In terms of strong built, quality, and luxury, Class A RVs are your best bet.
Class A RVs usually weigh more than others, which introduces us to the trouble of license requirements for different states in the US.
So, how much does a Class A RV weigh?
Class A RVs are among the heaviest and biggest in the motorhomes market. On average, a Class A RV weighs anywhere from 13,000 lbs to 30,000 lbs. Their spacious interiors and overall amenities tend to cause them to become heavier than other models and classes.
Learn about the five examples of popular Class A RVs and how much do they weigh and also the different laws and license requirements in every state of the US:
5 Examples of How Much Popular Class A RVs Weigh:
1. Newmar Dutch Star:
Newmar Dutch Star is one of the most popular and dominating Class A RV on the market, and for good reasons.
The spacious interior of this RV, allowing for comfortable living along with a strong and firm built, has made this a successful motorhome in the market.
The Newmar Dutch Star has a total Gross Trailer Weight(GTW) of 51,000 lbs, and a dry weight of 40,300 lbs, according to the manufacturers.
2. Newman Ventana:
Newman Ventana is one of the most reputed RVs in the market for its quality, durability, and service.
The Newman Ventana has a GTW of 44,700 lbs, as per the manufacturer’s guidelines, a dry weight of 34,500.
3. Tiffin Phaeton:
Tiffin Phaeton is one of the customer favorites in the market.
It provides comfort, luxury, equipped with enhancing amenities and modern upscale features.
The Tiffin Phaeton has a total GTW of 38,320 lbs, but unfortunately, the manufacturers have not provided any information regarding the dry weight or curb weight of this trailer.
4. Winnebago Forza:
Winnebago Forza allows you to create the most comfortable space inside your RV.
It has versatile seating and sleeping spaces that claim to provide luxury and performance.
The GTW of Winnebago Forza is 26,000 lbs, much less than the first three RVs.
5. Forest River FR3 25DS:
Forest River FR3 25DS is more on the affordable and cheap side of RVs.
It’s been in the market for quite a few years now, and customers get a fairly good product for its price.
The GTW of Forest River FR3 25DS is 16,000 lbs only, the lightest of all five.
Driver’s License Requirements for Class A RVs (Across the US)?
These are the most common licenses that RV owners will possess, and most states will allow you to drive your Class A RV with this alone.
To drive a vehicle with non-commercial or recreational functions does not require a special license, but in some states, you may need it over a certain length and weight of your RV.
Commercial Driver’s License (CDL)
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the government body that addresses the rules and regulations for Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV).
It sets a minimum requirement for all states to follow and adhere to when handling CDLs. A Commercial Driver’s License is usually required for large vehicles like buses and tractors.
It’s crucial to know and understand the law regarding CDL in every state so that you don’t get into any kind of trouble with your RV.
The following is a list of all different laws regarding Class A RVs and motorhomes in different states of the US:
|State||License Laws & Requirements|
|Arkansas||Requires a CDL for vehicles that weigh over 26,000lbs.|
|Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, New Mexico, Washington||Requires a CDL of Class B for a single-vehicle weighing over 26,000lbs and a CDL of Class A for multiple vehicles weighing a total of over 26,000lbs.|
|California||Requires a Class B license for vehicles over 26,000lbs or over 40 feet and requires a Class A license for vehicles over 10,000lbs.|
|Maryland||Requires a Class B license for vehicles over 26,000 lbs.|
|Michigan||Requires a Recreational Double “R” Endorsement for towing a fifth-wheel plus a trailer. However, it is a rare situation.|
|Nevada||Requires a Class B license for a single-vehicle weighing over 26,000lbs, and a Class A license for multiple vehicles weighing a total of over 26,000lbs. Plus, a “J” Endorsement for towing a vehicle over 10,000lbs, in case the combined weight of vehicles is less than 26,000lbs.|
|New York||Requires a Recreational vehicle or “R” Endorsement for vehicles weighing over 26,000lbs.|
|North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas||Requires a Class B license for a single-vehicle weighing over 26,000lbs, and a Class A license for multiple vehicles weighing a total of over 26,000lbs.|
|South Carolina||Requires a Class E license for a single-vehicle weighing over 26,000lbs, and a Class F license for multiple vehicles weighing a total of over 26,000lbs.|
|Wisconsin||Requires a CDL for vehicles over 45 feet.|
|Wyoming||Requires a Class B license for a single-vehicle weighing over 26,000lbs, and a Class A license for multiple vehicles weighing a total of over 26,000lbs, plus towing for over 10,000 lbs.|
All remaining states do not require a commercial driver’s license, nor do they require a special driver’s license.
What is the LIGHTEST Class A RV?
Thor Axis is not only the lightest Class A RV, but also one of the smallest as well, and it is intentionally made this way for the people who want smaller RVs rather than large ones.
The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of Thor Axis is only 12,500 lbs.
What is the HEAVIEST Class A RV?
Newell Coach 2020p is not only the heaviest, not only the largest, but it is also one of the most expensive Class A motorhomes available in the market, with a price worth more than a million.
The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating of Newell Coach 2020p is 63,600lbs.
Understand Curb vs. Tongue vs. Trailer weight
Curb Weight – Curb weight is the actual weight of an RV without including the passengers and cargos.
Think of it like the way it came out of the factory, just the standard necessary pieces of equipment.
However, some people argue over what to include in the equation while measuring the curb weight of an RV. Some believe that the curb weight should incorporate the weight of a full fuel tank, full fresh water tank, full propane bottles, all other equipment fluids, and some even argue that the driver’s weight should also be taken into account.
This difference in opinion results in inconsistent definitions of curb weight. Arguments like if a fuel tank filled to its 100% capacity is at its curb weight or the bare minimum fuel needed to run the vehicle should be considered its curb weight.
The use of curb weight is to determine the cargo-carrying capacity of your trailer or RV. So, paying close attention to how the manufacturers are defining the curb weight is crucial to avoid any confusion.
Most manufacturers will tell you the curb weight of the vehicle and the factors that are taken into consideration in their manual.
Tongue weight may seem like a very complicated concept, but it’s not.
Tongue weight is just a towing term used to define the downward force applied by the tongue of the trailer or RV to the hitch of the tow vehicle.
Having just the right tongue weight is crucial because some severe complications may occur if the tongue weight is too light or too heavy. If it is excessively lightweight, then the trailer may start to swing because the tongue weight is not enough to keep it steady, and if it’s too heavy, then steering the vehicle may get too hard.
Calculating tongue weight seems like a very challenging task, but it’s the easiest of them all. Most experts believe that the tongue weight of an RV is 9-15% of its gross trailer weight.
Communicate with your manufacturer or an expert to be precise on what percent of the GTW is your tongue weight.
The trailer weight, also known as the gross trailer weight, is the total weight of an RV, including all passengers, cargos, extra equipment, fluids, and everything.
It’s the weight of a fully-loaded trailer. In other words, it’s the sum total of curb weight and the weight of all passengers and cargos.
Calculating the trailer weight is pretty simple. All you need is a scale on which you can drive your trailer on to weigh it.
Most places have a lot of public scaling facilities, which you can access with just a few dollars.
Judging by the licensing law and requirement of different states of the US, it seems that a Class A RV weighing less than 26,000 lbs will face the least complication.
However, with proper licensing, one can enjoy driving RVs of any weight.
Morten is the founder of GoDownsize. He has filmed and interviewed people living in tiny houses and RVs since 2011. He grew up on the coast where his dad took him boating from a young age. He has completely rebuilt two RVs in which he travels with his family for months at the time. Read more about Morten here.