What RV Can I Buy With My Budget?

Jul 12, 2021 | Rigs

What RV Can I Buy With My Budget?

Once you’ve determined your RV budget, it’s time for the fun part: RV shopping. Here’s what you can expect to find in terms of rig quality, size, condition, and type based on your budget.

By Kerri Cox

Photo: EQRoy / Shutterstock.com

RVs can range in price from less than $1,000 to more than $100,000, so it’s important to use your budget as a starting point when shopping. While you can find a rig in just about any price range, the trick is to adjust your expectations to match the amount of money you’re comfortable spending. 

An Overview of the RV Shopping Process

RV trailer on display at RV show
Photo: Kerri Cox

Once you have a price range, you can go from RV dreaming to ownership by following these steps:

  1. Research online to see what’s available in the used and new RV markets, sold both privately and by dealerships. 
  2. Tour different rigs at RV shows or on dealership lots to hone in on the manufacturers, floorplans, styles, and amenities you desire. 
  3. Shopping and research will also give you a sense of the age, shape, and features available in your price point, so you can begin searching for the RV that fits both your dreams and your budget.
  4. Once you find a potential RV, negotiate the selling price and secure your financing, if you’re not paying cash. Use the NADA Guide to investigate prices for used RVs.
  5. While your budget likely includes the trailer or motorhome itself, don’t forget that you’ll also need funds for sales tax, tow equipment, insurance, camping supplies, and more. Keep in mind you can make some money of this money back by renting out your RV.
  6. If you’ve purchased an RV from a private seller, you may take possession upon payment. Buying a new RV from a dealership may involve a few days, weeks, or months of waiting for your rig to arrive (if special ordering). 

RV Price Factors

Vintage Airstreams sitting on lot
Photo: Kerri Cox

These factors influence the price of an RV:

  • Type: Motorhomes cost more than trailers since they have an engine and other mechanical components.
  • Age: New rigs generally cost more than used rigs, but you’ll find a wide range of price points for both new and used.
  • Condition: When looking at used rigs, you’ll find a range of conditions—from those that are in poor shape to those that have only been used once or twice. Take care to investigate the true condition if buying “as is.” 
  • Manufacturer: Like automobiles, you’ll find some manufacturers garner a higher upfront price than others. Each RV manufacturer has different lines, ranging from lightweight to luxury, with higher-end materials and features put into the luxury models. 
  • Amenities: Each RV is outfitted with standard equipment and optional additions, which affect the price. 

Now, let’s look at how these factors interact at several price points:

What Kind of RV Can You Buy for $1,000?

Believe it or not, you can buy an RV for $1,000. Mainly, you’ll find used pop-ups that are 15 to 20 years old. You may also find vintage trailers in need of a total overhaul. These rigs likely require ingenuity and elbow grease to transform into clean, cozy camping spaces. Investing less money up front often means you’ll spend more time and money on renovations.

What Kind of RV Can You Buy for $5,000?

Exterior of a renovated vintage camper
Photo: Kerri Cox

At this price point, you’ll find a selection of good-condition pop-ups and older travel trailers. If you shop during the offseason, you may find good deals on nicer rigs, as well. 

A $5,000 pop-up camper may be 5 to 10 years old and need some reconditioning to be ready for the road. You may find outdated, but fully functional, interiors that require some TLC. 

A $5,000 travel trailer is probably more than 10 years old and will likely need significant repairs. You may find water damage, nonworking appliances, bald tires, and more. However, with a spirited DIY effort, you can create a great space.

What Kind of RV Can You Buy for $10,000?

At the $10,000 price point, you may find some brand-new pop-ups, teardrop trailers, and traditional travel trailers. In the used category, you’ll find many solid trailers in good condition. This is a good price range for those who don’t want to do repairs or DIY projects, though larger, well-appointed used trailers may be in rougher shape than smaller, lightweight trailers.

What kind of trailer can you buy for $10,000? Here are some examples on the market:

  • KZ Sportsmen Classic 100RK: Features an interior queen-sized bed and exterior kitchen.
  • A used Jayco Jay Sport pop-up: Though Jayco no longer manufactures new pop-ups, the used market is hot due to their reputation for quality.

Related Why I Chose My Rig: A Look at 3 Used RVs Under $6,000

What Kind of RV Can You Buy for $25,000?

Row of trailers on RV lot
Photo: Kerri Cox

For $25,000, you will be able to take your pick of brand-new, lightweight travel trailers. In the used market, you may find older fifth wheels and motorhomes, alongside a wide range of trailers in excellent condition.

Here are some examples of the types of new trailers you could buy in the $25,000 price range:

Related Rig Roundup: Lightweight Trailers That You Can (Probably) Tow with Your Current Vehicle

What Kind of RV Can You Buy for $50,000?

Interior view of an RV kitchen with modern finishes
Photo: Kerri Cox

At this price point, you can buy almost any brand-new travel trailer, including high-end luxury models. You can also break into the new market for fifth wheels or find used fifth wheels and motorhomes in great condition. 

Here are some examples of new rigs you can buy for around $50,000:

What Kind of RV Can You Buy for $100,000?

For $100,000, the options for your RV purchase are almost limitless. You can buy most new travel trailers or fifth wheels. Plus, you’ll find many new Class A, B, and C motorhomes at this price point. In the used market, you may find high-end Class A luxury motorcoaches, from manufacturers such as Tiffin and Entegra, with a few years of wear and tear on them.

Here are some examples of new rigs you can buy for around $100,000:

  • Thor Axis RUV 24.1: A small Class A with a large panoramic front window, convertible bed (can be king-sized or a pair of twins), and drop-down bunk.
  • CrossRoads Redwood RW3401RL: A luxury fifth wheel with modern styling and plush amenities.

Now that you know what kinds of RVs you might find within your budget, it’s time to get out there and search for your dream rig. If you can’t find exactly what you want, you may need to adjust your expectations or your budget. With a little information and perseverance, you can find the right rig for you.

Calculating the Cost of an RV

Disclaimer: Togo RV is part of a joint venture, partially owned by Thor Industries, Inc., of which Airstream, CrossRoads RV, Entegra, Highland Ridge RV, Jayco, Keystone RV Company, KZ Recreational Vehicles, Thor Motorcoach, Tiffin, and Venture RV are subsidiaries.

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Kerri Cox

Kerri is a teacher and freelance writer. The decision to buy a travel trailer (christened Birdy) in 2015 changed her life for the better. You can follow her journeys at Travels with Birdy. She lives in Missouri with her husband and teenage sons.