Learn who builds the best travel trailers, fifth wheels & toy haulers with the industry’s most respected name in RV reviews. The NEWLY UPDATED Travel Trailer Comparison Guide now rates over 50 manufacturers.
Why are independent travel trailer reviews so important for today’s buyer? For one, there’s thousands of misleading and fake RV reviews on the internet these days, written by people hired by industry insiders to build up a buzz about their RV. Posted alongside legitimate reviews on hundreds of websites, it’s next to impossible to separate the real from the fake. Anyone can now give a five-star review for an RV, even if they’ve never laid eyes on it.
Adding to the confusion, many legitimate owners take to the internet to vent their frustrations for real or perceived quality or customer-service issues. An angry owner may take some satisfaction in posting a one-star review for a certain fifth-wheel, but what if his rating is based on a single defective door lock or a long wait at the service counter? An otherwise excellent fifth-wheel may be overlooked.
RVReviews.net has been around for more than fifteen years now. Privately owned and proudly independent, we have earned a reputation for fair reviews written without bias. We have never accepted any form of payment or financial consideration to promote one manufacturer over another. Our frequently updated and easy-to-read Travel Trailer & Fifth Wheel Comparison Guide has been the industry’s top-selling RV Review guide for years, and has helped thousands of RV buyers learn who is building the best RVs -and how to negotiate the best price from any dealer. Our database of owner feedback for thousands of makes, models and years enables us to provide a fair review of all the manufacturers you’re likely to come across in your search. We’ll also point out known problem areas and which are noteworthy (i.e. deal breaker, in some cases), and which are trivial in nature (i.e. easily remedied).
The modern RV is both better and more complicated
The base price of travel trailers, fifth wheels and toy haulers have all been creeping up in recent years due to the advent of complicated slide-outs, increased use of on-board technology, and improved materials that are safer and stronger -but more costly- than the traditional wood framed RVs of the past. While these features are all impressive, they require many more moving parts than the typical RV of just a decade ago. And with more moving parts comes an increased chance of something breaking down.
Equally important as the quality of the materials and technology is the build-quality itself. Today’s complicated RV requires an experienced assembly team and, unfortunately, many manufacturers who have stated current with today’s space-age materials, are still building a crummy travel trailer or fifth wheel. Every week we receive feedback from owners of brand new RVs regarding non-working slide-outs, leaky plumbing lines and an array of sloppy fit and finish issues. By now, we can often name the manufacturer at fault just by hearing the list of complaints.
Our Travel Trailer & Fifth Wheel Comparison Guide reviews each manufacturer with their own article, but also includes useful charts that compare each towable type against its peers. As an independent review company, RVReviews.net is never under any obligation to promote one company over another. For more than fifteen years we have had a singular goal: to provide today’s RV buyer the sort of non-biased information WE would want to know if we were buying an RV. Over the years we have shed light on many manufacturers (including some of the biggest names in the industry) who are building sub-par towables, lurching in to (or out of) bankruptcy, or are known for abysmal customer service. While our database now includes feedback on thousands of makes, models and years, the interesting and notable bits are sifted out and the end result is the Travel Trailer & Fifth Wheel Comparison Guide.
Seems like a simple enough question, doesn’t it? But there are a number of variables that will determine which model, manufacturer or brand is best for you. For example, will you use your travel trailer or fifth wheel for extended trips (2 weeks+), or are you a Weekender? Will you be traveling only during the pleasant summer months (this applies to the majority of RVers), or do you see yourself hitting the road in all seasons and temperatures? Will you be traveling solo or with your spouse -or maybe the whole family and the dog? What about your tow vehicle? Are you planning on using the family car or do you have a full-sized truck that can handle a 34′ fifth-wheel -and all the stuffed packed inside?
Ahhh, at last we get to the elephant in the room: How much is this going to cost you? Is a 15% discount a good deal or a bad deal? Is the sale price at an RV show better than an every-day sale price? Is your dealer playing fair or is he taking advantage of you? (He seems like such a nice guy!) And last but not least, what is your budget?
That last one is critical. For now, forget everything else (model years, features, sales prices, floorplans, fiberglass roof vs. rubber roof) and establish a budget. Know what you can afford to spend. Don’t get bogged down getting too specific at this point, but you will need a ballpark number. Exceeding that will always -every single time- lead to buyer’s remorse. A relaxing vacation won’t be very relaxing if you’re spending it in an RV that cost more than you can comfortably afford. Establishing your comfort zone now -and sticking to it- BEFORE you start shopping, will be a big step in the right direction.
