Nobody can answer these questions – not most of them at least.
The easy question: which is the best? Answer: The most expensive one.
Beyond that, it’s up to you!
There are no secrets to making the choice – just time and effort.
I always suggest that folks go to RV shows and spend a lot of time in every option that is of interest and in budget. It is best to do this without a sales person around telling you what you need and why this one is the best and RV shows are typically ran this way. I will say, for some people, looking at RV’s that are outside of their budget is very dangerous. For others, it can be of some aid to see what features are available in the next level up in price. In any case, be careful with that!! 🙂
Get you ohh’s and aah’s out of the way then imagine living in it. Imagine where you will put all your stuff. Imagine cooking, watching TV, being stuck in it for 2-3 days in a row while it is cold/raining outside. Stand in the shower (is it big enough), sit on the toilet, lay on the bed, sit at the table. Are you really going to cook dinner in that oven? How about do dishes in that sink (is there one or two basins)? How much work is it to setup and tear down (for camping)?
If you are camping for one or two days at a time, one can get by with very little and tolerate a lot. If you are going to full-time, it is a lot different. It is your permanent home. You want to be comfortable, to have “your stuff”, and to feel like it is home.
Some folks don’t mind using leveling boards, getting in and out, pulling back and forth, checking level every time, etc. I push a button and the coach is leveled. Obviously, there is a cost for convenience. Only you can decide if that cost is worth it to you and you can only do that after experiencing both sides.
Some folks emphasize the importance of floorplan. I do think it is important but there are many things to consider. The list below has a good bit of ‘prefer boondocking’ flavor, meaning some of these items are not important if you plan to spend every night at a full-hookup site.
- Is there plenty of open space on the roof for solar panels?
- Are the holding tanks large enough to meet your needs/goals?
- Is there enough inside storage – particularly in the kitchen?
- Is there enough basement storage? A ground mat, table, chairs and BBQ can take up a good amount of space. After those items, does enough space remain for all the other things you plan to carry?
- How accessible is that storage with the slides deployed? In that scenario, access will never be great but it needs to be better than horrible.
- Are common maintenance items accessible? Some rear radiator diesel pushers make accessing the air cleaner and belts VERY difficult.
- Is the rig well insulated? This important for heat and cold as well as noise.
- Are the windows dual pane?
- Is the absorption refrigerator properly installed and properly ducted? Many do not work well because they were installed improperly.
- How easy is the basement storage to access when the slides are deployed?
- Is the battery bank large enough for your needs? Is the storage area large enough to easily add additional batteries?
- Is an Inverter provided? Is it wired to provide 110/120 VAC to the whole house (minus air conditioning and refrigerator) or just certain components?
- Do the outside rear view mirrors bounce around when you drive or are they solid/stable?
- When driving, is there a lot of creaking and squeaking?
- Do the slides have windows in the side walls so you can see forward/aft?
- Are the air conditioners loud while sitting in the coach? Can you hear the TV?
- Is the generator loud?
- Do the headlights produce enough light and in the right place? (some motorhomes have terrible headlights)
- Does the coach have sufficient cargo weight capacity for your intended use and stuff you plan to carry?
- Do you drive in the mountains? If so, an engine brake is a wonderful tool. If driving on serious mountain passes (not Interstates), it is essential – in my opinion.
- Is the shower large enough to do the job? Stand in it – pretend you are washing your hair.
- Does the toilet have enough room to be semi-comfortable to sit on?
- Is the cabinetry made out of real wood or press-board?
- Does the hood over the stove vent to the outside or inside?
- Is there sufficient ventilation? Especially in the bedroom where it can get fairly warm when trying to sleep? Maybe a ceiling fan to help?
- Is the TV comfortably visible from the “good” seats? Can you hear it? (sometimes the speaker is behind the TV, in the cabinet so is very muffled)
- Is the dining table seating comfortable? Can you get into it (booth) or is it built for 8 year-old children?
- If looking at a trailer – be SURE you have enough truck to pull it safely (this requires some math with the various weights).
Finding the right RV for YOU takes some time. Many folks buy an RV and then discover they don’t like it. Avoid that – spend time figuring out what is important to you, what works for you, and what does not work for you. Then you can begin focusing on purchasing!
If you’d like to skip some of that research and go directly to MY list for the ideal RV – take a look at this article!