How to Choose RV Steps – Detailed Guide

Categories: How To

RV steps are very important as they allow you to enter and exit your motorhome comfortably. If you don’t have good steps, you may have difficulties each time you get in or out. The industry of RV steps has several brands and plenty of models to choose from. There are electric and manual RV steps as well as various accessories that make them even better, such as lights, rugs, carpets, etc.

With this great variety of choices, you will spend much time picking the right steps for your RV. Moreover, you will have to figure out how to install them or measure steps to fit them into your trailer. With this in mind, we have written this small guide on choosing the right steps for your RV. This article will save your time and give you answers to the most popular and important questions about RV steps.

 Choosing RV Steps: How Many Steps You Need

The first thing one needs to keep in mind is the size of the RV steps. Proper measurement will save much time and effort preventing users from a lot of headaches in long term. If RV steps are chosen improperly, problems will not be far behind. The most common risk is slippage in cold or wet weather conditions. 

By using the above chart, one can easily choose the right RV steps. Along with this table, you can make the following measurements:

  1. To make the right choice, measure the width of the whole system.
  2. By measuring the height of the stair, you will also help yourself in finding the appropriate size.
  3. Finally, you need to measure the size of the stair from the center of the step to the edge of the bottom stair (this measurement should be done diagonally).

Find a large number of RV steps here:

Most RV Ladders Have Between One and Four Steps

Small travel trailer owners typically choose one-step RV staircases. This is a good option for those who are active and fit. When selecting this type of RV step, you will have to do a bigger leap when going inside the camper. This will be a kind of support to make it easier for you to get inside.

The most popular RV staircases are those with two steps. They provide enough stability when being compact and still portable as compared with those items with a larger number of steps.

Three-step RV ladders are also in demand as they allow you to make shallower steps. If you can’t lift your knees very high, this type of RV step will be a good choice for you.

Models having four steps are too large and they are used for bigger RV vehicles. They are not so comfortable to handle.

Finally, there are five-step RV staircases but you don’t need them in most cases. They are too large and can be used as a ramp for wheelchairs.

Manual vs Automatic RV steps

One of the most important aspects when choosing RV steps is to decide whether the ladder will be portable or installed. The difference between them is that portable steps can be easily unmounted while installed steps will be permanently attached to the motorhome. Which one is better? It is more a matter of comfort than a matter of functionality. Most RV owners give preference to permanently installed staircases.

What are the main benefits of using portable RV steps?

First of all, the main pro of buying a portable RV ladder is that this device doesn’t need any installation to serve you. The only thing you need to do is to adjust the ladder to your doorway. If you don’t need the staircase anymore, you can fold it up (if it is foldable) and store it somewhere. Another advantage of buying this type of ladder is that it has a lower cost usually. 

There are several types of portable RV steps that you can find on the market:

  1. Porch-style ladder. It includes handrails, which is a good option if you are going to travel with children or adults. 
  2. Plastic steps. Those items are made of solid plastic. The staircase of this type has usually 2-3 steps.
  3. Folding RV ladder. This type of staircases for RVs can be unfolded and folded up later for storage. 
  4. Adjustable steps. They are made of aluminum and have a special anti-slippage cover.

The latter can be manual or automatic. What are those items? 

Manual RV steps are operated manually as it comes from their name. It means you will have to make effort to unfold the ladder and to fold it back again. Those models have special hinges, which are designed to make it easier to add or remove steps.  

This type of RV step is very popular among trailer owners because of its price. The maintenance is also cheap as there are no electric parts inside. The effort you should apply to unfold or to fold it back is not significant. 

When it comes to electric steps, one needs no effort to unfold them. The steps will be added or removed automatically. All you have to do is to push a special button. Those devices include an electric motor. In some models, steps will be added right away after you open the trailer’s door.

Both types of RV steps have detailed manuals allowing RV owners to install them without calling upon professionals.

Choose a large number of steps here:

How to Choose The Best RV Steps

Selecting the best device is not an easy thing to do especially when it comes to RV ladders. Most RV owners want their staircases to be of high quality, which is a normal desire of any person who wants RV steps to serve as long as possible. Here are some important criteria that will help you to make the right choice:

  1. RV steps should be stable. This is one of the main criteria you should take note of when choosing a ladder for your trailer. Some models may include additional devices including vibration limiters o level adjusters to make their staircase even more stable. 
  2. Weight limitations. Before buying a particular RV ladder, make sure it meets your weight requirements. Otherwise, you risk breaking the device and what is even more important, get injured yourself or endanger the wellbeing of other inhabitants of the RV. Before buying a particular item, you need to know the maximum weight the ladder will be used for. 
  3. How durable the whole device is? This is one of the most popular questions all future owners of RV steps ask before purchasing a particular model. Durability is one of those factors that impact directly the lifespan of any RV ladder. This device will be used on various terrains meaning the lower part of RV steps should be made of a material, which is resistant to various aggressive environments. The best steps are made of metal with some rubber and plastic.
  4. Dimensions. Before buying any RV step, look at its dimensions. They should fit your door first. Another important aspect to consider is the height of the ladder. It should be enough for you to comfortably climb the trailer and get out of it. 
  5. Price. To make it a good deal, the price should be as low as possible. However, if you want your RV steps to be durable and reliable, you shouldn’t place the price in the first place within the range of criteria. Think about what you need before looking at the price. The more features the ladder has, the more money you will have to pay for it.
  6. Finally, do not forget about the warranty. Not all brands offer it to customers. It is better to choose those RV steps with the warranty applied.


When choosing a particular RV step model, you have plenty of criteria to take note of. And the price is one of those important parts that you need to consider before making the final decision. The figures depend on the model and the functionality of a particular RV step you choose.

As it was already mentioned, portable steps are generally cheaper than permanently installed ones. You can buy a set for as little as $60 on average. However, if you choose a model with handrails, the price will significantly increase and reach $350 and even more. 

When it comes to permanently installed ladders, their cost is higher and starts from $100. By paying this amount, you will get a simple staircase with manual control. Those who want to buy an electric set will have to pay from $500 for an item. The prices are indicated there before installation. 

What RV Steps Are The Best  

We have mentioned all the most important criteria that you can use to choose RV steps that will meet all your requirements. As for the best RV staircases, this is a matter of your personal preferences. 

For example, you can choose a manual RV ladder that is a good deal if you want to save money and spend less time installing it. To mount this device, you need to attach such ladder to the frame of the rig and it is done. 

As for the permanently installed items, you will have to spend more time trying to do everything on your own or spend a lot of money if you delegate the installation to the professionals. Those who are looking for comfort and don’t care about the money they will spend on it will choose permanently installed automatic RV steps. 

When selecting the best RV steps for your trailer, you may also consider some additional accessories such as lightning, or step rugs. Those accessories will help you to climb the ladder at night and avoid slippage during the rain or if it snows outside.


How to measure RV steps correctly?

To do that, you can use the table from this article. In general, you will need to measure the width of the model, the height between the steps, and the length from the upper side of the ladder to its bottom line. 

How to replace  RV Steps?

If you need to replace the old steps or those your trailer came with, you have to remove them first. Find the bolts and unscrew them. Next, if you have already bought a new staircase, mount it according to the manual that goes with the set. If you have any difficulties, delegate the whole procedure to the professionals.

Should I buy manual or automatic RV steps?

It depends on your preferences. If you want to save money and effort, you can buy a portable set that you will attach to the trailer each time you make a stop. However, if money is not the main criterion for you, you can purchase a permanently installed automatic staircase.

You can always find a large number of RV steps on our website here: