(Camp Addict does NOT accept payment from any company to review or endorse their products.)
Buying a new RV can be overwhelming. There are so many RV brands out there, how do you know which one is the best? And which RV brands to avoid?
If you do what most people do and try to find the answer via Google, you will be faced with a lot of bad information (and I'm being kind here). Everyone seems to have an opinion as to which is the best RV manufacturer with little to no reasoning to back it up.
On this page, I will not only tell you which (I feel) are the best RV brands, but I'll back my choices up with facts and reasoning. I'll discuss what makes a quality RV. Lastly, I'll inform you where you can go to educate yourself on how to identify top RV brands, and which RV brands to avoid.
In other words, this isn't just me throwing darts at a list of RV brands, or telling you who has the prettiest paint schemes. Here you will find information that will help you spend your hard earned money correctly, with less chance of buyer's remorse.
More importantly, I'll give you the tools to learn how to figure out who are the best RV manufacturers on your own.
We don't include every type of RV here. Only RVs that are hard-sided and don't require any setup. This means we don't include hybrid trailers, pop-up trailers, or tent trailers. The RV Consumer Group does rate some of these types of RVs, so join them (as you all should anyhow) and see what they feel are good brands in the different categories if these interest you.
Is Marshall An 'Expert'?
What makes me an 'expert' on what are the best RV brands and what are the worst RV brands? First off, I don't claim to be an expert. But I do know a thing or two about what makes a good RV and what RV brands I'd never buy.
I've been looking at RVs for years - over 20 now (crap, where has time gone?). I didn't purchase my first RV until 2014, but by the time I made the purchase, I had literally looked at hundreds of RVs.
I never was able to convince my late wife that we should sell everything and hit the road. But we did shop for RVs. A lot.
When I found myself in the situation where I was suddenly alone, I decided it was now or never. So in 2014 I purchased my current RV (which I've been living in full-time since I bought it).
I knew exactly what I wanted. I knew what was a good RV brand. What RV brands to avoid. Years of research made the buying process very easy for me.
My background as an aircraft mechanic didn't hurt either. It allowed me to identify good construction compared to junk (though a lot of this is just common sense).
On this page I will share some of my knowledge with you. And more importantly, I will give you the tools that teach you how to tell the difference between the best RV manufacturers and poor quality RV manufacturers so you can educate yourself.
Poor Quality RV Manufacturers Are The Norm
Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that there are more junk RVs than there are quality RVs. If you walk into an RV dealership not knowing what you are looking at, chances are you will buy a piece of crap.
Because the vast majority of what's out there is poor quality.
RV manufacturers expect you to not know what you are looking at.
They expect you to step into an RV and fall in love with a floor plan. With the location of the three TVs and the amazing island in the kitchen.
RV manufacturers are selling you a fantasy. The ability to hit the road in your very own home on wheels. To explore the country in style with your family.
What they aren't telling you is that the 'dream' RV you end up buying without being educated about the best RV brands will probably end up giving you nothing but grief due to the crappy workmanship and the junk materials used to make it.
Built To Last A Few Weeks
Think about this - most RVs come with a one-year warranty. Most buyers use their RV just a few weeks a year.
All an RV manufacturer has to do is make sure the RV you buy holds up for a short period of time - as little as just a few weeks of use
Once it's out of warranty, it becomes your problem. They wipe their hands clean.
Sneaky business plan. But it works.
Full-Time Use? Think Again
Want to live in your RV full-time? Better read your warranty VERY carefully!
Many (most?) RV manufacturers will put a statement in the owner's manual to the affect of "not suitable for full-time habitation".
In fact, many RV warranties will not cover full-time living. With the exception of a few brands that stand behind the products they build.
Think about this for a second. Why would they fear full-time living? Sounds to me like they know if you use it every day, you're likely to run into the issues and glitches in far less than a year. That would mean more repairs for them to fix under warranty.
Might really hurt their bottom line if they didn't disallow you to full-time in it, eh? Or worse, it might require them to build an RV that could stand at least a year of full-time use. Gasp, the horror!
Bigger Is Not Necessarily Better
The RV market is controlled by very few large companies.
This is not a good thing.