With a dollar price in mind, then the fun can begin. Your budget will put you in to a specific segment (Entry Level, Above Average, Premium -this is all discussed in the book), and from there you’ll find many, many options to choose from. Working within your budget segment will enable you to easily compare apples-to-apples -and we’ll help you avoid the bad apples.
And don’t lose heart if your budget restricts you to the Entry Level category.
There are LOADS of great entry-level travel trailers, fifth-wheels and toy-haulers on the market. In fact, entry-level, 3-season trailers make up the bulk of the towable market. Why? Because they meet the needs (and budget) of the majority of buyers. Curiously enough, a walk-through a Premium fifth-wheel built and designed for Full-Timers and Snow-Birds may not appear that different from an Entry-Level option. Both versions will be nicely decorated and furnished, and creature comforts will abound. Size is largely irrelevant, with many Entry-Level floor-plans surpassing Premium trailers in both length and width. The differences are more subtle. A trailer designed for extended travel will have beefed up plumbing and electrical systems, and, often, residential grade full-sized appliances. Insulation will be thicker, and sinks, faucets, cabinets, cupboards, furniture, windows and doors will all be made for daily use.
A perfect way to highlight the difference between an economy RV and a top-of-the-line RV involves door hinges. An entry-level door may be tested to withstand 1,000 cycles (throw open the door and slam it shut behind you -that’s one cycle), while a premium door may have three hinges in lieu of two, or even a full-length piano hinge, and be tested to withstand 10,000 cycles. For an owner buying an RV for a couple weeks of vacation and a weekend trip or two during a calendar year, 1,000 cycles should provide a dozen years of reliable service -or more.
Some of our favorite towables are in the Entry-Level category, and the charts and easy-to-read articles in the newly updated Travel Trailer & Fifth Wheel Comparison Guide will make that abundantly clear. And while your RV dealer has every reason to steer you toward the premium priced models (higher commission for them), we at RVReviews.net have no incentive beyond helping our readers find the best RV for them -at the best price. If we like an entry-level camper, we’ll say it, and if a premium priced fifth-wheel is known for problems and is not recommended, we’ll say that as well.
The more you know, the more you save
The search for an RV typically starts with a trip to the local RV dealer or an RV Show. For the uninformed, many purchases are based on superficial items (“I love these colors/ this bedroom/ this kitchen/ the storage space…”) and/or an eye-popping discount –“The dealer said we could get a 20% discount if we bought today!” This is the main reason the majority of RV owners feel -after the fact- they purchased the wrong RV for their needs, and paid too much. In our experience, “buyer remorse” is more widespread in the RV industry than in any other vehicle segment. (Boats would be a close second.)
Why is that? Lots of reasons: A lack of critical information about the manufacturer, a focus on the wrong features (layouts and decor instead of quality of build), and the extremely biased input of a salesperson whose interest is at direct odds with your own.
We frequently hear from readers that after reading our Comparison and Buying Guides that they were better informed and knew more about a specific RV than their salesperson. And nothing puts an aggressive salesperson back on their heels like a customer that clearly knows more than they do. More importantly, a buyer at the bargaining table that knows the typical selling price of the RV in question -and which options and add-ons* are not worth the expense- will be at a distinct advantage over the dealer.
*Don’t be surprised if you find that your negotiated bargain price is quickly left behind once the dealer starts adding in “surcharges” and options you didn’t ask for. Some are legitimate (Extended RV Warranty) but many are nonsense (aftermarket paint sealant process), and all are discussed in detail in both the new Travel Trailer & Fifth Wheel Comparison Guide and the The Extended RV Warranty Guide.
What to Look for in a Well-Built RV
Every buyer wants to know if the RV they’re looking at is well-built, but very few know what to look for. Many buyers, in an attempt to portray a savvy consumer, make a show of studying various features, fiddling with faucet handles and opening and closing storage compartments with a thoughtful expression.
Maybe they even go the extra mile and slide underneath the trailer to inspect what lies beneath. But what exactly are they looking at? And, more worryingly, what are they supposed to be looking for? They don’t know the first thing about a well-built chassis -or how to identify one. These days there’s a good chance they’ll encounter an enclosed underbelly, a plastic covering that hides everything in the name of aerodynamics and protection. Not much to see there.
What will a clamber up the rear ladder reveal about the roof construction? Barring a gaping hole, they’ll find a white expanse of fiberglass, rubber or vinyl. Which is preferred -and why? Do they act impressed or disappointed? They’re not sure. And all the while their friendly salesperson is watching from ground level, smiling encouragingly, as if to say, “See? No gaping holes in this baby!”
