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Some recreational vehicles are much more affordable than you might expect, others cost a fortune. How much does an RV cost to buy?

While a luxurious bus-sized RV costs a fortune, smaller RVs are not as expensive. Trailers are even cheaper, especially tent trailers. You can also save a lot of money by buying a used RV.

An RV can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $3,000,000. Anywhere from $35,000 to $300,000 is more common, but many are far outside of that range. Towed trailers (tens of thousands) are much cheaper than motorhomes (about $100,000).

It is important to know about RVs before you buy one. You don't want to end up paying for features you don't want. You should know what features different types of trailers offer.

I have sold very many RVs before and know all about what they cost and what features you can get at each price. You should learn a little about normal RV prices before you make a purchase.



How Much Does An RV Cost To Buy?

Like cars and houses, RVs have a huge range of prices. You can spend anywhere from a few tens of thousands to a few hundred thousand dollars. Anywhere from $35,000 to $300,000 is common.

The more you spend, the more you will get. If you spend relatively little; you have a trailer that provides shelter wherever you go. If you spend a lot, you can have a luxury motorhome that has a lot of impressive features.

Some RVs are also much bigger than others, and this determines the price even more than luxury features. For example, a bus-sized class A RV will usually cost more than $200,000. Smaller RV's are cheaper, sometimes much cheaper:

  • Class B motorhomes cost $80K to $120K
  • Class C motorhomes cost $115K to $140K
  • Class A motorhomes $150K to $500K

Don't Go Broke Buying an RV

You will have to pay for gas and repairs. If you feel like you could just barely afford an RV, get a cheaper one instead. The actual cost may be higher than you expected, so you might get stuck with difficult-to-afford payments for a long time.

Taxes are a big part of the additional cost. Just because your RV only costs $50,000 doesn't mean you won't have to pay local and state taxes. You will also have to pay vehicle registration fees, which are higher in some states than others.

Before you buy an RV, you should come up with a good estimate of the real cost. Don't underestimate what taxes, fees, gas, and maintenance will cost you.

Get an RV With a Good Warranty

If you buy a toaster with a bad warranty, that isn't that big of a deal - you won't lose money if breaks quickly. An RV is very different. Always make sure there is a strong warranty protecting your purchase.

Not every warranty protects your whole RV. It might only protect certain parts of your recreational vehicle. Some warranties also expire too fast or are weak in other ways.

Read the warranty carefully. If the company advertises that their RV is "backed by a robust warranty," they might be telling the truth, but they might not be. This is a situation where you should read the legal agreement and read it carefully.

Some RV's Are Outside of the Usual Price Range

Not every RV is within the $35K to $300K price range. You might find an RV for only $10K, and an extremely high-end RV might cost 3 million dollars. A camper that you tow behind a truck is the cheapest - you might get a new one for $20,000 or less.

RVs with engines are unsurprisingly more expensive than towed campers. A new motorhome usually costs about $100,000 and will never cost only $20,000. Fifth-wheel campers are much cheaper than motorhomes but still cost about 40,000 dollars.

Different Types of RVs and Their Prices

RVs range all the way from a simple camper without a motor to an ultra-luxurious class A motorhome for a wealthy buyer. There are also large price variations within each class depending on what luxury features you want.

Tent Trailers

Tent trailers are relatively cheap and don't offer as much as higher-end recreational vehicles. Despite their limitations, they are a popular choice. A tent trailer doesn't have solid walls; instead, the walls are tent sheets.

There isn't much space in a tent trailer, but there is still room for a bed and a small kitchen. You can cook and sleep comfortably in a tent trailer, so they are great if that's all you need. Tent trailers do not have bathrooms/showers, so you will have to stay somewhere where these are available.

What Do Tent Trailers Cost?

Tent trailers cost about $10,000 or $30,000. You can get a SylvanSport Go for $10,000 and get a Forest River Rockwood High for as much as $27000.

Used tent trailers may cost even less, and are some of the cheapest recreational vehicles. If you want to go RVing but think you can't afford it, you could try looking for a used tent trailer that is still in good condition.

What Are Hard-Sided Trailers?

Hard-sided trailers are somewhat bigger and much sturdier than pop-up campers without being nearly as expensive. All of the walls are solid, there is no tent fabric used on a hard-sided trailer. Some things you may fit in a hard-sided trailer are:

  • A bed
  • A kitchen
  • A fridge
  • A bathroom and shower
  • A generator

You won't usually be able to fit all of these things in a regular-sized hard-sided trailer. You will have to sacrifice some or one of them.

You won't usually have everything you need in your hard-sided trailer. However, you may be able to fit several people in one. They are not very small.

What Do Hard-Sided Trailers Cost?

