A class A and class B motorhome are about as far away from each other as you can get. With a class A being the largest type of motorhome on the market and a class B being the smallest, there are a lot of differences between the two and each will appeal to different people.
With a class A motorhome, you can expect a large rig that can accommodate a family and is very spacious. A class B motorhome is not nearly as large as the class A is. A class B is a camper van that has a very limited living area. When compared to the larger type of class A motorhome, one would have to wonder why would anyone want to live in such a small space compared to the larger space.
This article will compare the two and point out the similarities and the differences of each. They have some things in common and one could possibly be on the fence over which type to purchase. I have gone through this myself and I looked at class A motorhomes for a little while during my search. I was intrigued by the large living area that they provided but it was never a serious option for me.
Some of these large motorhomes are so big that you won’t even feel like you are living a mobile lifestyle. They have all of the amenities and luxurious features that you would expect from a house. However, with all of these luxurious features, you will likely pay the price. They are among the most expensive motorhomes that you can purchase.
Let’s take a look at some of the main differences between these two types of motorhomes.
Main Differences Between Class A And Class B Motorhomes
- Size. The obvious difference is the size of the two. A class A is much larger than a class B motorhome.
- Capacity. A class A has larger capacities of freshwater and wastewater holding tanks.
- Cost. Class A’s will usually be more expensive although there are some Class B’s on the market that can reach high six-figure prices.
- Amenities. A Class A RV contains everything you need including large kitchens, king-sized beds, washers, dryers, large TVs, and other items that Class B RVs don’t have space for.
Class A Pros
They Are Larger
If you are looking for a large area to camp or travel in, look no further than a class A RV. These are made for those who want to have lots of breathing room. They are great for people that want to camp or travel with family as well. If you have children, you’ll appreciate the large living space that this type of motorhome can provide.
The convenience of having all of this large living space in a vehicle that can be driven around is amazing. The only problem with this is that it has to be driven. Driving a large motorhome like this can be very intimidating, especially the largest ones. With some of these measuring in at a length of over 40 feet, it takes a little more courage to get behind the wheel than it would with a smaller rig.
The size of these motorhomes can be a good thing if you need the space but it might be bad if you are scared to drive it.
It’s A True Home On Wheels
With all of the space mentioned above, these motorhomes offer a true home on wheels. This is not your standard camper that is meant for roughing it. Instead, this is more of a glamorous approach to living on the road or going camping. You can live in one of these without any problems and you will often find amenities such as fireplaces, large screen TVs, large kitchen areas, islands, recliners, and other large living space items that can be found in most homes.
You will not find glamorous items like these in a camper van. Instead, A camper van will provide you with the necessities in a comfortable way without the glamorous home feeling of a class A motorhome.
Lots Of Storage
To go along with all of the large living space, a class A RV also offers tons of storage space. With cabinets galore and other storage areas inside the living space, there are also storage areas on the exterior of the motorhome. This allows you to carry lots of items such as tools, tables, ladders, sports equipment, and other items that you might find useful out on the road.
One would expect a lot of storage with a vehicle this large and since they are great for families, storage is a necessity. A family will have a lot of use for storage areas and the class A certainly delivers. Most of these types of motorhomes have large exterior storage areas where you can store large or small items.
This is a convenience not afforded to the class B RV. With a class B, you are fairly limited in what you can take with you. Although some class B RVs do have lots of storage, it’s minimal when compared to the class A.
Leveling a class A motorhome can be a piece of cake. With most of these expensive RVs having automatic leveling systems, it can usually be done with the push of a button. Although some older models might have more of a manual approach needed for leveling, most are equipped with leveling systems that do it for you.
These are sometimes found in expensive class B motorhomes as well but not in the majority. With a class B, you might need to use leveling blocks and other approaches to make sure that the RV is level when you park. The class A makes it more convenient when parking in an area that isn’t perfectly level. Even when a spot looks level, it might not be perfectly level. A certain amount of leveling may be required and the class A will make this easy to accomplish.
If you expect to use lots of water and store a significant amount of gray or black wastewater, the class A will have larger capacities than what a van will. You can expect grey water tanks on a class A to be in the range of 60 to 100 gallons. This is a significant amount of greywater storage and can allow you to go for longer without dumping.
The fresh water tanks can be larger as well and may range in the amount of 70 to 100 gallons.
You wouldn’t be able to carry this much freshwater in a camper van and the gray water and black water tanks are not this large either. With the class A, there will likely be more people traveling in it and using the facilities so more capacities of this nature are necessary.
Class A Cons
More Difficult To Drive
As mentioned above, the class A is like a home on wheels but you have to drive this home around. This can be difficult to drive and can make the class B motorhome seem much more approachable. Parking a large motorhome like this can sometimes be a challenge. Although there are cameras often situated in hard to see areas, it can still be a scary process for the faint of heart.
It will take some getting used to and you may never really get used to driving something this large. It’s like driving a large bus around and you will have to be extra careful when compared to driving normal vehicles and especially smaller RVs like a class B.
When you are not using your motorhome, it will need to be stored somewhere. This may mean that it sits in your driveway or takes up some other space where it can be seen. These are large units and can be unsightly and in the way, if you intend to park them on your own property during the off-season.
