10 Popular RV Brands: Important Differences (& Things To Know)

In RV livingby Morten Storgaard

Choosing an RV brand can be tough.  There are many RV brands out on the market to choose from today.  Many of these RV brands are new and unfortunately, they won’t be around for very long.

Starting a new RV company can be difficult and many new brands tend to disappear within a few years.  This being said, there are many RV companies that have stood the test of time.

Here is a list of ten of these companies to get you started on your search for the perfect RV.

1) The Airstream Company

The airstream brand logo on camper

Background Information

The Airstream has been around longer than most people have been alive.  In fact, this company came to life back in the 1920s.  Amazingly enough, some of the original Airstreams are still on the road today.

This RV brand had a unique aerodynamic shape that made it better than its competitors.

It was also made of aluminum which made it stand out over other RV brands.

The shape and build quality of the Airstream makes it stand out on the road and the average Airstream is instantly recognizable when out on the road.

Models and Pricing

Airstream started out exclusively making towable campers made from an all aluminum frame and cladding.  These days, however, you can buy Airstream motorhomes and even a fiberglass Airstream towable camper.

Towable camper models start at about 16 foot long and can get as large as 33 feet long.

These models are all fully self-contained, meaning you’ll have a bathroom and a kitchen in addition to the sleeping quarters.

The motorhomes essentially all class B models with the exception of the Atlas model which Airstream calls a class B+.  This is more of a marketing term as anyone looking at the motorhome would consider it to be a small class C.  The reason for this is that even though the motorhome isn’t very long, it is wider than your average class B motorhome.

The motorhomes range from 19 feet long all the way up to 24 feet long.  These motorhomes are all built to stand out as luxury vehicles and the primary chassis that is used is a Mercedes.

Prices for Airstream motorhomes range from $150,000 to $225,000 and even used models will generally sell for over six figures.  The camper models range in price from $37,000 to $153,000

Why Buy an Airstream?

Airstreams hold their value better than any other type of RV on the market.  They also have a large fan base and you can even join Airstream clubs to caravan with.

These RVs also have a unique look to them that you won’t find anywhere else.  Many people buy Airstreams just for this fact alone.

Why You Might Want to Consider Another Brand

Airstreams are expensive to buy and to maintain.

These RVs can get dents in them and the rivets used to hold them together can begin to leak over time.

These RVs are also heavier than some of the newer RVs out on the market.  If you have a smaller tow vehicle, you may find that you can get a lot more living space by going with an RV manufacturer that makes lighter RVs.

Tip
Are you considering an Airstream? You absolutely need to read our article here with the most common Airstream problems people experience.

2) Coachman RVs

Background Information

Coachman has been around for over 55 years now.  They’ve made over 750,000 RVs over the years so they have more experience than most RV manufacturers.

They are a family owned company that was started by three brothers who were avid campers.  According to their website, they strive to make RVs that are user-friendly.

Models and Pricing

Coachman sells RVs under a wide range of brands.  They sell pop-up campers, travel trailers, toy haulers, and even motorhomes.

You can get started with Coachman for as little as $20,000.00.  If you want something larger, you could end up spending all the way up to $200,000.00

Why Buy a Coachman?

Coachman has been around long enough that you won’t have to worry about them disappearing on you after you’ve made your purchase.  They also a wide range of models to choose from so you won’t have much trouble finding one that suits you.

Why You Might Want to Consider Another Brand

This company has some higher-end models but they aren’t quite as luxurious as some of the other brand’s top tier models.

If you’re looking for something a little fancier, you might want to look somewhere else.

3) Dutchman RVs

Dutchman operates under a few well-known brands that you’ve surely already heard of.  They sell Aerolites, Astorias, Aspen Trails, Colemans, Kodiaks, and a few others.

Models and Pricing

The company specializes in towable campers and tends to shy away from motorhomes.  There are many different models available and a lot of different floor plans to choose from.

You’ll find that these RVs are reasonably priced.  New RVs will usually range between $25,000.00 and $125,000.00.

Why Buy a Dutchman?

Dutchman offers a wide range of towable campers so you’ll have many different options to consider.  These campers are priced well which makes them a great entry point for people looking to get into RVing without spending an arm and a leg.

