3 Motorhome Classes: The Difference Between Class A, B, & C RVs

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By Kelly Beasley

Last Updated: April 26, 2022

Isn't it a bummer that learning about motorhome classes isn't easier??

(Thank you, long ago anonymous person that decided to name an RV type by using the ABCs. Eye roll.)

There's just no easy way to remember which is which. (It wasn't for me, anyway.)

B & Ks Newmar Class A

Class A Motorhome

If you come up with some easy way for people to remember which is which, PLEASE tell us in the comments section below!

Below we will explain the difference between RV classes. Specifically, we will be answering the question, "What are the different classes of motorhomes?"

The Three Motorhome Classes

Anyway, here's the deal. There are three motorhome classifications:

  • Class A
  • Class B
  • Class C

The categorizing into a 'class' ONLY applies to a recreational vehicle with an engine. Therefore, RV classes only apply to motorhomes.

(Yes, there are subcategories now, the 'B+' and the 'Super C.')

None of the other classes of RV specify the actual type by using the word 'class.'

The other types are called just what they are. A travel trailer is called a travel trailerA fifth wheel is called a fifth wheel, etc. They aren't categorized by 'class.'

Only MOTORHOMES are classified.

Motorhome Classes Explained infographic

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The difference between Class A, B, and C motorhomes include external appearances, the chassis used, maneuverability, cargo capacities, and more.

Let's figure out the RV class differences and teach you a thing or two!

Don't forget rule number one: ONLY motorhomes fall into these class categories. Pull-behind campers do not.

The only recreational vehicles that are 'classified' are motorhomes - campers that you can drive.

If an RV is 'classified' or has a 'class,' it has a built-in engine.

Again, there are ONLY three motorhome classifications: Class A, B, and C.

Now, let's go over the difference between Class A, B, and C RVs.

Ultimate Guide To RV Types

Confused about the different types of RVs? Read our guide that explains the differences between the various RV styles.

RV Types

Identify Classes Of Motorhomes By Shape

Let's talk about the different motorhome classes because visually, the SHAPE IS how you can most easily identify a unique motorhome's class.

Sure, the structural bits about each also define RV classes, which we will go into later.

But first, let's simplify it by identifying a motorhome class upon looks alone.

Let's objectify these suckers! Motorhome classes explained simply:

  • A = Big rectangle on wheels
  • B = A van
  • C = Motorhome with a sleeping space that extends over the driver's cab

Class A Motorhome - 'Box On Wheels'

The unforgettable TV show Breaking Bad... that was a Class A motorhome. Hank used it as a rolling meth lab at the beginning of the memorable binge-worthy series. (Fun fact- in season 3, Hank calls the RV a Class C, which is incorrect.)

It was an old one, and it had a sloping windshield instead of the more popular/identifiable vertical type.

Regardless, it was a box on wheels.

Also, the movie RV with Robin Williams. That was a Class A as well but with the more common flat/vertical front.

Even Cousin Eddie's RV in the classic movie 'Christmas Vacation'- that was also a Class A, albeit a very unique looking one!

Class A RV

These Three Famous RVs Were Versions Of a Class A Like This One

The Class A motorhome is likely what you picture when you think 'RV.'

They are the least aerodynamic thing invented for travel, possibly ever. Motorhome sizes range from 25-45 feet long, with little to no aerodynamic shape.

These units start as a bare chassis. Usually, they are made beginning with Ford (Gas engines) or Freightliner (Diesel engines) chassis. Then the motorhome manufacturers will build the living quarters box and its contents on top.

Size can be an issue with these models (They're big). Trips can cost a lot due to the high cost of the RV itself, larger/more expensive campground spots, and fuel costs due to poor gas mileage. Class A motorhomes have the worst fuel economy between RV Class A, B, & C, whether gas or diesel.

Class A motorhomes are the largest and most expensive RVs in the bunch

Some advantages are that they offer the most luxuries for the best family vacation experience money can buy.

Class A motorhomes are typically huge, so they are challenging to maneuver. Because of their design and being built on what is essentially a commercial bus chassis, basement storage space is usually ample.

Amenities

The Class A motorhome comes equipped with a master bedroom, living area, toilet, shower, full kitchen, and sometimes even two bath area toilets and even a washer and dryer.

Space is often BIG in these monsters, and you may have up to 5 TVs in one unit. They can get as crazy as you can imagine, for that matter.

Larger ones have up to four RV slide-outs, which expand the living area.

If you can imagine it, you can probably find it in the most decked-out Class A RVs.

Cost

The price tag for the Class A motorhome lifestyle is high as they are usually full of luxury and many comforts. You can pay just under $100,000 to well over $1,000,000 for this class of motorhome.

Summary:

  • Largest of the three classes
  • Shaped like a box/rectangle
  • Often the priciest
  • Length: Around 28 to 45 feet

Class B Motorhome - 'Camper Van'

Scooby-Dooby-Doo!!! Yeah, the Mystery Machine was a Class B motorhome. It was a van.

