Fifth wheel trailers provide an excellent opportunity for people to get out of their homes and enjoy their vacations.
Luckily, leaving home doesn’t mean leaving its comforts, thanks to the amenities you can have inside a fifth-wheel trailer. You get everything inside them, from the kitchen to a comforting sleeping space.
With this much potential and popularity, the RV market has exploded with different options available at different prices. The cost usually depends upon the number of amenities available inside a fifth-wheel trailer.
In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about the prices of fifth-wheel trailers and the cost of new and used fifth-wheel trailers.
Cost of a New Fifth Wheel
The costs of a fifth wheel depend on multiple factors such as size, amenities, etc. A fifth wheel’s average price is from $40,000 to $80,000 USD. If you compare this cost to that of a travel trailer, it might seem higher.
However, fifth-wheel trailers provide more space and offer a better driving experience overall. They also have a better design and deliver all amenities like bed, kitchen, shower, etc.
Let’s discuss these factors in detail:
The cost of a fifth wheel largely depends upon its quality and the brand you’re buying it from. For instance, a fifth wheel having fiberglass will certainly cost much more than a wooden one. That’s because the former has better aerodynamics and is lighter too.
Alongside the exterior, the interior quality also matters significantly. For example, buying a fifth with stainless steel appliances will cost you much more than a fifth wheel with standard appliances.
Amenities you enjoy inside your RV also cost a significant amount. Fifth wheels have already got some extras, but if you add more, the costs will rise too. Usually, manufacturers have floors and interiors set up, but you can modify them according to your requirements and preferences.
The kitchen, bedroom, living space, etc., are essential parts of an RV, and manufacturers often set them up on their own. People often add to these amenities by bringing refrigerators, air conditioning, microwave, etc., which increases the cost of your RV.
Fifth wheels can be very tall and wide, usually starting at 12 feet high, 8 feet wide, and 32 feet long, with the largest ones exceeding 40+ feet long. The larger the fifth wheel, the greater the cost.
However, it is not just about length; many RVs have slide-outs that expand the vehicle whenever needed. A 30ft camper with slide-outs would occupy more space than a similarly sized camper without slide-outs.
The number of slide-outs will also affect the weight of a 5th wheel, directly impacting the truck’s size required to pull the camper.
Time is another important factor contributing to the money you spend on your new RV. Most people buy campers during the spring season because that’s the time of the year when most people travel.
The increased demand naturally raises the prices of campers. Summer also sees high camper prices but not as high as during spring. So, get a camper off-season if you want to save money.
Where you buy a camper also decides the final cost you incur. For example, some states have tighter rules and regulations, so purchasing a trailer is costlier. Similarly, places with no or less competition among RV companies also tend to have pricier fifth wheels.
There are multiple fifth wheel insurance options available, but you should consider everything before choosing one. Usually, fifth wheel insurance would cost you around $1,000 per annum.
However, the amount can reach $1,500 in some cases or even more, depending upon different factors such as:
Younger generation usually pays less insurance than someone who is retired and doesn’t have any regular income.
Type of Fifth Wheel
Insurance fee also depends upon the type of fifth wheel you buy. Expensive fifth wheels have higher insurance costs than their cheaper counterparts.
Full Time Usage
If you use your fifth wheel full time, you’ll need to pay more for its insurance.
Location is another important factor in the overall insurance costs you’ll incur.
For example, insurance companies have different rules and fees for other states. In addition, some areas are more prone to weather fluctuations such as rain and snow, so the chances of damage are also higher.
Veteran drivers usually get a better insurance deal than newbies. Those with experience have fewer chances of accidents, so insurance companies naturally trust them more.
Tips for Reducing Insurance Costs
You can reduce insurance costs by looking around for deals and discounts. Similarly, some dealers offer special discounts to customers who purchase the vehicle and insurance together.
Always compare the rates of different insurance companies and dealers before opting for any one. Then, start searching for deals online and contact the company if you find a good offer somewhere.
Cost of a Used RV
Since fifth wheels lose their value over the years, it might be good to buy them used. However, one has to be careful while buying a used fifth wheel as there are many things to consider. Otherwise, you might lose your money on a fifth wheel that doesn’t fit your needs well.
Used fifth wheels are readily available, so you should check them out from trusted dealers. Depending on their condition, they are available for as low as 15,000 to 20,000 USD. Unfortunately, not everyone can check a used fifth wheel well, so you need a professional who understands them in detail.
