(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 figure out which ones are the best?
Additionally, which RV brands should you be sure 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 about 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.
Not All Types Included!
No, we don't include all RV types here.
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.
Lastly, I'll inform you where you can 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.
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 the time gone?).
I didn't purchase my first RV until 2014, but by the time I made the purchase, I had looked at hundreds of RVs.
Honestly, I never convinced 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 a 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 ever since).
I knew exactly what I wanted. I knew which RV brands were best. And I knew which RV brands to avoid.
Years of research made the buying process easy. Also, my background as an aircraft mechanic didn't hurt.
It allowed me to identify good construction compared to junk (though a lot of this is just common sense). On this page, I share some of my knowledge with you.
And more importantly, you get the tools that teach you how to tell the difference between the best RV manufacturers and poor quality RV manufacturers.
Poor Quality RV Manufacturers Are The Norm
The truth of the matter is that there are more junk RVs available than 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. Also, RV manufacturers expect you to not know what you are looking at.
Instead, they expect you to step into a unit and fall in love with the floor plan or slide.
They know you'll likely covet the big fireplace and the fantastic kitchen island. Manufacturers sell fantasies.
They know you want to hit the road in your very own home on wheels, exploring the country in style with your family.
What they aren't telling you is that the 'dream' RV you buy without being educated about the best RV brands will probably end up giving you nothing but grief.
Because of the crappy workmanship and junk materials used to make it.
Built To Last A Few Weeks
Think about this - most RVs come with a one-year warranty. Also, most buyers use their RV just a few weeks a year.
An RV manufacturer only needs your RV to hold up for a short period - as little as just a few weeks of use.
Then, once it's out of warranty, it's your problem.
The manufacturer wipes their hands clean. It's a sneaky business plan. But it works.
Full-Time Use? Think Again
Want to live in your RV full-time? You'd better read your warranty VERY carefully!
Many (most?) RV manufacturers will put a statement in the owner's manual to the effect of "not suitable for full-time habitation."
Many RV warranties don't cover full-time living. There are only a few brands that stand behind the products they build.
Think about this for a second. Why would they fear full-time living?
It sounds to me like they know if you use it every day, you're likely to realize issues and glitches in far less than a year.
That would mean more repairs for them to fix under warranty.
It might 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 suffers when the bottom line is the most important part of RV manufacturing.
This results in you, the end-user, having to spend an excessive 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 nine are publicly held RV manufacturers.
That means roughly only 1/3 of the best RV manufacturers are owned by companies with a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders to maximize profit.
Considering 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.
Additionally, you may find that you have an easier time getting things fixed when dealing with a smaller company.
What Makes A Top RV Brand?
The best RV brands have one t in common - a company 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 RV manufacturers aim to please their shareholders over their customers.
They do everything possible to make the most profit.
This means you, the consumer, are at the bottom of their 'let's make them happy' list.
If you look at most RVs, it's quickly apparent that one of the first places inferior quality RV manufacturers cut corners is on the materials they use to build the rigs.
'The cheaper, the better' is the mantra for many companies.
You should poke walls. Open cabinets and look inside. Lift up the bed.
Peer into the exterior storage compartments.
If an RV manufacturer uses junk material right out in the open, imagine the 'quality' materials they are using in the places you cannot see or aren't looking.
Are All Appliances Created Equal?
When it comes to appliances and fixtures in an RV, there are very few suppliers a manufacturer can use.
Stoves, water heaters, furnaces, and air conditioners are examples of what goes in almost 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 cut corners wherever possible, so they purchase the cheapest appliances from the supplier.
Alternately, the best RV brands will spend a few extra dollars and put in better-built appliances, ones that have better materials or a few more bells and whistles.
For example, Kelly has a two-burner stove that requires her 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 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 ten years ago and used them extensively when I bought my current rig over five 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 (mainly because many of these brands are now owned by large corporations).
The RV Consumer Group publishes annual RV rating guides for towables and motorhomes.
They also publish a less comprehensive guide to truck camper brands. (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 purchase one properly.
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.
It would be foolish not to 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 shopping for RVs.
One of the highest costs in making RVs is labor.
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 employees 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 build 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 number of hours it takes people to build RVs. Most practices 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 does a manufacturer stand behind their product? This is one of the best tests of how good an RV manufacturer is.
When you have a problem with your new rig (and you likely will, even with the most reliable RV brands), 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 arises.
RV brands to avoid sometimes make you jump through 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 your money can buy.
Do everything in your power to purchase a rig that will spend more time on the road and less time at the dealership.
Hundreds of thousands of new RVs sell each year, from a finite number of dealers.
The number of dealers isn't increasing drastically. Additionally, the number of RV service bays isn't growing drastically.
What is increasing is the amount of time some people have 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.
