21 things you need to know before buying a Class B RV

21 things you need to know before buying a Class B RV

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There are different types of RVs and Class B motorhome is one of the popular ones out there. When it comes to buying a new or used RV one has to be careful. Buying a hundred thousand dollar RV if goes wrong will be a big investment mistake.

Thus, have a clear mindset and decide on your purchase. In this article, we will go through various things related to class B RVs. Their pros, cons, and many of the frequently asked questions. Lets start by defining what exactly are class B RVs.

1. What is a Class B RV ?

Class B motorhomes are modest forms of RV when you compare them with other bigger options. They fall last in comparison to Class A motorhome and Class C motorhomes.

They are compact and streamlined. Class B’s are designed to normally accomodate small group of people (upto 5).

Class B RV’s are built on a van chassis and thus their size almost remains small. They are bigger than a normal van and thus can accommodate people for living or sleeping inside. They are also referred to as camper vans or camper conversions.

Because they are built on a van chassis they offer better safety. They are among the safest RV’s where-in, drivers and passenger get seat belts. Their design and build are better for driving around and offer great comfort.

If you were to identify if its a class B or not, just see if it looks like a bigger oversized van. They will not include amenities that normally a Class C or Class A would offer. They are limited in terms of what they offer. That’s all, is being discussed in below points.

2. Class B motorhomes are compact than other RV’s

Class B motorhomes are mostly 18-25 feet long. They are much smaller than class C or class A which can be 35-40 or even more in length. Their height can be anything between 7-9 feet and width between 8-9 feet.

On an average they weigh around 10,000 to 20,000 lbs. This again is much lesser as compared to class A or class C which can weigh higher than 25,000 lbs. Lets see some examples of class B motorhomes with their length.

  • Thor compass 2018 model: 23 feet long
  • Winnebago Revel: 19 feet long
  • Airstream interstate EXT 2018: 24 feet long
  • Roadtrek adventurous RS: 22 feet long

Their shorter length gives them a distinct advantage. If you are looking for an RV for 2 people or a small family with a kid then class B can be a right fit.

Weight in case of motorhomes may not be as critical as it is in towed RV’s like a travel trailer but still low weight makes driving easier. With less weight, class B RV can be driven through different terrains.

3. Class B motorhomes come with 2-4 sleeping capacity

Most Class B motorhomes are designed for 2 people. They can accomodate and sleep 2 people comfortably. But, you will also get models, layouts that will sleep upto 4 people.

Due to their space limitations they may also include limited amenities and appliances. Therefore, if you are a big-sized family then class B isn’t a good option for you.

You also get more luxurious class B vans but mostly they too are designed for less number of people. If a solo camper or a couple looking for a great camping experience within budget then class B is the right option.

Lets see some examples of class B motorhomes and their sleeping capacity.

  • 2004 PLEASURE WAY EXCEL TS: sleeps 2
  • 2019 ROADTREK ZION: sleeps 3
  • 2006 ROADTREK 210 POPULAR: sleeps 2
  • 2019 WINNEBAGO TRAVATO 59G: sleeps 4
  • 2019 HYMER AKTIV 2.0 LOFT: sleeps 4

4. They come at considerable cost

RVs in general cost lots of money. Not all of us can afford to buy a brand new RV. Class B motorhomes, even though smaller do cost significant amount. The cost in itself varies a lot and depends a lot on the manufacturer and the luxuries included.

Even though they may cost several thousand dollars, they are mainly designed to accomdoate very few people.

On an average a new class B RV can cost anything from $50,000 to $80,000. Having said this the prices could be up higher above hundred thousand dollars as well. Similarly, you can also buy one that comes lesser than $40,000.

A diesel engine class B rv is generally priced higher as compared to gas ones. The cost goes higher for models that include upgrades. With more luxury, obviously the prices increase. A used RV can come at reasonably less prices though.

5. They come with limited features and amenities

With class B motorhome you can expect below features. Remember class B motorhomes vary a lot with their prices. And thus, these features may not be present in all of them. Mostly what we see is that class B includes quality amenities but the space almost remains same.

Foldable or Murphy bed: They include Space saving foldable bed that also turns itself into the sofa. The beds that actually fold and remain aligned to walls thus saving space when not in use.

Kitchenette: Having a full kitchen inside a class B rv is difficult. A kitchenette is something that works better with class B Rvs. With 2 or 4 people that should be fine.

Awning: Not all may have an extension or an awning. Awning for sure makes it great to camp. A more costly class B will include this one feature.

Compact bath: Most class B motorhomes will include bathroom that will be designed just to the right size. A compact wet-bath with shower will be just to accomodate a person. So don’t expect a big one here.

