RVing is one of the best ways to experience the wonders and beauty that this country has to offer. If you’re thinking about purchasing your own RV, congrats! It’s a decision that will bring you fun adventures and treasured memories for years to come. A camper or motorhome, however, is no small purchase. If you’re wondering just how much you can expect to spend on an RV, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to break down RV prices and give you some tips on making the purchase.
How much does an RV cost?
Just as houses can range from modest bungalows to luxury mansions, the cost of an RV will vary greatly depending on the rig. Several things will influence the RV price, including:
- RV class and size: Perhaps the biggest indicator of your RV’s total cost will be its size and class. In general, the larger your RV is, the more expensive it will be. On a similar note, expect to pay more for a motorhome than a pull-behind camper of the same length.
- RV manufacturer: Some RV manufacturers are known for their distinct features and amenities— and price tag. The new RV cost of an Airstream, for example, is typically more expensive than budget-friendly brands like Jayco.
- Finishes and add-ons: Many RVs come standard with certain finishes and appliances. However, when you purchase a new RV, you often have the option to upgrade finishes to premium materials, swap the standard appliances for larger ones, or include all-weather features. These can tack on some extra costs.
Here’s a rough estimate of what you can expect to pay based on the class of your RV.
Class A RVs
Class A RVs are the largest— and most expensive— RV class that you can purchase. These motorhomes are built on bus chassis and offer the most room and living space. Perfect for full-timers whose RV is their permanent home, Class A RVs almost always come equipped with a full kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, living room, dining space, and additional sleeping areas.
Prices for new Class As start around $50,000 for smaller, base models. For larger rigs, expect to pay anywhere from $100,000-$200,000. And if you want to spring for real luxury, you may be spending upwards of $500,000!
Class B RVs
Class B RVs, commonly known as campervans or conversion vans, are the smallest of the motorhome classes. These often start off as plain commercial vans and are custom outfitted for camping. Because of this, campervan costs can vary widely.
Basic van models typically start around $30,000 new, but you should expect to spend a few extra thousands rigging it up for camping. Prices go up from there for custom build-outs, often topping $100,000 for top-of-the-line models and features. The nice thing about custom building your rig, however, is that you can set the price. Whether it’s a DIY project or a collaboration with a builder, you can usually build a new campervan to your budget specifications.
Class C RVs
Though they’re last alphabetically, Class C RVs are actually in between Class As and Class Bs in terms of size. These are built on truck chassis and are usually identified by their front-end, which looks like a pick-up truck cab with a camper overhang. These RVs are considerably larger than a campervan but are shorter than the average Class A.
These RVs usually cost anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 depending on size and features.
Camper and trailers
Campers and trailers, by far, have the most variation in costs. This is because these towable RVs themselves can vary widely. From your sub-$10,000 pop-up campers to your $180,000 Airstream Classics, you can find an RV to meet just about any budget.
When shopping for a camper, you’ll want to keep the points we talked about earlier— size, manufacturer, finishes, and add-ons— in mind. These will all play a huge role in the cost of a trailer.
Fifth wheel campers are towable like bumper-pull trailers but require a special fifth-wheel hitch that is situated in a bed truck. Fifth wheels are typically on the larger end, between 25-45 feet. You won’t find any small tear-drop or pop-up fifth wheels, making the average cost for this type of trailer higher. On average, you can expect to pay around $35,000 for baseline models. Like every other type of rig, prices can go up from there.
Other RV costs to consider
Unfortunately, the RV cost isn’t the only thing you should factor into your RVing budget. Here are a few other RV costs to consider.
- Gas costs (either for the motorhome or added costs due to reduced fuel economy)
- Storage when you aren’t using your RV
- Routine maintenance and occasional repairs
- RV insurance
- Campsite costs when you’re on the road
- Power and appliance necessities such as propane tanks, generator, etc.
- Extras like satellite internet and TV
Buying a new RV versus buying a used RV
New RV prices will almost always be higher than those of a used model. This is because RVs typically don’t hold their value very well and depreciate quickly. While this isn’t great news for new RV buyers, those who buy used can really benefit since it means that you can find lightly used models that are only a few years old for a bargain price.
Used RVs do come with some drawbacks, however. You’ll be purchasing a rig that likely has some wear and tear, so don’t expect everything to be in perfect working order. There may be some cosmetic defects, along with appliances that need to be repaired or replaced. If the RV has seen heavy use, has been sitting unused for a long period of time, or is just old, be prepared to put in some elbow grease and extra cash to get it in good condition.
Where to buy used RVs
You can purchase used RVs several ways.
- RV dealerships: Many dealerships carry used RVs alongside new models. These are always a great place to look, as they’ll usually have a selection of used RVs on hand. Always be sure to ask the right questions when working with a dealer!
- Online marketplaces: Online marketplaces are a great way to find deals on used RVs across the country. Sites like RV Trader allow you to search listings near you or nationwide.
- Local listing: Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and other local ad listings are great places to look for people selling their RVs locally. When purchasing peer-to-peer, be sure to keep these RV buying tips in mind.
Rent before you buy
Buying an RV can be a large investment— and you want it to be the right one. Renting several different RVs before you make a purchase is a great way to determine what, exactly, you need in an RV and which model may be best for you.
Rent out your RV after you buy
Renting out your RV on peer-to-peer platforms like Outdoorsy can also be a great option for owners looking to make money on the side with their new investment. You’ll get to earn money to help pay off your rig (or fund your next adventure, if you’ve already paid it off) and get to share the great outdoors with someone new. Plus, all Outdoorsy vehicles, renters, and owners are protected from risks on the road thanks to our comprehensive insurance offerings. It’s a win-win!
Get on the road
Whether you’re buying your first RV or your fifth, you’re making a purchase that will bring you lasting memories. Always be sure to do your research ahead of time to find a rig that works best for you and your travel needs, has a good track record of being reliable, and is within your budget.