What’s the difference between classes of mobile homes?
There are three classes of mobile homes. If you are looking for a motorhome you will be interested in a Class A or Class C. If you are interested in a campervan you will be looking for a Class B.
The difference between a Campervan and a Motorhome is explained here: http://classicmotorhomeowner.com/whats-the-difference-between-a-campervan-and-a-motorhome/
But this blog looks at the three main classes of mobile homes.
Motorhomes come in a variety of classes that can be confusing at first glance. If you’re interested in buying a motorhome or are just curious about the topic, it pays off to know the difference between all the classes.
Utilises the chassis and the engine of the running gear and the rest is made by the motorhome manufacturer. The cab is integrated into the living space giving a cohesive feel.
These are the rockstars of the motorhome world. Usually the most expensive, and the largest (up to 40 feet in the US but around 25 feet in Europe), they boast a powerful motor capable not only of propelling themselves down the road but also of towing trailers behind them.
Class A motorhomes in the US offer slide outs. These are parts of the vehicle that can “slide out” when parked, offering a more spacious interior. When you are ready to hit the road, simply press a button to draw the slide in. The slides usually hold the kitchen, cabinets or a bedroom.
Slide outs are less common in Europe due to the weight this adds to the vehicle. But the European Class A motorhomes do have a level of luxury which to a very high standard.
Here are the overall Advantages and Disadvantages of Class A motorhomes:
- The cab is part of the motorhome allowing the seats to be used
- The windscreen is huge allowing good visibility
- With the cab being integrated you have more space
- A lot of models have a drop down bed above the cab
- Tend to be well insulated
- A luxurious way to travel
- The windscreen is huge and very expensive to replace
- Can feel wide on the road
- Can be difficult to navigate down narrow streets and park
- May need a second vehicle for exploration
- The engine can be difficult to work on, restricted access
- May only have one door for the whole motorhome
- Can be heavy on fuel
- Very expensive
Are basically converted vans. Usually referred to as campervansThey look like converted commercial vans and usually have a small kitchen and some may have a toilet.
Logically, you would assume that Class B vehicles are only slightly smaller than Class A’s, however that isn’t the case! Class B’s are the smallest motorhomes on the market consisting primarily of converted cargo vans.
These are the most nimble and manoeuvrable vehicles in the motorhome world but offer very cramped interiors. Most companies do an excellent job of packing all of the expected amenities into such a small space, but that doesn’t leave much free space left over.
A typical layout of a Class B will include a table and bench seat towards the back of the van that converts into a bed at night, a kitchen and bathroom near the middle of the vehicle, and storage locations scattered throughout. These are wildly different from Class A’s
Here are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Class B motorhomes:
- Relatively cheap to run compared to the other classes
- Nimble – they can fit almost anywhere eliminating the need for a second vehicle
- Flexible – some people use them as daily drivers
- Good for exploring smaller more difficult roads
- Cheaper to purchase than the class As and Cs
- Lack of space – If the weather is bad they are not as comfortable as the of other classes of motorhome
- Not as many facilities or comforts
- Not much storage so you really have to be careful about what you can carry
These are the middle ground between Class A and Class B motorhomes. While they are typically built on a van chassis, they can easily sleep a family of five or six. These motorhomes tend to have several sleeping areas; one in the back, one that is a converted dining area, and a third one that is over the cab of the vehicle.
This Class of motorhome offers almost as much as you would find in a Class A Motorhome but without the high price tag. In the case of Hymers, there is virtually no difference between the class A and C internal spec. They all come insulated, with a good heating system, fridge, toilet and many more luxuries. We were very close to buying a class C ourselves.
The popular opinion is that, in general, these tend not to look as nice as Class A’s, but I would say they are the classic shape of a motorhome. If I was asked to draw a motorhome, the Class C would be the one that I draw.
Class C advantages and disadvantages.
- Very affordable
- Generally, have most of the luxuries you would find in a Class A motorhome
- Plenty of space
- Good insulation
- Plenty of sizes and layouts to choose from
- Can be some sealing problems between the cab and living area
- Poor fuel consumption
- Windscreen smaller than class A (this would be an advantage if it’s broken)
The final area of mobile homes that is not really included in the class system would be towables.
In the UK and Europe, we have the caravan. These have been around for a good while and come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.
They are usually a good bit cheaper as they don’t have an engine.
In the States there are also;
– Fifth Wheel. These are pulled behind a truck with a special hookup in the bed. Fifth Wheels tend to handle better than other towables and can be extremely spacious.
– Travel Trailer (close to a caravan but usually larger). Like all towables, these are pulled behind the tow vehicle. Travel trailers connect to a hitch on the underside of the vehicle. These tend to be cheaper than fifth wheels, but also offer large interiors.
– Toy Hauler. Toy Haulers are a travel trailer or fifth wheel with a large storage space in the back for ATVs, Snowmobiles, or any other gear you’d like to bring with you.
– Pop-Ups (Fold Downs). These are very lightweight trailers that consist both of a solid base (plastic, metal, etc.) and a cloth portion that pops up, similar to a tent.
How do you work out which class to choose
For us, this was a very difficult decision. We took an absolute age trying to decide which motorhome to go for. As we were buying a secondhand motorhome we had a definite decision on the make and running gear we wanted. This only left us with a particular model so we had narrowed it down to a Hymer B644 which is an A class (the B in the number is just to confuse things) and a 524 which was a C class. We wanted these particular models for a few reasons
This has a large double bed in the rear that can be converted to a lounge during the day giving us plenty of space to spread out, especially if the weather is really bad and we can’t get out much.
It also has another 2 doubles which are more than we required, 4 berths were all we really required with a bit of space.
The only real problem with this model is the length, its a big bus at just over 6m (6m or about 18ft will be a toy in the US but the roads in the UK are much smaller than the roads in the US, so much so that 6m is quite big)
The 524 is a bit shorter than the B644 which would make it easier to drive. The 524 had the layout we wanted, it had 4 berths with bunk beds along one side which means that the beds can be set up permanently, ideal for long-term travel, but there were a few problems. These layouts are extremely rare, I have seen a few but not many. They are also a C class and we prefer the shape and the extra space in the A class.
In the end, we went for the 644 as the 524 just never came up for us to buy and we were keen to get moving. So when a 644 came up with the rear lounge, also quite rare, we went for it and bought the A class B644.
That’s when the fun started, information for another post!
If you are looking for tips choosing your motorhome have a look here;