Choosing a toy hauler is somewhat different than buying an RV in general, because of all the storage room and how they are used. If I were buying a toy hauler, these are things I would shop for.
Another thing I would look for in choosing a toy hauler would be good tie downs -- lots of them. I would make sure they are bolted to a frame member or something solid. Tie downs screwed to a plywood floor rip out under the extra stress of bumps and corners. I don't want a full dress Harley falling over into the one next to it.
I would look for a simple, well-built rig. The fancier they make them, the more things to go wrong. Slide outs can sometimes be troublesome, especially when towed over rough roads and set up on less than level spots out in the wilds. Even with the best warranty in the recreational vehicle industry, if it needs to be fixed, you'll probably have to schedule an appointment, and take it in, wait, then pick it up. If you waste a day taking the rig in for repairs, even if the repair is "free," it will cost your time and frustration.
Check the tires. Are they a respectable brand? Are they heavy enough? Do they have a recent manufacture date? A year after I buy, I don't want to spend $1000, $1200, or more for a set of four decent tires. I've personally had good luck with Cooper tires on my trailers. Like all manufacturers, Cooper makes some lighter tires, also. Whatever brand you buy, get the good, heavy ones.
There are some bargains on new trailers that are one, two, and even three model years old that the RV dealers have in stock that for one reason or another haven't yet sold. Before buying one of them, check the Blue Book value on it, as if it were used. As soon as you buy, it will be used, and that's what it will be worth. It may not look like as good a deal in that light.
This is not an all-inclusive list for choosing a toy hauler. These are a few things I deem important to me. Different people will want different things in a trailer. One thing I advise is to not let a salesman sell you something you're not sure you like or want.
I hope you enjoy your search, and good luck.
Editor's note: My husband, Bob Nilles, wrote this article. He's the one in the family who does most of our recreational vehicle maintenance and mechanical repairs, and quite truthfully, when it comes to safety and quality, the one who knows what to look for when shopping for an RV.
Go to the page indexing the articles that Bob wrote from this page about what to look for when choosing a toy hauler.
Go to the RV Life and Travel blog to find links to our latest updates on RVs, RVers, and the full-time RVing lifestyle.
RVing and Camping T-Shirts