If we’ve learned anything from the year 2020, it’s that the world is a lot more fun when we can go outside; at least if you’re the nomadic type (like us!) who enjoy a good adventure.
And if you’re looking to embark on the next great vacation, or dive full time into the RVing lifestyle, then choosing the correct RV will be more than important… it will be life changing!
In this article, we’re going to dive into these two options and examine their key differences, standout characteristics, and everything you need to know to make the best decision for you and your family.
So, buckle up buckaroo because we’re leaving no stone unturned in this ultimate battle between Class A and Class B motorhomes!
What’s A Class A RV?
Have you ever seen the movie “Meet The Fockers?” That was a class A RV (a 2004 Fleetwood Pace Arrow to be exact!)
What about the movie “We’re The Millers?” Yep, another class A.
Finally, maybe you’ve seen the literal movie “RV” with Robin Williams? If so, another class A.
These beasts are giant rectangles on wheels, or better yet they’re luxurious and spacious buses designed to provide you with a home-like experience while traveling the open road.
Built on bus chassis with either gas or diesel engines (often called diesel pushers) these RVs provide you with every kind of amenity you can think of when camping.
We’re talking full size everything, from kitchens to beds and everything in between. Honestly, we’ve come across models with fully functional washers and dryers, which is just bananas when you think about it.
Starting at 25(ish) feet and going all the way up to 45+ feet, these motorhomes are big, like Texas big.
With that being said, you’ll want to know this before you purchase a class A, you better prepare for a lot of costs. Gas, upgraded campground locations, maintenance on the RV itself, and just overall miscellaneous expenses will eat at your budget.
If you’re going to choose this RV type, you’re most likely going full-time which is often what people do with a class A.
Class A RV Quick Facts:
Usually between 26-45 feet in length.
Anywhere from 13,000-50,000 pounds.
Anywhere from 4-10 people depending on the floor plan.
Almost all will have at least 1 slide out, but sometimes up to 4 slide outs.
Between 6-12 mpg. This will depend on if it’s a diesel engine or not.
This RV type can usually tow a vehicle (especially the diesel engines). Usually 5,000-10,000 pounds can be towed.
$100,000-$500,000 with some ultra luxury travel RVs pushing $2 million+.
Benefits & Disadvantages Of A Class A RV?
Benefits Of A Class A Motorhome
Self Contained Experience
Traveling in a class A RV is like being in a literal space ship. There’s just so much spaciousness and overall comfort with living in this motorhome type.
With their large, open floor plans and high ceilings, Class A RVs provide ample room to move around and relax.
Whether you’re exploring national parks, discovering hidden gems in remote locations, or simply enjoying the amenities of a luxurious RV resort, Class A motorhomes ensure that you can travel in style and comfort without sacrificing the conveniences of home.
It’s glamping to the extreme – which is seriously cool to do and everyone should try it out.
Class A motorhomes will have the best amenities of any of the RV types, handsdown (although fifth wheels offer stiff competition, we would still say class As take the trophy).
Have I mentioned glamping? These motorhomes often come equipped with high-quality appliances, including full-size kitchens with residential-style refrigerators, ovens, and microwaves.
Don’t forget amazing showers, toilets, and sinks that rival a nice hotel room.
Full on entertainment systems (including surround sound even) where we’ve heard some models offering projectors for their TV.
So go ahead, kick back and enjoy yourself, if you’re staying in a class A you deserve it!
Everybody, and I mean, everybody, will fit in your new rig. With room to spare. Plus extra storage space for all their stuff along with food.
That’s how much space you have with a class A. More than enough room for a very comfortable vacation, or living experience. Even if your family is fairly large, you’ll find yourself not feeling cramped or on top of each other constantly like you can in other rigs.
Disadvantages of a Class A RV
You better be ballin’ because otherwise you’re not getting a class A. Granted, if you just sold your house and are capable of living off a very healthy retirement or pension, you’re probably set. However, if not, you might want to double think about this motorhome type.
Because class A RVs will cost you a minimum of $150,000, and if you’re getting a diesel pusher (which we would recommend for the engine braking alone) you’re looking at another 50% added to your costs.
That’s just for the basic packages too, nothing fancy.
Not to mention the fact that every trip is going to be more expensive too, as we mentioned earlier you’re looking at a lot more gas (because the gas mileage is poo poo), more space at campgrounds, and overall maintenance costs.
The costs will add up quickly.
One thing we often hear about class As are the scary driving experiences, especially when turning or driving in heavy traffic.
This is so common that many people genuinely believe you need a CDL to drive a class A motorhome (not true by the way unless your rig is over 26,000 pounds).
Plus, you can’t actually get into most national parks with a rig of this size, which is not so fun when trying to explore new places or getting the best camping experience.
This often gets overlooked by most people because they think the motorhome is so big that it’s obviously safe. This isn’t necessarily the case.
Yes, these rigs have seatbelts and they’re large, but class As are also fiberglass boxes built on a frame. They don’t do well in collisions.
Food for thought.
What’s A Class B RV?
Welcome to #vanlife which for whatever reason is the choice of motorhome type the instagram influencer types like to rep.
Beyond that a class B motorhome, called a “camper van” is the smallest classification of a motorhome (which means a drivable vehicle with a living space).
These RV types are built on a van chassis, usually a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter or a Ford Transit, and they offer a very compact design and living space for their owners.
Despite being the smallest RV motorhome, they’re ingeniously designed with literally every inch being used to maximize efficiency.