A professional can figure out whether a used fifth wheel is worth the asking price. The roof and tires are some of the most important things to check in a used fifth wheel. Unfortunately, cracked roofs are sometimes tricky to detect, and one only finds out when they start leaking.
Secondly, fifth wheel tires are costly to replace, and faulty tires can also be dangerous when you’re on the move.
Here are different factors that affect the price of a used fifth wheel:
Find a seller that wants to sell their fifth wheel. A motivated seller will always sell it cheaper. The cost also depends upon whether you buy the fifth wheel from an owner or a dealer. Dealers have to make a living out of selling RVs, so their prices tend to be higher than those of owners.
The cost of a used RV also depends upon the condition you’re buying it. For example, a damaged RV with a leaking roof will cost you almost nothing, while a pristine RV will cost you more. Vintage RVs that have been maintained we’ll also cost a lot. Sometimes, you might pay more for a well-maintained vintage RV than for a new one.
Don’t go shopping for an RV during peak season, as the prices are much higher during spring and summer due to increased demand. During fall and winter, campgrounds are closed, and people tend to sell their campers to avoid paying to keep them there. With an increased supply comes a reduction in prices.
Fifth wheel campers aren’t useful unless they’re hitched to a pickup truck. Pickup trucks can cost somewhere between $30,000 to $80,000 depending upon their size and quality.
Large fifth-wheel campers are heavy, so the pickup truck needs a robust suspension system with airbags. Moreover, you might also have to add a transmission cooler and strong brakes to your truck. Here’s how much these upgrades can cost you:
Trucks come at different costs. For instance, Ford F-250 comes at $33,1500, a safe and reliable option for towing almost any fifth wheel. In addition, it can pull 13,000 pounds, which is more than enough to pull any fifth wheel.
Suspension Air Bags
You will need airbags to enhance the suspension. One comes at about $300, and its installation costs an extra $100 to $300.
A gooseneck hitch is another essential piece of equipment for your pickup truck. It is a bit more expensive than other equipment on the list and comes at about $500. Installing it will incur you some extra costs too.
Most fifth wheels already have trailer brakes installed in them. However, you might need to install a new brake controller, which could cost you about $300.
Towing is a demanding task for any truck and can put it under stress. A transmission cooler can help your vehicle manage this stress better. The average price of a transmission cooler is $300, and installation requires $100 to $200.
Connecting your truck with the fifth wheel is crucial for safe traveling. You should ensure that turning on your brake lights and signal lights should also turn on the lights on your fifth wheel. You need a quality wiring kit for this purpose which will cost you about $250. However, you will need a professional to install it for you properly, costing you extra.
Value Depreciation of RV
The value of an RV depreciates over time, so it is not an investment from which you expect to have monetary returns. However, you can enjoy your returns in the form of beautiful vacations, family fun, etc. Usually, a fifth wheel depreciates 40% in value in 8 to 10 years.
The amount of depreciation also depends upon the maintenance. If you maintain it well, you can expect it to depreciate less over the years. Another factor behind this depreciation is the arrival of newer models.
Every year, new fifth wheel models come up that automatically decrease the prices of the older models. If you are looking at a period of 5 years, your fifth wheel will lose 30 to 35% of its value.
Popular Fifth Wheel Manufacturers and their Prices
Keystone now operates under Thor Industries. Their most popular model is Keystone Montana, whose highest end model is around $99,000. It is reliable and large enough for a family.
However, you can also go for their entry-level options if you don’t have the budget. For instance, you can get their Cougar for $53,000.
Forest River is another reliable name in the fifth wheel industry. They have a variety of models to cater to everyone, costing from $52,000 to $110,000. Their most popular model is Wildcat Maxx, coming at about $56,000.
Dutchmen is another popular name under Thor Industries. Their most popular model is Dutchmen Voltage, which comes in 10 different floor plans. It is a luxury option and costs $153,000 for the base model. However, you do get entry-level options starting above $70,000.
Grand Design has developed a unique brand identity in their fifth-wheel campers. Their most popular model is Grand Design Reflection, coming in 8 different floor plans and 4 slide-outs. Their entry-level models start from $70,000, while the luxury fifth wheels can cost you upwards of $140,000.
The Bottom Line
The cost of a fifth wheel varies significantly based on several factors. Some are out of your control, but you can manage most of them if you plan. Always look for offseason camper sales to enjoy healthy discounts.
Make sure you have also set aside the budget for the towing truck and other upgrades such as amenities, airbags, wiring, etc. You can fully enjoy your journey only when your RV is up to its task.
For more information on this topic, you can watch this detailed video.