Unless you have a large property or a special garage to park it in, you may need to find a different solution for storage. Whereas you might be able to park a camper van on your property quite easily, you might not have the space to be able to pull this off with the large class A motorhome.
Not only that, but you will also need to winterize it and make sure that it will make it through the freezing temperatures of the off-season. This will be a more involved and expensive process than it will in a smaller RV.
A class A RV can cost a significant amount of money. Some of these can be in the multiple six-figure ranges. Even a basic class A RV can be well over $100,000. These are often purchased to replace a home since people use them to travel with and live out of. However, for someone who is looking for an RV that will only be used for camping trips, this is a steep price to pay.
Of course, you can always find used motorhomes for much cheaper, but even still, you can expect to pay a high price to take ownership of one of these.
Poor Fuel Efficiency
You can expect to get about 8 to 12 miles per gallon when driving a large Class A motorhome. On top of that, you may get less if you are towing a vehicle. This is pretty poor efficiency and can make the high price of the RV even worse. These don’t get nearly as good of gas mileage as a van would get so a class B motorhome will be the much better choice if you are looking to get more miles to the gallon.
A Class A RV Might Not Fit In Some RV Parks
If you have a large class A, you may be limited in some ways as to where you can go. Some of the RV parks around the United States have limits on how long an RV can be. While most of these do accommodate larger class A RVs, some of the National Park Campgrounds do not allow RVs of this size.
You may find yourself in a situation where you do not have enough space to park or turn around. The large size of these rigs might end up being more trouble than it is worth. With a smaller sized RV, you will not have to worry about this.
On the other hand, there are some places where only class A motorhomes and larger sized motorhomes are allowed. Some exclusive RV parks do not allow smaller class B motorhomes.
Reasons You Might Choose A Class B RV
If you are researching the good and bad of both, here are a few reasons why a class B might be the better choice.
Smaller And More Mobile
Perhaps the best feature of the class B motorhome is its small size. This makes the RV very mobile and allows you to take it nearly anywhere. It’s as if you are driving a car around that happens to have a nice living area in the back. While not as glamorous as a class A, the convenience that it gives you when traveling is worth the reduction in size.
Easy To Drive
While a class A motorhome might be difficult for someone to drive, a class B motorhome is as simple as most passenger cars. These are small and do not require any specialized skill to drive. It’s simply a van and while some may be larger vans, they are nowhere near as large as what you would get with the class A RV. Driving one of these around is as simple as it gets with a motorhome.
Fits In A Standard Parking Spot
You won’t have to shimmy or fuss around too much with parking a class B motorhome. You can park one of these in pretty much any standard parking place which makes it much easier to manage. With larger RVs, you might be limited to where you can park while you are out on the road. Driving between RV parks can become a challenge when you need to pull over to get a bite to eat or go shopping.
When driving in a van, you can usually just pull up into almost any parking spot.
It’s Made To Take You More Places
The main thing about a camper van is that it is made to take you places that you couldn’t reach with larger RVs. When someone chooses to purchase a class B RV, this person is looking for adventure and wanting to hit the road without the worries that go along with large RVs. It’s the convenience of having a small home on wheels in a manageable sized vehicle that wins people over.
Once you take to the road in a van, you can go where you want and not have to worry about whether you will fit. You have your home on wheels and although it is not as spacious and nice as a class A RV, it is still a nice space that affords you lots of freedom.
Who Is A Class A Motorhome For?
A class A motorhome is perfect for families. It is also perfect for those who are used to having large spaces and prefer this over minimal spaces. Some people can’t imagine being in anything smaller than something like this. I know people that will only travel in a motorhome of this size or a large trailer such as a fifth wheel that also offers lots of living space.
Owning a class A RV can be a good option for someone who is retired or is living full-time in it. You will have all the space you need in a large RV like this. Another good fit for a class A motorhome is for those who want to rent one for family vacations. If you have a family that you want to take camping, you can rent a class A and use it for a small amount of time. This can make for a fun vacation and one that you will remember for a lifetime.
You can rent a Class A motorhome from places like Outdoorsy.com and RVShare.com.
Essentially, a large motorhome like this is for someone who prefers a lot of space and all of the comforts of home. It’s for the person who wants to see new sites and be in new places but also wants to sit in their recliner and watch their large screen TV.
The main similarities of these two types of RVs are that they are a living space that you can drive around. These both have the convenience of being a motor vehicle and allowing you to walk from the driving area to the living space without getting out of the vehicle.
They start to differ quite a bit once you begin talking about the details of each. A Class A RV is much larger and can be compared to a standard home. It really comes down to personal preference and the space that you need. If space is an important factor, there is no question about which one you should choose.
Both of these RVs are great options and serve different purposes for people who are looking for different experiences. I prefer the size of a class B because I am more focused on traveling places than fancy living spaces. As long as I have the conveniences I need and a nice place to eat and lay my head, I am fine with the small space.
I prefer convenience over such a large amount of living space. Others will prefer the opposite and that’s why there are options available on the market for both preferences.