The brands Jayco and Forest River are two of the most popular RV manufacturers out there. They both have introduced a number of recreational vehicles that have attracted thousands, if not millions, of passionate RVers. But which of the two is the most suitable option for you?
There are several factors to keep in mind when deciding on Jayco vs. Forest River, all of which we’re going to be discussing today. This includes:
- General features
- Unique selling points
- Strength and weaknesses
- Brand best suitable for every RV type
Ready to learn more? Let’s dive right in.
Jayco vs. Forest River: Everything You Need to Know
Before deciding which RV brand is the “best”, we’ll first need to take a look at the nitty-gritty details. First up: Jayco.
Brief History of Jayco
For over 50 years, Jayco has built several types of RVs, including travel trailers, fifth wheelers, motorhomes, toy haulers, and more.
Founded in 1968 by Lloyd Jay Bontrager, Jayco is globally known for its use of connectivity, energy-efficiency, and affordability. In 2010, all of Jayco’s products were awarded the TRA Green Certification for its use of sustainable materials.
In fact, Jayco is the first major RV manufacturer that’s 100% green certified when it comes to its manufacturing processes and materials.
A Deeper Dive into Jayco RVs
The overall craftsmanship of an RV is what makes or breaks the unit, and Jayco certainly doesn’t disappoint.
What makes Jayco different is their utter transparency when it comes to making and testing their products. Jayco allows people to know what they used to make their units, from its foundation, to how it’s handled and packaged.
Their quality construction is second to none, plus they make sure to thoroughly test their RVs before selling them to the market.
Jayco has one of the best warranties in the RV world. They have a 2-year limited warranty that covers your travel trailer for 24 months or 24,000 miles. They’ve also included a 3-year structural warranty that includes the roof, walls, and floors on the new 2020 models.
The Jayco company has a stellar reputation in the RV world. Their extreme attention to detail and commitment to quality is what makes them overall well-loved and trusted. The fact that they’re committed to the protection and development of the environment is a huge bonus.
Other than Jayco’s quality build, consumers are drawn to the company because of their affordability. With their huge range of available RV models and designs, Jayco makes sure there’s a price that matches everyone. Here’s an in-depth Jayco RV review if you want to learn more about this company.
Pros and Cons Found in Jayco RVs
As like any other product, Jayco does come with several advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the pros and cons found in most Jayco RVs/trailers:
- Construction and interior features are of excellent quality
- Brilliant floor plans
- Luxurious interiors
- Ample storage space
- Solid build
- Despite its great warranty, it takes a bit of time to finalize
- Exterior design looks fairly average
- Graywater tank capacity isn’t the best, especially when it comes to smaller Jayco trailers
Brief History of Forest River
Forest River is relatively young compared to Jayco, with the brand coming into existence in 1996. But despite being known for just over 20 years, Forest River has already established itself as a strong RV competitor.
With over 86 manufacturing locations and 11,000 employees, Forest River is certainly one of the biggest RV manufacturers in the world. They’re a popular choice for many, primarily because of their supreme construction, dependability, and diversity.
A Deeper Dive into Forest River RVs
When it comes to quality, Forest River does their best to produce high-quality RVs. To do so, they’d take random units from each of their brands and subjected them to rigorous testing.
These units are tested thoroughly when it comes to electrical, plumbing, LP system, function, and miscellaneous tests to ensure every product is up to their standards.
Forest River has several different warranties depending on the model. Most of their RVs cover a warranty period of 24 months from the date of purchase. This warranty covers any defects in materials and workmanship caused by the company itself.
Other models, such as the Forest River Tent Campers, come with a 3-year parts and labor limited roof, tent, and frame warranty.
Forest River has established a great reputation over the years. They’re a trusted brand because of their product integrity and customer loyalty.
Just like Jayco, Forest River has won many awards. Some of these include 2018’s Reader’s Choice Award for the Best Travel Trailer (Gold), 2019’s Best Folding Camping Trailer (Silver), and 2019’s Best Toy Hauler (Silver).
When it comes to price, you’ll definitely be able to choose a model that fits your budget. Chances are, if you’re in the market for a new RV, you’ve probably considered buying a Forest River product without even realizing it.
However, compared to Jayco, Forest River definitely costs a bit more overall.
Pros and Cons Found in Forest River RVs
Just like Jayco RVs, here are some pros and cons found in Forest RVs:
- Great construction
- Thorough pre-delivery inspection
- Insulation is quite good
- Tows easily
- Wide range of options to choose from
- Standard warranty
- Slightly more expensive compared to Jayco
Jayco vs Forest River: Comparing Both by RV Type
Class A Motorhomes
Class A motorhomes are the largest and most expensive type of RV available. To answer which class A motorhome is better, we’re going to take one of Jayco and Forest River’s top models: the Jayco 2020 Embark, and Forest River’s 2020 Berkshire XLT.
Jayco 2020 Embark
The 2020 Embark has a total of 4 different floor plans, with the Embark 39T2 being the largest option. Its exterior length measures an exact 39′ 11″, with its exterior width of 101″. It includes a Spartan K1 raised rail chassis, a Cummins ISB turbocharged engine, and a 100-gallon fuel tank.
It can store up to 62 gallons of grey-water, and 41 gallons of black-water.
Overall, it costs about $300k.
Forest River’s 2020 Berkshire XLT
The 2020 Berkshire XLT includes a Freightliner XCR Raised Rail Chassis, a Cummins ISL turbocharged engine, and a fuel capacity of 150 gallons.
It can store up to 66 gallons of gray-water, and 42 gallons of black-water. The exterior length is 44′ 10″, and stands at 12′ 9″ in height.
As for the price, the 45CA costs about $400k, but with the right dealer, you can find them for as low as $350k.
