Best 5th Wheels For Full-Time Living – 2021 Buyer’s Guide

| Last Updated: January 5, 2021

RV Expertise is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Being constantly on the road and exploring the world filled with adventures is very exciting. However, buying the right vehicle which will accompany you through it might be daunting if you’re new to RV travel.

A 5th wheel can be a great companion for when you’re on the road as it is comfortable, durable, convenient, and most of all, it has all the features to make you feel at home. 

This post takes you through the complete buyer’s guide to buy the best 5th wheels for full-time living. If you want to learn more, keep on reading!

Our Top Picks for 5th Wheels For Full Time Living

  • Large sleeping spaces
  • Massage theatre seating
  • Secure baggage storage
View Latest Price →
  • Durable, strong chassis
  • Strong frame
  • High-density foam
View Latest Price →
  • Best for the Money
  • UC treated decals
  • 80% tinted windows
View Latest Price →

Comparison of the Best 5th Wheels for Full-Time Living

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Large electric-tilt king bed with storage under the bed
  • Comfortable theatre seating with great features included
  • Dual lock baggage doors in basement for better security
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Strong off-road chassis for improved durability
  • One-piece thick wall aluminum frame construction
  • Block foam insulation for improved high-density protection
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best for the Money
  • Decals are UV and weather treated to withstand the elements
  • Tinted windows for better privacy
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best Luxury Full Time 5th Wheel
  • Strong and durable cabinets with different finish options
  • WiFi Router, 2x HD Tv and more entertainment equipment to choose from
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Hidden TV storage can be easily lifted
  • Hitch assist lights included for improved safety
  • Durable underbelly armor made from ABS panels
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best Fifth Wheel Toy Hauler for Full Time Living
  • Onepiece strong fiberglass shower with slide door
  • Large kitchen pantry and many appliances included
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews

What Makes a 5th Wheel Great for Full-Time Living?

Some of you may wonder why a 5th wheel is a good option for full time living in the first place. Well, there are certain qualities that make it great for full time living. These include:

More Living Space

One of the best reasons why a 5th wheel is great for full time living is how spacious it is. In comparison to other motorhomes and tow-behinds, a 5th wheel offers more space, making it a more comfortable home on wheels. Furthermore, it has higher ceilings and includes more pop-outs than other RVs to optimize space and floor plan.

Coachmen Chapparal (Source)

Better Towing

To get around after reaching your location or make quick detours, you can simply detach your truck from your 5th wheel. This is highly appreciated as there are instances where you won’t be able to bring your 5th wheel along. Furthermore, 5th wheels tend to be more stable as they have the kingpin and hitch in the center. This prevents sway due to wind or speed. 

Pricing and Access

Another excellent reason why 5th wheels make great full-time living homes is that they are cost-efficient. When compared to motorhomes, they prove to be more affordable and overall provide a better value. Plus, due to their size and design, they can easily access parks and campgrounds of smaller size; therefore, they are easy to park. 

What Size Fifth Wheel for Full-Time Living?

Size is a crucial factor to consider when you’re looking to invest in a 5th wheel. It includes both the length and the weight capacity of the vehicle. Yes, more length does equate to greater living space; however, it also means a heavier vehicle, which will require greater towing capacity. Thus, it’s a give and take situation. 

Don’t go after the longest length; instead, look for one which works for you and offers living space according to your requirements. Generally, a length ranging from 32 to 36 feet will work. As far as the weight is concerned, make sure that your truck’s capacity isn’t maxed out as that would cause damage. Subtract about 2000 lbs from your vehicle’s towing capacity and use that number as the weight limit. 

How to Choose a Fifth Wheel for Full-Time Living  

Certain factors and features need to be looked out for when buying a 5th wheel for full-time living. These ensure the unit you buy is worthwhile. Let’s take a look at some of these features:

Sleeping Capacity

Consider the number of people staying in the vehicle and make sure that it is compatible with the sleeping capacity. The unit should be spacious enough to comfortably host the number of people that are going to be staying in it.

