Bigger doesn’t always mean better, especially with RVs. Small motorhomes offer many things the bigger ones can't, such as maneuvrability, access to most RV parks, and economical RV living.
Of course, they offer much more than that and with creative floor plans and new technology, the best small motorhomes are quickly becoming the most popular RVs on the road.
They're also more affordable than the big RVs, making them accessible to most people. Of course, they have their drawbacks, but really, if you want the ideal RV for short trips, we highly recommend a small motorhome.
In this article, we highlight some of the best ones on the market today. We look at the characteristics of a small RV, the different classes, and the pros and cons of camping in one.
So, without further ado, let's get into it and see why small motorhomes are taking the outdoor world by storm.
Characteristics of Our Favorite Small Motorhomes
What makes an RV one of the best small motorhomes? Here are some of the key features we consider when we evaluate our picks.
One of the most significant perks of a small motorhome is improved mileage. By sacrificing a bit of space, you’ll be able to travel a lot more without having to worry about when you’ll encounter the next gas station.
Even the best small motorhomes can feel a little cramped, which is why you need to use space smartly and carefully. A good layout can make even the smallest RV feel a little roomier and more comfortable.
A smooth, stable, and comfortable driving experience is essential. The best small motorhomes generally offer adjustable seating, tilt and power steering, and some form of stabilization technology.
Owners of smaller RVs often opt for these more mobile options because they want to explore. By including features like propane and water tanks, generators, and solar power, the best small motorhomes can provide a comfortable camping experience for up to two weeks without the need to hook up at a park.
Many smaller motorhomes may not have much to offer by way of bathroom facilities. At the very least, the best small motorhomes should have a wet room, which is a combined toilet and shower space, available. They should also include a black water tank, which some Class B RVs don’t have available.
Review of the Best Small Motorhomes
Do you prefer comfort over mobility? Are you concerned about costs? Whatever your needs and preferences, here are the best small motorhomes we’ve identified that may suit your needs.
Best Overall Small Motorhome:
Roadtrek SS Agile 250
The small Roadtrek SS Agile comes in at a mere 19 feet, 5 inches. Its interior height is 6 feet, 3 inches, while the outdoor height is just shy of ten feet, excluding the roof AC. The motorhome’s small size makes it easy to drive, park, and store.
The van-sized RV includes a rear king-size bed, with the option of turning the driver and passenger seats into a single bed. The Roadtrek SS Agile can sleep two to three people and includes a small wardrobe, open galley and stovetop, wet room, and awning.
For day campers and travelers, the Roadtrek SS Agile is a compact, well equipped small motorhome that offers all the necessities at a relatively affordable price. Whether you’re going on a road trip or boondocking, you’ll have what you need, including a 10-gallon black water holding tank.
The base model is a Mercedes Short Sprinter and includes a 400 AMP lithium battery system, a 330-watt solar panel, and a 12V 280 AMP under-hood generator. There’s also a standard 16-gallon propane tank.
For short trips and frequent campers, the Roadtrek SS Agile is an excellent option. Its many features and high-quality standards solidify its spot as the best of the best small motorhomes.
Thor Motor Coach Chateau
While only a few count as small, the Chateau has 15 layouts available, ranging from 24 feet to 32 feet, 2 inches. All models include a queen bed, full bathroom, kitchen and dinette, and an over-cab bunk. Larger models also include a sofa, additional slide-outs, and extra amenities and storage space.
Depending on the floor plan, the Thor Motor Coach Chateau can comfortably sleep between four and six people. You can choose between a Chevy Express and a Ford E-Series base for smaller versions, while larger models only use the latter.
The Thor Motor Coach Chateau has three floor plans that can be considered small: 22B, 22E, and 24F. Each one has similar specifications and features, including a rear bathroom with a real porcelain throne rather than a plastic one. There’s also a separate shower.
The walk-around queen bed in the rear slide-out is a highlight, as is the comfortable dinette, which also sits in a slide-out in the 24F layout. All units are solar-ready, although panels and the charging system is an optional feature.
