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Jayco Vs. Forest River: Which RV Brand Is Better?

When you are looking at RVs, you will quickly notice a myriad of RV brand names. Some offer good quality RVs at amazingly low prices, while others only sell luxury class A motorhomes. And because many RV manufacturers exist, the RV community can’t decide which one is best. However, two brands that are constantly praised are Forest River and Jayco.

Both of these RV brands have massive followings. Jayco fans have praised the company for its staunch history of high-quality and low-priced RVs. At the same time, Forest River fans commended the company for its massive catalog of RV models and floor plans. But which company is better, Forest River or Jayco?

Deciding which RV brand is better for you can change depending on several factors. Some important considerations you need to keep in mind when choosing between Forest River and Jayco are:

  • Brand Reputation
  • RV Variety
  • Overall Price

Weighing in these factors will help you decide which RV manufacturer best suits your needs.

As you continue to read this article, we will cover some aspects of each brand’s reputation, making them stand out from each other. Furthermore, we will discuss which brand’s RVs cost more and provide you with some pros and cons of each company. Finally, we will compare and contrast each brand’s most popular RVs, which will help you decide which RV brand is best for you.

Which Brand has a Better Reputation?

Choosing which brand has a better reputation is very challenging. This is because the reputation of each brand is based on the personal opinions of its consumers. However, we have done extensive research in numerous RV forums and have concluded that both brands are nearly identical in their reputation. 

Both Forest River and Jayco have fantastic customer service. From what we have read, both companies have provided numerous people with information regarding reputable RV mechanics and dealerships. Both brands offer fast quotes and have excellent warranties too.

Which RV Brand is More Expensive?

When it comes to RV pricing, Jayco takes the cake. Jayco offers fantastic RVs at surprisingly low prices. In all honesty, Jayco is possibly the best value for money brand. On the other hand, Forest River tends to offer RVs with a much higher price tag. We will provide some pricing examples later in the article when we compare each brand’s most popular RV models. 

Pros and Cons of Jayco and Forest River

In this section, we will list the pros and cons of each company. These pros and cons are issues and benefits that we found when researching each company’s reputation. In other words, the pros and cons are common complaints and praises from consumers.

Jayco Pros

One of the most common compliments we found while researching is that Jayco customers love how liveable Jayco’s trailers are. So many Jayco customers were surprised when they unexpectedly started living in their Jayco trailer full-time and loved every minute of it. 

Some of the other common compliments for Jayco RVs include:

  • Easy to hitch and tow extremely well
  • Have very comfortable and numerous beds in every RV
  • Numerous RV hobbyists recommend Jayco for people new to RV life
  • Many RV-ers recommend Jayco for large families
  • Customers often praise Jayco for making their RVs feel very homey
  • Many Jayco customers claim to only purchase Jayco RVs after their first experience with the company and its products
  • Most Jayco customers praise the company for their RV prices while still producing high-quality RVs

Jayco Cons

The most common complaint about Jayco is that repairs covered by Jayco warranties take a very long time. Many people also complain that the mechanics would often have to hassle dealerships to get the parts they needed to make the repairs. While many people would praise Jayco’s responsiveness to warranty issues, the dealerships that the warranties go through for repairs are where the issue lies. 

Some of the other common complaints about Jayco RVs include: 

  • Have poor storage optimization, which is hard to access
  • Many people with the gray water tanks on Jayco RVs were bigger
  • Some customers complain that some Jayco RVs have poor lighting
  • Many Jayco customers wish the water heaters would have better drainage systems

Forest River Pros

The most common compliment given by Forest River customers is that the furniture in their RVs is fantastic. Most customers claim the furniture in their Forest River RV is the best they have ever used, even better than the furniture in their home. Many of the same customers say the couches, beds, and booths are incredibly comfortable as well.

Some other common compliments given to Forest river include:

  • Electrical wiring in Forest River RVs is very well organized and allows for quick repairs
  • Many customers praise the sound quality of the entertainment systems in their Forest River RVs
  • Customers often claim Forest River RVs are very easy to clean and look new for many years
  • Forest River customers often say that the AC and furnaces in their RVs are exceptional
  • Customers often compliment the wide variety of RV models and the plethora of floor plans to choose from

Forest River Cons

Like Jayco, the most common complaint about Forest River is that the repairs covered by Forest River warranties take far too long. The most common excuse given to Forest River customers is that they are having difficulties procuring the parts needed for repairs, which can lead to many speculations. The most common speculation among Forest River RV owners is laziness and that the company does not stand behind its products. 