Which Class A Motorhome is the Best?
I can honestly say that both Jayco and Forest River are solid options. If I had to choose, I’d go for the Jayco 2020 Embark, mainly because it almost matches up with the Forest River in almost everything, with a fraction of its price.
Class C Motorhomes
Jayco 2020 Melbourne Prestige
The biggest out of 4-floor plans in the Melbourne Prestige is the 24TP. It’s fairly lightweight at only about 11,000 pounds, and has a total exterior width that measures 96″, with an exterior height of 80″. Its storage space comes at 40″.
Both its grey-water tank and black-water tank capacity falls at 31 gallons.
It comes with a Magnum Truss roof system, a 3 liter V6 BluTEC Diesel Chassis engine, and a 26.4-gallon fuel tank. It also has an auto-ignition ducted furnace that burns at 20,000 BTUs.
All in all, it retails at about $160k.
Forest River 2020 Sunseeker MBS
Like the Melbourne Prestige, the Sunseeker also weighs at about 11,000 pounds. Both of its models, the 2400B and the 2400Q, come with the exact same specifications.
The Sunseeker’s exterior length measures at 25′ 5″, with a height of 11′ 3″. It’s fresh-water, gray-water, and black-water gallon capacity all comes to 35 gallons.
You’ll find this unit at a price of only $130K.
Which Class C Motorhome is the Best?
For this round, I’d say the Sunseeker MBS wins my vote. Not only does it have an overall bigger layout, but it also has a slightly better tank capacity than its counterpart.
A Fifth Wheel is a hitch that allows drivers to connect it in the back of a tow vehicle.
In this category, you’ll find that both Jayco and Forest River are evenly matched. I won’t be able to pick Fifth Wheels to compare simply because their specifications are closely alike, especially with the wide range of options they both offer.
Which Fifth Wheel is the Best?
But in this round, I’d say that the Forest River wins only because they have 22 different Fifth Wheel models to choose from, all with its individual floor plan and price. In comparison, Jayco only has 4.
Of course, this isn’t to say that Forest River is superior, but it definitely helps to have a wider variety of floor plans to choose from.
Jayco vs Forest River: Which One is Better for Rental?
When it comes to which one is better for renting, it all comes down to personal choice. For a more “luxurious” option, I’d say go for Forest River. But if you’re willing to sacrifice luxury for comfort and sustainability, Jayco is a brand to consider.
Unique Selling Points of Jayco vs. Forest River
There are many things to love in both Jayco and Forest River RVs. Here are some of the most notable ones I’ve found in both:
Magnum Truss Roof System
Every Jayco RV comes with Magnum Truss XL6 roof systems, which can withstand up to 4,500 pounds of weight. That’s almost 50% more than other known RV roofs!
The strength of Jayco’s roof comes primarily from the use of screws to hold the decking in place, rather than staples as so many RVs use. The roof trusses are joined by oversized nail plate joint fasteners, making for a much tighter truss, with less chance of movement.
Furthermore, Jayco uses strategically placed 2×2 vertical studs to maximize load capacity and strength. Its added weatherproofing measures add to its overall durability, as well.
The Jayco Climate Shield protects against heat as high as 100°F, and cold as low as 0°F. This feature delivers a full four-season protection at almost every weather condition, so you can extend your camping season anywhere, anytime.
The construction of the Jayco Climate Shield is what made this feat possible. It’s all thanks to its fully-enclosed and heated underbelly, double-sided flex-foil insulation, dark tint windows, and durable pecs plumbing.
Unlike many other RV companies, Jayco doesn’t modify or weld stock frames. They believe that doing so weakens the integrity of the product’s foundation.
Instead, they use some of the industry’s strongest frames known to date: the I class structural I-beam frame, and a Norco Next-Gen frame.
Multiple RVs and Floor Plans
One of the best things about Forest River is its wide range of RVs and floor plans. Each is meticulously designed by Forest River’s top architects, guaranteed to satisfy even the pickiest of people.
Forest River uses a solid aluminum frame construction in all of their RVs and trailers, both in and out. They also add value to their aluminum construction by double welding the frames to ensure its structural integrity over the years.
Dexter Torflex Axles
Found in most Forest River RVs, especially in their Flagstaff models, the Dexter Torflex axle features a steel torsion bar surrounded by rubber quartz. This creates a smoother ride and improved suspension when compared to the traditional leaf-spring axles used by other manufacturers.
Does Jayco / Forest River build customized RVs?
No, they don’t. All their RVs are made on an assembly line to maximize the quality, cost, and timeliness of their production. The floorplans of these RVs are available on their individual websites.
Does Forest River RV offer an Extended Warranty?
The only warranty Forest River offers is a One-Year Limited Warranty. Despite that, many of the components found inside the Forest River RVs do have their own warranty, so it’s best to check the brand of the product to see if it’s still under warranty.
Does Jayco / Forest River RV offer a Roadside Assistance Program?
Yes, they do! For both these manufacturers, the first year of their Roadside Assistance Program is free. This includes:
- Jump starts
- Tire changes
- Fuel delivery
- Locksmith/Lockout service
- Technical support
- RV Mobile Mechanic
So let’s answer the question we’ve all been waiting for: Jayco vs. Forest River, which is better?
I personally prefer Jayco more than Forest River. Sure, there are a ton of reasons why Forest Rivers are a great brand, one you’ll most likely find almost anywhere.
But therein also lies the problem; because Forest River distributes to many RVs globally you may find some of their units not as long-lasting as Jayco’s.
Jayco, on the other hand, controls their quality. They build most of their furniture and only use the top name brands for appliances such as stoves, refrigerators, lights, and more. Their warranty is quite attractive as well; 3 years compared to Forest River’s 1 year is a no-brainer for me.