RVing is a world unto itself. With dozens of motorhome companies to choose from, it can be difficult to narrow your search down to only the best RV brands.
Our review team wanted to find out which camper manufacturers offer recreational vehicle enthusiasts the best combination of quality, prices, and service. After extensive research, here’s the short list of the best RV brands.
The 6 Best RV Brands
In our team’s study of the best RV brands in the country, these six providers stood out from the rest.
#1 Grand Design RV
RVInsider score: 3.9 out of 5.0 stars
What stands out: Strong reputation for quality inspections and after-sales service
Great for: RVers who insist on top quality and are willing to pay more for it
Grand Design RV tops our list of the best RVs for 2022 largely due to the company’s stellar reputation for build quality and customer service.
The company offers fifth wheels, toy haulers, and travel trailers. Both the Imagine and Reflection lines of campers are staples among veteran RV enthusiasts. That same level of quality and design make it a great option for first-time RV buyers, too.
Built in Middlebury, Indiana, Grand Design is noted for its attention to quality. The company uses a rigorous quality assurance process, with a separate team performing an inspection of more than 300 items after the inspection at the factory. As a result, Grand Design RV owners tend to find fewer problems with their motorhomes compared to owners of other brands.
One of Grand Design’s other key selling points is its online support from the brand itself and from other owners. The company offers a robust knowledge base on the website GDRV4Life.GrandDesignRV.com. This site contains a great deal of information on the company’s RVs and how to troubleshoot problems. Another site, GDRVOwners.com, is for Grand Design owners to provide one another with support.
To learn more, read our full Grand Design RV review.
Grand Design Pros And Cons
Grand Design might be the best RV brand in our study, but that doesn’t mean it’s without its drawbacks. Here are the brand’s advantages and disadvantages.
RVInsider score: 4.3 out of 5.0 stars
What stands out: Established RV brand with timeless design
Great for: Design enthusiasts looking for high-quality trailers
“Iconic” is probably the best word to describe Airstream’s classic midcentury design. The company’s gleaming, bullet-shaped travel trailers are synonymous with RVing and exploring the American landscape. The shiny aluminum towables come in a range of sizes.
But the brand doesn’t just rest on its reputation. Airstream trailers are, on the whole, better built than many of the company’s competitors. That quality, however, comes at a price. People shopping for Airstreams will notice that models are often priced near the top of their categories.
Still, the build quality on popular models like the Flying Cloud and Classic trailers is a strong selling point, as is the company’s history of making campers since the 1930s. And entry-level travelers aren’t without Airstream options. The company’s Basecamp trailer starts at $46,000 for the 2022 model year.
Airstream Pros And Cons
While Airstream trailers have a few drawbacks, the company is still among the very best RV brands. Here’s a breakdown of what to love and what not to love about the brand.
#3 Oliver Travel Trailers
RVInsider score: 5.0 out of 5.0 stars*
What stands out: Direct-to-customer business model and robust construction
Great for: RVers looking for an especially durable trailer or who like to do extensive research
*While Oliver Travel Trailers has a 5.0 rating on RVInsider, it’s from only one customer review. However, our team found that review to be consistent with customer comments and ratings from other places on the internet.
Oliver Travel Trailers carved out its space in the RV world with its unique fiberglass construction method. Rather than the traditional boxy shape most manufacturers use, Oliver trailers, or “Ollies,” have a more aerodynamic and aesthetically pleasing shape for some.
The Hohenwald, Tennessee-based company doesn’t offer the same array of models and floor plans as some of the other manufacturers on this list. Instead, Oliver focuses on just two models: the Legacy Elite and the Legacy Elite II, with the latter offering a longer and wider floor plan than the original.
Another factor that sets Oliver apart is its business model. Unlike most manufacturers, Oliver doesn’t sell its campers through dealerships. Instead, the company sells directly to customers. If you’re interested in seeing a travel trailer in person before you buy, the company can line you up with an Oliver owner. That means you can likely get more candid answers to your questions than you would from a salesperson. You can also arrange a tour of the factory in Tennessee.
