During the pandemic, plenty of people decided to hit the open road and see what all the U.S. has to offer. If you’re thinking about jumping on the road-adventurer bandwagon, an RV is a great way to explore different places without having to stay in hotels or sleep in your car. Still, an RV is a huge purchase, so cost is always a big consideration for most people.
An RV typically costs between $10,000 and $450,000. The RV’s class, size, and features will make the price higher or lower, with large motorhomes costing well over $100,000. Still, you can find a small pop-up camper for around $10,000 or less, or a camper trailer or fifth-wheel for $15,000 and up.
- How Much Does an RV Cost to Buy?
- How Much is a Pop-Up Camper?
- How Much is a Camper Trailer?
- How Much is a Fifth Wheel?
- How Much Does an RV Cost to Rent?
- How Much Does an RV Cost to Own?
- What’s the True Cost of Owning an RV?
- Is Owning an RV Cost-Effective?
- Is it Cheaper to Live in an RV Than a Home?
- Is it Cheaper to Buy a House or an RV?
- The Bottom Line
How Much Does an RV Cost to Buy?
Understanding the cost of a recreational vehicle (RV) starts with understanding the types of vehicles available and their differences. The RV’s size, class, brand, features, and amenities will all impact how much it will cost.
|RV Type||Average Price Range|
|Class A Motorhome||$200,000 – $450,000|
|Class B Motorhome||$100,000 – $200,000|
|Class C Motorhome||$50,000 – $125,000|
|Pop-Up Camper||$9,000 – $35,000|
|Camper Trailer||$15,000 – $60,000|
|Fifth Wheel||$50,000 – $150,000|
On the low end of the cost spectrum, you can find smaller pop-up campers that you can haul behind a large SUV or truck starting for just under $10,000.
There are also large, luxury motorhomes on the market for $450,000 or more that come with more features than a lot of people’s permanent homes.
You may also want to consider the cost of a new RV versus a used vehicle. That’s one way to save thousands of dollars if you don’t mind a vehicle that’s been previously camped in. Even if you don’t get a used model, purchasing something from the previous year is an easy way to save a lot of money versus getting a brand new model.
RV Class and Cost
RVs are typically designated as either Class A, Class B, or Class C. The class designation has to do with the vehicle’s size and body style and it can certainly impact the purchase price.
|Sample RV||Class||Sample Price|
|Forest River Berkshire XLT Diesel 45A||A||$280,000|
|2019 Jayco Embark 37MB||A||$295,000|
|Newmar Dutch Star 3718 Diesel||A||$357,000|
|Entegra Coach Anthem 44B||A||$550,000|
|Winnebago ERA 70A 4×4||B||$124,000|
|Thor Coach Compass 24LP||B||$115,000|
|Pleasure Way Tofino||B||$75,000|
|Gulf Stream BT Cruiser 5230||C||$89,000|
|Coachmen Leprechaun 240FS||C||$69,000|
|Winnebago Cambria 27K||C||$129,000|
|Thor Motor Coach Outlaw 29J||C||$123,500|
Class A RVs are the largest style and they look more like a bus than a truck on the front end. These are typically much more expensive than the other, smaller RVs.
The really big, fancy motorhomes you see on the road are Class A RVs.
Class A typically costs between $200,000 and $300,000, though some of the luxury models may be in the $400,000 to $500,000 range.
These vehicles are typically between 20 and 45 feet long and may have amenities like a full-size kitchen, bathtub, washing machine, and other features you’d associate with home.
Examples of Class A motorhomes include
Newmar Dutch Star
Forest River Berkshire
Class B vehicles look more like a van than a bus. These are smaller than Class A, and they’re sometimes known as sleeper vans or camper vans.
The actual style may vary depending on the vehicle’s make and model, but they’ll usually be less expensive than the class A.
Class B RVs typically cost between $100,000 and $200,000. The price tag may be confusing because these vehicles typically just look like tricked-out vans, but don’t be misled by their small size.
These vehicles are normally very high quality and have top-of-the-line engines and interior features. They’re designed for efficient camper and are much less showy than their Class A counterparts. If you’re a single camper or couple hitting the road, one of these cozy campers might be just what you’re looking for.
The actual size can vary quite a bit with Class B RVs, but normally they’re around 17-20 feet long and standard height for a van, though some have pop-up ceilings to give occupants more standing and walking room.
Examples of Class B RVs Include
Class C RVs are similar to Class A in their design and features, but with a slightly different body style and smaller size. Unlike the Class A motorhome, Class C has a truck-like front end with an “attic” space above the driver’s area.
If you’re new to driving a large vehicle a Class C RV might be the right choice, since it’s built onto a truck chassis. These vehicles still offer the added space and amenities of the larger motorhomes, but just on a smaller scale.
Class C RVs typically cost between $45,000 and $75,000, though there are some luxury options that may cost closer to the $150,000 range (or more).
Still, this is a great “in-between” option when it comes to price because you can find them cheaper than the Class A or Class B models, and they offer a lot of the same features and functions.
Examples of Class C RVs Include
How Much is a Pop-Up Camper?
