Choosing Your RV: Class A vs. Class C Motorhomes 11814

You decided you want to buy 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 space 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

Class A vs. Class C - Class A Motorhome

Living Space

When we’re talking Class A vs. Class C, Class As cannot be beat 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 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 most ample 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.

Storage

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.

Flexibility

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.

Class A vs. Class C Rvs
At times, a Class C will be able to reach places in nature that Class As cannot. A Class C can be easier to “adventure” in.

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

Class A vs. Class C RVs - Class C Motorhome

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.

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.

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Nadia Bajuelo Contributor
Nadia hit the road full-time in an RV with her husband, Jon, and their 2 dogs. She dreams of traveling the world, creating content that inspires, and hugging a koala bear. She’s been an educator and a marketer for a Fortune 500 company. These days, she works as a content creator and marketing strategist from the road. She writes for various blogs and magazines, also documenting her adventures with Jon at their blog RoamingRemodelers. Until she finds that koala to hug, she’s happy boondocking, visiting indie bookstores along the way, and drinking as much tea as possible.
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12 Comments

  1. Great tips. We have a 25 foot Class C Diesel on the Mercedes Benz chassis. Been contemplating an upgrade to Cass A but your article helped us decide to keep our smaller version as we anticipate hitting many National Parks in the coming years. Thanks for the info.

  2. We have a super C its the best of both worlds! 37ft and three slides check out Jayco super C before deciding we have had both…love storage room

    1. Hi there. I’m considering a super C to tow my boat. It’s my understanding that most super Cs can tow 10,000 pounds. Have you used yours in this capacity?

  3. We have traveled all over the country in a class A. We now have a 31 ft class C. Our C feels roomier. We have more than enough storage. It is easy to drive. Looking for a small toad to pull.

    1. Get it while you can. Take out a longer loan up to 20 years with a very low monthly payment. Don’t wait till you retire. Something might happen to your health or you might feel old by then. My wife and I were 40 years old when we bought our first motorhome. Two year old Class C at 23 feet with only 6000 miles on it. We did a 15 year loan with a $215.00 per month payment. We have been out west twice. One north trip and one south trip. Been to Florida and main and everywhere in between. At 58 my wife had a stroke. We are very glade we did all we did when we could We just bought another Class C at 30′ and we are hopping to do it all over the US again. I’ll be the only driver but neither of us are working now so we can take our time and stop whenever she needs a break from traveling or I need to take a break from driving.

  4. When you are comparing a class C to a Class A make sure the length of each one is the same. They make long class C’s and they make short class A’s. Our 30′ class C has a queen size bed in the back, bunk beds mid ship and a queen size bed over cab. It also has a dinette and a couch. Both flip down into beds. It also has a full bath with separate toilet and shower. The kitchen is a corner shape with large counter space in the corner for a toaster over, and coffee maker. On the side the counter has a flip up counter add on for more working space when needed. They both come in gas or diesel. If you are on the road more I think the diesel might be a better choice. If you are parked more than driving the gas might be the better choice. Being parked also relates to when not in use in storage or in your driveway. The class C is a normal van with a camper on the back. That means it comes with better and more safety features like air bags, crumple zones, etc. Class C’s can be worked on at most car dealerships for maintenance like tune up’s, oil changes, etc. Even tires, alignments, breaks can be done it the car dealer works on small truck also. Class a’s usually require a camper repair dealer or a truck repair place and the cost is much more. Class C’s give you two more doors so you won’t have to climb through the camper to get in and out after sitting there for a long time while traveling. Also two extra emergency doors if and when ever needed. Escape Windows are very high to drop out of and are a little hard to get to sometimes. Something we thought about when looking at any camper A or C.

    1. A few more things to add . . .
      There is only the two of us that will be using this camper. The bed over cab will be for storage of bigger things that take up to much room in storage compartments like, Recliner chairs, screen in room, outside carpet, etc. The top bunk bed will be removed and the lower bunk will be kept as a table and benches. With only one hand working from a stroke my wife started sewing again. Yes, one handed. The bunk dinette will have her sewing machine there all the time. Strapped in so it won’t move while traveling. We don’t have to move it to eat at the regular dinette table. We had a solar panel installed to keep battery charged for the nights we boondock and don’t want to run the generator all night. Heat pads were installed on all tanks. This way we can winter camp when we want to on occasion now and then. We also camp very early in the spring and late in the fall as long as the roads are clear of ice and snow. We added a spare tire mounted on a wheel. No, I’m not going to change my own tire if it goes flat. I’ll have road service do all that stuff. The reason you have a spare tire is saving time and money. Say you have a flat, no spare tire / wheel, but you have road service. For them to come out and change your tire, it takes about 2 hours less time or longer using your spare tire. If they have to find, go get and still come out to where you are will take a lot of extra time. You don’t want to be sitting on the side of the busy freeway any longer than you have to be, right? Road service will pay for the changing of the flat tire, but you pay for the tire and wheel and extra miles it took them to go get the tire and wheel then again the extra miles to bring them farther than the repair truck office. I hope that made sense to you. Sorry a little confusing to explain. If you bought your own spare tire ahead of time, say you paid only $350.00 for both tire, wheel and a mount on your RV or trailer. The road service guy will go to the nearest tire place that has the right tire and wheel. They don’t care how much it is. They are charging you that cost. Some road service places might charge extra for that tire and wheel and also a delivery charge to get it to you. Now that tire and wheel might cost you more around twice as much or even more. My suggestion is to shop around and get a spare tire and wheel on your RV or trailer now. Save all that time and extra money for your vacation and traveling time. Get a spare tire.

  5. When you are looking to purchase a Class A or a Class C look at the dash for the latest data and gauges.

    I just purchased a new 2019 Class C last November. I never paid much attention to the Ford cab and front end. I liked the lay out of the camper box on the back of the Ford van front end.

    Now driving the 2019 motor home I’m bothered by the 1970’s Ford van cab layout front end. There is no DATA anything. No miles till gas tank is empty. No MPG getting as you drive. No air temperature outside. No Auto headlights on or off. The cruse control varies 5 MPH plus like back in the 1970’s also. No CD player in the radio. We run CD’s when the radio signal is out of range or the channels are not the music we like to listen to while traveling cross country.

    I blame this out dated design on the RV manufacturers and the RV dealers.
    Why do they even except this 1970 design to put their camper box on.

    I would pay a lot more for the motorhome if it had all the latest tech and DATA systems in the dash.

    Keep this in mind when shopping to purchase a Class A or Class C motor home.
    Watch out for the Ford 1970 design and lack of updated technology.

    Don’t just look at the camper box design.
    Look at the stuff in the cab. Is it updated or not.

    1. Hey Wayne,

      Definitely a good point. You should look at all aspects of the RV to ensure it’s up to your standards in all areas. It’s easy to get excited about one specific part of the RV, but you’ll definitely want to do a close look at the cab. Good tip.

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