. To address any issues with an appliance, you would contact the company that made the appliance, not the RV company.
  • A structural warranty is on the structure of the RV, its roof, walls, floor and chassis.
  • A powertrain warranty is only on RVs with engines. It covers everything that powers the vehicle such as engine, transmission and driveshaft.
  • A delamination warranty is a warranty against the RV’s fiberglass walls or roof breaking apart or splintering.
  • A construction warranty covers the welded frame of an RV.
  • An extended warranty is one you buy that covers the potential need for repairs as the RV ages for a longer period of time than the original warranty that came with the RV.

Warranty vs. insurance. Be aware that a warranty is not the same thing as insurance. A warranty covers the RV if something breaks that shouldn’t during normal use within a set time period and / or a certain number of miles. It does not cover anything that breaks if the RV is in an accident, gets damaged by bad weather or is stolen. That’s when you would need to call your insurance provider.

The bottom line

No matter what RV brand you choose, be aware that an RV will cost more than its sticker price. You also have to consider taxes, insurance, maintenance and more. You could look at this for a more accurate picture of how much it costs to own an RV.

The information in this article is accurate as of the date of publishing. 

 

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