Quality tends to suffer when the bottom line is the most important part of RV manufacturing. This results in you, the end user, having to spend an inordinate amount of time dealing with problems if you purchase one of the worst RV brands.
Of the 26 best RV brands listed on this page, only 9 are publicly held RV manufacturers.
That means roughly only 1/3 of the best RV manufacturers are owned by companies that have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to maximize profit.
If you consider that only 4 RV manufacturers control over 90% of the North American RV market, you'd hope they would represent a larger share of the best RV brands.
Privately held companies tend to give you the best RV for the money from a quality standpoint. And you may find that you have an easier time getting things fixed should a problem arise, dealing with a smaller company.
What Makes A Top RV Brand?
The best RV brands have something in common - a company who is willing to put quality over the bottom line. They possess the willingness to manufacture an RV that will last for many camping seasons (and possibly survive the rigors of full-time use).
Yes, all companies exist to make money.
That said, it sure seems like more often than not, RV manufacturers aim to please their shareholders over their customers.
They will do everything possible to make the most profit. This means you, the comsumer, are on the bottom of their 'let's make them happy' list.
If you start looking at most RVs, it becomes readily apparent that one of the first places poor quality RV manufacturers will cut corners is on the materials they use to build the rigs.
'The cheaper the better' is the mantra for many companies.
Poke walls. Open cabinets and look inside. Lift up the bed. Peer into the exterior storage compartments.
If an RV manufacturer is willing to put junk material right out in the open where you can see it, image the 'quality' materials they are using in the places you cannot see and/or aren't looking.
Are All Appliances Created Equal?
When it comes to appliances and many fixtures in an RV, there are very few suppliers that a manufacturer can choose from.
Stoves, water heaters, furnaces, and air conditioners are examples of what goes in most every RV. Even so, there are just two or three suppliers of these components that all manufacturers buy from.
The difference is in the quality (or grade) of the individual component. The worst RV brands will want to cut corners wherever possible, so they purchase the cheapest appliances from the supplier.
Whereas the best RV brands will spend a few extra dollars and put in appliances, purchased from the same suppliers, that are built a little better. Ones that have better materials or few more bells and whistles.
For example, Camp Addict co-founder Kelly has a two-burner stove that requires you to ignite the flame using a lighter. My three-burner stove has an electronic ignitor.
The difference is probably a $10 manufacturing cost to add an ignitor, but money is money and it all adds up when you are buying appliances by the thousands.
DO NOT Buy An RV Without This!
The smartest decision you can make during the RV buying process is to utilize the resources of the RV Consumer Group to learn to who the best RV manufacturer is for you.
The RV Consumer Group is a non-profit, completely independent organization that has been rating RVs since 1990.
I purchased my first RV rating guide from them well over 10 years ago and used them extensively when I purchased my current rig over 5 years ago.
As I have been recently searching for a new rig (for me, a very long process), I've been once again using their up to date RV rating guides.
It's interesting to see how the best RV brands have changed over the years. RV manufacturers that once made top rated RVs are now among the RV brands to avoid (mostly because a lot of these brands are now owned by large corporations).
The RV Consumer Group publishes annual RV rating guides for towables (travel trailers and fifth wheels) and motorhomes. They also publish a less comprehensive guide to truck camper manufacturers. (Past year issues are also available.)
In addition to the rating guides, the RV Consumer Group publishes books on how to inspect RVs and how to properly purchase one.
RV Owner Survey
The RV Consumer Group relies heavily on actual owner input to properly rate RV brands. This is one of the ways they differentiate between the best RV manufacturers and poor quality RV manufacturers.
If you are an RV owner, PLEASE complete their confidential RV owner survey.
Indispensable Source of RV Purchase Information
If you are going to spend from tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars on an RV, then you MUST first purchase the appropriate RV rating guide from the RV Consumer Group.
For under $100 you can purchase an RV rating guide, plus a 3-book set that shows you most of what you need to make an informed RV purchase decision.
You'd be absolutely foolish to not properly educate yourself before making an RV purchase.
Utilizing RV Consumer Group resources is one of the best ways to quickly learn which RV manufacturers are rated best, and what to look at when you are shopping for RVs.
