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Many RV manufacturers exist, but when it comes to the battle of which is best, most RVers can’t quite decide. Two very popular brands are Jayco and Forest River, both offering a huge variety of RV's at comSome staunchly support Jayco and its history of excellence. Others favor Forest River and its variety of RVs and campers. Which of the two RVs should you choose?
To decide whether a Jayco or Forest River RV is right for you, keep the following considerations in mind:
- Brand Reputation
- Vehicle variety
So we can assist you in your decision, we combed the Internet and researched extensively to provide you thorough information on both RV manufacturers. We’ll go through the Class As through Cs these brands produce as well as their fifth wheels and travel trailers, comparing and contrasting. By the time you’re done reading, you can decide whether a Jayco or Forest River is the better choice for you.
(If you're not sure what the various classes mean, check out our post about RV types here).
Which Company Has the Better Reputation?
Reputation is a tricky thing, as personal opinion tends to flavor a person’s view of one company versus another. Just take a look at this thread on the RV.net forum. People have passionate opinions about both Jayco and Forest River RVs.
That’s fair enough. Both brands are comparable to one another in terms of reputation. These are two very well-known, respected RV brands that have become household names among vehicle enthusiasts. It’s hard to quantifiably say one brand is better than another in this area.
Which RV Brand Costs More?
While we’ll share more detailed pricing information later in this guide as we pit RVs from both brands against each other, overall, which of the two manufacturers costs more? This answer is far more quantifiable. Forest River RVs tend to break the bank more.
The Pros and Cons of Jayco RVs
One Jayco owner on RV.net shared his list of pros and cons for this brand of RV, specifically the Eagle. Let’s dive more into these pros and cons now
The forum poster approved of the 5.1 stereo and DVD system included with his vehicle. Modern Eagle travel trailers come with HDMI, Bluetooth, and an AM/FM/DVD/USB/A/V system rated at 12 volts.
The poster also quite liked Jayco’s warranty, the storage space offered in his vehicle, and how the Eagle design intelligently and efficiently uses space. He lauded Jayco for the brand’s “attention to detail,” praising the colors of the vehicle.
He was also a fan of the floor plans available as well as the Amish-made cabinets and how plentiful these are.
Downsides exist, too. This same forum poster from RV.net mentioned that all the storage isn’t easily accessible in his Eagle model. He said that the storage beneath the dinette operates like a lengthy drawer that’s clunky to open. He also says the dinette is a bit dark and could use a skylight or some other form of lighting to brighten things up.
The graywater tank capacity isn’t always spectacular with smaller Jayco trailers like the Eagle, this poster mentions. He says he wishes his graywater tank was bigger. He also would have liked the hot water heater to have an improved draining system.
With only a single vehicle battery and one power vent, those are complaints this user had as well. His biggest gripe? He says he doesn’t get to use his Eagle as much as he’d prefer. Overall, he says, “the cons are nothing,” showing just what a dependable RV brand we’re talking about here.
The Pros and Cons of Forest River RVs
What about Forest River? What are the pros and cons for vehicles from this manufacturer? To answer that question, we found a thread, again on RV.net, discussing just that.
Like the one poster above talked only about the Jayco Eagle, these pros and cons pertain to the Forest River Wildcat. This is a fifth-wheel trailer.
The poster on RV.net says the Wildcat comes with wiring for phone, cable, satellite, and up to four TVs. While this is standard, it’s still a nice feature nonetheless. He also mentioned being a fan of the china toilet, the carpeted storage with lights, and the speed of the hydraulic landing gear.
He also loves the entertainment center featured in the Wildcat, which includes a handful of speakers, a subwoofer, Dolby Digital 5.1 sound, a TV tuner, and a DVD player. There are even water-resistant speakers in the bedroom. Importantly, this user mentions that the fifth wheel retains its new look even with use and that its heater and AC are exceptional.
As for the downsides of the Forest River Wildcat, this same forum poster talks about how he had to tinker with the converter, changing out the 12-volt distribution board since it didn’t want to work consistently. He also noticed the slideout seals would leak during or after bad weather. The sink drain fittings would get loose as well, necessitating a tightening up he had to do himself.
Jayco vs. Forest River by RV Type
Next, let’s put Jayco against Forest River by comparing the types of motorhomes and trailers each brand produces.
Jayco vs. Forest River for Class A Motorhomes
Let’s begin with Class A motorhomes, the biggest, most expensive, and often the most opulent RVs on the road. For Jayco, there’s the 2019 Embark, their luxury pick. In the other corner, there’s the Berkshire XLT from Forest River.