Some other common complaints about Forest River RVs include:

  • Customers complaining about shoddy craftsmanship
  • Forest River RVs often break down quickly and need to be serviced five to six times a year
  • Slide-out sealants on Forest River RVs degrade quickly, leading to leaks
  • Customers often complain about poor plumbing quality
  • Customers claim that dealerships will often fail to honor Forest River warranties
  • Many customers claim Forest River has horrible customer service

Comparing Forest River and Jayco RVs by Type

Here we will compare the numerous aspects of Forest River’s and Jayco’s most popular RVs by type. We will provide a summary of each RV, including price, features, and general specs. 

Jayco vs. Forest River Class A Motorhomes

We are going to start this comparison guide with Class A motorhomes. These RVs are the largest, most expensive, and often the most luxurious. Jayco’s most popular and most expensive Class A motorhome is the Embark. Forest River’s most popular Class A motorhome is the Berkshire.

The most extensive floor plan for the Embark is the 39T2, which has a GVWR of 36,320 lbs. With this floor plan, the Embark can nearly reach 40 feet in length and 13 feet wide with the slide-outs. This floor plan also provides 12 seatbelts, 152 cubic feet of garage space, and a Cummins B 6.7L engine. The fuel tank on the Embark can hold up to 100 gallons. The water storage tanks are also sizable, with the freshwater tank being 100 gallons, the gray water tank 62 gallons, and the black water tank 41 gallons. Finally, this floor plan comes with two smart furnaces which will auto-ignite at preset temperatures and provide 15,000 BTU of heat. This floor plan will cost around $388,000.

In contrast, the most extensive floor plan for the Berkshire model is the 40F. This floor plan has a higher GVWR of 37,320 lbs. This floor plan makes the Berkshire larger than the Embark and reaches nearly 41 feet in length, but only reaches 12 feet in width with the slide-outs. The Berkshire is equipped with the more powerful ISL engine, which houses 450 horsepower. The water storage tanks are roughly the same size. The freshwater tank holds 103 gallons, gray water holds 66 gallons, and the backwater tank holds 42 gallons. Furthermore, Berkshire’s fuel tank also holds up to 100 gallons. All in all, you can expect to pay over $425,000 for this model.

After comparing both of these models, we think Berkshire is slightly better than Embark due to its higher GVWR and more storage space. However, whether it’s worth an extra $50,000 is debatable.

Jayco vs. Forest River Class C Motorhomes

Next on our comparison guide are Class C motorhomes, which are slightly smaller Class A motorhomes and can be almost as luxurious. We picked the Redhawk to represent Jayco’s Class C Motorhomes, and we picked the Forester to represent Forest River. Both Class C motorhomes are their respective company’s most popular models.

For the Redhawk, we chose the 29XK, which is the most extensive floor plan. This Class C motorhome has a GVWR of 14,500 lbs. This RV is 32 and a half feet long, and after activating the slide-outs, the Redhawk will have a width of 10 feet. The 29XK sports a 7.3L DEVCT V8 engine, and its fuel tank have a maximum capacity of 55 gallons. The water storage tanks leave some room for improvement. The freshwater tank holds 44 gallons, the gray water tank holds 41 gallons, and the black water tank holds 32 gallons. This RV also comes with a smart furnace that auto-ignites and preset temperatures and outputs 30,000 BTUs of heat. The Redhawk has an MSRP of $140,000.

On the other hand, the floor plan we chose for the Forester is the 3051S, which is the most extensive floor plan for this model. Surprisingly, both models are nearly identical. For example, the GVWR of the Forester is 14,500 lbs. This RV is 32 feet long and 10 feet wide with the slides out. The Forester also sports a 7.3L V8 engine, and its fuel tank also holds up to 55 gallons. The water storage tanks are slightly smaller, with the freshwater tank holding 44 gallons, the gray water tank holding 39 gallons, and the black water tank also holding 39 gallons. However, the Forester is more expensive, with a price tag of $190,000.