Oliver Travel Trailers Pros And Cons
While Oliver has a strong reputation for its build quality and unique business approach, it still has a few downsides as a brand. Here are a few of the pros and cons of Oliver RVs.
Oliver Travel Trailers
RVInsider score: 4.2 out of 5.0 stars
What stands out: Wide range of campers and renowned status in the RV industry
Great for: People eager for a time-honored brand with a broad selection of models and floor plans
Winnebago is such a household name in RVs that it has become something of a generic trademark–a brand so popular that people sometimes use it interchangeably with the name of the actual product. That’s partly because the company has been manufacturing trailers and campervans since 1958.
Winnebago remains one of the most recognizable brands in the industry. Models such as the View, Minnie, Micro Minnie, and Hike are all staples of the open road and RV campgrounds around the country.
In addition to these popular models, the company makes products in each of the following categories:
There is even variation within those categories. For example, the company offers accessibility-enhanced models of some of its Class A and Class B RVs–something the RV world could certainly use more of.
Winnebago Pros And Cons
Despite its legendary status in the industry, there are a few things about Winnebago that may cause hesitation. Here are some things to consider.
RVInsider score: 4.3 out of 5.0 stars
What stands out: Luxury in every detail
Great for: RVers who want a high-end living experience on the road
Unlike the other manufacturers on this list, Newmar only operates at the luxury end of the RV spectrum. For travelers who want the same kind of high-end features and comfort they have at home, Newmar RVs would be a great place to look.
The cost of a Newmar RV can exceed $1.5 million for those with champagne taste and deep pockets. However, the company’s “entry-level” Class A RV, the Bay Star Sport, starts at $175,840.
RVers looking to experience a true luxury travel experience may want to look at the King Aire. With features like tiled floors, smart appliances, and a bay window, the King Aire starts at $1,528,208.
Newmar Pros And Cons
Newmar RVs are built for luxury and quality, placing them above many other brands on the market. However, like all the best RV brands, there are some downsides.
RVInsider score: 4.4 out of 5.0 stars
What stands out: High-end construction and vigorous prototype testing, family-owned company
Great for: People looking for luxury Class A, Class B, or Class C motorhomes
Tiffin is another manufacturer of luxury motorhomes. The company doesn’t make fifth-wheel or travel trailers, instead focusing only on Class A, B, and C motorhomes. What the company lacks in selection, it more than makes up for in quality control.
The company uses an exhaustive quality control method to ensure every chassis performs up to spec. Tiffin’s quality team runs extensive checks on the cooling system, engine, and instrumentation. The company also puts its models to the test on a track. When you’re spending as much as you would on a Tiffin RV, that’s reassuring.
Tiffin models come with the kind of luxury accouterments you’d expect from an RV at this price point. The Phaeton is one of the most popular Class A RVs in the country and offers touches like a central vacuum and hand-built cabinets.
Tiffin Pros And Cons
Even with a few points of minor concern, Tiffin is one of the best RV brands in the country. Here are some of the brand’s highs and lows:
Types Of RVs
Before you start looking for the specific RV you want to buy, narrow your search to the type of camper you’re looking for. There are several RV types to choose from:
|Fifth-wheel campers||Large towable campers that connect to a “fifth wheel” in the bed of a large pickup truck. Typically, these are the largest towable RVs you can buy.|
|Travel trailers||Lighter and smaller than fifth-wheel campers, travel trailers are easier to maneuver than their larger counterparts. However, you do sacrifice some living space in comparison.|
|Toy haulers||Some towable RVs are called toy haulers because they’re built to carry recreational equipment like kayaks, surfboards, golf carts. and motorcycles.|
|Teardrop campers||Named for their oval shape, these small, lightweight towable campers are inexpensive, compact, and nimble on road trips.|
|Pop-up campers||Pop-up campers sit at the lower end of the cost spectrum for RVs. They’re great options for people who want a slightly elevated camping experience compared to a tent at a campsite.|
|Class C motorhomes||While the name might suggest otherwise, Class C RVs are smaller than Class A RVs and larger than Class B RVs. Typically built on a large truck chassis, this type of motorhome provides a good balance of amenities and maneuverability.|
|Class B motorhomes||OFten built on a Sprinter chassis, a Class B RV offers comfortable living in a compact space compared to Class A and Class C motorhomes.|
|Class A motorhomes||Class A motorhomes are the biggest and most well-equipped RVs on the market. While you can find somewhat affordable entry-level Class A motorcoaches, some models climb up into the millions of dollars.|
Buying An RV: What To Look For
Whether you’re a first-time RV buyer or going on your fourth camper, it’s important to know what to look for when buying one. Here are some of the things to keep an eye on:
Existing customers are a great source of information. There are many specialty sites, such as RVInsider, that allow customers to rate and review their RVs. You can learn a lot about what to expect and any potential issues certain models or brands may have.