One of the biggest costs in making RVs is labor. Humans. People. If an RV manufacturer can reduce the number of labor hours that go into building an RV, then it's money in their pocket.
How do they reduce the number of labor hours? They take less care in what you are doing. By demanding their employees produce 'Z' number of parts in an hour when they should be only making 'X' in an hour, to produce a quality RV.
They cut back on the number of inspection points, because quality control inspectors cost money. The end user is never going to see what's behind that wall anyhow, right?
Remember, this RV only needs to last a few weeks worth of use before it's out of warranty and is no longer the manufacturer's problem.
There are a lot of ways to reduce the amount of hours it takes people to build RVs. Most ways result in a low quality RV.
The best RV manufacturers understand that you can only ask so much of a human if you want quality work. And that quality control inspection procedures result in a better end product.
RV Manufacturer Customer Support
How well they stand behind their product is one of the best tests of how good an RV manufacturer is.
When you have a problem with your new rig (and you most likely will, even with the most reliable RV brand), you want the issue resolved fast and with the least amount of fuss.
There are plenty of horror stories of manufacturers jerking owners around when it comes time to get something resolved under warranty.
And there are stories of how easy it was to get something fixed because the best RV manufacturers wanted to get your rig back on the road.
The best camper brands will have a process in place to help their customers when an issue arrises.
RV brands to avoid sometimes make you jump thru hoops, and they drag their feet, even with clear cut, valid warranty issues.
Best RV For The Money
Unless you love frustration and aggravation, do your research and buy the best RV for the money for your situation. You want to do everything in your power to purchase a rig that will spend more time on the road and less time at the dealership waiting to be worked on.
Hundreds of thousands of new RVs are sold each year. From a finite number of dealers.
The number of dealers isn't increasing drastically. The number of RV service bays aren't increasing drastically.
What is increasing drastically is the amount of time some people are having to wait to get their RV worked on. RV service wait times can be outrageous.
As in waiting months just to been seen, then more months to get the issue fixed.
Do yourself a favor and learn about what makes a top RV brand and then buy one of those rigs.
This will stack the deck in your favor and will give you the opportunity to enjoy your RV as it's intended to be used.
My Opinion Only! Your Mileage May Vary
The following listings of the best RV manufacturers for each type of RV is just my opinion, based upon my experience and research.
I'm sure there are others that will disagree for one reason or another, but that's one of the things that's great about life - the ability to have your own opinion.
I'm confident that there are owners of RV brands I don't list that are perfectly happy with their rigs. If that's you, great!
I'm also confident that there are owner's of the brands listed below that have had an absolutely miserable experience with their rig. This doesn't surprise me.
RVs are made 100% by humans (unlike automobiles which have large processes automated via robots, yet lemons are still produced), which means even with the best RV brands, there will be units that display more than the usual number of problems.
This is just the case when you have humans building things.
Best Quality Travel Trailers
Travel trailers are the most common type of RV. They are the least expensive (though you can definitely spend a pretty penny on one - Airstream is an example) and come in sizes that are able to be towed by just about any vehicle that has the ability to tow.
They are also the easiest RV to build. It seems like everyone and their uncle is in the travel trailer building game. The list of travel trailer manufacturers is the longest of all RV categories.
Just as a point of reference, we list 37 travel trailer manufacturers in North America (this doesn't include fifth wheel only manufacturers). There are only 24 motorhome manufactures that we list for all motorhome categories - Class A, Class B, and Class C.
So, yeah, travel trailer manufacturers are prolific. Only 9 trailer manufacturers are listed below (or roughly 25%, which is a higher percentage than I would have guessed, but it still means you have a 75% chance of buying a trailer brand you might want to avoid).
The following are the best travel trailer brands, in no particular order (except listing the ones I'd truly consider buying at the top, but I have very specific needs that you might not):
Not All Models Are Top Rated
Outdoors RV Manufacturing
Outdoors RV builds a very high quality rig that suits my travel of style very well. If I were to purchase another travel trailer, they are at the top of my list.
Built for off-grid, all-season living, Outdoors RV has some of the best built travel trailers money can buy. However, they are not light, so you'll need the right sized tow vehicle (heavy-duty truck for anything but their smaller trailers).
