Tiny House vs RV – How Do They Compare in 2021

Have you been curious how a Tiny House vs RV living compares in 2021? They are lifestyles that suit different people and these are the things you should know.

Many people have been wondering how do we compare tiny houses vs RVs and how they are impacting the shift from a regular home to a tiny home movement.

During the Coronavirus period, the demand for RVs has shot to 40% mainly because of the increasing work-from-home arrangements. The recent reports by an online peer2peer rental service, RVshare confirms that the sales have increased significantly during the pandemic.

During the same time, the demand for tiny houses has increased exponentially. The recent reports show that the Covid-19 pandemic sees a spike in housing and specifically tiny house. Most manufacturers of tiny house plans are in a move to make them more accessible to Americans.

Tiny homes in the US are sought to serve as affordable alternatives to housing but the pandemic has increased the demand exponentially. The tiny house and RV industry have been inundated with inquiries from potential small house fanatics.

tiny house vs RV

Regardless of whether you are new to the RV and the tiny houses industry or an old hat, you might have seen how their popularity has increased lately. This has mainly been the effect of increased demand for work-from-home offices, and more people ditching sticks and bricks lifestyle for a simple lifestyle. So what are the differences between RVs and Tiny Houses? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each of them? This brief covers every piece of information you need to make a sound decision.

Tiny Houses vs RV

What are tiny houses?

Tiny houses are housing structures ranging from 100-400 square feet. Space is enough to fit a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and any other necessity. There are larger tiny houses that can have more than two bedrooms and a customized living area and kitchen.

In some instances, you shouldn’t be surprised to come across a tiny home built on wheels. They can easily be built on standard foundations. Though, since the start of the tiny home movement, we have seen most of them with wheels. But this doesn’t mean that you should trail your next road trip with a home. There are certain regulations and housing codes that limit the use of Tiny Houses on Wheels.

It’s also important to understand that Tiny Homes are not made the same way RVs are. Tiny homes are on average less portable, heavier, and harder to maneuver, and not designed to withstand the stress of a long trip.

Tiny House pros and cons

Pros

  • These houses are very customizable
  • They feel more of a house
  • They will probably not need RV hookups
  • The finish, design, and aesthetic are under the user’s control
  • They can easily be insulated
  • They have relatively larger space
  • RVs are more weatherproof

Cons

  • They are not designed for a lot of travel
  • They are often difficult to insure

What are RVs?

For people that are new to outdoor recreation, it’s harder to discern what RVs are and their advantages over tiny houses and other recreational homes. In simple terms, RV Stands for Recreational vehicles. The term Recreational vehicle is very broad and refers to many types. It can be used to describe a Motorhome or a trailer that you can go with wherever you are specifically for accommodation purposes.

While most people think of RVs as bus-Like behemoths, they come in different shapes and sizes. As a matter of fact, there are three main categories of RVs which are Trailers, truck campers, and Motorhomes. In simple terms, Motor homes are part houses meaning that they can be driven without having to tow them. Trailers require a vehicle with the ability to tow them

The class A motorhomes are the largest RVs that you can find in the market. They have a length of 45 feet or more. They are mainly built on commercial bus chassis and they can sleep more than 10 people. It’s also very easy to see slide outs which give campers more space.

Class B motorhomes are smaller than the three types of RVs and they are usually built on a Van Chassis and can sleep less than 10 people. Class C Motorhomes are somewhere in the middle and ranges between 20-34 feet in length.

Pros and cons of RVs

Pros

  • You can bring your home with you as you travel
  • They are easier to insure
  • They are relatively affordable
  • The RV hookups and service stations are easy to insure
  • You don’t require special permits

Cons

  • Not very waterproof
  • They are poorly insulated
  • They are hard to customize

What are the differences between RVs and Tiny Homes?

With the above information, you might already be able to differentiate between tiny homes and RVs. To help you discern further, we have compiled a list of visible differences between Tiny Homes and RVs.

Tiny Homes are more customizable

RVs are versatile because they come in a huge array of shapes and sizes. They also have different Floor plans and prices just like tiny houses. The best thing about tiny houses is that they are highly customizable and there’s a design to fit all your lifestyle. They are also very easy to customize. If you are a low-key person about luxury amenities and want a place to lay your head and connect with nature, you can get a fold-out trailer that can offer you flexibility and ease of use.

For people that are into living large, then a tiny house will provide more customizable benefits. The tiny houses are usually custom-designed by the owners.

Tiny Houses are more aesthetically pleasing than RVs

This is not a general difference but some people think tiny houses are more aesthetically pleasing than RVs. Probably these people haven’t been hanging around in the right rigs.

