A lot of you may have noticed just how many people are either purchasing, buying, or even building a tiny house on wheels.
The interest in these has lately increased so much that it’s now referred to as the “tiny house movement“.
Tiny homes are cute and have a nice appeal to them because they look a lot more house-like than their more vehicle-like alternatives.
Therefore, it’s not all that surprising to witness people taking an interest, considering they probably want to leave the suffocation of the city behind without compromising on comfort.
But there are a few questions waiting to be asked here:
Are tiny homes really able to match the comfort expectations of homeowners who’ve just left their traditional homes behind?
Are these small homes really the best option even for those who just want to hit the road or are keen on downsizing and want to live more frugally?
Are they really the most suitable living quarters for you to be dragged around when you want to go on camping trips around the country?
Before we dive into the tiny home vs RV debate and make our case as to why we think RVs are much more preferable, let’s get better acquainted with both.
What Is a Tiny Home?
It’s basically a traditional house on lesser square footage, designed for energy reservation and a humbler lifestyle. A mobile house needs to be less than 400 square feet to be classified as a tiny house.
With the exception of the bathroom, they mostly have just one room which functions as a bedroom, a living room, and a kitchen at the same time.
But, since most tiny houses are DIY, it’s hard to talk about a consistent interior design. In that sense, they are subject to customization.
Unfortunately, this also means that they are not built in accordance with building codes, which might make their installation and maintenance somewhat of a problem.
Furthermore, although they are built on wheels in order to pass as recreational vehicles and to undermine zoning codes, they are not really made to be constantly on the go.
What Is an RV?
It is the recreational vehicle, as mobile and as dynamic as you like. There are a number of different RV types: 5th wheels, caravans, campervans, popup campers, and motorhomes. They don’t have to stay within the limits of a predetermined square footage, and they are mostly standard-built, accommodating all the spaces needed for sleep, kitchen, living, and bath.
Most of them have slide-out extensions providing you with more space in case you or your family happen to have a need for that. Moreover, an RV is built with lightweight materials and in an aerodynamic shape, which results in a great performance on the road.
Tiny House VS RV
Okay! Now that we know what it is, it’s time to explain why an RV should be your clear choice if you’ve ever felt indecisive or confused between the two.
Here are 10 advantages a standard RV has over a tiny house on wheels, so you don’t make a costly mistake and sacrifice your comfort or the comfort of your family!
1. The price for a tiny house is very high per square foot of space.
Since tiny houses are DIY material, their cost will obviously differ from builder to builder. But if you want a properly built one, they will often cost more than 30K and often 50K. You can purchase a used RV for far less.
For example, you can buy a used Airstream travel trailer for 15K. Of course, it might need a little work to look up-to-date on the inside, but even if you invest an additional $5,000 on the necessary upgrades, you are still coming in at $20,000 instead of $50,000.
There are other camper trailers that can be acquired for even less. Sure, the newer Airstreams are as expensive as some houses, but you can find a used one that is still in pretty good shape even though it might have spent 30 years on the road.
Other camping trailers can be had for far less and can also be subjected to whatever fix-up needed for fewer costs than a new tiny house.
2. RVs have downstairs bedrooms.
Many tiny houses have lofts acting as sleeping spaces, and that means climbing a ladder quite often.
Older people and those with any health conditions might find that a loft is not okay.
Lofts are fine for some, but if you’re planning on living on the road full-time, they might not be ideal. Besides, over the years, you might find that you don’t want to climb that ladder every time you need to use the restroom.
3. RVs are actually made to withstand long stretches of being on the highway.
While a lot of people move their tiny homes around fairly often, the fact is that they are not necessarily made to withstand the wind, oil, water, dust, and debris that can be kicked up when going down the road.
Although it might be true that mobile homes have better insulation and weatherproofing to keep noise and dirt on the outside, that doesn’t mean this won’t take a toll on the outside of the house itself.
If the outside of your house is shingled, then whatever is on the road can be slung up under the shingles and lead to water damage among other things. Roof shingles can be lost going down the road, too.
