Last updated on January 25th, 2024 at 10:53 am
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It can be overwhelming to know what RV works best for you, especially if you’re on the hunt for some of the best-built RVs of 2023. How can you learn what to look for in a well-built rig, and how can you choose something that works well for you and your family?
In this article, we’ll go over some of the things worth considering in a well-built RV, including materials and some insider tips you may not be aware of yet! We’ll also give you some of the best-built RV brands available, in case you’re seeking an option for your next camping adventure.
Buying an RV that’s well built is a fantastic and achievable goal, especially with this article in mind. Let’s get started and go over some of the information you should know about the best-built RVs of 2023. Only interested in seeing some of the brands we recommend under the category of well-built rigs? Click here to jump ahead and check out our 8 top picks.
What Makes An RV Well-Built?
Identifying a well-built RV is half the battle when it comes to purchasing one. It can be tough to work out which brands are reliable, and the materials worth looking for to determine a well-built RV. There are a number of things worth paying attention to in terms of what makes an RV durable and reliable, let’s explore some now.
There’s a reason long-time RV owners stick with the same brand, year after year. Brand loyalty is something to pay particular attention to if you are searching for a well-built RV, as many old pros will not change from their favorite brands unless there’s an even better option out there.
Some RVs are simply built better than others. Some manufacturers pay special attention to the build quality of their rigs and study them in detail to ensure they are constructed to the highest level possible. The materials used in RV production can make or break the quality of an RV, so taking notice of the construction materials is always wise.
Resale value and brand loyalty go hand-in-hand, often influencing each other. If you notice many used RVs of a particular brand have a higher price point than you expect, it’s likely it’s a well-built RV, made to last. Resale value is also particularly important to pay attention to if you plan on selling your well-built RV in the future.
Layouts And Convenience
You may think having a convenient layout with plenty of storage is something that happens in every RV make and model. However, convenience goes alongside quality when it comes to RVs. It essentially means the RV manufacturer is paying attention and knows exactly what the average RVer needs, both in a convenient layout and also in an RV that can withstand years of travel and camping.
Typically, high-end appliances and hardware mean an RV is built better. Most RV manufacturers don’t put high-quality hardware, finishes, and appliances inside an RV that’s poorly built. If it’s manufactured with cheap materials, it’s likely not as well built as RVs featuring high-end appliances and other quality items.
What To Consider In A Best Built RV?
Brand loyalty and paying attention to resale value are just a couple of things to consider when looking to purchase a well-built RV. But what else should you keep an eye out for? Let’s go over what to consider in a well-built RV brand now!
Choosing an RV built with high-quality materials is a good place to start. You may not know exactly what these materials are when you begin your RV journey, but we are here to tell you that there are some things to keep an eye out for as you shop. Some of the best materials to pay attention to include:
There’s a reason that you notice aluminum RVs, particularly travel trailers, on the road frequently. Not only is aluminum lightweight and easy to work with, but it’s also durable and easy to maintain.
So long as your RV is built well in the beginning, you should have no trouble maintaining an aluminum RV. In fact, most RVs made from aluminum choose to utilize it throughout the rig. This includes the roof, support beams, walls, and more.
While some RV owners either love or hate this material, Azdel is something to pay attention to while you shop for a well-built RV. Originally manufactured in 2006, Azdel is a lightweight and high-quality building material used in new RVs. While it may be more expensive, Azdel resists moisture and mold, doesn’t smell like most other RV materials, and maintains a lightweight construction.
This is ideal for keeping your RV under your tow vehicle’s maximum weight rating. It’s an extremely popular material used in RVs, but it isn’t a miracle product that will save your RV if it springs a leak!
Many RV owners recognize the appeal of a fiberglass RV, given the fact that it’s more affordable than the average aluminum rig. Fiberglass is also beneficial because most RV manufacturers utilize it in a single continuous piece, which essentially means your RV is less likely to leak and has fewer seams to maintain.