Is it any wonder that so many RV owners suffer from buyer’s remorse?
Now let’s imagine they’d spent the weekend reading the Travel Trailer & Fifth Wheel Comparison Guide. How quickly would the tables be turned if they asked, “Is this a one-piece EPDM roof -or is it seamed? I don’t see any cambering from here, is this flat? I don’t mind a flat roof if it’s fiberglass or even TPO vinyl, but flat EPDM can be a problem. Is the roof warranty separate from the RV warranty?” Who would you think has the upper hand in this scenario: the well-informed customer or the salesperson struggling to come up with an educated response to a question he’s never been asked?
Understanding that no one (including us!) wants to read a boring, exhaustive textbook about RV construction, the Comparison Guide covers everything you want to know in an easy-to-read style that can be quickly referenced as needed. Want to come up to speed on roof construction? See Chapter 2. What’s the difference between hydraulic slide-outs and electric slide-outs -and which is better? See Chapter 3. You’ll known which one is better -and why- in a few minutes. You’ll also know which features or upgrades aren’t worth the expense for your needs.
A few of the key topics discussed:
- Chassis and Frame: What to look for
- Underbelly construction: Do you need enclosed or open? Heated or not?
- Exterior wall construction: Welded aluminum framing vs. Traditional wood framing
- Types of Insulation: Solid block, fluffy residential, foamed in place. What is an R-Rating and why is it so important?
- Plumbing: From fixtures to holding tanks. What are PEX lines -and do you need them?
- Electrical: Incandescent lighting vs. LED: Does it matter? What you need: USB ports and reliable Wi-Fi. And what you don’t: DVD players.
- Kitchen cabinets and countertops: Do I need hardwood cabinets? Are solid surface countertops better than laminated countertops? (You might be surprised.)
- Windows: Double pane is always better than single pane -but often not worth the additional expense.
- Roofing materials: A lot of choices and they all claim to be the best. Pros and cons and a list of worst to best.
- Flooring: Ceramic tile is better than linoleum, right? Wrong. Carpet: where you want it and where you don’t.
- Towing: Is your tow vehicle up to the task? What you need to know.
- Finishes: Fiberglass, aluminum, clear coat, after market protectants, fading and delamination. The questions you need to ask -and a word of caution.
Adopting an Orphan: a premium RV at an entry-level price
Our Travel Trailer Reviews cover nearly every manufacturer in North America -even those that have closed their doors in recent years. Why? Well, unlike the auto industry, many RV manufacturers are small, boutique builders. And while they pop up and disappear frequently, their RVs can survive for years on the Used RV market. For many years we recommended that our readers should avoid these “Orphan” RVs at all costs, for obvious reasons: lack of repair parts, no warranty coverage, no customer service.
In the past few years, though, we’ve reconsidered the Orphan RV. First, we still receive a lot of requests for information about RVs from defunct manufacturers. Second, many great builders have been forced to shut their doors not because their RVs were deficient in some way, but because they didn’t have the financial wherewithal to ride out a soft market (i.e. recession, stock market calamity, rising oil prices, etc.). Third, the rise of the affordable Extended RV Warranty has removed a lot of the risk with the Orphan RV.
The advantages of an Orphan RV are hard to ignore: a great RV (assuming the research pans out) at a near wholesale price. Many buyers with an entry-level budget end up with an Above Average or Premium class travel trailer or fifth wheel, courtesy of an Orphan RV.
A word of caution, though: An Orphan RV is not recommended for those who don’t thoroughly understand what is involved. There is no quicker way to lose money buying an RV -sometimes a lot of money- than by dabbling in Orphan RVs. The Comparison Guide now discusses the pros and cons of the Orphan RV and is recommended reading for anyone willing to consider this unique approach. Lastly, many RV manufacturers shut their doors and soap their windows because their RVs had a specific defect or known problem. These should be avoided at all costs -even a wholesale one.
Our Travel Trailer & Fifth Wheel Guide includes a factory article for each manufacturer with helpful facts and insight you won’t find anywhere else. We provide a brief description or “Snap Shot” of each manufacturer based on interviews, owner feedback and research collected over the years. This gives our readers crucial insight into how each company got its start, their current financial health, and the direction the company is heading.