Therefore, do yourself a favor and learn what makes a top RV brand. Then, buy one of those rigs.
This will stack the deck in your favor and will allow you to enjoy your RV as intended.
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 some 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 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 owners of the brands listed below have had a 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 type (though you can spend a pretty penny on one - Airstream is an example) and come in smaller sizes capable of being towed by almost any vehicle that can 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 trailers 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 manufacturers that we list for all motorhome categories - Class A, Class B, and Class C.
So, yeah, travel trailer manufacturers are prolific.
Only nine 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).
Not All Models Are Top Rated
The following are the best travel trailer brands, in no particular order.
Well, I did list the ones I'd genuinely consider buying at the top. That said, I have particular needs that you might not.
Outdoors RV Manufacturing
Outdoors RV builds a very high quality rig that suits my style of travel.
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. Therefore, you'll need the right sized tow vehicle.
Meaning you wil need a heavy-duty truck for anything but their smaller trailers.
Northwood Manufacturing is closely related to Outdoors RV.
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 its 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
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 the Oliver, but it is a brand with 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 each of our radars as a potential new rig.
Bigfoot Industries is a Canadian RV manufacturer that builds trailers with a solid two-piece fiberglass exterior.
They are fairly short, ranging from 17 to 25 feet and can 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. They are manufactured in Texas.
Their 16 to 17-foot trailers are some of the best small travel trailers you can buy.
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.
I know several people that are very happy with this manufacturer.
Best Built Fifth Wheels
Fifth wheel (or 5th wheel) trailers are very popular with people who live in their RVs for an extended period.
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.
Not All Models Are Top Rated
Following are the best fifth wheel manufacturers, in no particular order:
New Horizons RV
New Horizons RV builds top rated 5th wheels and arguably has the best fifth wheel construction available.
Additionally, New Horizons specializes in coaches for full-time living.
This Kansas manufacturer makes some of the best built fifth wheels available today.
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.
The Reflection and Solitude models are 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
RV 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)
Except for one of the toy hauler brands listed below (Newmar, which makes a single motorhome floor plan), all make either a bumper pull or a fifth wheel toy hauler.
I consider 6 manufacturers to offer top-rated toy haulers, out of the 26 North American manufacturers we list.
So roughly only 27% of the manufacturers can be considered to make the best built list below.
Not All Models Are Top Rated
Following are the best toy hauler manufacturers, in no particular order:
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.
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 known 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
Teardrop campers are shaped like, well, a teardrop. (Shocked?)
This shape makes for an aerodynamic trailer with a very distinctive look.
While there are a rather large number of teardrop manufacturers out there, very few of these manufacturers offer a trailer that is little more than a bed on wheels.
Below, we ONLY focus on teardrop trailer manufacturers that make fully-contained rigs.
This means in addition to an RV mattress, the trailer will have full kitchen facilities and a bathroom with indoor shower.
This greatly reduces the number of available candidates.
Not All Models Are Top Rated
The following are the best teardrop trailer manufacturers, in no particular order:
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 traveling down the Interstates.
A Class A motorhome starts life as a bare chassis (nothing more than a powertrain) 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 an excellent job. Others, a decent job.
Then, some such a poor job, I wouldn't want to be in it moving at 60 miles an hour.
I consider five manufacturers to offer top-rated fifth wheels out of the 13 North American manufacturers we list.
Therefore, roughly 38% of the manufacturers are considered to make top-rated Class A motorhomes.
Not All Models Are Top Rated
Following are the best Class A motorhome manufacturers, in no particular order:
Newmar has been making RVs since the late '60s and knows what they are doing.
They make a quality Class A motorhome, both gas and diesel coaches.
In September 2019, Winnebago announced it purchased 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.
Then 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 1960s, 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 eight 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) can be considered to make the best built Class B/B+ motorhomes.
Not All Models Are Top Rated
The following are the top Class B motorhome manufacturers, in no particular order:
Coach House is a privately held company that manufactures 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.
They manufacture 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 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).
Additionally, the Class C+ (or Super C) 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 RV is a 'regular' Class C on steroids.
I consider five manufacturers to offer top-rated Class C motorhomes out of the 12 North American manufacturers 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.
Not All Models Are Top Rated
Following are the top rated Class C motorhome manufacturers, in no particular order:
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 knowledge, my extensive RV research, 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.
But buying a good brand increases your chances of NOT getting a lemon. Also, it increases your chances of a speedy fix if there's an issue.
There you have it! That's the list.
Lastly, 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 from April 2014 - December 2020 (now RVing about 50% of the time), Marshall loves sharing his knowledge of the RV lifestyle. Marshall spends the majority of his RVing life boondocking. He is the part of Camp Addict that knows 'all the things'. He's good at sharing his technical knowledge so you can benefit.