Tiny Houses on Trailer vs RVs: Which is Better?

Tiny house vs RV

There is a common question that many readers ask me: Why build a tiny house on a trailer when you could just buy an RV? Well! The answer mostly comes down to the lifestyle that you want to live, how much budget you have, how frequent you travel, and more. Some people like a tiny house, but some prefer an RV. Tiny house vs RV? There are pros and cons of living in a tiny house as well as in an RV. This article will show you what they are and which one you should choose.

Tiny House vs RV
Tiny House Or RV. Source: Via tinyhouselistingscanada.com  and tinyhouselistings.com

What’re the Differences?

Tiny houses and RVs have a lot of differences. They also come in various shapes, styles, and size, which makes the differences even far. The following table shows you some of the main characteristics of these mobile homes.

Tiny Houses on a Trailer



Handmade. Build it yourself or buy. Feature a heavy frame, beautiful wood finishing, etc.

Can be handmade, but most are manufactured by a company. Feature lighter weight frame and metal finishing.


Eco-friendly, recycled, and sustainable materials. Often have a waterproof insulator.

Mass-produced materials might contain toxic and off gas. Less sustainable. Often don’t have a waterproof insulator.


Usually under 14 feet in height (including the top roof) and 9 feet in width (including the side eaves).

Usually smaller in size.



Connect to grid power or self-supply using an off-grid system.

Connect to grid power or self-supply using an off-grid system.

Cost more to heat and cool due to lack of insulation.



Free to customize and personalize.

Quite limited to customize and personalize, but not ordered from scratch.

Year-Round Living

Like a real home to live all year round.

Suitable for travel trips rather than the year-round living.

Weight & Portability

Mostly heavier than camping trailers and hard to tow.

Relatively lightweight and easy to tow.


Between $5,000 and $50,000 to build their home. Eliminate the labor costs if building yourself.

Usually cheaper, from around $5,000 to $30,000.


Use an RV plumbing, but owners often prefer composting toilets, gray water outlets, garden hoses, and even rainwater

Use an RV plumbing, RV toilet, water, and waste tanks

Paperwork and Tax


Depending on the states, some require property tax. Paperwork might be difficult.

Packing might also need a registration.

Don’t require any mass-produced tax. Smooth paperwork.

For more information, you can check the video below:

Pros and Cons on Tiny Homes vs RVs

Home Feeling

First, tiny houses feel much more like an actual home as opposed to an RV or a camper. The inside of tiny houses looks essentially like a standard house because they have rooms and private space. On the other hand, an RV cannot give you such feeling. There is only one main compartment, and that’s all.

Tiny house wins. 1 for Tiny House vs RV 0

Lifestyle Matching

Next, a great thing about building your own tiny house or having one built for you is that you can get it built to match your lifestyle. In other words, customize it as the way you want. You can put things here or there. As building yourself, you have much more freedom, and for me, that is truly a representation of my lifestyle. However, with an RV, you only have a set plan where everything is already organized when you buy it.

Tiny house wins. 2 Tiny House vs RV 0

Material Quality

As living in a tiny house on a trailer, you have the chance to decide the types of materials that are being used in the construction and interior. On the other hand, RVs are typically constructed with toxic materials, so there’re a lot of off-gassing. Since you will live in such environment full time, it’s definitely not good for your health.

Tiny house wins. 3 Tiny House vs RV 0

Power Consumption

Another, RVs are not really designed for a full-time living. They’re not insulated very well, which makes them cost more to heat or cool. In contrast, my tiny house includes a spray foam insulation, which makes it much more electric-efficient with heating and cooling, and thus, more effective for a full time living as opposed to living in an RV.

Tiny house wins. 4 Tiny House vs RV 0


Furthermore, A tiny house on a trailer’s weight considerably more than an RV due to using a lot more wood to build the framing. RVs are designed and much more aerodynamically, so you will get better gas mileage. They’re also easier to move down the highway as opposed to tiny houses on wheels. Besides, it might not easy to find a place to park a tiny house.

RV wins. 4 Tiny House vs RV 1

Ease of Movement

Also, one of the main pros of living in an RV is that you can move it from one place to another pretty easily. Of course, a tiny house on a trailer is also movable, but it cannot as easy as moving in RV.

RV wins. 4 Tiny House vs RV 2


Lastly, a tiny house is typically built depending on the length of the size and the quality of materials. Its cost is anywhere from about $10,000 all the way up to $25,000 or $30,000. That’s for the people who choose to do it themselves. If you have a company building it for you, the price will increase, up to $40,000-$50,000. An RV is basically less expensive. It can range in price from about $5,000 to $30,000.

RV wins. 4 Tiny House vs RV 3

tiny home vs rv
Source: Green Moxie

Which One is Better and Why?

Tiny House vs RV? Again! The answer mostly comes down to the lifestyle that you want to live and how much budget you have. With any living situation, there’re some pros and cons. If you love the homey feeling each time you step into your living space while enjoying traveling, then a tiny house on a trailer is definitely for you. But if you love the nomad life with frequent trips and want a truly portable house, an RV will be more suitable.

Personally, I don’t desire to live in an RV. I think the pros of a tiny house on a trailer is far outweighed the cons of it. I love the idea of minimalistic, simple living and put that concept into a house. Also, I love the idea of building my own house.


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