This is a huge plus to the average RVer, especially when you consider how much maintenance you will need to perform on your rig to help make it last as long as possible! Additionally, fiberglass can be extremely lightweight, which means your RV won’t be too heavy.
Having vinyl floors, walls, and ceilings can be a sign of quality materials, and vinyl is definitely something you should look out for as you shop. This material is flexible, easy to maintain, water and wear-resistant. It moves as your rig moves and is more likely to last for the lifetime of your RV compared to other materials such as carpet or wood paneling.
Speaking of wood, you may think having any sort of wood inside of your RV is a bad thing. However, there are many different types of wood used in RV construction, and some are more durable than others. Many high-end and best-built RVs include wood as part of the construction of their floors, walls, or ceilings. Plus, high-end wooden cabinetry is always a bonus!
While it’s heavier than aluminum, many long-time RVers prefer steel construction when it comes to the chassis and ceiling construction of their rigs. This is because steel is inherently stronger and longer-lasting, more capable of withstanding both the elements and any adverse road conditions. Again, it may not be present in the construction of lighter-weight rigs, but steel is definitely a building material to consider.
While the answer may surprise you, having convenient or practical features on board your RV is a sign of quality. There are many different amenities that are a sign of a well-built RV because convenient features are a sign that your RV manufacturer understands what it’s like to live and camp inside an RV.
You want your RV’s manufacturer to fully understand what it’s like to enjoy RV camping to the fullest. There are no well-built RVs that don’t also have a number of features to make your time inside the rig easier! For example, having plenty of storage, including a basement or pass-through underneath your RV is a good sign that it’s well-built.
Additionally, you may notice your well-built RV has a number of convenience electronic upgrades, such as tank monitoring systems and automated services. Even having a convenient layout is a good sign that you have one of the best built RVs on the market today! Trusting an RV manufacturer that doesn’t quite understand what it’s like to live inside an RV isn’t what you should be looking for in a well-built camper.
Layout And Storage Options
Speaking of a convenient layout, finding a well-built RV with plenty of storage and a layout that works best for you and your family is sometimes easier said than done. However, well-built RVs typically understand what it is you’re looking for in a rig, both inside and out!
Some of the best RV manufacturers in the business understand the desire for multiple unique layouts and storage options that suit many suit many people. One of the best things about choosing from among some of the best built RV brands out there today is that you can truly find exactly what you’re looking for.
There are layouts with two bathrooms, a media room, or even two master bedrooms. If you’re interested in having enough storage for all of your additional outdoor gear, this is a common enough feature to find on high-quality RVs.
Weights And Measures
You may be wondering what the overall measurements and weights of your rig mean in terms of its build quality. When it comes to the overall weight of your RV, some old timers would argue that the heavier the RV, the better made it is. While many modern-day RV customers are seeking lightweight travel trailers and fifth wheels, other people are not interested in lightness.
Purchasing an RV that’s well-built typically means it’s made from materials that are particularly heavy, or otherwise unable to be lightened in any way. Some of these materials include steel and various plywood products, though aluminum is highly popular in a number of well-built RVs. If you aren’t too concerned about the overall sturdiness of your RV, finding one with aluminum or Azdel will help keep your rig lightweight as well as capable of working for years to come.
Some would also argue the larger the RV, the more luxurious and better built it is. However, as a full-timer living in a 19-foot travel trailer, I feel as if the smaller the rig, the less there is to maintain. There are a number of RV brands on our list of the best built RVs that only manufacture rigs that are under 30 feet, if not under 25 feet!
Not to say all large RVs are poorly made, but the number of materials needed to build a sturdy and long-lasting structure can get expensive. In addition, distributing weight evenly across the entire length of a 40 to 50-foot RV can be difficult, so this is something to consider if you want your well-built RV to last a lifetime.
Speaking of purchasing an RV to last a lifetime, longevity is definitely something to consider as you shop. While maintenance and upkeep are key to keeping your RV happy, you may want to take some time and observe just how many RV brands remain on the road today. If you continually notice one particular brand still has old RV models on the road and at campgrounds in our modern day, it may be a good sign that it is a well-built RV.
