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So you’ve decided to buy an RV. Maybe you’re tired of flights and hotels on vacation, or perhaps you and the family want to get out into nature more. Maybe you think RV prices will be more reasonable than other travel costs. But before you hit the road, you probably have one big question – how much does an RV cost?
The answer can vary greatly, meaning you should pick the best one for your needs and budget. Let’s review the different types of RVs and what they typically cost.
Different Types and Classes of RVs
How much an RV costs has a great deal to do with the RV type. Manufacturers in the RV industry divide rigs into two broad categories – drivable and towable. Within each group, there are several classes, each of which comes with different features and costs.
With so many floorplans and models, you’re bound to find your dream RV. Let’s take a look at the different types of RVs on the market.
Class A RVs
Class A RVs are the largest drivable RVs – what you might think of as a “typical” motorhome, with a bus-like profile. They offer extra storage space and amenities but also come with the highest cost.
Owners may compare them to small, mobile apartments in terms of space and living conditions. These types of RVs can come with all the amenities. Including a king-sized bed, large bathroom, air conditioning, plenty of kitchen space, and more.
Class C RVs
Next, class Cs are a bit smaller with fewer features and a smaller price tag. These RVs have a truck-style driving area, usually with storage or sleeping space over the cab. There are also so-called “super C” RVs, which combine some of the class C’s design features with the space and power of a class A. Think of class C motorhomes as a mix between A and B.
Class B RVs
Class B motorhomes are the smallest of the drivable RVs. With a profile much closer to a large van, these RVs tend to have the least space and fewest features, meaning a lower cost.
However, there are some pretty expensive models out there as well. Class Bs built on Mercedes Benz frames will run you just as much as Class As. Because of its small size, this type of RV is great for first-time campers as you can stay safe on the road.
Large towable RVs, known as fifth wheels, are generally very nice and feature-filled, like the class A RVs, but they’re usually a little more affordable. Because they don’t have drivable motors, fifth wheels are ideal for luxury camping on a budget.
Additionally, many folks that are considering the full time RV lifestyle like 5th wheels since they have plenty of storage space. Just like Class As, these RVs tend to have amenities like air conditioning, king and queen-sized beds, a large living area, full kitchens, and even extra beds for guests or kids.
Some floor plans can have up to six slide outs, meaning more space for the whole family. Families love fifth-wheel RVs because of the extra sleeping space and many even have two bathrooms.
Fifth wheels also require special equipment mounted in the bed of your truck so you can tow it, and you’ll need a vehicle with enough towing capacity. There are many options for diversity in style and price in 5th wheels. They range from standard trailers with amenities similar to class A or C RVs down to pop-up campers that operate as large, towable tents.
Travel trailers are great for first time RVers. If you already have a truck or SUV, you might already be able to tow a small travel trailer already. These RV types connect the bumper of your vehicle. They have a lower profile than fifth wheels since they don’t have a front cap.
Additionally, since this is another RV type that doesn’t have an engine, you can find them on the lower end of the RV price scale. Don’t feel limited by its size though, many families and couples love the space and freedom their travel trailer gives them.
What Other Factors Influence RV Prices Other Than Size?
There are several reasons that RV you are looking at is so expensive. Here are the top 3 factors that influence RV price:
Knowing the quality of workmanship a manufacturer puts into their product will not only affect the price but may also give you a longer-lasting and dependable product. Do your homework by searching RV forums and Facebook groups where customers talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of each manufacturer’s models.
If an RV model has a good reputation, chances are it will sell better than those that don’t. This can be a double negative for new buyers, as the dealership may be able to charge more for the popular model and there are fewer of them available for purchase. This may be somewhat negated by shopping for that model during non-peak buying seasons.
Some floorplans are in high demand, which can make them more expensive. They may have an extra half bath or a kitchen island or extra bed space, giving them coveted status, which may drive the asking price a bit higher and make them less available on the dealer’s lot.
How Much Does an RV Cost? Average New RV Prices
As you can imagine, there’s significant diversity in pricing based on style and features. Do plenty of research when deciding the option that best fits your budget with the amenities you value most. Here’s a little information to get you started.
New Class A Average RV Prices
As we mentioned, class A RVs are the biggest and often the most attractive drivable RVs. These RVs – similar to a bus in profile – start between $50,000 and $150,000 new but can easily stretch into the high six figures. It’s not unheard of for a luxury class A to break a million – or more!
