You decided you want to buy, or trade-in, a motorhome. Congrats! Deciding on a motorized RV is a first step in the RV buying process that will narrow your choices when you hit the dealer showroom. Once you’ve made that decision, your choices have narrowed to three types of RVs: Class A, Class B, or Class C.
Many RV shoppers go back and forth debating Class A vs. Class C. This is a common fork in the road and we’re here to help. Let’s take a look at what both of these motorhomes have in common. Then, let’s take a closer look at where they differ—it’s the differences that will help you confidently decide which type is right for you.
Class A vs. Class C: What They Have in Common
A major benefit of choosing a motorized RV is having access to your bathroom, closet, and snacks while driving down the road. This convenience is shared by both Class A and Class C RVs.
“Wet Baths” found in some RVs (meaning your shower and toilet spaces are one and the same) are sometimes a concern for RV shoppers. If you’re looking to avoid a “wet bath,” you’re in luck—both Class A and Class C RVs almost always have full baths (where there is a separate shower for bathing).
When it comes to sleeping capacity, both Class A and Class C RVs almost always sleep 3 or more people. This makes both Class A and Class C RVs ideal for couple and family travel.
Both Class As and Class Cs afford you the convenience of needing only one unit to operate the RV, unlike towable RVs where you need a truck in addition to your RV.
Class A vs. Class C: Where They Differ
When we’re talking Class A vs. Class C, Class As cannot be beaten on living space. Ranging from 26 to 40 feet in length, Class A RVs are practically apartments on wheels. In a Class A you can expect more counter space in your kitchen galley than most Class Cs. Residential-size fridges are also common in Class As.
The bedroom is another area where differences occur. Many Class As will have queen and king walk around beds. Class Cs can have a walk-around queen and king beds, but usually at a greater compromise in terms of the other living spaces versus Class As. To mitigate that, some Class Cs feature king and queen beds that are multipurpose, meaning you will have to convert them every night. Some Class Cs also have floor plans that make use of a corner bed, which is most often closer to the size of a full-size bed.
Many Class As will have both sofas and dining areas while Class Cs may have just one of the two. If they have both, there is often some converting involved. Perhaps the sofa converts to a dining area, or maybe the bed converts into a sofa.
Class As will offer the amplest living space. But, Class C RVs with slides can feel just as roomy as some Class As. Without slides pushed out, Class As are 8 feet wide. Class Cs will range from 7.5 feet to 8 feet wide, depending on the model.
Class As are also king when it comes to storage, typically with larger pantries and more closets. Class Cs, which range in size from 21 to 35 feet, will vary in how much space they offer. Shorter class Cs will have less space but may have under-bed storage as well as drawers and overhead cabinets.
Class As have ample exterior storage, while shorter Class Cs will have minimal exterior storage. Larger Class Cs will have a moderate amount of exterior storage for camp chairs and gear.
Considering Class A vs. Class C, the Class As clearly win when it comes to both living and storage space, but this all comes at a compromise.
When it comes to travel flexibility, the Class C shines. Their shorter length makes them well-suited to multiple types of RV travel. A Class C can feel right at home traveling through urban streets, as well as the open road. Many National Parks and US Forest Service campgrounds will have length restrictions that can be limiting for Class A owners.
Your preferred style of camping is the most important thing to consider. If you’re looking to nearly always stay in private campgrounds and mostly lounge inside or travel into city centers in a tow car, you’ll really get the most out of all the living space inside Class As. However, if you’re looking to adventure a bit more and stay in campgrounds with more of an “in-nature” feel, you’ll have a much easier time of it in a Class C. Boondocking, or freecamping, where you drive down dirt roads and stay on public lands, is also a bit easier in a Class C. These things are by no means impossible in a Class A, but the Class C has the advantage due to its smaller size.
The same can be said of travel days. It’s tougher to park a Class A vs. Class C. The smaller motorhome allows you to easily enjoy a sit-down meal at a restaurant or coffee shop on a travel day.
Drivability and Towing
Class C RVs will be easier to drive—often feeling like a van or small moving truck. The larger Class As are more similar to driving a bus. If you are looking to switch drivers, you will want to make sure that both drivers are comfortable driving whichever Class you choose.
For almost all Class As you will want a toad, or tow vehicle, to drive around in so you don’t have to drive the RV once you’ve reached a destination. Adding a tow vehicle will increase the number of things you have to maintain, and it adds some complexity to driving on travel days (the toad will add to your overall length).
Many people also opt for a toad when traveling in a Class C, but it is possible to travel and sightsee in just your Class C. This makes driving and maneuvering on the road much easier. Unless you are looking at a 26 foot Class A, your best option, if you want to reduce driving complexity is a Class C.
While the Class A excels in terms of space, Class Cs win when it comes to flexibility and drivability. You will be more nimble, and find more camping options in a Class C than a Class A. Traveling in a Class A vs. a Class C will usually necessitate more planning and scheduling of your route. Class Cs will have an easier time with last-minute and walk-up options for stays.
Fuel Economy and Price
Lastly, there’s the financial side of things. There are Class As for every budget, but their prices often do climb higher than Class Cs. Class Cs tend to have better fuel economy with their lighter weight and smaller motors. Their better fuel economy also gives them an edge over Class As in the finance department. Both Class As and Class Cs have gas and diesel options.
Finding the Right RV
Take your time while you’re considering Class A. vs Class C. Overall, Class As will have more space inside, while Class Cs will allow you to upgrade your outdoor space. Class Cs fit in more National Park campgrounds and can get to some wild camping spots some Class As can’t. Travel pace will come into play as well. Class Cs, which are often a “mini” version of a Class A, can be much more convenient for faster-paced travel. Those that travel at a slow pace, may be very happy with a larger living space and a tow vehicle.
While the Class A vs. Class C debate will be ongoing, there’s a perfect choice for you, and we’re here to help. Consult with a Personal RV Shopper for assistance in finding the best RV for your needs. Whether it’s a used motorhome or used travel trailer, a small towable like a Happier Camper, or the Class A and Class C motorhomes discussed above, there’s an RV for everyone.