For example, many people still drive or tow their old Airstream RVs, despite them being decades old! My 19 ft travel trailer is from 1976, and, even though it needed a decent amount of repair, the bones continue to operate just as they did all the way back then. Because what’s the point in buying a best built RV if it doesn’t last you for generations to come?
Just as longevity helps you feel better in your RV purchase, you may want to consider the overall resale value of your rig, should the time come. Resale value is key in determining whether or not you’ve bought something worth selling, and it can be a good indicator as to what brands are popular and reliable.
Even if you don’t plan on ever selling whatever RV you end up purchasing, looking at used RV brands for sale is a good idea. Not only will this help you understand just how much money you are likely to get for your RV should you ever happen to sell it, but it will also give you some insights as to what brands are capable of continuing down the road, year after year, owner after owner.
Paying attention to resale value also may help you feel better about the initial purchase price of your RV. If you find that, in a couple of years, RVing isn’t for you, knowing you purchased something of quality in the first place can make selling it even easier.
Ease Of Maintenance
Any long-time RVer can tell you that maintenance is what makes or breaks a well-built RV. No matter how sturdy and reliable your RV is, it needs constant maintenance in order to extend its overall life, just like any other vehicle. Most of our best built RV brands on this list offer a number of fantastic warranty options as well as ease of maintenance in terms of the RV systems on board your rig.
Many RV manufacturers try to make your RV systems easy to access and maintain so your well-built RV remains that way! For big jobs, you should be able to send your RV to a repair shop and have it covered under warranty, at least for the first couple of years. After that point, it’s vital to keep in mind everything you need to maintain your rig, but most RV manufacturers make these steps clear and easy to encourage you to take care of your motor!
One of the most important things to keep in mind as you shop for some of the best built RVs on the market today is the fact they will likely not be very budget-friendly. While there are always exceptions to the rule, most well-built RV brands charge more for their products to make up for the quality materials they use.
Depending on the type of RV you’re looking for, the overall cost may be higher than you were expecting. However, this price is valid for a number of reasons, when you consider the materials used, the warranties offered, and the longevity possible in a well-built rig!
8 Best Built RVs Of 2023
Ready to learn about some of the best built RVs available? Here are eight of our top picks, including the types of RVs they make and what you can expect from them. Let’s get started!
Best Overall: Airstream Interstate 19X
- Interior Height: 6′ 2″
- MSRP: $199,940
- Exterior Length: 19′ 5″
- Exterior Height: 9′ 9″
There’s a reason why Airstreams are so popular, and it isn’t just for their aluminum aesthetic. Airstream travel trailers have been on the market since the 1960s, but the company has ventured into the world of RVs too, with the Airstream Interstate 19X being a fine example of one of the best-built rigs in 2023. Built on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 4×4 chassis as standard, the Interstate 19X is a luxury Class B RV able to handle any terrain or destination.
I’ve always been a huge fan of Airstream. They create diverse RVs that are the perfect mix of luxury and practicality, and it’s no secret that Airstreams are good-looking rigs too. There’s no point in a Class B RV being attractive if it doesn’t pack a punch inside, and that’s one of the reasons the Interstate is a top-rated RV this year.
With a towing capacity of up to 5,000 lbs, and an engine warranty of 5 years/100,000 miles, Airstream reassures customers that this rig is capable of towing additional toys, and will stand the test of time doing so. For cold-weather travel, the 14,300 BTU Truma Combi furnace is a game-changer, and the Truma Combi hot water heater ensures warm water even when snowflakes are falling outside.
Spending time in nature is one of my favorite things to do, and I don’t want to shy away from the trees even if cold weather hits. Therefore, having heated fresh and gray water tanks gives me peace of mind that I won’t wake up to frozen water in the morning! RVing throughout the year means tackling hot water days too, and in the Interstate 19X, this isn’t an issue thanks to the AC unit which keeps things cool and mellow.