KZ Durango Gold

Floorplan

Look for a unit with a floor plan that optimizes space according to your needs. If you are someone who hosts a lot of guests, then a rear living or entertainment center will be right for you. Similarly, look into the pros and cons of every floor plan, compare them to your needs, and invest in the most suitable one. 

Additional Features

Try to get the best deal out of your investment and look into the standard as well as additional features. Additional features include an outdoor kitchen, theater seating, solar prep, back and side camera setup, etc. 

Quick Take - The Best 5th Wheels for Full-Time Living

Before you go any further, here are our top picks for the best 5th wheels for full-time living: 


  1. KZ Durango Gold
  2. Northwood Arctic Fox 29-5T
  3. Coachmen Chapparal

Review of the Best 5th Wheels for Full-Time Living

There are several models available in the market, which makes the process of buying a decent 5th wheel even harder. To simplify it a bit for you, we have compiled and reviewed some of the best 5th wheels for full time living out there in the market. Let’s take a look at them:

Best Overall:
KZ Durango Gold

Pros

  • Carries a limited two-year warranty
  • Equipped with walk-in closet and washer/dryer prep
  • Offers 160 CU FT motion-lit and fully finished basement storage
  • Features 70’’x 80’’ walkaround electric tilt king bed with under-bed storage 
  • Theater seating has heating, massage, power recline/decline, USB plug, etc

Cons

  • Consumers find that the furnace is really noisy
  • Buyers also complain of the roof leaking after the rain

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers are largely happy about investing in this wonderful unit. Consumers expressed how impressed they are with the well-designed and spacious floorplans, which make their dream of having a comfortable motorhome come true. Some do find that the furnace is pretty noisy; however, that is capable of being overlooked in front of such an impressive design.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This unit is a blend of all the standard features that one looks for in a home and some additional ones that make it stand out. It has eight different floor plans to choose from. It comes with residential furniture and some must-have features like a chef’s kitchen, residential shower with glass doors and built-in seat, multiple slide-out rooms, etc. 

It offers a limited two-year warranty and is completely approved for full-time living. It offers upgrades like a residential-sized refrigerator, off-grid solar panel, etc. 

Bottom Line

This is an incredibly balanced unit with all the standard features one looks for in a home plus some exciting additional ones that make it worthy of investing in. These include a walk-in closet, a second awning, etc. 

Pros

  • Fitted with smoke, LPG, and CO leak detectors
  • Omni-directional antenna with exterior speakers
  • All-condition/season insulation with an R-18 ceiling
  • Features a fully-welded, thick aluminum frame construction
  • Equipped with exterior and interior LED lighting plus exterior security lighting

Cons

  • Some consumers complained of refrigerator failure 
  • Buyers find that this unit has an extreme height which needs to be lowered for safe usage

What Recent Buyers Report

This unit has a sleeping capacity for four people; thus, it can easily accommodate a small family. The design maximizes the space available, which is why consumers find it to be spacious. Some buyers did complain that the unit height needed reduction for safety reasons, but other than that, it largely received positive feedback. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

It has a pretty standard and practical design. It is a great option for small families or groups of campers as it has a sleeping capacity for four people. The overall construction is thick-walled aluminum, which is fully welded. Plus, it offers high-density foam insulation and an R-18 ceiling. 

The unit has exterior and interior LED lights with exterior security lights. Furthermore, the two-step staircase provides separation to the bedroom and bathroom from the living area to offer some privacy.

Bottom Line

All in all, it’s a pretty decent unit. It is manufactured from top-notch materials, which gives it a solid construction. Plus, the unit has a spacious design that optimizes space so you can make the most of the floorplan. 

Best for the Money:
Coachmen Chapparal

Pros

  • Incorporated Azdel composite sidewall panels 
  • Aerodynamic frame made of aircraft-grade aluminum 
  • White-colored exterior reflects heat away from the camper
  • Feature pre-installed and pre-wired prep for a backup camera system
  • Equipped with a thermoplastic olefin roof backed by a 12-year warranty

Cons

  • Consumers found that the outdoor kitchen sink isn’t easy to access 
  • Taking sharp turns and getting it in and out of sites can be a challenge 

What Recent Buyers Report

The Coachmen Chapparal seems to be a favorite of consumers. They find that the unit has an optimal interior design that maximizes storage space and makes the experience comfortable. Buyers also found that the customer service was very helpful and responsive, and therefore they were highly appreciative of it.  