However, put reviews you read into context. Brands have been known to reward customers for positive reviews. Also, people tend to leave reviews more when they’re frustrated than when they’re satisfied. So while a few negative reviews shouldn’t tank your opinion on a brand, it’s worth paying attention to any patterns or consistent complaints you see.
Packing an RV full of features and technology is one thing, but making sure those things hold up under use is something different entirely. One way to judge this is to look at the company’s manufacturing and testing process.
Ideally, a company will use a separate team to inspect an RV than the one that built it. But in reality, many companies use the same teams to build and inspect RVs, which is more likely to result in quality control issues.
A company or dealership will help you with whatever you need when it wants you to buy its product. But does that change after you’ve given that business your money?
Online reviews are a great place to learn about how a company treats its customers after a sale. Some companies seem to disappear once they have your money, while others make tending to customer issues a priority. It’s important to learn which approach the company takes when you decide to buy an RV.
There’s simply no substitute for seeing, touching, and even smelling an RV in person. This is where you can get the best idea for build quality. Fixtures like a tile backsplash or stand-up shower may look great in photos but feel flimsy and poorly installed in person.
Given how much many RVs cost and the fact that even the best RV brands almost always have build quality issues, this is an important step in your research.
Your RV dealer is an important part of your camper experience. You’ll purchase your RV from the dealership, and it will be the main place you go for repairs.
Despite many companies saying you can get your RV repaired at any dealership bearing their name, that often isn’t the case in the practical sense. Unlike car dealerships, RV dealerships are not obligated to repair vehicles from people who didn’t buy them there. An RV dealer other than the one you bought your vehicle from may put you behind local customers or outright refuse to service your RV.
Many RVs come with built-in warranties, but read the fine print. Some of these warranties have a long list of exclusions that won’t be covered under warranty, even if it seems like they should.
Another thing to consider is whether or not the warranty transfers if you sell the RV. In many cases, it doesn’t. That’s something to know before listing it or buying a used RV.
Common RV Problems: What You Should Know
When you start researching RVs, one of the first things you learn is that problems are unavoidable. In many cases, that’s because you’re taking something that’s usually static–a home–and putting it in a situation where it’s moving and vibrating all the time.
Simply driving your RV can cause things to come loose as a result of road vibrations. Luckily, you can usually fix these with routine maintenance and a good eye for when things start to break.
Here are a few of the most common problems camper owners report having even with the best RV brands:
- Awning malfunction
- Water heater issues
- Interior panels detaching
- Slide-outs malfunctioning
- Broken plumbing valves
- Screws loosening or falling out
- Electrical problems
- Sealant around roof and windows coming off
This is far from an exhaustive list of RV problems. Online forums and enthusiast sites are great places to learn about problems that are common among specific models and brands.
How To Find The Best RV Prices
The best ways to make sure you’re getting the best RV prices are to do your research and shop around. Many brands, including some of the ones on this list, offer dozens of models and floor plans. Be sure to narrow your search to exactly what you want and compare prices across a few models and brands.
It also pays off to wait for the right time to buy one. RV prices–unsurprisingly–hit their peak as the weather warms up in the spring and summer. Some sources suggest October is the best time to get a good deal on an RV, so it’s certainly worth checking prices at that time.