Optimizing power in summer is key to staying topped up, and this is possible with the 250W solar power system that comes standard on this Class B. I can easily monitor the electrical system with the touch screen energy management system so I can see how much power is coming in, and how much is being used by appliances.
This is a modern, sleek Class B RV that’s growing in popularity with beginner RVers and pros who are looking for a rig capable of all-season travel and weather conditions. The price tag is high, but that’s generally the case with an Airstream rig – what an investment to make!
Best Fifth Wheel: Grand Design RV Reflection
- Interior Height: 7′
- MSRP: $78,154
- Exterior Length: 32′ 10″ – 41′ 7″
- Exterior Height: 12′ 3″ – 12′ 8″
The Grand Design Reflection is one of the best builds of the year, from a brand that’s known for its fifth wheels. Grand Design trailers are among some of the best in the business. Not only are all of their fifth wheels uniquely designed and built for numerous travelers, but they are also well-built and durable.
While Grand Design only originated in 2012, this RV company is a true favorite for anyone shopping for a fifth wheel. While their prices are on the higher side, they truly offer some of the best fifth wheels on the market and advocate their products and quality construction. The Reflection is just one example of a quality Grand Design trailer, and it’s no surprise it’s a popular choice for many.
There are a staggering 9 floorplans to opt for with this fifth wheel, and each layout is creative and diverse in what it brings to the table. Across many of the floorplans are luxury features such as an entertainment center and fireplace, a spacious kitchen with an island, walk-around beds, tri-fold sofas, and laminated aluminum walls to keep everything safe and secure.
A huge bonus of this fifth-wheel is the unobstructed Pass Thru storage area which utilizes the space, creating an area ideal for additional kit and equipment. This keeps the flow within the living space and ensures nothing takes up more space than it should. I like the variety of lengths available with the Reflection, as a 41′ trailer may be too tricky to tow for some, but a 32′ long fifth wheel might be a little less daunting!
Grand Design is recognized as a leading brand of trailers, and the Reflection fits into this category easily. Small touches like the walk-on roof decking and 80% tint safety glass windows signify that the company listens and understands the needs and wants of RVers.
Most Budget Friendly: Winnebago Spirit
- Interior Height: 6′ 10″
- MSRP: $139,912
- Exterior Length: 24′ 5″ – 32′ 9″
- Exterior Height: 10′ 11″ – 11′
Winnebago makes models of all different types of RVs, including motorhomes and travel trailers, and they also promise to their customers quality products and a household name. The Winnebago Spirit is one of the brand’s top rigs of this year, and it’s easy to see why. This Class C RV is budget-friendly, packed full of features, and has attractive interior design options too.
The Spirit is a rig fit for any kind of RVer or group of RVers such as a small family. It’s spacious, available in 6 different floorplans, and boasts impressive standard features such as a 1,000W inverter, powered awning, and a rearview monitoring system. Premium high-gloss fiberglass skin ensures this Winnebago motor stays in the best condition for the longest time possible, but if there are any hiccups along the way, I’m supported by Winnebago’s impressive warranties.
If you’re ever on the fence about purchasing a Winnebago RV, they have a unique rental opportunity so it’s possible to take one of their models for a spin or camping trip so you can get a full picture of what a Winnebago RV has to offer. If you’ve always wanted to try RV living but haven’t been able to find an accessible RV, Winnebago may be the right brand for you!
Best Travel Trailer: Oliver Travel Trailers Legacy Elite
- Interior Height: 6′ 1″
- MSRP: $66,000
- Exterior Length: 18′ 5″
- Exterior Height: 9′ 2″
While Oliver Travel Trailers began in the early 2000s, there’s no reason to question that their RVs are built to last a lifetime. This is what they advertise, constantly strive for, and have successfully achieved with the Oliver Travel Trailers Legacy Elite. The company’s travel trailers are unique as they are constructed from one solid fiberglass piece which substantially increases the trailer’s durability.
