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12 Valid Reasons Why Airstreams Are So Expensive. Everything You Need to Know Explained

Deciding to buy an RV is just the first step to fulfilling your dream of becoming an RV owner. You’ll still need to decide which RV type you want, the brand, and even the size you want to purchase. There are different RV brands, like the Airstream. Although they’re quite pricey, they have high-quality trailers to meet your needs.

Airstreams are so expensive because of their aluminum bodies. The outer part of an Airstream is built using high-quality aircraft-grade aluminum alloy installed over a steel frame. After insulation, the inner shell of aluminum is riveted from the inside. Aside from the material being more expensive than other brands, its construction process requires more labor.

However, you may not see Airstreams as often as you see other brands of motorhomes and trailers because they don’t come cheap. A brand new 2020 Airstream costs around $35k to $150k. Little wonder, it’s often asked, “Why are Airstreams so expensive?” Read on for a more detailed overview.

What is an Airstream?

One of the reasons why Airstreams are so expensive is because they are made to last
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Image credit: Airstream.com

An Airstream is a unique-shaped, classic travel trailer used for camping. It is one of the oldest camper trailer brands that was founded in the 1930s by Wally Byam.

Airstreams are popularly known for their shiny and luxuriously curved aluminum bodies. The aluminum materials give them their signature look and durable shell.

Also, the curved shell and aluminum construction are held in place like an airplane using rivets. Interestingly, the unique aluminum exterior requires less maintenance. A silver bullet doesn’t require much sealing and is more water-resistant than the typical style of travel trailer.

Top 12 Reasons Why Airstreams Are So Expensive

The Airstream brand is synonymous with luxury and class. Unlike other trailers, Airstreams don’t rot. Let’s find out why they’re so luxurious and durable.

1. Exceptional Luxury Design

This is one of the reasons why Airstream has become the most recognizable American trailer brand. It’s not just because they’re the oldest in the RV industry but because they design and manufacture their trailers excellently.

The Airstream RV design has stood the test of time. Although they’ve manufactured several models and made a few adjustments, their principal exceptional luxury design has remained.

Their design allows enough room to sit and move around inside the RV. Still, the RV is aerodynamic, and its exterior is beautiful. So if you’re still wondering why Airstreams are so expensive, you should consider the exceptional luxury design as one of the reasons.

2. The Building Process

Airstream workshop filled with luxury Airstream travel trailers shocasing why airstream is expensive and pricey
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Image credit: Airstream.com

Airstreams are hand-crafted by skilled technicians. The building process of an Airstream RV takes about 350 hours to complete. While other trailers are built in roughly 300 hours, Airstream takes the extra time to build trailers that’ll last 15 years longer than other brands.

Airstream builds their holding tanks into the frame, designing their tanks for specific locations. This building method makes their RV have a lower overall weight, a lower center of gravity, better weight distribution, and better aerodynamics. The RV’s weight allows for stability and balance.

Airstream constructs its iconic aluminum shell with an average of 1200 square feet of aluminum. The material is flexible and lightweight, so they bend, flex, and cut the aluminum into their desired shape to form the outer and inner shells by riveting the pieces together. Once all the rivets are placed, the seams are sealed.

After construction, the trailer undergoes several durability tests. If it fails, it is re-fixed and taken for the test again before it can be sold.

3. Reliability and Durability

Airstreams undergo extreme testing to ensure they can withstand any weather condition. The most intense test they undergo is the hurricane test. In this test, the workers spray the trailer with 10,000 gallons of water at hurricane pressure for 30 minutes. While this is ongoing, the quality control specialist inside the trailer checks for leaks.

If he notices anything, the trailer will need to be repaired before furniture installation and sale. Plus, Airstreams are highly durable because of the additional time taken to construct the trailers. The extra time and intense testing process result in incredible reliability and durability.

4. Resell Value and Reputation

It’s a popular saying that “a vehicle reduces $10,000 in price the moment you drive it off the car lot”. That’s because once you purchase a car and start using it, it becomes a used car. Most times, when you try to resell the car, the dealership could claim damage to the car. The same applies to travel trailers and motorhomes.

However, Airstream trailers have a higher resale value compared to other trailers. They don’t mean you’ll be able to resell it at the same price you bought it. Instead, you’ll be able to sell it at a higher percentage of the original price. The reason for their high resale value is their high durability.

Since Airstream RVs are highly durable, they don’t get easily scratched or damaged. So, when you take the RV to a dealer, they won’t be able to beat down the price as they would with other trailer brands.

5. Limited Supply

One of the reasons Airstreams are so expensive is because there’s a limited supply every year. Airstream used to produce just 85 trailers weekly. That’s because their factory size only allows them to produce that number. However, since they acquired a new factory, they started producing up to 160 trailers weekly.

Since the supply can’t meet the demand, Airstream’s price will keep being more expensive than other RV brands. Besides, they’re confident in their pricing because they know that their RVs last a long time.

6. Modern Luxury Style

All Airstream makes, models, and years are timeless and beautiful. Whether it’s their classic travel trailer or a compact class B, their luxury and style are sleek. Not only do Airstreams have multiple interior design material swatches for their countertops and upholstery, but there are also some with more luxurious features. 

Airstream often collaborates with home decor manufacturers and top brands to create exclusive travel trailer interiors. They offer numerous practical RV features in a stylish package, including boondocking capabilities, floor plans, and convenient layouts.

No matter how far away you are from your home, Airstream RVs have quality materials that will provide you with the cozy luxury and comfort you desire. Which is why Airstreams are so expensive and pricey.