Northwood Manufacturing is closely related to Outdoors RV in that they were started by the same people, owned by the same parent company (Northwood Investments), and are both located in La Grande, Oregon.
Northwood makes the Arctic Fox brand, which is renowned for their all-weather camping ability and great construction (but are heavy). This top RV brand is also high on my list if I were to get another travel trailer.
Oliver Travel Trailers
Oliver Travel Trailers is a uniquely built, fiberglass travel trailer that has dual 'hulls' with the utilities and systems installed between the 'hulls'. They use a construction technique fairly unique to the industry and offer a superior build quality when compared to the average RV.
Unfortunately the RV Consumer Group doesn't rate Oliver's, but it is a brand that has a stellar reputation for quality and service. Both I and my Camp Addict co-founder Kelly have carefully gone over an Oliver first-hand as it was once on our radar as a potential new rig.
Bigfoot Industries is a Canadian RV manufacturer that builds trailers with a two-piece fiberglass exterior. They are fairly short, ranging from 17 to 25 feet and are able to be towed by half-ton pickups.
Escape Trailer Industries
Escape Trailer Industries is a Canadian RV manufacturer that builds lightweight travel trailers with a two-piece fiberglass exterior. Lengths range from 17 to 21 feet for their bumper pull trailers.
Casita Travel Trailers
Casita makes very much sought after, lightweight, two-piece fiberglass travel trailers that are manufactured in Texas. Their 16 to 17 foot trailers are some of the best small travel trailers you can buy.
Eveland's makes the Scamp line of lightweight travel trailers with a two-piece fiberglass shell (see a trend here?). Their 13 to 16-foot rigs are some of the best small camping trailers money can buy and are similar to the style of the Casita.
Airstream is one of only three Thor brands (out of 15) that made this best RV brands post. Airstream trailers have the iconic aluminum riveted shell and the shiny (almost blinding) exterior. They are pricey but people seem to think they are worth it, snapping them up. They make trailers from 16 to 33 feet and can cost six figures.
Grand Design RV
Grand Design is owned by Winnebago and makes a very good product considering they make a large number a year. Grand Design is one of the top trailer brands, and I personally know several people that are very happy with this manufacturer.
Pacific Coachworks is a privately held company out of California that makes top rated travel trailers. They offer a wide variety of models to fit a number of lifestyles.
Best Built Fifth Wheels
Fifth wheel (or 5th wheel) trailers are very popular with people who live in their RVs for an extended period of time. With their wide open living spaces (including high ceiling height) and comfortable layouts, it's no wonder they are popular.
I consider 7 manufacturers to offer top rated fifth wheels, out of the 26 North American fifth wheel manufactures we list. So roughly only 27% of the manufacturers can be considered to make the best built fifth wheels.
Following are the best fifth wheel manufacturers, in no particular order:
Not All Models Are Top Rated
New Horizons RV
New Horizons RV builds top rated 5th wheels and arguably has the best fifth wheel construction available. New Horizons specializes in coaches for full-time living. This Kansas manufacturer makes some of the best built fifth wheels available today.
Outdoors RV Manufacturing
Northwood Manufacturing, along with Outdoors RV, makes their top rated 5th wheels in Oregon. The Arctic Fox fifth wheels are well insulated rigs, where their Fox Mountain models are lighter weight fifth wheels.
Grand Design RV
Grand Design is owned by Winnebago and makes a very good product considering they produce a large number a year. Grand Design is one of the best fifth wheel manufacturers, with the Reflection and Solitude models being good bets.
DRV Luxury Suites
DRV Luxury Suites is one of only three Thor brands (of 15) that made this best RV brands post. DRV makes top rated 5th wheels intended for full-time living.
Escape Trailer Industries
Escape Trailer Industries is a Canadian RV manufacturer that builds lightweight fifth wheels made with a two-piece fiberglass exterior. The Escape 5.0 TA is one of the best small 5th wheel trailers, measuring a mere 21 feet in length.
Eveland's makes the Scamp line of lightweight fifth wheel trailers with a two-piece fiberglass shell. Their 19-foot rig is one of the best rated small fifth wheels available today.
