Motorhome VS 5th Wheel – Who Wins?

A motorhome vs 5th wheel comparison is the heavyweight title match between RVs. These are the big boys of the RV world. And usually those who are making this comparison want lots of space and conveniences.

There is a real fascination with RV minimalism these days. And a lot of RVers turn to a quality travel trailer like Airstream or a Class B RV to fit that need. But when you start to compare fifth wheels and motorhomes, you are probably looking for much more. And these larger style RVs can deliver in spades.

So which of these type of RVs is best for you? That’s hard to say unless you look over the advantages of each one and compare it with your needs and wants. And what you need in an RV may be completely different from what most others desire. So make the choice that is best for you and your circumstances alone. If you do, you can’t go wrong!

So here is my list of the best advantages of each in this motorhome vs 5th wheel showdown.

Reasons Why You Should Buy A Motorhome

Motorhome vs 5th wheel - a motorhome
A diesel pusher motorhome that compares well with a 5th wheel

When we are talking about motorhomes, we could be talking about any RV that has a motor for driving built into it. But in this article, when we say motorhome, we are talking about a Class A RV. Simply because that is the size of motorized RV that best compares with 5th wheels.

So here are some of the best reasons why buying a Class A motorhome is a good idea:

  • Probably first on my list is that everything is done for you. You don’t have to match a trailer with a tow vehicle and make sure that all of the weight considerations match. As long as you can verify that there is plenty of cargo storage in the motorhome, the rest of the weight matters are handled already.
  • Motorhomes are super convenient for traveling. Passengers can even use the bathroom while going down the highway. My wife loves this feature!
  • Motorhomes usually have more storage capabilities. At least the larger diesel pushers do.
  • Set-up and tear-down at campgrounds is a breeze in a motorhome. If the weather is bad when you arrive, just put the jacks down and fire up the generator. Then wait until better weather comes to hook up your water, electric and sewer. In the meantime, have a convenient cocktail!
  • Speaking of generators, the ones that come standard in a Class A motorhome are usually perfectly mated to your rig. This is a big advantage over installing one after you buy a 5th wheel RV.
  • Campground maneuverability is usually better in a motorhome too. It saves having to know how to back up a towed vehicle. Especially if you aren’t used to that sort of maneuvering.
  • All the living space in a motorhome is usually on the same floor. Rarely do you encounter any stairs in a Class A.
  • Your driving-around-town vehicle that you tow can be much smaller and fuel efficient. 5th wheel tow vehicles have to be big and bulky. And they aren’t very fuel efficient for everyday driving either.
  • If a dangerous situation arises around your motorhome, just fire up the RV and drive off. There is no need to go outside and expose yourself and others to the danger. This is not a scenario that happens very often, but if it does, you may appreciate this kind of security.
  • The expansive view while driving down the highway in a Class A motorhome is a joy to behold. If it is a diesel pusher, it will be quiet and cool too since the engine is in the back. And there is plenty of moving-around room for occasional stretches.

Reasons Why You Should Buy A 5th Wheel

Motorhome vs 5th wheel - a fifth wheel
A 5th wheel that compares favorably with a large motorhome

So that list of Class A motorhome advantages sounds pretty good, huh? Well, there are plenty of 5th wheel benefits too. And here they are:

  • First on the list is that 5th wheels usually have more room and living space than motorhomes. This is because the slides on a fifth wheel are deeper and make the RV wider when they are deployed.
  • The ceilings are also higher in a 5th wheel. This gives the feeling of even more roominess. In fact, the living room in a 5th wheel often feels like you are living in an apartment. If space is important to you, this is huge!
  • The initial purchase price of a fifth wheel is much lower than a comparably sized motorhome. This is true even if you factor in the tow vehicle as well. A well-appointed new 5th wheel along with a solid tow vehicle will cost about $100,000 – $150,000. A similarly well-appointed new motorhome will often cost $175,000 – $300,000.
  • If you ever have to get your engine repaired, you can still live in your 5th wheel while it is being done. A motorhome will require you to stay elsewhere until the repair is finished. Sometimes the repair facility can make arrangements for you to stay in your motorhome on-site. But don’t count on it.
  • Repairing the diesel engine in your tow vehicle will usually be easier to arrange and cost less. A motorhome’s diesel engine will usually have to be repaired by a facility that specializes in those commercial engines. Whereas most garages and dealerships can handle the repairs on a Chevy, Ford or Dodge diesel truck.
  • Whoever does the cooking will probably appreciate having a kitchen island in a 5th wheel. These are rarely found in motorhomes.
  • There is a great variety in the floor plans that you can get with a 5th wheel. With all of that space to play with, the RV designers can really get their creative juices flowing.
  • If you want to change your RV living area, you can just sell the 5th wheel. You don’t have to sell your tow vehicle as well. But if you sell a motorhome, the whole package goes together and you lose all the mechanical maintenance you have done on it.
  • Highway safety is better with a 5th wheel too since the tow vehicle will most likely have airbags. Most motorhomes do not have these safety features built-in.