After the comparison, we think the Redhawk beats the Forester for one reason: price. Both Class C motorhomes are nearly identical, except the Redhawk is nearly $60,000 cheaper. 

Jayco vs. Forest River 5th Wheel RVs

5th wheel RVs are the largest and heaviest of the towable category, which requires a heavy-duty pickup truck to tow them around. Therefore, we have pitted the two most popular 5th wheels produced by each company. However, when it comes to 5th wheels, there is a major size difference. For Jayco, we chose Eagle HT, which is significantly smaller than Forest River’s Cardinal.

The most extensive floor plan for Eagle HT is the 30.5RSOK. This 5th wheel has a GVWR of 11,750 lbs, a cargo-carrying capacity of 1,840 lbs, a dry hitch of 1,850 lbs, and its unloaded weight is 9,910 lbs. This model reaches 33 feet in length and has a maximum width of 11 feet with the slide-outs. The water storage tanks are well-sized, with the freshwater tank holding 81 gallons, the gray water tank holding 43 gallons, and the black water tank also holding 43 gallons. This Jayco 5th wheel retails for $85,000.

In contrast, the most extensive floor plan for the Cardinal is the 370FLX. This 5th wheel has a GVWR of 16,660 lbs, a cargo-carrying capacity of 2,246 lbs, a dry hitch of 2,660 lbs, and its unloaded weight is 14,414 lbs. This floor plan makes this 5th wheel nearly 43 feet long and 13 feet wide with the slide-outs. In addition, the water storage tanks have weird sizes. The freshwater tank holds 64 gallons, the gray water tank holds 79 gallons, and the black water also holds 79 gallons. This luxury option for the Cardinal will cost around $160,000. 

Because we are comparing the most popular RVs of each type, we cannot choose which 5th wheel is better. Both 5th wheels are fantastic, but the decision would be unfair due to their size differences. The Cardinal is much larger and thus has more living space and amenities, but it costs nearly twice as much as the Eagle HT. Therefore, we would recommend both 5th wheels depending on your budget. 

Jayco vs. Forest River Travel Trailers

The last type of RV that we will be comparing is travel trailers. This type of RV is the most common and is the lighter version of a 5th wheel. Both companies’ two most popular travel trailers are more comparable than their 5th wheels. With that said, we will be choosing Jayco’s White Hawk and Forest River’s Alpha Wolf.

For Jayco’s last entry, we will discuss its most extensive floor plan, 32RL. This model has a GVWR of 9,500 lbs, a cargo-carrying capacity of 1,600 lbs, a dry hitch of 910 lbs, and an unloaded weight of 7,900 lbs. The floor plan makes this model nearly 37 feet long and 10 feet wide with its slide-outs. The 32RL has a modest 48-gallon freshwater tank and a 30-gallon black water tank. However, the White Hawk models have two gray water storage tanks, which gives it a maximum capacity of 72.5 gallons. If you want this floor plan, you will be paying roughly $53,000.

For Forest River’s last entry, we will be looking at its most extensive floor plan, the 33BH-L. This Alpha Wolf floor plan has a GVWR of 9,863 lbs, a cargo-carrying capacity of 1,877, a dry hitch of 953, and an unloaded weight of 7,986. This model has a total length of 37 feet and a maximum width of 10 feet with the slide-outs. In addition, the Alpha Wolf has more typical water storage tanks with a freshwater tank that holds 49 gallons, a gray water tank that holds 35 gallons, and a black water tank that also holds 35 gallons. If you are interested in this floor plan, you will be paying around $60,000.

After comparing each company’s most popular travel trailer, we decided that Jayco’s White Hawk was the better deal, although it was a close call. The Alpha Wolf is roughly $7,000 more expensive, which is a deal-breaker for some people. However, we don’t think that an extra foot in length is worth the cost. Furthermore, the White Hawk has two gray water tanks, which can be very helpful on numerous occasions. 

Final Thoughts

Forest River and Jayco are two of the largest RV brands on the market. Whether you choose to go with Forest River or Jayco, you will have a fantastic RV and a reputable company. However, after all of our research into this article, we believe Jayco is the better option. Jayco offers RVs which are equal in quality to Forest River but for a lower price. On the contrary, all of Forest River’s RVs have numerous floor plans, making it easier to find an RV with everything you need.

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