Basic appliances: This will include a small refrigerator, stove with single or double burner, flat wall mounted TV, air conditioner. Since the space is so much limited it will be difficult to get full sized big refrigerator. Also, things like oven, washer dryer will not be present unless its very luxuries one. Very high-end ones will also include generator for boondocking.

Fresh water and holding tanks: Water storage tank and waste collecting tanks will be included in most class B RVs. Size, however, will be smaller. Bigger RVs like class C or class A come with mammoth tanks which will not need refilling or emptying very often. This will not be the case with class b RV tanks.

Even though we are almost seeing most amenities above, remember not all class B will have these. Also, if you are going for a class B Rv ranging at the lower spectrum of cost then do not even think about 70% of these amenities. It will give most basic sleeping area, a small kitchen area and driver’s cabin.

6. Class B Motorhomes have good mpg

This one is an advantage of class B RVs. Due to their size and lengths, RVs in general have low miles per gallon. However, class B motorhomes are much better when you compare with other RVs. On an average class B motorhomes have 16-22 mpg.

The high mpg is credited to their size and weight. They are compact and small, leading to increased efficiency. Also, the build is on van chassis giving them good engine that is more efficient.

Class C RVs give miles per gallon of less than 12 and same is the state of class A Rvs as well. Thus, if you want an RV that’s good on miles per gallons then class B is the right option.

Obviously, there are many factors that affect mpg though which includes below.

  • Age of your RV
  • Driving road conditions
  • Overall weight of the RV
  • Maintenance of the RV – like tire pressure, oiling, and other things.

7. Popular manufacturers of class B

RV is a huge market in US and thus you can see that the competition among manufacturers is pretty stiff. A lot of them make class B RVs and quite a many of them have a good reputation to make class B RVs. Lets check out some of the best companies that make class B RVs.

Airstream

Most people know airstream as the silvered colored trailers that they manufacture. They also design and build class B motorhomes that are quality and solid built. They are very old company and are around for more than 80 years. The RVs that they make last very long and that says a lot about their quality. The class-B brands include interstate lounge EXT, grand tour EXT.

Leisure Travel Vans

This too is a very good company that makes class B RVs. Some popular brands here include serenity, Unity, and wonder.

Roadtrek

They have numerous brands that are very popular for example E-treck, CS Adventurous, Zion SRT to name a few. A lot people buy roadtrek due to their popularity.

Advanced RV

Some of their brands include kinder, Stewie, and CruzMobile. They make RVs that can be customized. Their construction is particularly good. A lot of people buy their RVs.

Winnebago

Winnebago Revel is a top-level product. They have been into RVs for many years and have almost become synonym with RV. They are a company known to manufacturer top class RV’s.

8. They need proper maintenance

Just like any other RV, class B RVs too need maintenance and you can’t afford to be easy on it. Make sure you follow a proper schedule to check on all these things. Some of the things that you need to check and maintain include below.

  • Make sure tires are properly inflated. Check for different signs that will tell you about bad tires. Get them replaced if you feel the thread has worn out.
  • Change oil in the motorhome within time. Same goes with other fluids like antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid.
  • Check on wheel nuts and bolts. Make sure they are tight enough before starting the travel.
  • Check that the RV brakes are in well-working conditions.
  • Empty the holding and hot water tanks before travel as far as possible
  • Do a quick check on your exterior before starting the travel. Interior cleaning should be done every time you are done with your travel trip.
  • Do not store the RV without cleaning. Store RV battery seperately when in storage.
  • Interior maintenance will include plumbing, electricals.
  • Exterior maintenance will include checking on the roof, sealants, slide out repairs.
  • Last but not the least, take your RV to RV specialist for maintenance.

9. Insurance is a must for Class B RV

Do you need to insure a class B RV? Without a doubt, yes! More costly your RV more will be the cost of insurance.

With proper insurance you should be able to handle all the repair expenses. On an average class B motorhome can be insured at a cost of around $250 to $500.

Again, remember a brand-new class B RV will incur great amount for insuring as compared to an old or used one. Inusrance in RVs is critical as a small accident can lead to huge expenses.

10. They have high depreciation just like other RVs

Depreciation in all types of RVs is high. And class B RV is not an exception. This is a disadvantage not only in class B RV but in other RVs as well.

The moment you get the RV on the road it starts loosing its value. The main reason why they depreciate is because every year newer models keep hitting the roads. Manufacturers are keen on getting a newer models with improvements.

A class B RV depreciates around 30% in 3 years. Looses close to around 50% in 5 years and 62% in 10 years on an average. Within a year’s time it would have lost around 15-20% of its values.