Reasons For Either A 5th Wheel Or Motorhome

There are several areas where the comparison of motorhome vs 5th wheel is just simply a tie too. In other words, the advantages and disadvantages are about the same for both. Let’s take a look at some of these now:

  • The cost of vehicle insurance for motorhomes is greater than a fifth wheel to be sure. But you have to insure two vehicles with a 5th wheel (including the tow vehicle) so it’s basically a wash.
  • Fuel costs for both motorhomes and fifth wheels are similar too. Both use big engines that haul lots of weight. So they both burn a lot of fuel.
  • They both depreciate at about the same rate. Of course, the cost of a motorhome is usually higher. So you will lose more money overall in depreciation with a motorhome.

Results Of A Motorhome VS 5th Wheel Comparison

So which one is best for you? Well, it all depends on which advantages mean the most to you in your RV travels.

I recommend taking plenty of time to visit RV dealers and sample both motorhomes and 5th wheels in person. Look at lots of them. See which features appeal to you the most. Ask lots of questions. Imagine yourself in both types of these RVs. Usually you will find that a clear winner becomes apparent after a while of doing this kind of on-site research. That’s what we did and we are happy with our purchase.

I wish you well in your RV search and I hope that these tips and ideas have been helpful. Please subscribe to my monthly newsletter to get more in-depth RV comparisons and information like this. I promise to treat your email inbox with the utmost respect. No spamming here!

Do you have more ideas that can added to this discussion on motorhomes vs 5th wheels? Then please comment below and tell us which features of these rigs are important to you!

As always, have safe and happy travels my friends!

RV Fuel Station Discount Card Saves $$$$

Whenever I find something that is really helpful for my fellow RVers, I try to get the word out quickly. And this is one of those times that I can help you save lots of money on RV diesel fuel. A relatively new RV fuel station discount card is available for RV owners driving diesel engines. And the word is that the savings on diesel fuel is really dramatic.

Marc and Julie Bennet are one of the top RV bloggers and YouTubers in this industry. I have been following them for some time because they are genuinely helpful and glad to share their RV knowledge with everyone. And they just made a recent blog post and YouTube video on this new RV fuel discount card program. I asked them if I could pass on the savings to my blog readers and they said that would be great.

The Bennets wrote one of the best books about the RV lifestyle and we got it as soon as it was released. I loved it so much that I gave it a 5 star review on Amazon. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about RVing. There is something here for everyone from newbies to experienced RV owners. Just click on the image below to check it out.

Living the RV Life: Your Ultimate Guide to Life on the Road

So here is the information you need on this diesel fuel discount program.

Fuel Discount Program Details

The company who runs this RV fuel station discount program is TSD Logistics, a trucking company whose main office is in Texarkana, TX. It’s no secret that over-the-road truckers often get special discounts on fuel prices. Especially at certain national fuel station chains. TSD Logistics wants to lower its fuel costs but doesn’t want to add more trucks to its fleet to do so.

So they decided to open their fuel discount program to include RVers. This allows the company to reap the rewards of buying fuel in higher volume. But they are able to keep their costs the same. It’s pretty ingenious really. And as RV owners we all benefit as well. It’s a win-win for everyone. The only limitation is the discount is only on diesel fuel. If your RV burns regular gas, this program will not work for you.

How To Use The RV Fuel Station Discount Card

To join the program you need to apply to TSD Logistics for their card. Usually it arrives in about 3 – 4 weeks, although there are ways to get it sooner. With the card in hand, download their EFS card app and pair it with your card. Now you can search for fuel stations near you that accept the TSD discount program on your phone or tablet. When you find the best price, go to that station and pull into the truck lane section for fuel.

Once there, insert the card into the fuel pump and fill your tank. When you are done, the whole transaction will appear on your EFS card app. The next day the amount of the transaction will be deducted from your bank account. To cover the costs associated with running a program of this size, TSD Logistics will take a small fee. The fee is 10% of the total discount you received. So if you received a .60 per gallon discount, they will take .06 per gallon for program maintenance. That still leaves you with a savings of .54 per gallon!

The average savings per gallon according to TSD Logistics is about .40 – .60 per gallon. But Marc and Julie Bennett experienced some savings as high as .85 per gallon. This is not chump change. Especially if you have a large motorhome and go through lots of diesel fuel. There are other RV fuel discount programs out there, but not much with this kind of savings. And it is usable in over 16,000 locations throughout the US!

What Should You Do?