7. Aluminum Body

An airstream travel trailer parked at Norwich, Norfolk, England, UK
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Airstream RVs are designed with high-quality aluminum. The aluminum body is so unique that whenever anyone thinks of an RV, they imagine an Airstream RV. The RV’s shell is made from high-quality “aircraft-grade” aluminum alloy riveted over a steel frame. The aluminum layer is insulated, and the inner shell is riveted to the inside of the RV.

The material used in constructing Airstream RVs is similar to that used in World War II aircraft. The aircraft used during World War II were very tough.

In addition, Airstream reduces the amount of plywood used in their RVs. Although plywood is useful, but is not good at insulating RVs and is not as durable as metal materials. Hence, Airstream uses plywood on their RV floor when they need an anchor point for the flooring and appliances.

8. Unique Interior Design

Luxurious interior of an Airstream trailer showcasing one of the reasons why Airstreams are so pricey
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Image credit: Lonelyplanet.com

Airstream uses luxurious, high-quality materials inside its trailers. You’ll find quartz, marble, and other expensive materials in the trailer interior. Even the cabinets and cupboards are made with rich wood.

The interior design of Airstreams draws a lot of attention. It’s not typical and bland. Rather, it’s bright with clean lines and modern aesthetics. Hence, Airstream trailers are expensive because of the design and materials used in their interiors.

9. High-Quality Luxury Appliances

Airstream’s appliances are from luxurious third-party providers, like faucets from Moen. Other RV brands utilize high-end appliances from trusted providers in some of their luxury models, but with Airstream, rest assured that you’re getting luxury all the way.

All its furniture and cabinetry are made of high-quality materials made to fit the trailer’s unique shape. Their quality interior fittings are not made of cheap components. And there you have another reason why Airstreams are so expensive.

10. Tempered Glass Windows

Unlike other RVs that have tiny square windows and small portholes that are only partially open, Airstream RVs have many big windows.

Airstream uses tempered glass on all its windows. Also, the large window size allows you to feel close to nature while enjoying your cup of coffee at your kitchen table.

11. The “On-The-Road” Components

Airstream RVs are built with high-quality “on-the-road” components. Their cooling and heating systems are properly tested to ensure everything is working fine. The same thing applies to their plumbing system, wheels, axles, and brakes.

In addition, Airstream RVs are already built with furniture. So you won’t have to worry about moving furniture into your RV. Once you buy your Airstream RV, you’re good to go. You’ll have peace of mind while on the road because the primary components that will likely wear out are always checked.

12. The Brand Reputation

Airstream travel trailer parked in a campsite
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Airstream is one of the oldest RV brands. They’ve stood the test of time, even with the evolution of new brands. Airstream has built a reputation as a company that builds high-quality, luxurious travel trailers. Unlike many other companies, their trailers aren’t built on an assembly line.

Airstream doesn’t just have a reputable reputation because of the many years it’s been in business. Their brand reputation is stellar because their trailers are built with aluminum and styled with modern luxury materials.

How Much Does Airstream RVs Cost?

Airstream RVs cost between $37,900 to $164,400 depending on the features and style. The Airstream Basecamp camper trailer costs around $37,900, while the Airstream Classic is priced between $164,400 and $170,900.

Just like other RV brands, Airstream offers numerous add-on features that you can choose to install in your RV before driving it off the lot.

To experience the lifestyle of Airstream RV, you must be ready to give up a huge chunk of your wallet. There are different sizes of RV models and sizes, so you should settle for the one that fits your budget.

Airstream Models With Price Examples

Airstream has continuously introduced new RV designs to meet different needs. Let’s go over the specifications and price list of the different Airstream RV models.

Airstream RV ModelsPrice RangeSleeping SpaceLength
Basecamp$37,500 to $40,600216 feet
Bambi$49,600 to $52,600416 to 22 feet
Classic$156,400 to $170,900530 to 33 feet
Caravel$61,900 to $70,900416 to 22 feet
Globetrotter$95,400 to $120,900623 to 30 feet
International Serenity$89,900 to $113,400623 to 30 feet
Nest$42,900 to $45,900216 feet

According to MotorTrend, Airstream makes six touring coaches and nine camper trailers. If you are in the market for an Airstream, your budget will always be a strong consideration. No matter the model you settle for, Airstreams are worth the money.

What Is So Special About Airstream RVs?

The fact that Airstream RVs can last for more than 40 years makes them so special. The regular RVs last for around 15 years.

Interestingly, when you amortize the cost price of an Airstream RV over its years of service, you’ll realize it costs less to own compared to other RVs. Over 70% of all Airstreams ever produced are still on the road today.

Airstreams are typically smaller and easy to move around the place. Unlike other RVs, Airstreams don’t have bump-outs that need to be pushed out or pulled in before the home is completely set up.

Are Airstreams Worth it?

Airstreams are worth it because they’re a long-term investment. You’ll hardly find an Airstream owner who’s not satisfied with their trailer. Even though they’re expensive, you won’t spend money on frequent repairs and maintenance.

Also, Airstream trailers acquire dents a bit more than other trailers because of their aluminum construction. However, Airstreams don’t come with zero maintenance costs. Things may happen that will require specific repairs. But you won’t have to spend every day at the workshop.

Where is Airstream Made?

Airstream has one major center of operation. All Airstream trailers are made in Jackson Center, Ohio. The trailers may be sold at different locations across the country, but they all start in Jackson Center. After construction, they’re shipped out to different distribution centers around the country.

Final Thoughts

When you’re searching for RVs, one of the popular brands you’ll come across is Airstream. They’ve been in existence for decades and have a reputable reputation for producing long-lasting luxury RVs. That answers the question: “Why are Airstreams so expensive?”

So, if you want to buy an RV from Airstream, go ahead. Rest assured, you won’t go wrong, no matter the model. All the models are of the highest quality.  Do you think you will purchase an RV from Airstream? Do you own one already? Let us know your experience in the comment below!

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