Oliver Travel Trailers are known for not being the cheapest trailer brand out there, and the Legacy Elite is no exception, with prices starting from a whopping $66k. The Legacy Elite is, however, a luxury, compact trailer, with a quality construction and high-end finish in every corner. The company typically specializes in manufacturing trailers on the smaller side, but they understand exactly what travelers need. In particular, the conveniences full-timers often look for!
The Legacy Elite is a perfect match for a variety of camping conditions, with the plumbing, holding tanks, and drain pipes enclosed with heat to prevent them from freezing. Partnered with this is the EZ winterizing system, making winter prep that much simpler. The outside wash station is also a game-changer for winter weather as muddy paws or dirty boots can be washed off, keeping the interior of the trailer clean and mess-free.
It’s hard to believe that such a small trailer can offer so much, but the features of the Legacy Elite just keep coming. Under 20′ long, this trailer is one of the best compact camper options of the year and keeps travelers happy with conveniences such as a full-size spare tire fit with an aluminum wheel rim, a high-efficiency AC unit with a wall-mounted thermostat, and a power awning with LED lights for enjoying late night summer evenings.
Best Truck Camper: Lance Camper 1062
- Interior Height: 6′ 5″
- MSRP: $84,033
- Exterior Length: 20′
- Exterior Height: 9′
Who says you have to tow or drive your RV in order to have a good time? While Lance makes travel trailers, they are well known for their truck camper models, built for set up on the bed of a pickup truck. The Lance Camper 1062 is a favored layout for many, with a simplistic design and durability expected from a Lance trailer. The company claims to manufacture America’s most popular truck campers, and they’ve been making quality rigs since the 1960s.
The Lance Camper 1062 is one of 9 floorplans and boasts over 4′ of floor width in the interior, which is an impressive amount for a compact truck camper. This width allows for an abundance of space inside for walking around and completing standard daily tasks. The company utilizes the addition of slide-outs to maximize space efficiently, but for those who prefer not to have slides on a camper, there are layouts without them.
I’m drawn to the incredible number of standard features with Lance campers, and on the 1062 model, this includes full-view tinted opening thermopane windows which help increase the airflow, keeping the compact space light and airy. For some modernity, there’s a Bluetooth audio system and a four-season comfort technology package for controlling things in a convenient and easy way.
Just like all of the other brands on this list, a Lance camper or travel trailer may cost more than you expect. However, given the high-quality materials involved and the detail the company chooses to undergo in order to create a quality product, you won’t be disappointed in a Lance purchase!
Most Options: Forest River Cherokee Arctic Wolf
- Interior Height: 6′ 3″
- MSRP: $68,574
- Exterior Length: 29′ 4″ – 44′ 3″
- Exterior Height: 13′ 2″
If Lance and Oliver haven’t sounded like ideal options for best-build RVs for 2023, then it’s always possible to fall back on a mainstay in the RV industry, known as Forest River. Forest River offers countless RV options across every type of make and model, including fifth wheels, motorhomes, and travel trailers, with the Forest River Arctic Wolf being a top-rated and award-winning option.
Founded in the late 1990s, Forest River was started with the concept in mind of building a better RV for the typical outdoor enthusiasts. Not only are their RVs fairly priced for what they offer, but the company considers construction as of high importance, something that’s clear with the Arctic Wolf fifth wheel.
The sheer volume of options from Forest River is outstanding and allows travelers to explore various layouts and find the RV that’s the best match for personal needs. Within the Cherokee Arctic Wolf are plentiful features for comfortable camping, such as king or queen-size beds, ample storage throughout, a spacious bathroom with skylight, a deluxe tri-fold sofa, and various options to upgrade the trailer further.
As a full-timer, the Elemental Protection Package is something I wouldn’t hesitate to opt for. An armored underbelly would create an additional barrier from the elements, keeping the underside of the rig in the best condition for as long as possible. In addition to this, is a 50AMP electrical hook-up service, central AC unit, upgraded laminated exterior walls, and more to get the trailer in top condition to face any and all weather situations.
