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Shopping for an RV in a sea of information

Shopping for an RV

Congratulations! You made it. If you’ve been trying to research an RV, you’re probably a bit shellshocked by now. There’s a lot of info swirling around about who builds the best RV and a lot of it is contradictory. One blog loves this RV, another claims it’s the worst thing to hit the market in years. A list of the “Best RVs for 2020” on one website can feature many of the same models on an “RVs You Should Avoid” list on another site.

The internet is an amazing source of information, but it’s also a bit like the Wild West -anything goes. The majority of glowing reviews and “Best & Worst” lists are actually published by blogs and websites being paid by the RV manufacturer or their dealers to promote their own brand. Anyone with a computer can easily post a review or article that has no basis in reality, and they do -in droves. Due to the “anything goes” atmosphere of the World Wide Web, consumers today -like you- don’t suffer from a lack of information, they suffer from too much of it. But how to separate the legitimate from the misleading?

For every encouraging thing you read about the RV you like, you’ve probably noticed you can find another article that implies the opposite. How can this be? It can’t. What you’re experiencing are very biased reviews being paraded as non-biased fact. No longer do RV manufacturers have to work hard to build a high-quality and fairly priced RV in the hopes that their efforts will be rewarded with some good press coverage in a legitimate and respected publication.  Today, it’s infinitely easier -and cheaper- to pay a few “blogs for hire” to rave about them and bestow them phony awards with no basis in reality.

Take heart, though. Amongst the vast sea of misinformation there are still some proudly independent sources of legitimate and unbiased information. Here at we have been rating and reviewing the RVs (and their manufacturers) of North America for 20 years now. We began with a simple premise: to educate our readers about the world of RVs and enable them to navigate an industry known for predatory sales practices. We have never take any form of payment or privilege to promote one model over another. Our easy-to-read Comparison Guides have become the gold standard in the industry for non-biased and plain speaking reviews.

If we like a company, and are impressed with their build quality and customer service, we’ll tell you. On the other hand, if we find that a manufacturer is building shoddy RVs and provides abysmal support after the sale, we’ll tell you that, as well. As you can imagine, this makes us very popular with some manufacturers, less so with many others. Happily, as an independent review company, our success isn’t dependent on the moods of the RV industry. For 20 years we have had a single group to impress, our readers.

Our founder, Randall Eaton, felt there were enough sources of information out there that benefited the manufacturers, but very few that benefited the RV buyer. Beginning with a single book, The Travel Trailer & Fifth Wheel Comparison Guide, was launched and the first printing sold out in days. As did the second, third and fourth printings. Today, offers the full range of Comparison Guides (Travel Trailer & Fifth Wheel, Motorhome, Lightweight & Pop-Up Campers, and even Truck Campers). Additional “How To” guides soon followed, all at the request of readers:  How to Buy an RV & Save, The Top 100 RV Dealers, The Extended RV Warranty, and The Pre-Purchase Inspection Checklist & Tutorial.

Constantly evolving, our guides today are the end result of years of reader input. Not only does our database include thousands of RV owner reports, but we also frequently revise the contents of each book to provide the information today’s RV buyer wants to know. Many of the buying tips and tricks we include in each book came to us from past readers, and all have passed the test of time. We’ve received countless comments from our readers over the years saying that our guides saved them thousands of dollars on their purchase price. If that isn’t an example of a good return on investment, we don’t know what is.

A large majority (approaching 70%, according to some polls) of today’s RV owners feel they either overpaid for their RV or bought the wrong RV for their needs, or, both. A statistic made more startling when you consider that only 30% of automobile owners experience similar remorse.  Why is that? After many years researching the RV industry and writing thousands of RV reviews we’ve determined the disparity stems from a few key reasons:

  • Too many manufacturers employing unskilled labor, poor quality materials and outdated techniques. 
  • Almost all RVs look great on the surface. Only those who know how to look past the thin veneer of shiny paint, snazzy graphics, attractive decors and fabrics, can spot the quality -or lack of- that lurks underneath.
  • Predatory dealers preying on uninformed buyers in a largely unregulated industry -especially compared to the auto industry.
  • Industry-wide abysmal factory warranties with misleading claims and confusing text that rarely benefit the buyer. Worse, legitimate claims are often denied for the vaguest of reasons -“owner misuse or neglect” is a common catch-all, frequently employed on virtually brand new RVs.