Why You Might Want to Consider Another Brand

Dutchman won’t be able to offer you motorhomes.  If you’re looking for a motorhome, you’re better off looking somewhere else.

Also, Dutchman doesn’t have any overly expensive RVs in their lineup.  This is great because it makes them affordable but it does reduce the amount of luxury you can expect from these RVs.  If you want a luxury camper, you’ll need to be willing to pay for it and you’ll have to do it somewhere other than the Dutchman RV lot.

4) The Fleetwood Company

Fleetwood markets themselves as “America’s Favorite Motorhomes”.  They claim this title because there are more Fleetwood motorhomes on the road in the United States than any other motorhome brand out there.

One of the reasons why there are so many Fleetwoods on the market is that they have been around for quite some time.  The first Fleetwood RVs go all the way back to the 1950s and operations have grown dramatically since its inception.

Models and Pricing

Fleetwood offers class A, B, and C motorhomes.  There are currently two class C models, one class B model, and a multitude of class A models to choose from.

Smaller class B models can be had for less than $115,000.00 while the class C models sell for around $140,000.00.  Class A models range in size and can sell for anywhere between $186,000.00 to $361,000.00.

Why Buy a Fleetwood?

Fleetwood specializes in large class A motorhomes and you’ll have many different options to choose from when buying a class A motorhome from them.  The interiors of these motorhomes are beautiful and modern and look more like fancy homes than motorhomes.  This is true even for the less expensive class As that Fleetwood offers.

The company has also been around for a while and they have a reputation for good customer service.  These vehicles have standard parts and you won’t have to work as hard to find a mechanic that can do maintenance for you.

Why You Might Want to Consider Another Brand

If you’re searching for a towable camper, you won’t find one at Fleetwood.  Fleetwood is only offering motorhomes right now so you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Also, Fleetwood does offer some reasonably priced class A motorhomes but they don’t offer any low-cost motorhomes.  If you’re looking to spend less than six figures on a new motorhome you certainly won’t find it at Fleetwood.

5) Forest River RVs

The Forest River company sells RVs, commercial vehicles, trailers, busses, and even pontoon boats.  They’ve been around for over 20 years now and can offer you pretty much any type of RV you want to buy.

This company is clearly trying to create a brand that will last and they are expanding rapidly.  They have large facilities and are able to produce a lot of RVs without maxing out their capacity.

Models and Pricing

You’ll find pop-ups, truck campers, travel trailers, and motorhomes within Forest River’s lineup.  These RVs are sold under a few different brands that the company has acquired over the years.  Some of the more well-known brands are Shasta and Palomino.  However,  they also sell RVs under their own name as well.

The prices on Forest River RVs will change dramatically depending on the particular RV you decide to buy.  Pop-ups and truck campers can sell for less than $20,000.00 while their diesel pusher motorhomes can sell for over $300,000.00.

Why Buy a Forest River RV?

Forest River has many different models to choose from and they are large enough that they aren’t going to go under any time soon.  This means you’ll have someone to call should things go wrong with your RV.

Additionally, Forest River is fostering a strong owner’s group that they have decided to call FROG.  This stands for the Forest River Owner’s Group.  This group is free to join and has over 100,000 members.  Owners who join this group have an easy way to connect with other Forest River owners which is nice for people looking to meet new friends to caravan with.

Why You Might Want to Consider Another Brand

Forest River has the advantage of being a large company with a wide range of offerings.  However, some people may not like this fact.  People looking for a specialized company that takes one facet of RVing and excels in it might want to look into a niche RV company.

Also, while Forest River does have an owner’s group, it isn’t quite as fanatical as that of Airstream owners.  If you’re looking to be a part of a more rabid fanbase, you might want to look at something other than Forest River.

6) The Jayco Company

Jayco RVs have been around for over 50 years now and you’ve probably passed many of them on the road.  They offer popups, travel trailers, fifth wheels, toy haulers, and larger motorhomes.

The company takes a lot of pride in their RVs and even offers factory tours.  This company is constantly innovating and their RVs become better with each passing year.

As of right now, Jayco is the world’s largest privately held RV manufacturer.  Over a million Jayco RVs have been sold so far.