If you haven’t heard of Marc and Julie Bennett, my advice is to visit their page and sign up for their newsletter. They are always helping out the RV community in one way or another. And you will benefit by following them online too. Here is the link to their webpage where you can get even more details about this RV fuel station card discount program.

From there, I think you would be wise to sign up for the program and start saving on diesel fuel costs. I have already signed up myself and apparently a backlog of applications is coming in to TSD Logistics quickly. So don’t delay! Here is the link to the TSD Logistics sign-up page. Just make sure that you credit “RVLove” as the referrer. This makes sure that the Bennets get the credit for introducing you to this program.

The Bennets uploaded a YouTube video that explains the major details about this program. You can view it at the link below:

I really hope that you will take advantage of this way to save on RV fuel costs. I am not affiliated with this program in any way. And I don’t profit by it in any way either if you sign up. It’s just a great deal for all RVers who use diesel fuel.

Please sign up for my newsletter and comment below on your RV fuel expense experiences. As always, have safe and happy travels my friends.

The Truth About RV Washer Dryer Combo Units

RV washer and dryer combo machines are usually found in larger rigs like Class A motorhomes. This is because they take up a certain amount of space that smaller rigs just can’t provide. But for many RV owners, giving up the space for a washer and dryer combo is well worth the trade-off.

Everybody has to do laundry at some point. And if you don’t have a built in washer and dryer installed in your RV, your choices are limited. In fact, you will most likely have to wash your clothes at either a campground facility or a nearby laundromat. And there are drawbacks for both of these choices.

Either way, you will probably have to sit with your clothes while they are being washed and dried. Whereas having the washer/dryer in your RV allows you to do other things while the laundry is being done. Also, the machines in campgrounds and laundromats can be dirty at times and even greasy from the previous users. Then there is the expense involved in using those machines that can also add up over time.

Pros And Cons Of RV Washer/Dryers

The main benefit of an RV washer and dryer combo unit is their convenience of use. You lose no travel time to bring your clothes anywhere else to do laundry. You also don’t lose the time babysitting your clothes while they are being done. In fact, the combo units use the same drum to both wash and dry, so you don’t even have to transfer clothes from washer to dryer. And these machines do a very good job and are known to be reliable.

The cons of RV washer/dryer combos is mainly related to their size. Because they are designed to take up as little space as possible, you can’t do large loads of laundry. This may be an irritation at first if you are used to doing laundry in larger washers at home. But as you learn to use the machine correctly, you simply adjust to the smaller load size. And you plan on doing laundry more often to make up for the smaller loads.

You will also notice that during the spin cycle, the vibration from the washer will shake the RV a little bit. Again, this is a minor issue for most but some find it disconcerting when compared to a home washer. Also, you will have to get used to the machine washing clothes in a different way. When we first got our Splendide washer, my wife thought it wasn’t working properly. This is because the drum would just roll back and forth for a while. Then it would roll over a few times, then go back to the back and forth motion. After a call to the manufacturer assured us that it was designed to work that way, we let it do its job. And sure enough, our laundry came out just fine.

How To Use A Washer/Dryer Combo

As mentioned above, you will need to adjust the size of your laundry loads and do them more often. Although the combo unit can both wash and dry your clothes automatically, you may choose to air dry your laundry. Some RVers put a portable drying rack in their shower for this purpose. This allows you to wash more loads while air drying them as they are done with the wash cycle.

Also, you will need to use a laundry detergent that is made for these washers. It will be labeled “HE” (High Efficiency) on the detergent bottle. Tide makes a great detergent for these units, but most other laundry brands have their version as well. If you use regular laundry detergent, it will produce too many suds and overflow. So be sure to use the HE version of your favorite laundry detergent.

You also can use a mild fabric softener like Downy but no dryer sheets can be used in these units. And every few loads you will want to empty out the lint trap that is usually located at the bottom of the unit.

What Is The Best RV Washer And Dryer?

This is the Splendide washer/dryer in our bedroom:

Our Splendide RV washer and dryer combo
Our Splendide washer/dryer combo

For many RV owners, the best RV washer/dryer combo is made by Splendide. However, Splendide makes both a ventless and a vented model. And there is a big difference in customer satisfaction between those two models. By far, the preference of most RV owners is for the vented machine. On Amazon the vented units have a 4.5 star rating and the ventless model only 3.5 stars. So my recommendation is definitely for the vented model.

If your RV did not come with a washer/dryer combo installed, make sure that is has been plumbed for it first. And be sure that your RV electrical service can handle the additional load one of these machines can place on it. Then have it installed by a professional who is familiar with this kind of installation. Otherwise, you can have a mess on your hands that can be costly to fix.

Here is the Splendide washer and dryer combo that I recommend for your consideration:

I hope that this discussion of washer/dryer combo units for RVs has been helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions that I didn’t answer. You can include them in the comments below. As always, have safe and happy travels my friends!