The Tiny houses can be pre-designed

There are some vendors out there that offer pre-designed tiny homes and tiny home plans. This means that going the tiny house way is the same as building your own house from scratch. Buying the RV on the other hand is the same as getting a pre-built product.

Tiny Houses are greyer, legally speaking

Some states limit the use of RVs and Tiny homes. In most instances, the states don’t allow the treatment of a building without a foundation as a domicile. Others require certain minimum square footage to meet the code. Besides the fact that some of these rules go unenforced, it can be nerve-wracking to realize that you are breaking the law. What this means is that Tiny houses release legal and Tax-related headaches.

RVs are pre-built and Pre-Installed which gets you on the road fast

If you are ready to ditch the stationary existence as quickly as possible, then the RVs are better because they are usually pre-Built and pre-installed. As a matter of fact, what you need to hit the road is to go to the dealership and purchase one.

Tiny Houses on wheels vs Real-deal RVs Movement

Although we talk about Tiny Houses on wheels, these houses are not made to move so much. Even the best-built RV tiny houses cannot compete perfectly with the real RVs especially when it comes to withstanding the pressure of moving. Most tiny homeowners say that tiny houses cannot even take some short trips. Most owners say that even after moving few meters with tiny houses on wheels have to make some major repairs.

Tiny Houses are perfect for camping in the same area

Since I’ve stated that tiny houses cannot move long distances, they are perfect for camping in the same area. Regardless, a tiny house on wheels can as well be a great deal. But for people looking to get nomadic in the earnest, it’s good to go with the travel trailer and a motorhome.

comparing tiny houses to rv

Advantages of Tiny Houses over RVs

There are some reasons why tiny houses are better in this case. Here I’ve submitted all the reasons I believe Tiny House is better than an RV. However, the decision will come down to what you want and what is needed in real-time.

Tiny Houses look like a House

These kinds of structures look like more of a house. They make users feel like they have a real house. The only difference between tiny houses and normal houses is the size. Other differences are aesthetics and how customizable they are. A tiny house can as well feel more solid, well-built, and more spacious and permanent than an RV.

The Tiny houses are more weatherproofed

The tiny houses are better insulated and winter-proof than RVs. This is mainly because they are custom built from the ground up. The owners can as well choose to add more insulation and heating options depending on the local climates. The RVs are generally not built to be lived in during the winter meaning that you have to tow them to a warmer place.

More options for environmentally friendly materials

As the tiny houses are being built, you can choose non-toxic materials and finishes that you want to use in making the custom-made tiny house. The finishes can be chosen for their low-VOC characteristics, especially for chemical sensitivities. This is very possible in a tiny house but almost impossible with RVs.

Customizable

Tiny houses are available in all sizes, shapes and can be customized depending on the customer’s needs. We have seen some funny tiny house designs such as those that are inspired by Japanese Culture such as the Tea Tree design.

Advantages of RVs over Tiny Houses

RVs are more mobile

This is the biggest difference between an RV and a tiny house, The RVs are made to be moved and for that reason, they are built with lightweight materials and in an aerodynamic design. Tiny homes are much heavier and they are not specifically made to be moved.

The legality and insurance

The tiny homes occupy a bit of grey area and for that reason, they should be built depending on the local codes and regulations. They are therefore harder to insure. But there are some areas in the country where you can get a permit to legally own a tiny house. This means that you need to take time to do your research about the local rules and building codes.

RVs can blend in

The fact is that tiny houses are built to be distinctive while the RVs are built to blend well especially because they can be modified into a van camper type. It’s now up to you to make up your mind.

RVs are more affordable

Lastly, a vintage camper might be relatively affordable. If you are on a budget, then you have to buy an RV because they are cheaper and still functional. You can as well go with second-hand alternatives.

Useful RV Terminology

There are some basic terminologies that you should familiarize yourself with in case you want to rent an RV. Here are some of the terminologies that you should familiarize yourself with.

Wet Bath

This is a bathroom where the shower and the toilet are. In most instances, it’s a combined area and the entire bathroom floor is waterproof and it mainly has a drain.

Sleeping Capacity

The sleeping capacity in simple terms is the number of people that can spend a night in the RV. You must know that the larger the RV doesn’t mean a larger capacity. Check for bunk beds because they can fit more people in a small space.

Dry Bath

This is a bathroom just like the one you have at home. It means that the shower and sink and the toilet are separate from one another.

Towing capacity

How much weight can a car tow? This can easily be found in the owner’s manual and you should know that you cannot tow a car that surpasses the weight requirements.