So, does that make a bad deal for the brand new RVS? It depends on what you are looking for. What your needs are. If you want to settle with something that will provide value and come at a budget then go for a used Class B RV.

Renting a class B RV is another option in case you arent keen on owning one. There are lots of options out there. You can rent a RV on RV share, cruise america or outdoorsy.

11. Class B RV can be used in winter

Not all RVs are meant for winter usage. Specially if it’s snowing heavily then you need special arrangements to camp freely. A class B RV can be used in winter provided it’s designed for such use. Not all class B motorhomes are suited for snow or chilling cold.

Look for specific class B motrhomes that say so. Some of the best one out there for winter usage include below.

  • Winnebago Travato 59K 2019
  • Fleetwood IROK FSL 2020
  • Leisure Travel UNITY U24TB 2014 model

Getting a true four-season RV can be a challenge and can cost much more. Getting Arctic package is key for winter camping. Make sure with the dealer on what’s included in the arctic package.

Arctic package can include a series of things that make camping better in winter. It can include things like extra insulation, double panned windows, heated tank, and additional heated storage.

12. Class B Motorhomes are easier to drive

RVs in general, due to their length, weight, and overall dimensions are hard to drive. Specially, if you are a newbie then it may be too tough to maneuver them.

Class B motorhomes however are way easier to drive than other RVs. This is for the simple fact that they are compact and small.

So, if you are are looking for something that will go easier on the road then look nothing except class B RV.

Other RVs like travel trailer or fifth wheel need to be towed and that brings in their own challenges. Class A or Class C motorhomes due to their dimensions increase the difficulty in moving on the road. Taking turns, backing up is difficult with them.

Boondocking is also easier with class B. Going through narrow roads or muddy roads is easier with class B RV.

13. Parking on street is easier but storage will be needed

Class B RVs even though small will need proper space for storage. Parking them on streets in front of your home may work during normal weather but if its raining heavily or snowing then be sure to get them stored inside.

If you don’t have proper garage space then renting a storage space will be needed. RV Covers do work but it will be better to get them under shade. So, if you are planning to buy a brand-new class B motorhome then be sure you have proper arrangement for this.

It won’t be a great idea to keep you hundred thousand dollar RV parked in an open sky during harsh weather.

14. Class B RVs are great for solo or couple campers.

Dry camping or boondokcing is easier if you own a class B RV. Class B RVs are designed for solo campers or a couple looking for a great experience.

Class B RVs sleep 2 or 4 people or even 5 people but mostly focus on providing the best experience for 2 people.

Due to their length, class B RVs are welcomed in almost all RV parks. One can even park class B RV on a car parking slot. One can also do full time RVing in class B.

15. Options other than Class B RV

If you think a class B motorhome is not what you want then there are multiple options that you can try. There are many other options that you can explore which includes below.

Class A RV: A big 40-45 feet RV that includes almost everything that a home can have. They are luxury on road providing appliances like oven, washer dryer, big kitchen, and space luxury.

Class C RV: A little shorter than class A, they too can give every luxury. They are the shorter version of class A and can cost more than a thousand hundred dollars.

Travel trailer: These need to be towed behind a car or truck. They are less costly and will include appliances and amenities for good RVing experience.

Fifth wheel: These too need to be towed but you need a truck for this. A normal car will not do the job. They provide more luxury and are more capable than trailers.

Pop up camper or tent trailers: These are the most modest forms of RVs. You need a car or truck to tow them. They weigh very less and include most basic amenities needed for camping.

16. You may not need special license to drive class B motorhome

It totally depends on the state laws, which again depends on the length of the vehicle, whether being towed and weight. In most states you won’t need a special license to drive a class B RV since it will not exceed the lenght or the weight limits normally.

17. They can last long (upto 20 years or more)

Most motorhomes including class B can last 20 years or even more. It obviously depends on multiple factors like driving conditions, and maintenance to name a few.

18. Class B RVs will not include in-built generators

They will mostly not have in built generator due to their small size. However, costlier ones will have them included.

19. They do come with bathroom and toilet

Yes, they will have it but as already mentioned it will be a compact one.

20. Higher end models can include slideouts

More costly class B motorhomes even come with slideouts which helps a lot in increasing your overall space for camping.

21. You also get class B+ RVs

It is a class B with extra amenities and space resembling like a class C motorhome. Its built on bigger chassis similar to the one used for class C RV. They are built with better aerodynamics and use space above the cab for TV or other storage.

G. Yoganand

A RV enthusiast who spends countless hours researching and learning various things related to RV camping. He believes in spending time doing Outdoor activities.
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