A 2018 survey conducted by the NHBA (National Home Builders Association) found more than 50% of Americans may consider living in a tiny house. These are homes made up of less than 600 square feet of space.

Having said that, mobile homes are still very popular. Like tiny houses, their popularity has increased in the last few years. In fact, as of 2019, more than 20 million Americans chose to live in such accommodations.

Would you live in a mobile home or a tiny house if you had to? This article will provide you with an overview of the two. We look at tiny house vs mobile home living to help you decide your best option.

Tiny House or Mobile Home: The Choice is Yours

Before we look at the differences between these two house options, let us first look at how they are similar.

The first similarity and the most obvious is that they are smaller than a traditional house. These types of manufactured homes are ideal for people looking to downsize.

The second is that there is the opportunity to be able to customize them to suit your particular needs. This will often occur during the design phase, so you can create a style of home that is unique to you.

Finally, both the tiny house and mobile home cost less in comparison to traditional homes. You may also find that these aren’t usually subject to property tax. This is what makes them both such a tempting option, especially in terms of finances.

Differences Between Mobile Homes and Tiny Houses

We’ve looked at the similarities between these two types of affordable housing. Let us now take a closer look at the key differences between a tiny house and a mobile house.

Quality of Build

A tiny house is designed to be just like regular homes, but, of course, they are smaller in size. In theory, the quality of such houses should be the same as you would expect in traditional houses. However, this depends on who builds it.

There isn’t any guarantee that the quality of the build will be high. Such homes aren’t subject to the same number of regulations that must be met when building standard types of homes.

As for mobile homes, the standard of build comparison isn’t as high as a tiny house. They built them initially during the 20th century. They tend to feature poorly designed insulation and are fitted out with poor-quality wiring.

Today, however, you can purchase mobile homes that meet the 1976 HUD Code. These are of much higher quality but they cost a lot more.

Difference in Cost

The average cost of a tiny house on wheels is around $60,000 and can be as much as $200,000. This price can vary depending on materials and appliances.

As for a mobile home, these will cost you anywhere between $50,000 and $250,000 to purchase. Of course, rather than buying a new one, you could opt for buying second-hand, and these ones may only cost you around $25,000.

How Mobile Are They?

Quite a few tiny houses are built on wheels and helps to be able to get around specific planning restrictions. This is a massive plus as it means you can move from one location to another fairly quickly.

In mobile homes, despite their name, these have not been designed to allow you to move them around and you may find the cost of moving them quite expensive. You’ll have to hire a professional to transport it to its new location. Before this is done, you’ll need to obtain a moving permit.


Impact on the Environment

As they are small, a tiny house doesn’t need as much electricity, water, heat, or other resources to run and maintain them. This is what makes them such an eco-friendly option.

A study carried out discovered that when someone moved into a tiny house, the amount of energy they used was reduced on average by 45%.

You will also find that in some US States, a tiny home may come equipped with renewable energies such as solar panels or a wind turbine, or even both.

On the other hand, mobile homes were seen more like vacation homes, so they weren’t designed to be energy-efficient. Most tend to rely a lot on gas to provide power for their appliances, making them a much less eco-friendly option compared to a tiny house.

Changes have been made in recent years, though, and the standard of finish in newer models has greatly improved.


Due to their larger size, you’ll find that a mobile home is subject to many government and state regulations. A tiny house, due to its size, isn’t subject to these. Essentially, you can do whatever you like with such homes.


This is the most critical difference between a tiny house and a mobile home. A tiny home usually measures between 100 and 400 square feet. As for a mobile home, these can measure anywhere between 600 and 1,300 square feet. Of course this means that a mobile home does come with more living space.

Safety Standards

Both tiny and mobile homes are susceptible to mother nature’s wrath. Unlike traditional homes, they usually lack in providing adequate storm protection such as basements or storm shelters. In addition to this, mobile homes are often built with cheaper materials and may not be able to withstand heavy winds or flooding.

The basic structural safety of a tiny home is dependent on how it was built, and who built it. If you choose to buy such a property, you need to find yourself a reputable builder. They should be certified and should stick to the highest building standards for such properties.

As for manufactured homes, these also need to keep to stringent building codes. In most US states that are now prone to hurricanes, a mobile home must withstand prolonged wind speeds that reach up to 70 miles per hour.

Now that we’ve explained the differences between these two types of manufactured homes, let’s look at their pros and cons.

Pros & Cons of a Tiny House


  • Mobile, most are often built on wheels
  • Use of many types of renewable energies makes them self-sufficent
  • Smaller carbon footprint as they produce their own electricity through the installation of a solar panel or a wind turbine
  • These types of homes are very sustainable and need fewer building resources
  • Many different design options to select from as they are custom built


  • Not suitable for large families as space is limited
  • Expensive in comparison to mobile homes
  • Amount of storage space available is limited

Pros & Cons of a Mobile Home


  • More affordable
  • Larger and more spacious
  • More storage space


  • Not as mobile as the name would suggest
  • Are not self-sufficient as they are more dependent on being close to gas and electrical supplies to use appliances inside them
  • Depending on the state where you live, there are going to be specific Government permits and fees that you will need to meet
  • Value of a mobile homes can go down quite fast

Which is Better: Tiny House vs Mobile Home

Choosing between a tiny house or a mobile home does depend on what your priorities are.

If yours happen to be affordable, you’ll find that a mobile home is more cost-friendly.

If you want a home that offers more flexibility, then you cannot go wrong with investing in a tiny house.

Not only are these types of homes more mobile and ideal for those wanting to follow a nomadic lifestyle, you’ll also find that you can adapt them to meet your particular requirements. Don’t forget these types of housing units are essential if energy conservation is important to you.

As you can see above, there are apparent differences when looking at tiny houses vs mobile homes.

As the popularity of tiny houses continues to grow, the modular homes industry will realize the potential of offering such properties for full-time living.

As the tiny house movement continues to expand, you’ll find that the need for mobile homes may also become increasingly popular. Especially with those looking to downsize or wanting to live an alternative lifestyle.


Now that we’ve looked over the pros and cons of a tiny house vs mobile home, you should have the appropriate knowledge to make the right choice for you and your lifestyle.

Whether you are looking to downgrade and live a more minimalistic life, or you just want to save some money, tiny homes and mobile homes will benefit you greatly. They are affordable, customizable, and offer you more freedom than a traditional house does.

With that in mind, make sure you take into consideration every aspect of your lifestyle to ensure that you are making the right choice when it comes to purchasing one of these homes.

This guide goes over some important questions. Once you have the answers, you should be able to tell which type of home will suit your needs: a tiny house or a mobile one.

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