Pop-up campers are budget-friendly options starting at under $10,000. It’s a great step up from tent camping and the perfect way to get into the RV and camping lifestyle.
Pop-up campers are small, compact, and easy to haul behind your vehicle even if you don’t have a large truck. Most SUVs and vans can easily tow a pop-up camper because they fold down into a small trailer-sized load.
A pop-up camper can have a lot of the same amenities as larger RVs but at a fraction of the cost.
For example, the Forest River RV Rockwood Freedom Series 1640LTD is priced under $10,000 and includes a free-standing range with two burners for cooking, beds with heated mattresses, and an exterior awning for sitting outside in the shade.
Most of these campers have seating areas like couches and tables with chairs, and they include kitchen features like a stove and sink. They typically have a bathroom and bedroom area for privacy (even if it’s just a curtain) and may have added sleep space with fold-out or convertible sofas.
A pop-up camper may either have hard sides or tent fabric, so climate control isn’t always an option with this style of RV.
How Much is a Camper Trailer?
Camper trailers typically run between $15,000 and $60,000. Sometimes also called a travel trailer, a camper trailer is the next step up from a pop-up camper.
|Sample Camper/Travel Trailer||Sample Price Estimate|
|Jayco Jay Sport 10SD||$14,000|
|K-Z RV Connect C191RBT (2017)||$20,500|
|Dutchmen RV Aspen Trail||$15,750|
|Starcraft Autumn Ridge Outfitter 17RD||$12,000|
This type of RV is bigger than a pop-up and offers added features like full kitchens, bathrooms, and added bedrooms or sleep space. They’re built with hard sides and tops, so they’re good for anyone camping in colder climates.
Larger camper trailers usually have at least a queen-sized bed and additional sleepers that fold out or convert from the sofa, or there may even be bunk beds for added capacity. Kitchens typically include a refrigerator, microwave, stove, and additional counter and storage space.
These are normally wired with speaker systems throughout the trailer and may have exterior speakers for entertaining friends.
A popular example is the Heartland North Trail 33RETS, which is priced starting at just over $50,000. It has a full kitchen, cabinets, loads of counter space, a full-sized sofa, a private bedroom and bathroom, and exterior speakers with LED lighting throughout.
How Much is a Fifth Wheel?
Fifth wheels typically start around $35,000-$50,000 and are priced well into the $150k range and up. These are similar to camper trailers in that you tow them behind a vehicle, but they’re much larger and more stable to haul.
|Sample Fifth Wheel||Average Price|
|Jayco North Point||$70,000|
|Forest River Wildcat||$50,000|
|Northwood Arctic Fox||$55,000|
|Winnebago Minnie Plus||$43,000|
|Forest River Saber||$52,000|
Unlike the camper trailer that hooks up to the vehicle’s tow hitch, a fifth wheel connects to a cargo attachment anchored to the back of the vehicle or in a truck bed. The connector and hitch on a fifth wheel are much easier to drive than a standard camper trailer, making it a safer option for those who may have less experience hauling large loads.
It’s also much easier to park in a camping area, especially if you’re navigating tight roads and turns.
There are plenty of luxury options when it comes to fifth wheels. Some of them look just like the really fancy motorhomes inside, but without the huge price tag.
Typically, a fifth wheel will include a full-size kitchen with cabinets and a pantry, countertops, and may even have an island. They normally have a master bedroom with a queen or king-sized bed, closet, and dresser. There’s usually another sleeping area for guests or kids. A bathroom is a standard inclusion.
Fifth wheels normally have TVs mounted in the living space and in the master bedroom. Seating may be a bench, chairs, or a luxury leather sofa depending on your make and model. Some may have washers and dryers.
For example, the Jayco North Point 310RLTS, which is priced starting around $90,000, has a full master bathroom, lien closet, private bedroom with closet, kitchen with an island, pantry, and dinette. The living area includes either theater-style recliners or a three-seat convertible sofa, complete with a fireplace.
How Much Does an RV Cost to Rent?
Renting an RV may cost anywhere from $30 per night to $300 per night. The actual price will vary depending on the size and type of RV you’re staying in and who you’re renting from.
For example, renting a luxury motorhome will be significantly more expensive than staying the night in a pop-up camper. Still, you may be able to snag a good deal if you’re renting during the off-season or plan to stay for an extended period.
|RV Type/Class||Average Rental Price Per Night|
|Class A Motorhome||$175 – $300|
|Class B Motorhome||$99 – $200|
|Class C Motorhome||$150 – $225|
|Camper Trailer||$50 – $100|
|Fifth Wheel||$50 – $150|
|Pop-up Camper||$30 – $100|
|Camper Van||$60 – $150|
Because the amenities and features of each vehicle can vary so much the prices also fluctuate quite a bit from one RV to another. A brand new luxury vehicle with high-tech features and luxury upgrades will obviously have a higher rental rate than an older RV with no added features or upgrades.
The season can also impact the pricing. Trying to camp during the spring or summer will cost more because there’s much higher demand than going during the off-season.
If you’re going to hit the open road and be gone for a while, you might want to look into a long-term rental versus a daily rate.