New Fifth Wheel Average RV Prices
Fifth wheels, the largest of the towable RVs, can also cost a pretty penny. Buying a new fifth wheel will cost between $35,000 and $60,000 for a basic model and up to $150,000 or more for high-end luxury fifth wheels.
Don’t forget you’ll also need special equipment (and a vehicle with adequate towing capacity) to tow it, which adds additional cost.
New Class C Average RV Prices
Class C RVs are a bit more affordable than their class A cousins. Thanks in part to their generally smaller size and more common parts, you can find a new class C motorhome for $50,000 to $100,000, depending on the particulars. New super C RVs generally cost $100,000 to $150,000 new.
New Class B Average RV Prices
A Class B motorhome – also known as a camper or conversion van – can also be pricey depending on the features you choose. They generally start in the $80,000-$100,000 range and can stretch up to $150,000 or more.
New Travel Trailer Average RV Prices
Travel Trailers are a more affordable towable RV option. Standard travel trailers and toy haulers generally cost around $25,000-$35,000 new, while you can buy pop-up campers for as little as $15,000 new.
Should You Consider Buying Used?
Used RV Cost Averages By Type
Like any vehicle, expect significant price differences between new and used RVs within each of these categories. A new RV loses approximately 20% of its value as soon as it drives off the lot, meaning you may find price discrepancies between relatively recent models and the newest ones.
When buying used, consider the RV’s age, mileage, and condition when figuring out how much an RV costs. As with many things in life, you often get what you pay for – meaning it’s crucial to have an inspection done if you’re buying from a private seller or have any concerns.
Used Class A Average RV Prices
Much like new Class As, the cost of a used one will depend significantly on the size and features. Still, expect to pay at least $80,000-$120,000 for a used model from the last five or ten years. Both private sellers and dealerships also list RVs 15-25 years old in the $20,000-$40,000 range.
Used Fifth Wheel Average RV Prices
Used fifth wheel RV prices also vary based on style. Based on data showing that used fifth wheels also lose about 20% of their value in their first year, you’ll see price tags ranging from around $30,000 to $120,000 for premium models.
Used Class C Average RV Prices
Used class C RVs will run you $35,000-$70,000 for models from more recent years. However, older models from private sellers can sometimes often list in the $20,000 range. As with any used RV purchase, we warrant caution with significantly older or heavily-used RVs.
Used Class B Average RV Prices
Used Class B RVs can be among the most affordable if their smaller size and fewer features meet your needs. You can find older models for as little as $10,000-$15,000! However, for a more recent used model with average features, prices start around $30,000 and can still stretch into the six figures for luxury models!
Used Travel Trailer Average RV Prices
Considering the usual 20% depreciation, used travel trailers and toy haulers will cost $20,000-$30,000, while a used pop-up camper will run $10,000-$15,000.
Additional RV Ownership Costs
With ownership comes responsibility, and a portion of your money may go not only to monthly loan payments but other expenses as well. When shopping for your own RV, you need to consider some additional expenses.
You will have sales tax to pay upon purchase, although many financing institutions will allow you to roll those taxes into the loan if you choose. These are a direct result of the RV price you pay and where you live.
Newer RVs can be extremely expensive. It makes sense to have good overall coverage on your insurance policy in case of repair or replacement.
Your new recreational vehicle will not get great gas mileage. In fact, you can probably count on motorhomes getting 7 to 14 mpg and towables might decrease your truck mileage by a good mount. So budget for fuel, propane to use in your heater, campground fees, oil changes, and set aside a chunk of money for repairs, because a moving “house” will need consistent maintenance and repairs.
RV needs tons of accessories. You may decide that your RV needs leveling blocks, window awnings, new LED lights, or maybe you’ll upgrade that kitchen faucet. Keep these things in mind when planning your budget and if looking at used vehicles.
If you plan to use your RV in the summer or for a few weekend trips a year, and you don’t have room to store it at your home (or your HOA doesn’t allow it on-site), you will need to put your rig in storage.
Uncovered storage varies from state to state, but generally speaking, it might run you $50 to $75 per month, and covered storage or storage with electricity could run in the $100 to $300 per month range. Think about how often you will be utilizing this new purchase and where it will spend its “days off,” then you can start shopping, knowing that you have a plan.
RV Travel Is Well Worth The Investment
As you can see, the question of how much does an RV cost can have many answers. Take a close look at your needs and budget before purchasing, and figure out what’s best for you. RV travel is well worth the investment. If you go to RV shows, wait for end-of-year deals, and properly negotiate, you can be in your own RV before you know it!