Unfortunately, some of the blame has to rest with the buying public, too. If someone walks through a crime ridden neighborhood at night while waving a handful of cash, there’s a good chance they’re going to be relieved of their wad in short order. Obviously, the mugger is the true culprit here, but the victim is still guilty of exceedingly poor judgement. Too many RV buyers are too trusting for their own good. Just as they shouldn’t expect a local thug to advise them to quit waving their money about, they shouldn’t expect their local RV dealer to advise them not to buy a defect-riddled and overpriced RV. Buyer beware, indeed.

So how do you keep from finding yourself in this unhappy 70% and dealing with the buyer’s remorse that affects so many? The answer can be summed up in one word: Knowledge. The more you know, the wiser your decision making process -and the more you’ll save. It’s that simple.

Let’s say you have your eye on a certain Motorhome or Fifth Wheel. You love the layout and interior decor and you’re chomping at the bit to make it your own and hit the road. Sweetening the deal, the dealer tells you he can get you a 15% discount, too, if you move quick. Tempting, we know, but let’s add a little knowledge to this heady mix before we make any big decisions.

What if a little light reading from the relevant guide from revealed that 7 out of 10 current owners wouldn’t recommend this RV to their friends? Wouldn’t that give you pause? And what if you also read that the manufacturer is currently staggering its way toward bankruptcy after being hit with a multi-million dollar fine for failing to honor warranty claims? The RV dealer didn’t inform you of this for the same reason the mugger didn’t tell you to quit waving your money around. They both want what’s best for them: your money.

You also discover while reading our RV Comparison Guide that this model is known for defective slide-outs and leaking windows. And, adding insult to injury, you find that the average buyer gets a 23% discount on this RV -far more than the 15% your friendly salesperson offered you. Obviously, this is the type of knowledge that can keep you out of the 70% majority -the Land of Unhappy Campers- and chances are your dealer won’t be mentioning any of these points during your negotiations.

Now what if you were aware of another RV manufacturer that had won awards for Customer Satisfaction 4 out of the last 5 years and builds their RV on an industrial grade chassis with block foam insulation sealed in an all-welded frame? And supplies dual pane windows in lieu of cheap single panes? And what if they consistently scored a 5-Star rating by an independent and unbiased research firm? Do you think you’d be in the happy 30% of owners with a product from this company? And what if we told you this RV was selling for $4,000 less than the first one you considered with all the unhappy current owners? And what if we gave you a few simple tricks to save another $3,400 on top of that?

With a little knowledge you just avoided a costly mistake (and a trip the Land of Unhappy Campers), found a better RV -and saved $7,400. Not bad, huh? Not only has some useful knowledge saved you money and put you in a much better RV, but those that buy right the first time typically use their RV more frequently -and isn’t that the whole point of buying an RV?

The perks don’t end there, either. Down the road you’ll be delighted to find that your prudent purchase commands a much higher price on the re-sale market than your first choice, which may or may not be out of business by then.

We’ve helped thousands of our readers find and buy the best RV for them with scenarios just like this for over 15 years now. Our Testimonials page is filled with unsolicited comments from actual (and recent) customers who have reached out to us after reading our Comparison Guides and related products and packages.

We have one goal at To make sure our readers find themselves in the happy 30% of RV owners by supplying them with the information they need to make an informed decision. Having our unbiased RV Reviews at your fingertips will enable you to purchase with confidence and peace of mind. You’ll learn which RV manufacturers consistently rate highly in initial customer satisfaction and which RV companies are known for excellent customer service and build quality -as well as those that you may want to avoid. With our easy-to-read Comparison Guides you’ll find entire chapters devoted to the best and worst materials and construction techniques in use today, as well as lots of charts rating manufacturers against each other. Found an RV you really like? Find out how it compares to its peers in a variety of categories: Build Quality, Customer Satisfaction, Price, Road Manners, and Comfort. If your first choice RV holds its own in our charts and reviews, we’ll give you the info you need to inspect it top-to-bottom and negotiate the best price possible. If it doesn’t pass muster, you’ll find lots of comparables to consider in our charts and manufacturer articles.

Knowledge: The more you have, the more you save.

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