RVs are made to endure those long hauls and adventuresome weather conditions that can present unwanted surprises on your journey.
4. Availability of RVs is greater.
Regardless of the popularity of tiny houses, RVs are still much easier to find.
You can check any local sales paper or online classified ads and find an array of RVs in all types of sizes.
5. Better bathrooms in RVs
I am not going to say that all tiny houses have composting toilets or alternative bathroom setups but a lot of them do.
While incinerating and composting toilets can work for some, they need to be connected to a sewer so they can be properly plumbed. In a scenario in which they are not cared for and not used correctly, they may cause problems in a smelly and even stinking fashion.
This difference between the two also affects how mobile they can be. As the bathrooms of the houses have to be taken care of, they will not be as mobile as you would like. on the other hand, you can travel around in an RV without such worries.
6. RVs are lighter weight for towing and more aerodynamic when going down the road.
One part of having an RV or a tiny house is having a vehicle that is capable of towing it.
Tiny houses are made more like a stick-built house, so they are much heavier than RVs, which are manufactured with lightweight materials without losing much in terms of strength.
A lot of the cost of an RV is due to the fact that its weight has to be taken into consideration. The materials used on RVs have to be both light and strong, and that costs more than wood, concrete fiber boards, and shingles.
Trailers are made more streamlined so they go down the road with less wind resistance so you have an easier time hauling.
7. RVs have a better kitchen and food prep areas.
A lot of the tiny homes you see have very small food prep and cooking areas.
If you want an indoor oven and stove combo then good luck.
While some people manage these mostly pre-built houses to include a few stove eyes and a sink, there’s not much else they can do due to spatial restrictions.
Space for a counter becomes even more valuable, too, because having a dining table will probably prove to be another challenge – a challenge that can’t be met, honestly.
RVs, on the other hand, have dining tables that can be used for just hanging out and relaxing, or as areas where you can prep extra food.
8. RVs sometimes have space for at least a small clothes washer and dryer.
While there are a few people that have sacrificed some below counter space to have a washer or a unit that washes and dries, plenty of those living in a tiny house find themselves at the laundromat, and that is not a cheap solution.
The washer/dryer combos that tiny house owners use are also quite expensive. The dryers of this combo take a long time to do their job, so the possibility that they will be able to meet the washing and drying needs of a family on the road is actually low.
RVs have space for a washer and a dryer – albeit a small one – that will get the job done more efficiently than the ones in tiny houses and without you having to visit the closest laundromat.
9. RVs blend in more.
Part of the appeal of a tiny house is the appearance. Yet, it will stand out even when parked in an RV park.
If you have a tiny house, you should be prepared for people to ask you a lot of questions. They will even want a tour of its interior.
If you are a private person, you really need to consider this. Being on the road a lot and staying at a lot of different locations won’t be so much fun when you’re attracting this much attention.
For those who just want to blend in and enjoy themselves, an RV is the clear go-to. It’s incon
spicuous enough to stay under the radar.
And it might be fair to say that many of the new RV models could easily appeal to anyone’s sense of aesthetics – well, to those of those who wouldn’t mind splurging on a pretty model.
10. Reselling is easier with an RV.
People are more familiar with RVs and therefore it is much easier for them to find comparable ones. That way, they can know what value they are getting for their dollar.
You can easily look up the specs on a fifth wheel trailer or a camper van and find out a lot about it. It can be much harder to find information on a tiny house on wheels, and putting a price tag on it is also very difficult.
You may find that you have to come to terms with a financial loss on that tiny house when you try to sell it.
Deciding Which Is Best For You
Now that I’ve covered all the basics I feel more justified in declaring that an RV holds a fair amount of advantage over a tiny house. RVs are clearly more dynamic and versatile, more suitable for traveling, more friendly in terms of living spaces and their use, and, most importantly, more budget-friendly than tiny homes. In short, they are more likely to meet your expectations.
I shall rest our case here, and leave the choice to you.
Do you have experience living in RVs or tiny houses? Have you lived in both?
Please share with us the positives and negatives you experienced with either one! What tips do you have for making life easier when living in an RV?