Renting an RV for a month typically costs between $1,400 and $9,500 depending on the specific vehicle.
There are some peer-to-peer services that allow you to rent an RV from individuals looking to rent theirs out (kind of like Airbnb). Using a third-party service is typically a safer approach than renting directly from an individual.
How Much Does an RV Cost to Rent for a Week?
Renting an RV for a week normally costs anywhere from $350 to $2,000 or more. The exact price depends mostly on the type, size, and class of RV you rent.
Other factors may include your geographic location, the season or time of year, and other factors like insurance, fuel, and other fees.
|RV Type||Weekly Rental Price Estimate|
|Class A Motorhome||$1,200 – $3,000+|
|Class B Motorhome||$900 – $2,100|
|Class C Motorhome||$1,000 – $2,000|
|Camper Trailer||$650 – $1,500|
|Fifth Wheel||$800 – $2,250|
|Pop-up Camper||$300 – $750|
How Much Does an RV Cost to Own?
Once you purchase an RV, whether it’s a camper, fifth-wheel, or motorhome, there will be additional costs to think about and budget for. Just like buying a car, getting an RV is not a “one-and-done” purchase.
Here are some of the other costs to consider
- Vehicle Registration and Taxes
- Fuel Costs
- Camping/Parking Fees
- Vehicle Maintenance
Most states require you to register your RV the same way that you do your car. The price may be a little higher than a standard vehicle, however. Other states do registration fees based on factors like the vehicle’s size, weight, or fuel type.
Insurance can be a costly part of owning an RV. Depending on your state, you may have to pay for added coverage protecting against injuries, or the required coverage may vary depending on the size or class of your RV.
Michigan and California have some of the highest average RV insurance premiums (over $4,000 annually), while North Carolina and Oregon have some of the lowest ($800-$1,100).
What’s the True Cost of Owning an RV?
Not including gas and travel fees (as these are travel-related expenses rather than ownership costs), most owners would report the cost to own an RV somewhere between $1,000 and $2,500 per month.
The true cost of owning an RV should consider the cost to purchase the vehicle as well as all the expenses that you may incur during your ownership period. So, that means factoring in the financing and interest fees if you purchased the RV with a loan, plus all the vehicle’s maintenance and upkeep over the years.
Of course, those sorts of expenses will vary from person to person (especially when you’re considering financing and interest), but the cost for repairs and maintenance will also depend on the age and condition of your RV and whether it came with any kind of warranty coverage. If you have no warranty coverage, you should expect your costs to be much higher.
You should budget about $10,000 per year for maintenance and small repairs for your RV, but keep in mind that a larger unexpected repair could be necessary at any time, which could require thousands of dollars.
Depreciation is another factor that should be considered when it comes to the ownership cost for an RV. While it’s not something you’ll pay out of pocket, it is a loss on your initial investment.
Is Owning an RV Cost-Effective?
Owning an RV can be cost-effective for certain people or families, especially those who travel frequently. The money that you would otherwise spend on hotel rooms, flights, rental cars, and restaurants could easily offset the cost of a moderately priced RV.
If you’re traveling with children or a large family, the value grows exponentially versus if you’re just a single person or a couple.
Is it Cheaper to Live in an RV Than a Home?
Living in an RV is typically much cheaper than living in a house or apartment, especially when you’re looking at the initial purchase price. You could find an RV for a fraction of the cost you’d pay for a house or an apartment rental over time, but that doesn’t always mean that the long-term cost will be better.
You may consider living in an RV instead of a home if you don’t have the financial means to purchase a house, or if you don’t want to be tied into a lease for an extended period.
It typically costs between $1,500 and $5,000 per month to live in an RV, but plenty of people can do it for under $1,000.
By comparison, the average cost of rent in the U.S. is $780 to well over $1,000 per month, and homeowners spend over $20,000 per year on mortgage payments.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is depreciation. Buying an RV isn’t an investment and over time it will lose value, so it’s something you should consider when weighing your options.
Is it Cheaper to Buy a House or an RV?
Buying an RV is almost always cheaper than buying a house unless you’re purchasing a very big and luxurious Class A motorhome. Buying some land and an RV is one way to purchase a home (rather than renting) if you don’t have the money to buy a house.
Still, you’ll have to consider ongoing expenses for the RV, including maintenance and repairs. If you don’t own the land, you’ll also have to budget for the fees to park your RV at a campsite or other property.
The Bottom Line
Purchasing an RV is a big decision. Like any major purchase, it’s important to take some time to do enough research so you feel confident when you make your selections. With the huge variety of options when it comes to size, style, and features, you should first think about what you want to use your RV for.
For example, will it just be for summer vacations with the family, or are you going to take it on the road for months at a time? Are you going to just camp in nearby national parks, or are you going on a cross-country journey?
These are important considerations when choosing your RV. You’ll want to select a vehicle that meets your needs without overspending on something that’s more than what your uses will be. You don’t need an RV that sleeps ten if you only have a family of three.
Starting out with what your needs are will help you get started, then you can work out your budget from there. Understanding the price ranges for each type of RV and the costs of ownership will assist you with finding the right vehicle for all your adventures.