Forest River is a huge company, with many other brand names under its company umbrella. Because of this, many people question Forest River’s overall quality and some believe they may have stretched their quality too thin in some respects. I highly recommend reading our full review of the Forest River brand here, to get more of a detailed overview of the company and the rigs they offer.
Best Class C RV: Leisure Travel Vans Wonder
- Interior Height: 6′ 5″
- MSRP: $176,960
- Exterior Length: 24′ 9″
- Exterior Height: 9′ 11.5″
In the business for longer than 50 years, Leisure Travel Vans is a great choice for those seeking a reliable Class B or Class C RV. These compact campers are not only beautiful, but they are innovative too, but the Leisure Travel Vans Wonder is a Class C RV that’s hit the camping world with a storm. The brand manufactures some of the best built RVs on the market and they choose to do everything in-house to keep quality as high as possible.
There are a few different layouts with the Wonder, and each has a slightly different design for sleeping 2-4 people comfortably. This Class C RV is a stunning example of a luxury rig that also boasts an abundance of practicalities. The contoured sidewalls, flex roof, and aerodynamic front and rear fiberglass caps make this rig attractive, and the interior follows suit.
The interior design is bright and sleek, and natural light enters through the windows and bounces around the RV, making everything look warm and inviting when the sun shines. Leisure Travel Vans are utilized every inch of space, constructing neat storage options, and a pull-out pantry for stocking up on dried goods for longer off-grid trips.
Lithium batteries don’t come standard, but having the option to upgrade to a highly efficient electrical system is perfect for spending more time relaxing outside, and less time stressing about power consumption. The Wonder is a Class C RV ideal for beginners, couples, and even small families depending on the layout. It’s a versatile rig able to tick every box as a luxury rig that doesn’t miss the mark with aesthetics or functions alike.
While they currently only offer two different makes and models, these are some of the most stunning campervans I’ve ever seen. With light wood paneling and a number of different upholstery options, you will feel like you are in a stunning and luxurious RV, both inside and out.
Best Class A RV: Newmar King Aire
- Interior Height: 7′
- MSRP: $1,615,360
- Exterior Length: 44′ 11″
- Exterior Height: 13′ 4″
Having been in the business for quite some now, Newmar is a fantastic luxury RV manufacturer, building some of the best Class A RVs and Super C RVs in the RVing world. While their rigs are far from being budget-friendly, they are some of the most beautiful and best-built rigs available. The Newmar King Aire is a stunning example of one of Newmar’s large RVs, and the company has worked to produce a Class A that’s durable, capable, and overall, a fantastic rig to drive on the open road.
Built on a 605BHP Cummis X15 diesel engine, the King Aire is a Class A that’s a breeze to drive, and even better to enjoy with friends and family. Each wagon is equipped with a cargo liner, 3/8” floor decking, 1 1/4” bead foam, and galvanized sheeting to prevent any parts of the rig from distorting over time. Standard exterior features include hydraulic leveling jacks, a passive entry system, mud flaps, a protective rear tow guard, and more!
In terms of off-grid and boondocking features, the King Aire meets plenty of requirements, however, the option of adding four 100W solar panels on the roof would make keeping powered up far easier. I love the exterior convenience station as it means any messy tasks such as dog baths, or rising wetsuits are kept to the outside of the rig.
Newmar has thought of every last detail in the King Aire, such as the exterior wash station having both cold and hot water, and a soap and towel dispenser! It’s this attention to detail that gives Newmar its luxury name and ensures customers are never disappointed post-purchase.
Now you have an overview of what to look for in the best-built RVs of 2023, and our top-rated brands, you’ll hopefully be feeling confident to make a long-lasting, reliable RV purchase! This is an exciting time and you’ll no doubt have a list of RVs you want to check out. If you’re on a budget, considering used RVs is never a bad idea, and you may be able to grab a quality rig for a fraction of the MSRP!