The Mystery Machine should help you get the gist of what a Class B RV looks like compared to the A or the C. Everyone knows what the Mystery Machine looks like!

Simply put, Class B motorhomes are vans made into a camper.

Ram Promaster Class B RV

Class B Van

The Class B motorhome is usually far smaller than a Class A and can get better gas mileage.

These vehicles are usually small, but not always. They range around 19 to 27 feet long.

Class B motorhomes are the smallest, but they certainly aren't much (or any) cheaper than a Class A or C.

This class of motorhome either starts its life in one of two ways:

  1. A shell of a complete cargo van, usually a Sprinter, Ram, or Ford Transit. (regular Class B motorhome, like the one pictured above.)
  2. OR, they (the Class B+) start as just the cutaway chassis of one of those vans. This means they start with the front end of the cab (driver area) with only the chassis attached. The 'butt' of the vehicle is open/empty. The builder then constructs the living space on top of the chassis. (Class B+ motorhome)
Sprinter Class B+ cutaway chassis

Sprinter Class B+ Cutaway Chassis

These camper vans typically have all the accommodations necessary for a fun, complete camping trip.

What's a B+?

The newer termed 'B+' van is a motorhome that started life on a bare van chassis. Then the manufacturer builds the living area 'box' on top of that.

They are usually larger and wider than a traditional B because there is no already built van body to constrain them.

TECHNICALLY, the B+ is a Class C camper but doesn't have the sleeping area over the driver compartment like a Class C does.

Learn more about Class B+ RVs.

Amenities

Amenities usually include the typical household needs- a refrigerator, a sleeping space, sink, bathroom, and a cooktop.

You can find everything in larger campers here, just in a smaller space.

It may lack a permanent dining area due to the smaller size.

These campervans can journey just about anywhere. Travelers easily cross the country in a Class B van while fitting in smaller spaces than their larger cousins. This class of RV is sought after for these reasons.

Cost

Class B motorhomes are usually pretty compact, so they are better with fuel efficiency. However, they are still very pricey, so they are not for tiny budgets. Costs range from under $100,000 to the high $200,000's and more.

Summary:

  • A van that has been converted into a camper
  • Smallest of the classes
  • Best gas mileage
  • Usually pretty complete in amenities
  • Length: Around 19 to 22 feet

Class B vs Class C RV

What is the difference between a Class B and Class C motorhome? There are two main differences: Size and construction methods.

The Class B is a camper van that starts life as a bare commercial van shell with living quarters installed inside the existing four walls.

Class C RVs are a blank canvas, starting life with only the driver compartment and bare chassis behind. A complete (walls, roof, and floor) living structure is built upon this.

Class C motorhome profile

Class C

Class B van profile

Class B

Where does a B+ fit into the picture? What is the difference between a Class B+ and a Class C?

Getting down to the nitty-gritty, Class B+ RV doesn't exist, and it's a marketing term.

There is no official B+ class of RV - just B.

The Class B+ motorhome designation was invented by a manufacturer that wanted to differentiate its product from Class C's.

And it makes sense. Allow me to explain.

Technically, Class B+ and Class C are the same things in that they both start life as a cutaway van chassis and then have the living quarters built behind the driver's compartment.

Both these RV styles have a section of the living quarters that extends over the driver's cab (called a cab-over).

The difference is that a Class C cab-over is large enough, and built to, have a sleeping area. 

The Class B+ has a much smaller cab-over, and it's much more streamlined. It isn't designed to sleep in.

Class C motorhome profile

Class C (Large Cab-Over)

Class B+ motorhome profile

Class B+ (Minimal Cab-Over)

Instead, it's used as a storage area or entertainment cabinet (or both).

Length plays a factor in the difference between Class B vs Class C RV (or B+ vs. C).

The B+ is the longer of the B's but usually is not over 25 feet long as it is built on a chassis that doesn't support long, heavy bodies.

Class C's are typically built on the Ford E-Series full-size van platform, which allows them to be heavier and longer, up to 36 feet. Though you can get a small Class C RV that is well under 30 feet long.

Class C Motorhome - 'Van Chassis'

I can't think of a single famous Class C motorhome. However, this is the typical type you see advertised as a rental.

There's a good reason for that. (More living space than a Class B RV, easier to drive than a Class A.)

Class C motorhome in desert

Class C Motorhome With a Cabover Sleeping Area 

The Class C motorhome is USUALLY sized in between a B and an A. It isn't very clear, yes. As you can see, there's no logic in the letters that name the RV classes A B C.

The identifying exterior style of this motorhome size is TYPICALLY the sleeping/storage area over the driver's cab.

BUT, what classifies an RV to be a Class C is that they build it on top of a van cutaway chassis (essentially a commercial truck chassis with the rear removed).

Then the manufacturer builds the living quarters onto it.