Why it Stands Out to Us

There are several reasons why this unit captured our interest. Firstly, it has a stunning, elegant, yet solid construction. The all-white construction isn’t just graceful; it also serves a purpose. It reflects heat and UV rays away from the camper. Plus, it has incorporated Azdel composite sidewall panels to eliminate sidewall delamination and water damage. 

This unit comes with a pre-installed and pre-wired backup camera system, as safety should be the number one priority. The interior is convenient and designed to give a home-like experience. The deluxe entertainment center and electric fireplace greatly contribute to that. 

Bottom Line

The pros of this product largely outweigh the cons, which make it a great unit to invest in. It has a stunning and solid exterior and a meticulously designed interior, which optimizes space usage for a home-like experience. 

Best Luxury Full-Time 5th Wheel:
DRV Mobile Suites

Pros

  • Features a gel-coated fiberglass exterior 
  • All-season thermal pack is standard on all suites
  • Equipped with copper water fold with individual shutoff valves 
  • Residentially-hung side walls are carriage-bolted in the floor for strength 
  • High-density wool R-16 residential insulation surrounds the walls and slides

Cons

  • Closet doesn’t have an electrical outlet
  • Consumers complained of the unit demanding frequent repairs and maintenance

What Recent Buyers Report

This unit has garnered largely positive reviews for its exceptional construction, durability, and design. Buyers found that it proved to be a beautiful motorhome for them, given its beautiful features and craftsmanship. Some consumers did wish the closet had an electrical outlet, but that isn’t a deal-breaker. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

We love that this unit provides an authentic luxurious traveling experience. The beautiful design and high-quality construction make up for the slightly expensive price point. This unit has a thick, aluminum floor construction and features residential-rated R-16 formaldehyde-free wool insulation. Thick and insulated sidewalls aid in keeping noise and weather away. 

Furthermore, this interior has hand-laid vinyl plank tiles and a residential rebound carpet. It also features hazelnut/mocha cherry hardwood cabinetry with concealed cabinet door hinges and high polished solid surface countertops. 

Bottom Line

To sum up, this wonderful unit features a stylish exterior and a practical and convenient interior. It has a solid, screwed, and glued joist constructed with insulated walls. Plus, it has a well-lit LED ceiling with carpeted interiors. 

Honorable Mention:
Forest River Wildcat

Pros

  • 2” vacuum-bonded aluminum structure sidewalls
  • Residential and thermofoil-insulated roof and floor
  • Modern and elegant black and white interior décor
  • Solid surface countertops with hidden hinge cabinet doors
  • Features a power theater seating with massage and LED lights

Cons

  • Not the best warranty service
  • Some consumers complained that the king mattress wasn’t comfortable 

What Recent Buyers Report

Be it the modern and elegant interior or the sturdy and solid exterior; this unit seems to be a consumer favorite in all regards. It has a sturdy aluminum frame with a residential insulated roof and floor; however, it is considerably lightweight and easy to tow. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

It captured our interest with its enhanced and powerful design. This doesn’t just provide better entertainment value with its power theater featuring massage and LED lighting but also significantly improves the design to counter issues like standing water after rain. The arched roof with a Hi-profile radius wrap contributes to preventing standing wrap. 

It is also equipped with rear and side camera prep and solar panel prep. The living area has an electric fireplace, which is remote-controlled, and it also carries a LED TV with Mega Lift-up storage. 

Bottom Line

The bottom line is that this unit truly is a gem. It offers several floor plans to choose from and carries excellent standard features that allow one to experience comfort and convenience. It is a great investment to make. 