Each article contains information in these key areas:
- Company background and history
- Principle target customer
- Discussion of best-selling models
- Company’s main competitors
- Current MSRP of best-selling models -as well as typical real-world selling prices
- Financial stability of company (including buyouts, bankruptcies and ongoing lawsuits)
- 10 years of rating charts that track how each manufacturer has performed over multiple years. These rating charts are very important and reveal if a particular manufacturer is trending upward or downward in quality, customer satisfaction, factory support and overall resale value of models.
- Objective comments from research staff: Keep in mind, as an independent review company, we have no incentive
who do we review?
|Air Stream||Forest River||Pacific Coast Works|
|Alfa-Leisure||Glendale RV||Palomino RV|
|Ameri-camp||Grand Design||Peterson Industries|
|Bigfoot||Gulf Stream||Pilgrim International|
|Carriage Inc||Heartland RV||Prime Time|
|Casita||Highland Ridge||Redwood RV|
|Chalet RV||Holiday Rambler||R-Vision|
|Cikira RV||Jayco Inc||Skyline Corp|
|Coachmen||Keystone RV||Starcraft RV|
|Crossroads RV||Comfort RV||Sunnybrook RV|
|Cruiser RV||K-Z RV||Teton Homes|
|DRV (Double Tree)||Lance Campers||Thor Industries|
|Dynamax||Livin’ Life||Travel Lite|
|Earthbound||New Horizons RV||Travel Supreme|
|Eclipse RV||Newmar||Triple E RV|
|EverGreen RV||NuWa Industries||Western RV|
|Extreme Warrior||Open Range RV||Winnebago|
|Fleetwood RV||Outdoors RV||Yellowstone RV|
Buying a Travel Trailer, Fifth Wheel or Toy Hauler with Confidence
If you have ever attended a large recreational vehicle show or visited a mega RV dealer you know there are almost unlimited models and options to choose from. For those who haven’t done their research, multiple choice overload is a common reaction. Lined up in a large convention center or on the dealer’s lot they all look great. How are you supposed to identify the best built trailer from this endless array? This is where your research begins to pay off. After reading the guide you’ll be able to dismiss the subpar units from the quality offerings, quickly narrowing your search to a handful. During this process expect your dealer to say something like, “This manufacturer builds the best trailer on the market”.
How can everybody build the best RV?
After you have visited a number of dealers it’s like a broken record. Everybody claims their brands are the best in the industry. How is that possible? It’s not. Consider this: as an independent research company we have no preference regarding your towable of choice, whereas your dealer is heavily biased. He (or she) is going to push the brand that makes them the most money -and you can’t really blame them. But your goal is not to line their pockets, it’s to buy the best unit at the best price. Our only goal for over ten years now has been to provide honest and informative data to our customers.
Our best-selling trailer guide cuts through the conflicting claims and sheds light on which manufacturers have high customer satisfaction ratings -as well as those that don’t. Poorly constructed travel trailers with slippery and misleading warranties are all too common in the RV industry and will cause headaches, frustration and costly expenses for the uninformed. After reading the newly revised and updated Travel Trailer & Fifth Wheel Comparison Guide, chances are you’ll know more about today’s towables (and their manufacturers) than the dealer you work with.
Travel Trailer & Fifth Wheel Guide
Rating: Travel Trailer, Fifth Wheel & Toy Hauler Manufacturers
This offer includes our popular Travel Trailer & Fifth Wheel Comparison Guide, which has been considered the #1 RV buyer’s resource for more than 10 years. We are the only company online that provides model-specific travel trailer reviews with fair and balanced reviews. Get straight answers to your questions and learn what is really is going on in the RV industry. Learn which manufacturers build the best quality trailers at affordable prices -and which ones you may want to avoid.
Author Randall Eaton Explains the Different RV Packages
The Ultimate Travel Trailer Package
This package has been discounted over $94.00
The Ultimate Travel Trailer Package includes:
- Best-selling 2019 Travel Trailer & Fifth Wheel Comparison Guide.
- Bonus Offers (E-Books): How to Buy an RV and Save, The Extended RV Warranty Guide, and The Top 100 Dealers.
- A total of 3 (three) Travel Trailer Reviews. Use for any make or model of Travel Trailer, Fifth Wheel or Toy Hauler (2000-Current). NOTE: Travel trailer reviews have no expiration date.
This amazing offer includes everything you will need to make an informed decision. Our best-selling RV Guide reveals which RV manufacturers consistently rate the highest in quality and customer support. Our time-tested buying tips can save you thousands when it’s time to buy. In addition, the Bonus Offer items will coach you to negotiate the best deal from any dealer. Once you’ve narrowed down your search, the 3 RV Reports included in the Ultimate Package will give you the dealer’s wholesale cost and average selling price. We provide RV reviews for all current travel trailers, fifth wheels and toy haulers with easy to read and insightful 9-12 page reports e-mailed directly to you.