Class C motorhomes begin life as a bare van chassis
Class C motorhome cutaway chassis

This Is What Every Class C Starts Out Looking Like

Gas mileage varies per model but expect to get something between the A and the B.

With more beds that increase the sleeping options, families with children often go for these Class C RVs.

Amenities

Expect to find all of the primary living necessities in a Class C RV.

They sport a kitchen, usually a permanent dining area, closet space, decent cargo capacity, a refrigerator, bathroom, and often more than one sleeping area.

Because they offer an excellent combination of living space, amenities, the ability to go most places, and relative affordability, the Class C is a popular choice for motorized campers.

Cost

Class C motorhomes range anywhere between the cost of a B or an A and can vary wildly. It depends on how large you go and what level of comforts and luxury interior you want.

A basic model can be had for close to $100,000, while a more luxurious version will set you back over $300,000.

What's A Super C?

The Super C is a Class C RV that started on not a van chassis but on a medium-duty truck cutaway chassis (typically a Freightliner). Their front end looks like that of a semi.

Sometimes smaller ones use a heavy-duty truck chassis (such as a Ford Heavy Duty).

They are bigger and longer than a regular C. We like to say that they are a Class C 'on steroids.'

Summary:

  • Starts life as a van cutaway chassis
  • Often identified by the area over the cab
  • Sized in between most A's and B's
  • Price: still expensive but more affordable than most Class A's
  • Length: approximately 24 to 36 feet

Class A vs Class C Motorhome

Class A and Class C RVs are most similar in style among the three different motorhome types.

So what is the difference between Class A and Class C RV?

The major difference between a Class C RV and a Class A RV is the rig's front end.

The rear (living area) is constructed very similarly and has the same furnishings and amenities.

Class A motorhome profile

Class A

Class C motorhome profile

Class C

Because a Class C is based on a cutaway chassis, it has a full-frontal structure (just as a van or truck would).

This means that it will do much better in a crash than a Class A motorhome, which has no substantial front structure. 

Or consider a roll-over accident - in a Class A RV, you have a puny wall and roof, whereas a Class C has a complete automotive structure around you in the cab area.

Conclusion

When trying to tell apart the different class motorhomes, you can usually make a visual identification rather quickly once you understand the difference in RV classes.

Only motorhomes (RVs with engines built-in) are 'classed.'

  • Class A's are the largest and offer the most storage.
  • Class B's are vans. They are typically the smallest motorhomes and are built inside a regular cargo van.
  • Class C's are built on a bare van chassis, and they usually have storage or a sleeping area over the driver's cab.
  • Class B+ is technically a Class C but doesn't have the over-cab sleeping area. B+ vans are built on a bare van chassis but are often larger than regular vans.
  • Super C's are Class C vans built onto a medium or heavy-duty bare chassis such as Ford or Freightliner. They are Class C's on steroids.
Class C motorhome front

Look At That Cabover Above The Driver Area! It's a Class C Motorhome.

Identifying them is sometimes tricky, but with a bit of experience, they are mostly all identifiable by their shape and size.

I hope this helped you to understand what are the classes of motorhomes!

Once again, if you have a clever way for others to learn, which is an A, B, or C, please sound off in the comments!

Kelly Headshot

Hello! I'm the co-founder of Camp Addict, which my biz partner and I launched in 2017. I frigging love the RVing lifestyle but in December of 2020, we both converted to part-time RV life. Heck, I lived in my travel trailer for over 5.5 years, STRICTLY boondocking. I learned a lot about the RV life and lifestyle during those years. Now we share what we know with you here at Camp Addict.

After that many years of wonderful full-time travel, it was time for something new. These days, I'm often found working from my new Az home, and sometimes plotting and scheming whether or not to start collecting farm animals (or plotting my next RV trip!).

  • Here’s a possible way to remember:
    Class A: If anything is “class A” that means the fanciest shmanciest or most luxurious.
    Class B: Behind the cab/driver (living/sleeping is all Behind the driver)
    Class C: Cab top – some of the RV is on top of the cab.

  • Thanks for putting together this great site! We’re looking for a Class C with bunk beds (based on our family size) and after reading through the manufacturer ratings, really like the Entegra Esteem 31f. We also like the idea of finding a rig that is 2-3 years old to get through the initial issues from the factory, but it looks like this is a newer model. Do you have any suggestions for something similar that we could find used from one of your recommended manufacturers?

    • Hey John,

      I like your thinking about getting a rig a couple/few years old!

      Entegra is definitely one of the best RV brands so worth looking at.

      I wouldn’t know about specific floor plans that are similar without spending a lot of time going through each manufacturer’s website/marketing materials. I just don’t currently have a spreadsheet (or the such) with all the floor plans on it.

      Yeah, that’s the ‘joy’ of shopping for a used rig. Floor plans come and go.

      Probably the best bet would be to go into the brochure archives for the RV manufacturers you are interested in and download prior year brochures to see if there is a floor plan that might work.

      Best of luck in your search for the ‘good enough’ rig!

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