Best Fifth Wheel Toy Hauler for Full Time Living:
Grand Design Solitude

Pros

  • Pet-friendly design with a pet dish storage drawer
  • Features a master walk-in closet with a sliding mirror door
  • Optional pull-out kitchen for an excellent barbeque experience
  • Precision cooking appliance with a professional-grade cooktop
  • Excellent suspension system for improved towing and protection against shocks

Cons

  • Trifolds weren’t comfortable
  • Some consumers complained the design of the slides couldn’t prevent leaks

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers were largely happy with this unit as it truly is the perfect depiction of an affordable yet luxurious vehicle. It provides a taller ceiling and slide-outs with large scenic windows and large body width. Buyers found it to be a dream to tow. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Grand Design Solitude has a rubber pin box and an excellent suspension system that aids in improving towing ability and offers better protection from road shocks. It also has a Stealth 3+ A/C system and true racetrack ducting that extends past each unit to enable an uninterrupted airflow from the front to the end of the unit. 

It offers ample storage in the walk-in storage, which also has washer/dryer hookups. This unit offers a pull-out kitchen for BBQs. It allows precision cooking as it has a professional-grade cooktop with cast iron grills and an electronic ignition oven. Plus, it has easy pull-out storage drawers for unsightly garbage and recycling bins. 

Bottom Line

Last but not least, this unit is definitely worthy of being on our list. It has a simplistic and practical design with excellent towing capability, given its improved suspension system. It also comes with all the amenities one would need for full-time living.  

Dos and Don’ts of Living in a Fifth Wheel Full Time

Living in a fifth wheel full time can be exciting but also overwhelming for those experiencing it for the first time. To make it somewhat easy for you, here are some do’s and don’ts of living in a fifth wheel: 

Dos 

Let’s take a look at some do’s that will make living in a fifth wheel full time more convenient and comfortable:

Have a Plan

Having a general plan at least of where you’re going and having a lot of flexibility in your travel plans can be fun but overwhelming. Therefore, have a vague idea and a generalized plan from the get-go. 

Northwood Arctic Fox 29-5T

Proper Maintenance

The maintenance of your vehicle is mandatory. Check for leaks after rain or storm and perform regular maintenance check-ups to ensure a smooth ride. 

Moving Prep

Secure your belongings before moving. Don’t just put fragile items like dish plates and other cutlery without any precautions. Placing them in foam and lining your shelves will prevent them from breaking upon mild shock.

Smart Investment

Try to invest in items that are multi-purpose in nature, as one of the most obvious drawbacks of being on the move is having limited storage space. 

Don’ts

Here are some things to avoid when living in a fifth wheel full time:

Worrying Won’t Get You Anywhere

Do not freak out when things go south because there’s a good chance they might. After being on the road for a while, you will face things like accidents, leaks, etc. It will help the case if you’re not freaking out and instead are focusing on how to resolve the issue. 

Northwood Arctic Fox 29-5T

Compromise on Comfort or Style Isn’t Needed

Don’t feel as if you need to compromise on comfort or style just because you’re traveling. There are plenty of units out there that offer both and enable a smooth ride. 

Types of 5th Wheels for Full-Time Living

One can differentiate fifth wheels for full time living on the basis of floorplans. Invest in a floor plan that optimizes storage space and works best for your needs. Here are a few different options to consider and choose from:

Bunkhouse

This kind of floor plan is best for those traveling in large groups, perhaps a family or a large group of campers, as it provides many sleeping spaces. One can simply install more slide-outs to make a cozy and comfortable sleeping space.  

Front Living

As the name suggests, this kind of floor plan offers front living space with multiple couches surrounding the TV. These can be used by you personally or can be sleeping places for your guests to crash on. 

Rear Living

If you like to host a lot of people, this might be the right floor plan for you as it highlights the living space. Some models add a bathroom for guests other than the master bathroom, whereas others add theater seating. 

Rear Entertainment

Rear entertainment makes the entertainment areas at the back of the camper with couches surrounding the TV screen. Such a plan is best for watching games. It really allows enough space for a large kitchen so you can get as many snacks as you need throughout the game. 

Comparison Overview

Buying a 5th wheel is often a daunting task that leaves consumers confused. There are many scenarios where a potential buyer has to pick between two designs of RV or brands of 5th wheel, which seems like a pretty difficult choice to make without enough knowledge. However, this section aims to help with just that. 

Travel Trailer vs 5th Wheel Full Time

Consumers often have to choose between one of the two RV types.