Models and Pricing

Jayco offers most RVs with the exception of truck campers and class B motorhomes.  Some of these RVs are quite large and if you’d only looked at an interior picture of their bathrooms and kitchens, you wouldn’t be able to tell that you were looking at an RV because you’d think it was just a picture of a house.

The RVs sold by this company are reasonably priced and even their luxury class A models can be had for less than $200,000.00.  This may sound like a lot but a luxury 40-foot class A from another company might easily cost upwards of $300,000.00.  This is especially true since Jayco offers diesel class A models.

Why Buy a Jayco RV?

One of the main reasons you might want to buy a Jayco is for their ultra-light travel trailers.  It is hard to find light travel trailers that can reach the size of many of the Jaycos that are currently on the market.  In fact, you can get a 35-foot travel trailer from Jayco without going over 6,500 pounds.  Even a ¾ ton pickup truck could pull a camper this light.

This brand is also known for its quality as well.  To back this up, they also offer a 3-year structural warranty which is rare within the RV industry.

Why You Might Want to Consider Another Brand

Jayco does not sell class B motorhomes or truck campers.  They also lack any hard side pop-up campers.  This might make them less appealing to people looking for unique campers that they can store in their garages.

7) Pleasure-Way RVs

Pleasure-Way fills the gap left by Jayco.  They do not sell anything other than class B motorhomes and they’ve been doing so for over 30 years.

This is a Canadian company that is family owned and operated.  The motorhomes are all hand-crafted so you won’t find assembly line imperfections as you might with other RV makers.

Models and Pricing

Even though the Pleasure-Way is limited to just class B motorhomes, they still offer nine models to choose from.  These range from hard side models to pop tops.

Prices start out at around $70,000.00 for popup models and can go all the way up past $150,000.00 for the larger XLMB models.  This being said, the larger models have wider bodies that rival class C motorhomes so you are getting more space for your money.

Why Buy a Pleasure-Way RV?

Pleasure-Way sells motorhomes that are less than 18 feet long.  These motorhomes also have low roofs so you can literally park them anywhere that you could park a normal van.  This is great for people living in apartments or in busy cities.

People looking for a larger class B might want to consider a Pleasure Way as well.  These models have large private bathrooms with high-end interiors that offer a modern feel to RVing.  Add in a leather couch and a Murphy bed and you get a lot of luxury and usable interior space.

Why You Might Want to Consider Another Brand

Unfortunately, Pleasure-Way does not offer larger motorhomes or travel trailers.  For this reason, many people may need to look to another brand to meet their needs.

Also, while the Pleasure Way offers a great product, it is an expensive one.  People with smaller budgets will find the high starting price of a Pleasure Way to be out of reach.

8) Scamp RVs

Scamp has been making all fiberglass campers for over 40 years and they are well-known within the fiberglass camper industry.  They are a U.S. based company that builds all of their campers within the United States.

The company was created by Duane Eveland who started his career remodeling damaged mobile homes.  This helped to inspire him to build fiberglass campers as they simply hold up much better than ones built from wood.

Current competitors to Scamp are the Casita and the Oliver camper lines.  However, Scamp is more reasonably priced and has been around longer than the Oliver camper lines which gives them a competitive advantage.

Models and Pricing

Scamp specializes in small fiberglass trailers.  As such, you won’t find many models to choose from.  In fact, there are only three sizes and six models of Scamp trailers for sale right now.   These are 13’, 16’, and 19’ and they come in both standard and deluxe models.

All models have kitchens and dinette beds and some have bathrooms.  Models range in price but you can get them for as low as $12,000.00.  To find up-to-date pricing on the model you’re most interested in, you’ll have to give them a call.  These campers are sold directly from the company, so you may have to wait for the camper to be built before you can actually take ownership.

However, if you want to see one in person, you can always go and tour the Scamp facility.  The owners are very receptive and knowledgeable so it is worth the trip.

 Why Buy a Scamp RV?

Scamps are incredibly light and owners refer to them as “a dream” to tow.  Even if you do not own a truck or SUV, you still might find that your car is quite capable of towing a small Scamp camper.

These campers also hold their value incredibly well.  In fact, I often see ten-year-old Scamps selling for the price of a brand new Scamp and they sell quick.  Just take a look at the Scamps for sale on RVtrader and you’ll notice that they don’t last long.