Wondering where to start?
We recommend reading the Travel Trailer & Fifth Wheel Guide first to narrow your search. After that, you’re ready for some fun: visiting RV dealerships. Prior to negotiation, make sure and read the Bonus Offer books and request your RV Reports for the specific model being considered. With the RV Report in hand you’ll have a good idea what the dealer paid for the unit and how much of a discount you should expect. At this point you will be fully informed and ready to recognize a good deal. Remember, travel trailer reviews cover all manner of towables including fifth wheels and toy haulers.
This special offer includes our best-selling and newly updated Travel Trailer & Fifth Wheel Guide plus the popular Bonus Offers e-books. Each bonus offer is full of hard hitting facts you won’t find anywhere else. Save thousands of dollars with our proven buying tips, all in an easy-to-read format. Beyond the RV purchase itself, you’ll learn how to identify a reputable RV dealer and negotiate like a pro. The RV Extended Warranty Guide clearly explains where to buy a better extended warranty than your dealer offers -for up to 50% less.
Travel Trailer Reviews Order Info:
If you order the E-book version of the Ultimate Travel Trailer Package you will receive an email with instructions to access your Trailer Book, Bonus Offers & RV FORM within minutes of placing order. All printed book orders will receive instructions to access RV form and bonus offers when book arrives priority mail. To request your RV Report, simply fill out a RV FORM on our website and click “Submit”. We’ll take it from there and return your report via e-mail. Each report contains 8 pages of detailed ratings and wholesale and retail values for that particular model. All reports are sent as a pdf document, making saving or printing a breeze.
Part One – Intended Use:
In this section of the travel trailer reviews we focus on intended use. There are four main categories most RV models will fall into. They are: Weekender, Vacationer, Snowbird and Full-Time use. Based on the standard options, overall quality, and data collected from various RV sources, we can accurately determine the overall intended use of a particular model. If your intention is to use your RV to head south for the winter and spend 3-6 months a year in your unit, you will probably be dissatisfied with a poorly constructed model or a model that was intended for moderate use only.
Part Two – Comprehensive Rating Chart:
The manner in which a particular RV model performs in the areas of: Quality of Construction, Reliability, Payload, Drivability (motorhome only), Customer Satisfaction, Style & Resale Value will ultimately determine the overall satisfaction level of the unit. Our proprietary database contains thousands of reports from current owners that we use to determine an overall rating.
In addition, our staff has interviewed hundreds of dealers and manufacturers. We also frequently attend RV shows to stay current with changes and new models. A simple request: Our past readers are an important source of owner satisfaction and we welcome all feedback. If you find our information helpful in your search, please consider passing along your own feedback after your purchase. It will be used to help the next customer.
Part Three: Depreciation Chart:
This chart shows how a particular RV model depreciates over time and the RV dealer’s invoice for a new model or the true wholesale value for a used model. This information will help you determine if the model you’re considering is a good investment. Aside from initial quality you’ll also be able to see how the RV holds its’ resale value. Having the dealer’s invoice or true wholesale value is very important and puts you in the driver’s seat when it is time to negotiate a price. This data has helped thousands of our customers over the years and we receive positive emails on a regular basis thanking us for this info.
Part Four: Star Chart:
Our reviews feature a simple STAR RATING based on the data collected in the Comprehensive Rating Chart. A Five Star Rating is the highest rating an RV model can receive. E-Book orders are accessible via an e-mail that arrives within moments of placing your order. Printed book orders are shipped priority mail for FREE in U.S. Please allow 3-4 days for delivery.
Bonus offers are supplement resources (E-Books) that will help you save thousands when it is time to buy! Instructions to access your three bonus offers and request your reports will be sent with your printed Travel Trailer & Fifth Wheel Comparison Guide. Save your bonus offers to your computer, iPad or Tablet for future reference or printing.
The amount you pay for this package will pay for itself 20-40 times over.
|Ultimate E-Book OrderRetail Price
||Sale TodayUltimate Print Book OrderRetail Price:
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We offer a Full 30-day money back guarantee. If you’re not completely satisfied with our product(s), simple return item for a full refund within 30-days. This includes printed books & E-books. We accept all major credit cards and PayPal. Best Regards, Author Randall Eaton