The biggest floorplan for the Embark, the 39T2, has a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating or GVWR of 36,320 pounds. It’s nearly 40 feet long and 101 inches wide. It includes 11 seatbelts, 145 cubic feet of exterior cargo space, a Cummins B 6.7-liter engine, and a fuel tank capable of storing 100 gallons. Its blackwater tank is 41 gallons, the graywater tank 62 gallons, and the freshwater tank 100 gallons as well. You also get two auto-ignition furnaces that can burn up to 15,000 BTUs. It’s priced at roughly $200,000.
The largest Berkshire XLT model, the 45B, also features a Cummins engine, this one an ISL engine capable of achieving 450 horsepower. This Class A motorhome has an exterior length of almost 45 feet and a width of 100 inches. The blackwater tank can hold 42 gallons, the graywater tank 66 gallons, and the freshwater tank 103 gallons. This Berkshire XLT model also has a 150-gallon fuel capacity. The RV has a GVWR of 44,320 pounds. It costs about $300,000.
This is a toughie to pick which is better. The Berkshire XLT slightly outdoes the Jayco, but you’re paying $100k more for it.
Jayco vs. Forest River for Class C Motorhomes
Again, we picked large floorplans, such as the 29XK for the Redhawk. This Class C has a GVWR of 14,500 pounds. It’s almost 33 feet long and has an exterior width of 100 inches. The 2020 Redhawk 29XK features a Triton EFI V10 6.8-liter engine. It has a fuel capacity of 55 gallons, a blackwater tank capacity of 32 gallons, a graywater tank capacity of 41 gallons, and a freshwater tank capacity of 43.50 gallons. It too has an auto-ignition furnace that runs at 30,000 BTUs. It retails for about $107,000.
The Forester 327IS floorplan from Forest River has a GVWR of 14,500 pounds as well. It’s about 32 feet long and almost 12 feet tall. This model has a blackwater tank capacity of 39 gallons, a graywater tank capacity that’s the same, a freshwater tank capacity of 44 gallons, and a fuel capacity of 55 gallons. You might pay about $107,000 for this Class C motorhome, making it the same as the Jayco.
Again, these vehicles are evenly matched, with the Forster having slightly better tank capacities than the 2020 Redhawk.
Jayco vs. Forest River for Fifth Wheels
The 26BHX model of the Eagle HTX has a GVWR of 9,995 pounds. Its cargo carrying capacity is 2,640 pounds, its dry hitch weight 1,525 pounds, and it weighs 7,355 pounds unloaded. This model of the Eagle has an exterior length of about 32 feet and a width of 96 inches. Its blackwater tank capacity is 32.5 gallons, the graywater tank capacity 32.5 gallons as well, and the freshwater tank capacity 42 gallons. This Jayco fifth wheel retails for about $40,000.
The Cardinal Limited’s 3200RLLE is quite sizable. Its GVWR is 16,030 pounds. This heavier fifth wheel has a cargo carrying capacity of 4,081 pounds, a hitch weight of 2,030 pounds, and an unloaded vehicle weight of 11,949 pounds. It’s about 14 feet tall and 100 inches wide. Its blackwater tank capacity is 40 gallons, the graywater tank capacity 96 gallons, and the freshwater tank capacity 64 gallons. This vehicle costs about $54,000 for a 2020 model.
Again, the Forest River has better tank capacity, but it’s also a much bigger fifth wheel. If you want something small and manageable, you might choose the Jayco in this instance.
Jayco vs. Forest River for Travel Trailers
Finally, we’ll end this article by comparing two travel trailers from these beloved manufacturers. We selected the Jayco 2019 White Hawk, which is touted as a lightweight trailer. Going against that, we have the Forest River Alpha Wolf, which won the Best in Show for a New Unit from RV News.
The White Hawk 25FK model has a GVWR of 7,500 pounds. It features a cargo carrying capacity of 1,695 pounds, a dry hitch weight of 755 pounds, and an unloaded vehicle weight of 5,805 pounds. It has a max exterior length of a little over 30 feet and a width of 96 inches. The 25FK includes a blackwater tank with a capacity of 30.5 gallons and a freshwater tank with a 42-gallon capacity. You get not one but two graywater tanks. Both can hold 30.5 gallons. The White Hawk costs about $29,000.
Back to the Alpha Wolf, we’ll talk about the award-winning model, the 26DBH-L. This has a GVWR of 7,600 pounds, a cargo carrying capacity of 1,805 pounds, and a hitch weight of 600 pounds. This travel trailer is 11 feet tall and nearly 32 feet long. It has only one graywater tank with a capacity of 42 gallons. The blackwater tank has the same capacity while the freshwater tank can hold 49 gallons. You might pay $30,000 for this trailer.
With its dual graywater tanks, we have to give this one to the Jayco. You’re spending about the same money on a Forest River trailer but with only one graywater tank.
Jayco and Forest River are two of the biggest RV brands around. You truly cannot go wrong with vehicles from either of these manufacturers. With the information and research we pulled together in this article, you should be ready to make an informed decision that suits your budget and your lifestyle. Good luck!