Best Toy Hauler Manufacturers
Toy haulers come in three different styles:
- Motorhomes (Class A and Class C toy haulers aka, motorhomes with garages)
- 5th Wheels
- Travel trailers (known as travel trailer toy haulers or bumper pull toy haulers)
With the exception of one toy hauler manufacturer listed below (Newmar, which makes a single motorhome floor plan), all make either a bumper pull or a fifth wheel toy hauler.
I consider 7 manufacturers to offer top rated toy haulers, out of the 26 North American manufactures we list. So roughly only 27% of the manufacturers can be considered to make the best built list below.
Following are the best toy hauler manufacturers, in no particular order:
Not All Models Are Top Rated
Northwood Manufacturing makes the Desert Fox bumper pull toy hauler. Like Outdoors RV, Northwood builds their quality toy haulers in Oregon.
Grand Design RV
Grand Design (a Winnebago company) makes both fifth wheel and bumper pull toy haulers.
Pacific Coachworks builds both bumper pull and 5th wheel toy hauler travel trailers. Their plant is in California.
DRV Luxury Suites
DRV Luxury Suites (a Thor brand) specializes in fifth wheel trailers built for full-time living. They do offer a 5th wheel toy hauler version.
Newmar offers a single toy hauler floor plan of their Canyon Star gas motorhome. Newmar is know for making top notch motorhomes and was privately held until it was announced in September 2019 that Winnebago Industries was purchasing them.
Best Tear Drop Trailer Manufacturers
Tear drop trailers are shaped like, well, a teardrop. This shape makes for an aerodynamic trailer with a very distinctive look.
While there are a rather large number of tear drop trailer manufacturers out there, very few of these manufacturers offer a trailer that are little more than a bed on wheels.
Below, we focus on tear drop trailer manufacturers that make rigs that are fully contained. This means in addition to a bed, the trailer will have full kitchen facilities and a bathroom with indoor shower. This greatly reduces the number of available candidates.
The following are the best tear drop trailer manufacturers, in no particular order:
Not All Models Are Top Rated
nüCamp RV builds the TAB teardrop trailer in Ohio. They are known for their high quality construction.
Little Guy Trailers
Little Guy Trailers are manufactured in Pennsylvania and offer fully contained trailers with the classic teardrop shape.
Best Class A Motorhome Manufacturers
Class A RVs are the traditional motorhomes that you think of when you picture the category. They are the boxes on wheels that you see traveling down the Interstates.
A Class A motorhome starts life as a bare chassis - nothing more than a powertrain - that are mostly purchased from a very small number of suppliers.
On top of this bare chassis, coach manufacturers build their version of a house on wheels. Everything from the floor, roof, all four walls, and interior finishings.
Some do a very good job. Some a decent job. And some such a poor job I wouldn't want to be in it moving at 60 miles an hour.
I consider 5 manufacturers to offer top rated fifth wheels, out of the 13 North American manufactures we list. So roughly 38% of the manufacturers can be considered to make top rated Class A motorhomes.
Following are the best Class A motorhome manufacturers, in no particular order:
Not All Models Are Top Rated
Newmar has been making RVs since the late 60's and knows what they are doing. They make a quality Class A motorhome, both gas and diesel coaches. It was announced in September 2019 that Winnebago was purchasing this formerly privately held company.
Tiffin Motorhomes is a family held business that is based out of Alabama. I've spent a lot of time looking at Tiffins back in the day and really wanted one of these, until I decided a Class A wasn't the right type of RV for me.
Entegra Coach is part Thor Industries and makes some of the best Class A diesel motorhomes, as well as gas coaches. Their top of the line Class A diesel model is one of the best rated coaches available, but be prepared to pay a hefty entry price.
American Coach is part of the REV Group and formerly part of Fleetwood (pre-bankruptcy). They make higher-end Class A diesel pushers.
Winnebago Industries is a publicly traded company and is what many people think of when they think 'motorhome'. Building RVs since the early 1960's, Winnebago makes everything from relatively simple gas Class A's, to fancy (and pricey) diesel motorhomes.
Top Class B Motorhome Manufacturers
Class B motorhomes are also known as van conversions. The traditional Class B takes a bare van chassis and adds a motorhome interior. They maintain the traditional van look from the outside (for the most part).