Hard-sided trailers cost $15K to $30K, not much more than tent trailers do. This is usually worth it as they are better than tent trailers for a not much higher price. Currently, you can get a TrailManor 2720QD for $17000 or a Forest River Rockwood A214HW for $35,749.

Fifth Wheel Trailers

Fifth-wheel trailers are the biggest and most comfortable trailers you can buy. They are not as impressive as motorhomes, but for towed trailers they are high-end.

A fifth-wheel trailer is a great deal if you don't mind having to tow your RV. A fifth-wheel motorhome can be almost as large as a class B motorhome while being much cheaper. A fifth-wheel trailer has a lot of floor space and even has multiple levels.

The disadvantage of a fifth-wheel trailer is that you need a powerful vehicle to pull it. A car won't be nearly good enough, but a truck often is. You don't usually need a special vehicle designed for towing fifth-wheel trailers, an ordinary truck is often enough.

What Rooms Do Fifth-Wheel Trailers Have?

Fifth-wheel trailers have master bedrooms, guest bedrooms, large kitchens, bathrooms/showers, entertainment rooms, and often a couch or more than two beds. They are a good alternative to motorhomes if you want something spacious but affordable.

What Do Fifth-Wheel Trailers Cost?

New fifth-wheel trailers cost about $40,000 to about $110,000. A CrossRoads RV Volante only costs $43,931, and a Keystone Montana costs $109,560. These prices may change at any time, but that gives you a general idea.

Class B Motorhomes

Class B Motorhomes are cheaper than either class A or class C homes are. They are relatively small and are not good for more than 3 or 4 people.

You can only have one king-sized or queen-sized bed in a class C motorhome. You also might not be able to have a bunk bed, because the roof is not long enough.

This makes it hard to fit more than a very few people into a class B home comfortably. Sometimes, someone may have to sleep on a mat, couch, or pull-out bed.

What Else Can You Fit in a Class B Home?

You can fit a kitchen, a small dining area, and a stove in a class B home. You can also have a bathroom with a shower. You may not be able to fit everything you want, you may have to decide between one thing and another.

What Do Class B Motorhomes Cost?

Class B motorhomes cost about $100,000, give or take about $20,000. Some can be outside of that price range, but those are typical prices. You can get a ModVans CV1 for $85,000 or a Thor Motor Coach Gemini 24SX for 128,000 dollars.

Some homes are far outside of this price range. For example, a Grech RV Strada-Ion Lounge cost $229,980. Smaller motorhomes can sell for more than $200,000 if they have the right luxury features.

Class C Motorhomes

Class C motorhomes are in the middle of the price range and medium-sized, not smaller than Class B homes. They are the middle ground between class B and class A motorhomes.

One advantage of class C motorhomes over larger class A homes is that they are easier to repair. They are built on a truck chassis, not a bus chassis, so it is easier to work on the engine. You can do basic repairs on a class C motorhome yourself.

Class C motorhomes are not truly large and spacious. If you want to take more than a few people with you without it being too crowded and uncomfortable, you may need a class A. However, class C homes have more room, including an extra sleeping area over the cab.

What Do Class C Motorhomes Cost?

Class C motorhomes usually cost around $115K or $140K. Some cost much less than $115K (for example, a Thor Freedom Elite 22FE costs only $58K) and others cost much more than $140K (a Jayco Seneca 37K costs over $231K).

Class A Motorhomes

Class A motorhomes are the biggest, best, and most expensive motorhomes you can buy. Learning to drive them can be somewhat of a challenge. They can be more than 25 feet to nearly 50 feet long.

Even with more than five people onboard, a class A motorhome may be comfortable. There is space and privacy for everyone. You can also fit a king-size bed and two queen-size beds in a class A motorhome.

Class A motorhomes have bathrooms/showers, entertainment rooms, fridges, full kitchens, and multiple bedrooms. The ceiling is also very high on a class A motorhome.

What Do Class A Motorhomes Cost?

Class A motorhomes usually cost from $150K to $500K. A Winnebago Sunstar 35U costs $158K, a Winnebago Grand Tour 42QL costs $518K. Only exceptional motorhomes that are for a smaller market cost millions of dollars.

What Do Used Recreational Vehicles Cost?

Recreational vehicles lose value fairly quickly, so you may be able to buy a used recreational vehicle for much cheaper even if it is still in good condition. Used recreational vehicles lose a lot of value in only a few years:

  • Class A motorhomes use 30% of their value in a few years
  • Class C motorhomes lose 38% of their value after five years
  • Travel trailers lose 45% of their value after five years
  • Fifth-wheel trailers lose 71% of their value after ten years

The ticket when buying anything used is to get as much information as possible. Do some research and be careful not to get a bad deal. While some sellers may offer a great deal to make the sale quickly, others may offer poor deals until someone makes the mistake of buying.