Tiny Home Blog

Affordable Housing, Simple Living

Comparing tiny houses, container homes and ADUs

Traditional Vacation Rentals

Tiny homes are small houses that are typically less than 400 square feet in size. They are designed to be compact, energy-efficient, and affordable, and are most often built on a trailer or RV chassis to make them easy to move. Tiny homes can be a good option for people who want to live a minimalist lifestyle, or for those who want to downsize and live more sustainably.

Container homes are houses that are built using shipping containers as the primary building material. Shipping containers are strong, durable, and readily available, making them a popular choice for building homes. Container homes can be a good option for people who want to build a unique, industrial-style home, or for those who are looking for an affordable housing option.

Accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are small, separate living spaces that are built on the same property as a single-family home. They can be attached to the main house, such as in a basement or above a garage, or they can be a standalone structure, like a tiny house or a converted shed. ADUs are also known as granny flats, in-law units, or secondary suites, and they are a type of housing that is gaining popularity in many parts of the country. ADUs can be used as rental properties, home offices, guest houses, or even a place for aging parents to live.

So, what’s the difference between these three types of small, alternative housing options? Here are a few key points to consider:


Tiny home RVs and container homes typically have about the same amount of usable space. However, tiny homes on wheels are shorter in size and instead have sleeping lofts. Container homes might feel larger inside because they do not have stairs and higher ceilings.    


Tiny homes are designed to be portable and can be moved from one location to another. Container homes can also be moved, but they are typically less portable than tiny homes due to their size and weight. ADUs are generally not portable, as they are built on a specific piece of property. ADUs generally must be on a permanent foundation, so therefore tiny home RVs are not an option. Container homes on the other hand can be built to International Residential Code (IRC) helping them to qualify in most cities and counties throughout the country. 


The cost of tiny homes, container homes, and ADUs can vary widely, depending on factors such as location, materials, and amenities. Container homes are the lowest cost option because the basic structure is already built. They are significantly less expensive site-built ADUs. 

Building Regulations

Building regulations for tiny homes, container homes, and accessory dwelling units (ADUs) can vary significantly from one location to another and depending on the build quality. Some areas may have stricter regulations for tiny homes and container homes as they are considered to be alternative housing.  ADUs may be subject to different regulations than the primary dwelling. For best results, always look for a container home or ADU that is built to International Residential Code (IRC).  


Overall, tiny homes, container homes, and ADUs are all small, alternative housing options. That can provide a number of benefits for homeowners and communities. Each type of home has its own unique characteristics, and the best choice for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. If you’re considering building or living in a tiny home, container home, or ADU. It’s important to research local zoning and building regulations to make sure. It is allowed in your area, and to work with a qualified contractor to ensure. That the project is done safely and correctly.

Find your dream tiny home today at Snake River Tiny Homes. Their simple, turn-key process makes it easy to design, build and finance the perfect tiny house, or container home. To get started, schedule a call with one of their tiny home specialists. You will be glad you did.4


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