The tongue weight

This is much related to the tow rating. It is actually the amount of weight that the RV will push on the car’s hitch. This is very important because there are some states with serious regulations about the same.

Tow hitch

The trailer has a metal apparatus on the front that connects to the vehicle. The vehicle you are towing with should equally have a back hitch. The receiver hitches are the most common and have five different types with different towing weights.

Boondocking

This is also known as dry camping and refers to camping without hookups.

Dump station

This is the area at the campsite and RV parks where you are supposed to dispose of the greywater. This is mainly because the water is dirty and can harm the environment.

tiny house vs recreational vehicle

Is Tiny House or RV right for you?

The battle between an RV and a Tiny House is not an easy one no matter what you want in real-time. No matter the side you find yourself in, it might be hard to cross the fence. The only person that can decide which of these two is the best is you. You have to weigh your needs and interests. But still, clarifying the situation between the RV and a tiny house might go down to other factors such as the cost, the movement needs, the space needs, and local regulations.

Should you take out a loan to buy a tiny house or an RV?

If you are planning on an upcoming investment between an RV and a tiny house, you have to weigh the two of them. As described by the financial planners, these two are a great investment, especially during the Coronavirus pandemic. But which one of the two should you invest in?

Over the last few months, RV manufacturers have been very busy. As more and more companies send their employees home to work remotely, more Americans are opting for a better way of moving around and saving on energy, construction and maintenance, and time.

With such changes, the housing market has changed drastically. A January 2021 report shows that the RV industry has gained a 39% uptick in the purchase. This shows that most Americans are opting for a house on wheels. Another popular trend in 2020 and 2021 is Tiny houses. They are usually recommended because they can have more than a single bedroom.

Tiny Homes are easily financed with a mortgage

To help you make a sound decision, I’ve covered this one important distinction between tiny homes and RVs. Tiny homes in simple terms are residence according to Andrew Betterment Financial Planner. Moving on, RVs are recreational purchases and hence there are some personal loaners such as LightStream that can help you in this case. However, you should know that the interest rates for a mortgage and that of a personal loan are not the same.

Reduced expenses

More people are opting for tiny homes because they are moving from large expenses that ordinary homes hold. This way, tiny homes are very likely to save you a relatively higher amount of expenses than an RV.

The Mortgaging Land and Tiny houses are financially prudent

A tiny house is built on land that has its financial value. However, just be sure to do your research in your area. This means that the risk of financing tiny homes is comparably low.

Tiny Homes have lower utility Bills and Maintenance

Compared to RVs and Large homes, tiny homes have fewer utility bills and maintenance costs. This means that you are very likely to save more in long run.

RVs attracts a shorter legal procedure

Tiny houses are much regulated lately and for that reason, their legal process will follow the same path as what the large homes follow. This way, you are very likely to waste a lot of time and money through the process.

RVs are more affordable

When making your decision, don’t forget the cost of Land that is very likely to impact directly your overall costs. RVs don’t require any land and for that reason, they require little money to purchase and start using.

living in a tiny house to an rv

FAQs

What is cheaper, a tiny house or RV?

RVs are cheaper than tiny houses. This is mainly because you need land to build a tiny house which is not the same case with RVs. RVs are also not very regulated and so their insurance and legal procedure are easier and affordable.

Is it cheaper to live in an RV than a Home?

Many people are skeptical about the cost of living full-time in most states in the country. The fact is that making an RV home is cheaper than living in a large home. However, RVs are not perfect for large families.

Why is a tiny house better than a Trailer?

Tiny houses are less toxic and generally feel like a home. Depending on what you want, you can find a Tiny Home or an RV better and cheaper. Although RVs are smaller and more portable, tiny houses can take more than two bedrooms which are ideal for families.

What is the average monthly cost of living in an RV?

The cost will vary significantly depending on a couple of factors. However, you might end up paying up to $2,000 every month to live in an RV. You have to pay for the utilities, Insurance, and maintenance. You can save further by eliminating some of the less necessary things.

What is better, a tiny house or RV?

The decision will come down to your own needs and preferences. Each of them has its own benefits and cons. The RV is mobile and less regulated but it’s smaller and doesn’t feel like a real house. The tiny houses, on the other hand, are relatively larger and feel comfy just like the traditional homes but they’re not very affordable and they might not be very mobile.

Final verdict

It’s up to you to decide which of these two you want for your needs. If you are a constant traveler, you might consider tiny houses on wheels or RVs. But still, tiny houses can be more comfortable and feels just like a normal traditional house. You should take time to do your research and make up your mind before you settle with any of the two. As a matter of fact, you have to do local research for building codes and other regulations pertaining to any of the two.