The Different Types of RV Slides (Good, Bad, and Ugly)

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The Different Types of RV Slides (Good, Bad, and Ugly)

RV slides can make your vehicle feel more spacious. That means additional seating or storage. Every little bit counts in a tiny home on wheels.

Some RVs have opposing slides that expand the living space, giving you more area than some apartments.

Let’s take a look at the different types and which are best!

What Is an RV Slide? 

A slide is a portion of an RV that extends out of a wall. It moves with an electric motor or hydraulics. Your vehicle can have between one and six of these. 

What Are the Different Types of RV Slides? 

There are two main types of RV slides, electric and hydraulic. There are further distinctions that fall under electric slide-outs.

Electric Motor Driving Slides 

RV slides operated by an electric motor are typically for lighter-weight slides. As a result, they’re less complicated than hydraulic slides and easier to override if there’s a problem. 

Cable Slides 

Cable slides use cables and pulleys connected to an electric motor to move the slide in and out. They can support large and deep slides. However, cable slides tend to be the most expensive systems on the market.

Rack and Pinion Slides 

One of the most common systems is rack and pinion slides. The slide moves when the pinions spin over racks with teeth on the bottom. These slides typically sit flush with the non-moving RV floor as opposed to cable slides.

Power Gear Slides 

An electric motor runs power gear slides. They are lightweight and are usually flush to the main RV wall. This type of slide is the most uncommon. 

Schwintek Slides 

Schwintek slides use worm gears and rails mounted on the sides to roll the slide in and out. The shallow design doesn’t support as much weight. While they’re an inexpensive option, they tend not to be used often anymore due to motor failure when overloaded.

Hydraulic Slides 

RV slides with hydraulic systems are often used for large, heavy slides. The system uses a motorized hydraulic pump to move the slides in and out. If the RV has more than one, the system only requires one motor.

These slides can hold a lot of weight, such as kitchens, heavy couches, and beds. 

Pro Tip: It’s critical to travel with RV Dry Lube. It works on multiple tracks within your RV and won’t collect debris or dust.

What Is a Super Slide Out? 

A super slide out is longer and larger. It can be almost the entire length of one side of the RV. The super slide out usually holds multiple features such as a kitchen, sofa, and wardrobe. The Winnebago Vista 29V is an example of a class A motorhome with a super slide. 

What Are the Best Types of RV Slides? 

Hydraulic slides can hold the heaviest loads. They’re appealing due to their load capacities, but they can be complicated to fix. 

This makes the electric motor driving slide the best type of RV slide.

Rack and pinion systems are the most common electric motor slides. They’re popular because they often run flush with the floor and are the most affordable. 

Is It Worth Buying an RV with Slide Outs? 

Having RV slides is the ideal way to create more space in your camping unit. However, if you prefer not to fuss with another mechanical system, you may want to avoid them.

Do your research before purchasing an RV with this feature. Know which system the slide runs on. When buying used, ensure the previous owner performed proper maintenance on the slides.

Have you ever used an RV that had slides? Did it seem worth it to you?

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1 comment

  1. “Having RV slides is the ideal way to create more space in your camping unit. However, if you prefer not to fuss with another mechanical system, you may want to avoid them … Have you ever used an RV that had slides? Did it seem worth it to you?” (Quote from above.)

    Another thought provoking and informative article. I wish one that more people would consider. I remember the first time that my wife went into a $500k motorhome with 4 slides. She was in love. Outside of the fact that this was like 7X our price range, one should be cognizant of the pluses and minuses of slides. Your article does a good job at delineating those. Ultimately, it’s a personal decision. Space is the plus, and it can be a big one. However, if you ever get stuck on the road with a slide malfunction you may wish you didn’t have them. The more slides and bigger slides that you have, the more you tempt fate. A slide with a heavy refrigerator can also be asking for problems. Our compromise is that we have a sofa-sleeper slide and, knock on wood, we haven’t had a problem in the 4-1/2 years we’ve had this RV. Previous to this, we always had no slides.

    So, the question is do you want more space, or do you want to keep it simple?

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