A Class B+ motorhome starts with a van cutaway chassis (just the van cab and a bare frame behind that contains the powertrain). On this, a Class B+ manufacturer will install their own 'box' and motorhome interior.
A Class B+ will look very similar to a Class C, but doesn't offer a sleeping area over the cab.
I consider 5 Class B manufacturers to be top rated, out of the 14 North American manufacturers we list. So only roughly 36% (or a little more than a third, which isn't too bad) of the manufacturers can be considered to make the best built Class B/B+ motorhomes.
The following are the top Class B motorhome manufacturers, in no particular order:
Not All Models Are Top Rated
Coach House is a privately held company that manufacturers Class B and B+ motorhomes in Florida. They are known for their one-piece fiberglass bodies (B+), which helps make one of the best quality motorhomes you can buy.
Leisure Travel Vans
Leisure Travel Vans is a Canadian company that makes very high quality Class B+ motorhomes using both gas and diesel chassis. I'm seriously considering Leisure Travel for my next rig.
Pleasure-Way is another Canadian company that manufactures Class B and B+ motorhomes. Pleasure-Way offers a variety of floor plans utilizing both gas and diesel chassis.
Phoenix USA is a factory direct RV manufacturer out of Indiana. Their B+ motorhomes come in a variety of floor plans, including a 4x4 option.
American Coach is part of the REV Group and manufactures a couple of different diesel Class B coaches built on the Sprinter van platform.
Winnebago Industries is a publicly traded company that is one of the larger RV manufacturers. They build both gas and diesel Class B motorhomes.
Midwest Automotive Design
Midwest Automotive is part of the REV Group and is based out of Indiana. They manufacture Class B motorhomes, in both diesel and gas versions.
Renegade RV is another REV Group RV brand that has been manufacturing motorhomes for over 20 years. They make a couple of different Class B+ motorhome models.
Best Class C Motorhome Manufacturers
Class C RV motorhomes are generally smaller than Class A's, being built on a cutaway truck or full-sized van chassis. Manufacturers will then build the box (living quarters) on the rear portion of the chassis.
A Class C has the characteristic overhang above the driving area (cab), which is often an additional sleeping area (overhead bunk).
There is also the Class C+ (or Super C) that is built on a medium duty truck chassis, giving it the ability to tow an impressive amount of weight, have a larger living area, and greater cargo carrying capacity. The Super C is a 'regular' Class C on steroids.
I consider 5 manufacturers to offer top rated Class C motorhomes, out of the 12 North American manufactures we list. So roughly only 42% of the manufacturers can be considered to make the best Class C RV brands - the highest percentage of all RV types.
Following are the top rated Class C motorhome manufacturers, in no particular order:
Not All Models Are Top Rated
Lazy Daze is, to some, the best Class C RV you can buy. They are incredibly well built, top rated, and offer good bang for the buck. Sure, they aren't the sexiest coaches out there (not by any stretch of the imagination), but they are quite possibly the best Class C RV for the money.
Winnebago Industries makes a wide range of Class C motorhomes, ranging from smaller rigs built on the Sprinter and Transit diesel chassis, up to larger coaches built on the Ford E-450 gas chassis.
Dynamax is the only Forest River RV brand to make this best RV brands list. They make a number of different Class C models, ranging from gas rigs, up to Super C diesel RVs built on Freightliner medium duty chassis.
Entegra Coach is part of Thor Industries and makes both gas and diesel Class C motorhomes.
Renegade RV is part of the REV Group and has an impressive lineup of Super C motorhomes, in addition to more traditional Class C coaches.
That's a wrap! Through my own technical knowledge, my extensive RV research, by using RV Consumer Group, and through input from numerous friends' experiences, these are currently the best RV manufacturer brands money can buy.
Even the best brands will have lemons or just RV's with some issues. But buying a good brand increases your chances of NOT getting a lemon and increases your chances of a speedy fix if there's an issue.
I will be updating this list regularly to keep it up to date.
Author: Marshall Wendler
Camp Addict co-founder Marshall Wendler brings his technical expertise to help explain RV products in an easy to understand fashion. Full-time RVing since April 2014, Marshall loves sharing his knowledge of the RV lifestyle.