Comfortable, spacious, and well-equipped, the Chateau is an excellent option for a road or camping trip to an RV park.
Best Small Motorhome for the Money:
Coachmen Cross Trek 20XG
The Cross Trek 20XG only has one layout, with an exterior length of 24 feet, 1 inch. The interior contains a raised queen bed, small kitchen, and dinette that can convert into a sofa or extra bunk.
The motorhome is quite spacious for its size and has plenty of interiors and exterior storage space, with a large cargo hold beneath the main bed. The inside has vinyl flooring, a wood finish, and a marble finish on the countertops, giving it a very classy and high-quality look and feel.
Jayco has done an excellent job with the design and layout of this compact RV. The raised double bed has a large storage space underneath that’s accessible from outside, so you can store bulky toys, bikes, camp chairs, or luggage. The spacious kitchen also means that you can cook in comfort, while the pantry and overhead cabinets provide all the storage you’d need.
One of the best features is the full bathroom, with a large shower split from the toilet facilities. Additionally, the increased battery capacity, solar capabilities, and great gas mileage make it an excellent choice for longer dry camping trips and off-grid adventures.
Best Small Class C Motorhomes:
Jayco Redhawk 22J
The Jayco Redhawk 22J is relatively spacious for a small Class C motorhome. The interior height is 7 feet, and the exterior is 8 feet, 4 inches wide and 24 feet, 8 inches long, making it relatively easy to drive and park. The 22J is the smallest of the seven Redhawk floor plans and has two décor customization options.
The motorhome includes a walk-around queen bed slide-out, cab-over bunk, and a dinette that can be replaced with theater seating. Depending on the floor plan, the Redhawk can sleep between three and five people. It also includes a wardrobe, pantry, fully equipped kitchen, and a retractable awning.
The Jayco 2-year warranty, 3-year structural coverage, and JRide® driving technology are exclusive to this manufacturer. You can enjoy an exceptionally smooth driving experience with helper springs, rubber isolation mounts, a computer balanced driveshaft, and front and rear stabilizer bars.
The motorhome has a full bathroom, wardrobe, pantry, and an 8-cubic foot refrigerator. Even with all the amenities and storage space taking up room, it doesn’t feel cramped.
If you’re looking for an affordable Class C Under 30 Feet with everything you need to enjoy a long road or camping trip, the Jayco Redhawk 22J is one of the best small motorhomes you can get.
Best Small Class A Motorhomes:
Thor Motor Coach Axis 24.1
The Thor Motor Coach Axis 24.1 has an exterior length of 25 feet, 6 inches, which means it’s barely bigger than some smaller Class C motorhomes. However, Thor’s new “RUV” makes good use of the space.
The main bedroom’s twin beds can convert into a king-size, while the sofa bed and drop-down bunk can support two additional people. There’s a small kitchen, and a removable table turns the sofa into a dining area. There’s also a fully equipped bathroom and shower.
There are three décor options containing wood finishes and natural, neutral colors that make the motorhome feel more spacious.
According to Thor, the Axis isn’t just an RV but an “RUV,” or a Recreational Utility Vehicle. This small, Class C-sized motorhome has many luxuries you’ll find in other vehicles in this class, all fitted into a more compact space. Despite the size limitations, Axis 24.1’s layout and design are optimized to make it feel spacious and comfortable.
The kitchen and bathroom are compact but don’t feel cramped. The sofa is in a slide-out, giving you a little extra space while using the living space or cooking meals on the two-burner gas cooktop. There’s also a collapsible galley if you need a little more surface area.
Pros and Cons of Small Motorhomes
Let’s look at a few of the pros and cons of small motorhomes of which you should be aware before you buy one.
Better Gas Mileage
Smaller Class C and B motorhomes can get up to 20 MPG or more, which is significantly better than the 8 – 13 MPG you’ll get with a 40-foot Class A rig.
