The ABCs of Class A vs. Class B vs. Class C RVs
Let's look into having a Class A vs. Class B vs. Class C RV. Most of you reading this probably already know that we have a Class B+ (technically a class C) motorhome, and we love it. Before that, for many years we drove Class B Campervans.
The smaller size of our current RV makes it easy to maneuver and saves Jennifer and me a ton of money on gas. I truly feel like it allows me to be more in touch with nature, and less encumbered by size and stress.
But I also know that a Class A or Class B (a B+) or a larger Class C RV may be better suited to you and your family.
We all have different expectations from the RV Lifestyle.
Class A vs. Class B vs. Class C RV: Which Motorhome is Right for You?
Are you at a crossroads, trying to decide which is the better fit for you?
Those who live the RV lifestyle tend to have strong opinions when it comes to Class A vs. Class B RVs, with Class C falling somewhere in between. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
The following are the biggest differences of each class of RV.
RV Types A, B, and C
There are many different types of motorhomes on the market today. There are large, luxurious, boxy RVs, to compact, aerodynamic, and lightweight rigs. And of course, everything in between!
That makes deciding which class of motorhome is best for you a true challenge. To better understand what is the best fit for your specific needs, you need to first understand what each one has to offer.
Class A Motorhomes
A Class A motorhome is known for its luxury. Some even call it the “king of motorhomes.”
Class As are larger RVs and come equipped with a living area, dining area, and luxurious amenities that you would find at home. Those amenities include a washer and dryer, flat-screen TV, recliners, fireplace, outside entertainment center, king-size bed, a full-sized refrigerator, just to name a few. They are, in many ways, a house on wheels.
Class A motorhomes range in size from 25-feet to a whopping 45-feet in length!
They also come with a choice: gas or diesel.
Along with their incredible size and features, comes a hefty price tag. Most Class A RVs cost between $95,000 to $500,000 depending on the vehicle maker and options that you choose. We did a video tour of one Class A that cost $2.5 million!
However, like most vehicles, you can purchase a used Class A RV for a much lighter cost.
Many people hook a tow vehicle behind their Class A RV. It makes running quick errands or exploring other places easy because you can leave the motorhome at the campsite.
Class A motorhomes tend to be the best option for families who need to accommodate more people while traveling.
Class B Motorhomes
The Class B RV is sometimes called a conversion van or Class B campervan. Some may include an elevated roof and a dropped floor, which provides additional headroom.
Class B RVs are very simple to maneuver since they are a lot like a large car and don't need much space on the road or when parking.
While they may be small in size, the Class B motorhome still comes with modern conveniences of home. They offer a kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and a nice amount of storage space.
The Class B RV ranges in size from 16 to 22 feet, depending on your chosen floor plan. They are available with either gas or diesel engines, just like the Class A motorhome.
It may be surprising, but the petite Class B van conversions can come with a hefty price tag rivaling the starting price of a much bigger Class A. Most cost in the range of $65,000 to $150,000 depending on the maker. We did a video tour of custom Class B that costs $380,000.
If you do not need a lot of living space, this may be the perfect fit for you! It is compact which makes it easy to move from place to place. It is great for retired couples that do not want to worry about having to set up and tear down a big rig.
The Class B motorhome could easily be called the “minimalist” motorhome! You can check out our recent article on the 9 Best Class B RVs for 2021.
We have a Class B+ van — more on that in the next section!
Class C Motorhomes
It is true that Class C motorhomes are more popular than Class B motorhomes in the RV world.
They are built on a cutaway truck chassis or van chassis and are larger than a Class B rig. But since Class B motorhomes are built within the dimensions of a custom van, they are more expensive than a Class C. A Class B has to be fit inside an already built van. Most Class Cs are essentially a box bolted on to the frame.
A Class C motorhome is considered a mid-size RV, but available at a more affordable price point than both Class A and Class B. Many often have a slide out, too, giving them even more interior room.
These motorhomes feature many amenities. They have nice appliances, comfortable beds, and even bathtubs!
Most Class C RVs are also widely known for their over-the-cab bunk beds, which are perfect for traveling families. Or, a couple can bring along overnight guests! They can easily accommodate four to six people, depending on the model you choose.
These mid-size motorhomes can range in size, from 21 feet to 35 feet. Like Class A, they can be purchased in gas or diesel models. Their price ranges from $43,000 to over $200,000.
In addition, many Class C campers choose to tow smaller vehicles behind their rig so that they can travel more freely once their camp is set up.
At the beginning of this article, I said we have a B+ travel van. Well, what the heck is that? Think of it as a Class C without the over the cab part. Our Leisure Travel Van Wonder is a perfect example of a B+.
Here are some more articles on Class C RVs:
A Deeper dive into Class A Motorhome vs. Class B Motorhome vs. Class C Motorhome
Before we jump in, remember that these are generalities and the water is deep. You can still find added luxuries and amenities in each type of RV class, not just in a Class A. In fact, as noted, there's a Class B that STARTS at $385,000! We did a whole post about it right here.
When it comes to the size of a Class A vs. Class B or Class C RV, they are vastly different. Choosing one comes down to your individual needs and size of your travel group.
Class A motorhomes are a great fit for those who plan to downsize from a house to RV full-time. Going any smaller may be too big of an adjustment for some for their first RV. In this case, even the luxury price tags can be quite attractive compared to the cost of a home.
Class A motor homes are a great option for families, too. Or those who like to bring as many travel companions along as possible. They're not ideal for long or continuous road trips because of their poor fuel economy. However, they can be the best choice for “big camping trip” use, like to national parks.
While the size of Class A motorhomes are luxurious, moving something that size can be cumbersome. There are campgrounds that would be difficult to access with a vehicle that size. You also run the risk of getting stuck in areas that do not have appropriate turnaround points.
And their mileage is pretty bad. Figure 10 mpg for most.
If you enjoy boondocking or zipping from place to place, or urban camping, a Class B campervan rig might be a better fit.
A van conversion can fit in a small space so virtually every campground can accommodate you. They are a lot easier to pack up and go when you are ready to explore somewhere new.
If you plan to hit the open road for an extended period of time, then a Class B may be the perfect RV for you. They get much better gas mileage and drive much like your personal vehicle. Their safety features are likely very similar to your personal vehicle, too.
However, you have to be honest with yourself and evaluate if you can happily adapt to the smaller living space. It's easier to adapt if you view the outdoors as your main living space. That's what inspires our “Small House Big Yard” merch line.
The biggest downer about a Class B is space. You really have to be a bit of a minimalist to thrive in an RV this size.
When comparing price points of Class A vs. Class B RV, there is no clear leader. Both types of vehicles can have a hefty price tag, depending on the make and model and amenities you choose.
You may be surprised by Class Bs prices but in most cases, you're paying for compactness and ease of travel.
Class C motorhomes offer a good compromise between Class A and Class B.
Many consider them the “Goldilocks” RV that's not too small, not too big, but “just right.” They're easier to drive than a Class A but offer more room and amenities than a Class B. As noted, many have slide outs, which greatly increases the interior space.
They typically are used by two to four people. And they have more storage space than a B.
Plus, in many cases, they're often more affordable than both Class A and B.
Overall, there is no clear conclusion when comparing a Class A vs. Class B RV or even Class C. That’s because everyone’s needs vary.
Some people want all of the luxuries of home on the road. Others want to move around a lot without anything slowing them down too much. Still others want a bit of both.
You just have to figure out which type of person you are, and which type of travel you want to do.
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