The Internet Fights About Who the Best RV Manufacturer Is

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Are you looking to purchase a rig for full-time RV living? If so, you’ve likely heard plenty of opinions about what brand you should buy and what brand you should avoid. 

While some manufacturers produce better quality RVs than others, it’s difficult to say whether one brand ranks higher than all the others. You’ll find someone who owns a million-dollar Newell complaining about something just like someone who owns a $25,000 Forest River trailer.

Today, we’re looking at a question asked on Facebook and the replies from members of the group and giving our recommendations for what to look for when shopping for an RV for full-time living. 

Let’s dive in!

How Many RV Manufacturers Are There?

You’ll find dozens and dozens of RV manufacturers in the United States. Some brands specialize in off-grid, off-road trailers, luxury high-end motorhomes, affordable, entry-level campers, and more.

Winnebago is one popular company in the RV industry. It owns Grand Design RV and produces its own line of RVs.

Forest River is another popular company. It owns Coachmen, Dynamax, Palomino, Prime Time, Shasta, East to West, and its own line of RVs.

However, the RV manufacturing empire belongs to Thor Industries.

Pro Tip: Just How Many RV Brands Does Thor Industries Own? Click the link to find out!

Interior shot of an RV where the floorplan has the kitchen in the rear of the fifth wheel.

Who Is the Largest RV Manufacturer in the U.S.?

Thor Industries’ family of companies includes 16 North American RV brands and 16 European caravan brands. Top names include Airstream, Tiffin, Keystone, Jayco, Entegra Coach, and Dutchmen.

The company also owns 12 other North American brands, such as  AirXcel, Dicor, and MaxxAir, and five other European companies, such as McRent and Movera.

Among the classes of RVs, certain brands have the best-selling travel trailer or the best-selling diesel motorhome. But Thor is known as the world’s largest manufacturer of recreational vehicles, with nearly 400 locations in six countries.

Facebook User Asks Group About Best Fifth Wheel Manufacturer

A Facebook user asked a full-time RV living group this question: “What is the best manufacturer for fifth wheels and full-time living?” This initiated quite a response.

Almost 400 comments included opinions about Grand Design, Keystone, Alliance, DRV, and more companies. Most were personal experiences and not backed by actual data.

One of the group members, Rob Crum, summed it up well when he said, “Everyone is going to have different opinions. Just do your homework, ask a lot of questions, make a list of needs and wants, and find what fits you. We liked several but ultimately settled on the Jayco Northpoint as it filled our checklist of needs and most of the wants.”

Another group member, Mary Lou North, had another great suggestion. She commented, “Get on the FB groups of Alliance RV, Grand Design, Brinkley, and whatever Thor product you’re looking at.

You will get a better idea of what you’re looking for and what’s normal for issues. Dealership and the after purchase/customer service is a BIG piece of the purchase.”

We couldn’t agree more with Rob and Mary Lou. Having the right floor plan and amenities for your traveling needs is so important. You won’t find every brand to have a model to suit your wants. So, your list of manufacturers will be shorter than someone who has no idea what they need.

Learning from other owners is also a critical piece of the puzzle when purchasing an RV for full-time living. Joining groups and asking questions before your purchase won’t reduce your problems but will at least alert you to common problems you’ll want to avoid.

You might decide that a brand isn’t right for you if the model you’re looking at has consistent issues among owners.

Facebook login screen on an iPhone.

Things to Consider for Full-Time RV Living

The brand isn’t the only consideration when choosing an RV for full-time living. Although that’s important, and some brands produce better quality models than others, we believe choosing the right floor plan is essential.

We also think the amenities, tank sizes, and after-purchase customer service are also critical pieces of the puzzle.


Full-time RVers must choose the right floor plan. You don’t want to compromise on the layout if the RV is going to be your home. If you’re transitioning from a weekend warrior status to full-timer status, the layout is much more important than it used to be.

You can get by with sleeping on a couch for a weekend. You might be fine sitting around a tiny dinette for two days. But once you’re on the road full-time, you want to be comfortable. Everyone needs their own sleeping space. You need room to eat and hang out.

A large living space is essential if you want to entertain and travel with friends. If you have two or three kids, you need ample storage space for their toys, books, gadgets, and clothes.

So, choose a floor plan that suits your family and then browse manufacturers that offer what you need.

Pro Tip: Read about The Worst RV Floor Plans before you make your final layout decision!

Interior shot of a toy hauler kitchen. It shows the cabinets open and pulled out to show the storage space.


Next, we think amenities are critical to the full-time RVing experience. A washer and dryer might be a must-have if you have a large family. A dishwasher may be a must-have if you want to travel in luxury. But it’s not just the fancy upgrades.

Consider the storage space — both inside and outside — as you’ll be traveling with most of your belongings. You need room to travel with camping chairs, a portable fire pit, a gazebo tent, a Blackstone grill, or whatever else you add to your gear.

Inside, everyone needs their own place for clothes and personal items.

In the kitchen, you need room to store food for a week and not just a weekend. Look at the cabinets and pantry storage.

Consider the refrigerator size. All of these amenities can make or break your full-time RV living experience.

Tank Sizes

If you prefer boondocking, tank sizes are much more important than if you plan on staying at full hookup campsites. You want your tanks to last at least a week without needing to be emptied.

Think about your water and waste. Consider how many people are living in the RV.

Choose a rig that will allow you to enjoy dry camping longer. You don’t want to spend your afternoons taking your portable waste tank to a dump station. You want to enjoy sunsets, hikes, and outdoor adventures.

Customer Service

Finally, from our experience, customer service can make full-time living a dream or a nightmare. This is where joining Facebook groups of various brands is helpful.

How is the brands’ customer service? Does it take forever to get a claim approved? Does the company send out parts quickly?

Keep in mind people will respond with their personal experiences. Take all of them into consideration when choosing a rig for full-time living. A handful of horrible experiences compared to hundreds of positive experiences shouldn’t cause you to walk away from a manufacturer.

Arieal shot of RVs lined up outside of a pretty day.

Which RV Manufacturer Is the Best For Full-Time Living?

So, which RV manufacturer is the best? That’s a very personal question. Our opinions have changed over the years. Some brands provide lackluster customer service but superior quality.

Other brands offer several ideal floorplans but lack the full-time amenities. You’ll have to choose what’s most important to you and your full-time RVing journey.

If you live full-time in your RV, we’d love to know your opinion! Do you think one brand stands out above the rest?

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