Even at just 15-24 feet in length these RV types will include amenities like:
- Foldable couch to bed conversion
- Small kitchen (usually with a sink & stove)
- Swivel tables
- Compact refrigerator
- Couple of storage cabinets
- Maybe a wet bath
Honestly, you could consider this to be a tiny home on wheels.
These RVs offer one thing class A’s can’t touch, easy maneuvering and an agile driving experience without the stress of thinking you’re going to get blown off the road by a gust of wind.
Due to their compact size, they can be used as a daily driver, allowing for more flexibility in terms of transportation during your travels.
Class B motorhomes can easily maneuver into regular parking spaces, making them convenient for running errands or exploring urban areas.
They are also great for boondocking or camping in remote locations, as they can access more secluded spots that may be inaccessible to larger RVs.
Class B RV Quick Facts:
Let’s take a look at some quick facts.
Generally between 15-22 feet. However, a B+ can get up to 28 feet in length.
Generally between 6,000-10,000 pounds.
Usually 2 people (although a B+ might be able to fit 4 people).
Regular class Bs don’t have slide outs. However, some B+ options do have 1 slide out.
Anywhere from 12-20 mpg. This will depend on if you have gas or diesel engines, but class Bs have good fuel efficiency.
Between 5,000-7,000 pounds.
Between $60,000-$250,000. At the higher end everything is luxury. Used RV options are available for cheaper.
Benefits & Disadvantages Of A Class B RV?
Benefits Of A Class B RV
Easy Drivability & Accessibility
If you’ve never owned any RV before, you might want to check out a class B as your first option, especially if you want something that’s drivable.
They’re very, very easy to drive and often can fit into any regular size parking spot. They’re generally no wider than a full size truck and operating them in major cities is smooth.
You’ll never have issues turning corners or getting into tight spaces. Plus, literally all parks (from state to national) will let you in due to the small size.
And your nimble navigator will find you many cool spots for boondocking!
Class B RVs are the most economical options when factoring in fuel costs and efficiency compared to other motorhomes. Full stop.
Compared to larger RVs like the class A or class C RVs, these camper vans get nearly double or triple the miles per gallon.
Almost all class B RV owners I come across rave about the savings when comparing to other RVs.
Right off the bat, you may think that these class B vans are overpriced. However, most people compare this to travel trailers and fail to realize that with these camper vans, you don’t actually have to pay for a truck.
You’re getting a living space and a vehicle all wrapped in one. This makes the overall price cheaper than many options available on the market, because you can drive it.
This is especially true when comparing class B and class A RVs.
Which RV Type Should You Choose?
Now that you have a high level of the two different RV types, you’ll want to make your decision based on these different considerations:
- Currently Family Size / Number Of Passengers
- Storage Needs
- Fuel Economy
- Frequency of Use
- Driving Comfort
Let’s dive into these separately…
Currently Family Size / Number Of Passengers
If you’re a couple, choosing between a class A and a class B might actually be a little difficult and will be dependent on the type of lifestyle you enjoy.
If you’re more minimalist and sporty with a desire to get great views than a class B will be up your alley.
If you’re a little older and need more comfort when traveling, you’ll want to opt for a class A.
However, if you have family you’re taking with you, in the nicest way possible, forget about class B RVs.
Class Bs are good for a single traveler or a couple, and a couple is kinda pushing the boundaries with the size of these vans.
Class As have more space and offer a significant advantage for anyone with a family.
If you need a lot of storage, class A wins hands down. These rigs are chock full of areas to store stuff and you’ll most likely have room to spare.
If you pack lightly and don’t mind carrying very little stuff, a class B will be good for you.
Class As are more expensive than class Bs.
Even the very high side of class B RVs are going to be the starting point for a class A rig.
If you’re on a budget, you’ll want to stick with a class B.
As you can see in our quick facts, a class B outpaces a class A in fuel economy by a wide margin.
Makes sense too. Class A RVs are heavier – by like thousands of pounds – than a class B which just means way less energy to get the vehicle going.
In addition, class As act like a sail on the road. They’re just the worst shape ever designed for a vehicle. I literally box on wheels.
Whereas class Bs are going to offer at least rudimentary aerodynamic shapes.
Class B motorhomes are going to offer better fuel economy compared to a class A.
Frequency of Use
So this one is a bit of a tie.
Both vehicles are very useful for full time use and are actually designed for full time living.
However, if you have a family with you, again a class A will win.
As we mentioned above, a class A can be intimidating to drive. You’re driving a fully loaded down bus on a highway with other big rigs that create wind vortex’s which can make you feel like you’re being pulled off the road.
Class Bs on the other hand don’t have this same experience. It’s like driving a heavy van, because that’s what it is, and the handling between location to location is straightforward.
Class B RVs are much easier to drive with the added benefit of legit airbags in the event of a crash.
Class A motorhomes win this one no questions asked. Hands down the best amenities on the market.
Full. Size. Errything.
Including kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, sofas, and so much more.
A class B RV is lucky to have a wet bath in it, and you’ll be sleeping with your face next to a propane stove. Granted, you at least have the amenities, but when you compare it to a class A it’s like comparing a professional athlete and JV player.
Thanks for trying buddy…
Final Thoughts – Who Wins?
In the end, it’s all dependent on your lifestyle choices.
If you’re a minimalist with a love for roughing it in the woods, well, a class B RV is probably in your best interest.
If you like comfort and want to enjoy your camping in style, a class A is best for you.
If anything, hopefully these considerations will provide you with more insights into making the best decision possible.
See you in the great beyond!