Why You Might Want to Choose Something Else

Scamp only sells small campers.  In fact, some of these campers might be too small for a person to comfortably camp in.

For instance, the ceiling height of a Scamp is only 6’3”.  This height might be fine for most people, but taller RV owners would really struggle to make things work in a camper this short.

These campers can also be hard to find.  They sell incredibly quick in the used market and you may have to wait several months before you can get a new one delivered to you.  This isn’t very useful for the person looking to buy a camper midway through the summer as it might not be ready until the next season.

9) The Thor Company

Thor Motor Coach was formed in 2010 due to the merger of Damon Motor Coach and Four Winds International.  They have a lot of models to choose from and in fact, their website says that one out of every four motorhomes on the road is actually a Thor Motor Coach.

Their factory is located in Indiana and you can sign up for a factory tour.  During this tour, they’ll tell you exactly how the motorhomes are made and will explain the work that goes into building them.

Models and Pricing

Thor offers both diesel and gas powered motorhomes.  They sell mostly class A and class C motorhomes but you’ll find a couple of class B motorhomes as well.

These motorhomes are large and even the class B motorhomes are wider than your average class B.  Many people choose Thor Motor Coach because they offer large and powerful toy hauler motorhomes that are capable of towing and holding a lot of weight.

However, all of this comes at a price and some of the larger models will cost you well over a quarter of a million dollars.  You get a lot for what you pay, but that still doesn’t make it any cheaper.

Why Buy a Thor Motor Coach RV?

If you’re looking for a large motorhome with a beautiful interior and a lot of power, you may want to consider buying a Thor.  These motorhomes offer a lot of space and you could comfortably full-time in a Thor for the rest of your life without making any sacrifices.

In fact, many of the larger class A motorhomes found within Thor’s lineup offer more space and amenities than an apartment.  Multiple bathrooms, king-size beds, and large residential fridges are pretty much standard.

Why You Might Want to Consider Another Brand

Travel trailer enthusiasts won’t find any Thor travel trailers.  This shouldn’t be surprising though as the company literally has the words “motor coach” within the name.

Also, bargain shoppers won’t find any low-priced Thor’s to choose from.  Even a used Thor might cost you well over six figures so you may need to save up some money before attempting to finance a motorhome made by Thor.

10) Winnebago RVs

Winnegabo has been around since the 1950s and they are one of the most well-known motorhome makers in the country.

They have several different locations and a large number of dealers throughout the United States.

This company is a publicly owned company with a stock price that seems to vary wildly throughout the year.  The reason for this may be the seasonal nature of the industry rather than any internal changes.

Models and Pricing

Winnegabo is well known for their class C motorhomes but their models aren’t limited to Class Cs.  They have all types of motorhomes, fifth wheels, travel trailers and toy haulers for sale.

Travel trailers start at around $25,000.00 and diesel motorhomes can cost upwards of $450,000.00.

The vast differences in price are mainly due to them being different types of RVs.  However, the high-priced motorhomes also offer luxury interiors that you won’t find in the less-expensive models.  For example, the class As might have beautiful electric fireplaces and large residential refrigerators while the travel trailers may only have small mini-fridges inside.  This is another example of a motorhome that actually offers more than your average apartment.

Why Buy a Winnebago Model?

Winnebago has been around for a long time and the business is doing well.  This means that their promises of roadside assistance and long warranty periods are sure to be honored.

Also, Winnebagos have better resale values as they are a well-known brand.  This makes transitioning from full time to stationary life a little easier

Why You Might Want to Consider Something Else

Winnebago is a name brand among RVs and as such, you will pay a premium when you buy one.  This means that you may be able to get an RV of similar value for a lower price just by switching to a lesser known brand.

Also, Winnebago does not offer truck campers so if you’re looking for something to put in your truck bed, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

Final Thoughts

This list of ten of the most popular RVs covers a lot of different makes and models out on the market right now.  However, this list is far from definitive and you may find that you’d rather go with a smaller maker of RVs.

Regardless of what you decide to buy, make sure that you take your time and get to know the company you’re buying from.

RV manufacturers often come and go and you don’t want to be stuck with a camper or motorhome that can’t be serviced.  This will make the RV hard to own and even harder to sell as nobody will want to buy an obsolete RV from you.

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