Largely, both of these vehicles give similar towing experiences in terms of ease. They are safe to tow. Plus, they make it quite convenient to set up camp and unhook to explore cities or sites.

Both of them are also available in a wide range of floor plans; however, as far as their designs are concerned, the living space in a travel trailer isn’t as defined as that in a 5th wheel. Furthermore, the latter has comparatively more storage space. 

Jayco vs Heartland for Full-Time Living

Neither of the two brands compromises on quality. Both of them feature spacious designs that utilize every square inch of the floorplan meticulously. They are constructed with top-notch quality materials and are reliable.

However, Jayco takes the cake when it comes to brand recognition. It has been operating for the past 42 years and has earned a positive image, whereas Heartland is relatively new and has been manufacturing 5th wheels for roughly seven years only.

Jayco vs Grand Design for Living Full Time

Both of these brands are leading the market because they are incredibly well-designed and of good quality overall. Therefore, they are often a consumer’s first choice when it comes to buying a good-quality 5th wheel. 

Jayco models have a notable feature that Grand design models lack. This feature is known as the SMART light system (safety marker and reverse travel), which essentially works to increase visibility while changing lanes, braking, etc.

In addition, as far as features are concerned, most Jayco models offer a greater number of features than Grand Design. The former is equipped with roof and sidewall solar prep, helix duct cooling, etc., which the latter doesn’t have. 

Conclusion

If you are someone who loves exploring places and dreams of being on the road, then living in a 5th wheel full time presents you with the perfect opportunity to do so. However, one would still want to feel at home and be comfortable, which is one of the reasons why 5th wheels are so popular. 

This post provides you all the information needed to buy your dream 5th wheel, which includes some incredible product recommendations, a buying guide, etc. Be sure to keep all the tips in mind to make the right purchase! 

People Also Ask

People have a lot of questions and confusion when it comes to buying a 5th wheel, and rightfully so, as it is going to be your full-time home. Therefore, we took the liberty of answering some of your most frequently asked questions, so any confusion you may have is cleared. Let’s take a look at them:

How Long Should a Fifth Wheel Last for Full-Time Living?

How long a vehicle lasts will depend upon factors like how well it is made, how much it costs, etc. Generally, a normally-priced, average-quality fifth wheel will last about 10 to 15 years, whereas better-quality, higher-priced models will last more than that. 

What is Routine Maintenance for 5th Wheel Living Full Time?

Routine maintenance is necessary if you plan to reside in a 5th wheel permanently. Here is a maintenance checklist to go through:

  1. Roof: There are different types of roofs, with rubber being the most common type. One should check their RV roof on a monthly basis.

  2. RV awnings and slide covers: These aid in providing shade and cover. They require periodic maintenance, depending upon the condition.

  3. Water heater: They can be propane, electric, or both. From time to time, check for dust or rust. You can also check for sediment at the bottom of the heater and drain plus flush it at least once a year. 

  4. Electrical parts: They don’t require much maintenance; however, it is always good to check if they are operating properly.

  5. Tires: They are crucial; therefore, they require a lot of attention. Routinely check the air pressure, temperature, and keep an eye on both the inner and outer sidewalls.  

  6. Brakes, bearing, and wheels: Don’t overlook them as they need to be inspected regularly

  7. Water system: One should ideally sanitize the water system every six months. 

  8. Hitch: Make sure it doesn’t have any cracks or rust.

    Do not forget to consult the owner’s manual, which came with the vehicle, and follow any special steps required for the maintenance of your 5th wheel. 

How Many People Can Live in a 5th Wheel Full Time?

It depends upon the size of the vehicle. Every 5th wheel has a designated number of sleeps that corresponds to the number of people it can host. Furthermore, each state has separate policies regarding people living in a 5th wheel. As long as you have a legal mailing address and pay taxes to the particular state, you can live full time in a 5th wheel with your whole family, which includes kids and pets.

My husband and I live a life on the road so we figured no better way to share our journey than through a blog! While traveling place to place as RV noobies, we quickly realized how often we were in need of RV accessories and supplies. This led us to launch RV Expertise and sharing our top picks.