Lower Cost of Ownership
The overall cost of ownership is lower for a small motorhome. You’ll pay less on the initial purchase, annual maintenance, parking costs, and gas.
Larger RV’s are more dependent on electrical and water hookups. If you have a small generator or small solar system and propane tanks, you’ll be able to dry camp comfortably for a week or two. It saves on parking costs and lets you explore off the beaten path.
Small Holding Tanks
The smaller the tank, the less fresh water or waste it can hold. You’ll need to plan your trips to include regular stops for clearing, filling, and maintaining your tanks.
Small motorhomes have little space, with a cramped or dual-purpose living and sleeping space. Additionally, the toilet and shower may be combined into a single “wet room.”
What Are the Different Classes Of RV?
There are three motorhome classes, each one with a few unique traits. Below, we take a brief look at the different types and how they compare to one another.
What Is a Class A Motorhome?
Class A motorhomes tend to be large, box-shaped, and extremely sturdy. They can get up to 45 feet and support the heaviest load, but they also have the worst fuel economy. They tend to be on the larger, luxurious, and more expensive end of the spectrum.
What Is a Class B Motorhome?
Class B is the smallest class of motorhomes, typically ranging between 17 and 19 feet. They’re more affordable and easier to drive and park but have extremely limited interior space and amenities.
What Is a Class C Motorhome?
A Class C motorhome falls somewhere between Class A and B. They’re most recognizable by the over-cabin sleeping or storage space and typically range between 20 to 30 feet.
Class A vs Class C
Class A motorhomes are luxurious and designed to be a mobile home. They often include larger bathrooms, better-equipped kitchens, a master bedroom, additional sleeping space, and slide outs. However, their size often makes them hard to park and steer, and they only get about 10mpg.
Class C motorhomes are smaller but still have a lot of interior space. These RVs typically have a double or queen-sized bed, a small full bathroom, and a kitchen.
Class A vs Class B
There are several differences between Class A and B motorhomes. A Class A is well suited for long-term living, with several amenities, significantly more space, and fully equipped kitchens and bathrooms. However, they’re also a lot harder to drive, park, and store than Class B motorhomes and get far fewer miles per gallon.
Class B vs Class C
A Class B is almost like a van that’s been equipped for temporary living, while a Class C falls somewhere between it and Class A motorhomes. Class B RVs will typically have a tiny kitchen and wet room and a living space that doubles as a bedroom. They also tend to have the best gas mileage and are easy to steer and park at most campgrounds.
People Also Ask - Best Small Motorhomes FAQs
You may still have a few questions about the different sizes and costs of the best small motorhomes before you make a financial commitment. We covered the most important topics, but we’ve also listed a few more below to help you make the best decision.
How Much Is a Small RV?
Small pop-up campers, travel trailers, and hybrids range between $6,000 and $25,000 when purchased new. Class B and Class C RVs start around $60,000. You can get a second-hand motorhome for a significantly lower price since it loses between 10-20% of its value when you drive it off the lot.
How Wide Is a Class C Motorhome?
The average width of a Class C motorhome is 100 inches. It’s considered the industry standard as most road vehicles are limited to a maximum exterior width of 102 inches. Consequently, many models tend to measure in at 96 inches or less, with extra space created by slide-outs.
How Tall Is a Class A Motorhome?
Class A motorhomes are an average height of 162 inches, but they can range between 148 – 168. Some can be even taller if there’s a satellite dish or air-conditioning unit on the roof.
Small Motorhomes - Compact, Nimble and Adventurous
Small RVs may have limited space, but the best small motorhomes have smart layouts that feel spacious, comfortable, and well utilized.
Driving experience, facilities, mileage, and off-grid capabilities are all critical factors to consider, and with a smaller motorhome this is all covered. Whether you’re looking for a new home away from home or a cozy camper for the occasional trip, these common criteria will all affect your overall experience.
We recommend all of the above RVs, but of course your research shouldn't stop here. Buying motorhome is exciting, but it's also costly. So, always make sure, you know exactly what you're buying before you make the splash. Happy camping!