Mobile Home vs Trailer | How To Decide Which One Is Right For You

For the next three weeks, we’ll examine several alternatives to mobile home housing and why you might prefer one over the other. Today, you’ll get to see the mobile home vs trailer debate with contestants highlighted side by side.

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We’ll look at both pros and cons in an effort to assist you in the decision making process. Choosing a new home is a monumental moment in life and we’d like to help you think through and select the right fit for you and the lifestyle you’re living.

Mobile home vs trailer

While the terms “trailer” and “mobile home” are often used interchangeably, there are some key differences between the two.

In the following paragraphs, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of the mobile home vs trailer question.

A trailer, also known as a travel trailer, is a type of recreational vehicle that is designed to be towed by a car or truck. In contrast, a mobile home is a type of factory-built housing that is designed to be permanently affixed to a foundation.

Mobile homes tend to be larger and more spacious than trailers, with more residential-style features such as full-sized appliances and larger bathrooms. Additionally, trailers are typically designed for short-term, recreational use, while mobile homes are intended for long-term residential use.

Remember, this information is provided to help you come to a good decision. A mobile home is not for everyone, and the same goes for a trailer. There is no one perfect home that fits every person. We’re all different and we all have different needs and dreams. Depending on your way of life and other factors, one may be better than the other. And that’s OK. We’re just here to help you figure out which one is a winner for you.

The skinny on mobile homes

Definitions are paramount in any discussion of contrasts. Mobile homes (also known as manufactured homes) are built in a factory and designed with a steel frame and wheels for travel to the home site. If the home is a double wide, it will be built as two separate pieces and travel separately to the home site. A good factory will have professionals come in and seamlessly bring the two pieces together.


However, the fact that a mobile home comes with wheels for portability doesn’t make it portable for regular travel. While technically, yes, you may move your mobile home again and again, it is expensive and impractical. Mobile homes aren’t moved around very much at all.

The cost of moving a mobile home varies according to distance. A short distance move may cost you up to $5000. According to SFGate, you may plan to spend $6 to $15 per mile in moving costs. And to top that off, you’ll want to budget for additional fees required in completing the move. Escort vehicles required in the move can cost up to $2 per mile. If your axles and tires are in disrepair, you’ll need to fix that before moving.

hundred dollar bill closeup

And let’s not forget about the costs involved in setting up your mobile home. You’ll need your movers to professionally and securely install your home on its new foundation. The movers should also include any utility set up into their fees.

Lot space and utilities

Now when it comes to lot space, according to USA Today, the average rent for a mobile home lot (without financing on the home) is $200 to $300. If you’re dealing with financing or a mortgage, it could run up to $700 to $1000 a month.

While your utilities may not be included in your lot fee, you do have the benefit of a nice-sized yard and space between you and your neighbors. And because your housing situation is static, you’ll get a chance to garden and your pets will have room to run around off of a leash.

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What you can expect in the trailer life

If you’re destined to be a free spirit and find yourself constantly moving from place to place, then a trailer may be right for you. Going back to definitions here. A trailer is a home with a trailer hitch, built to be hauled around by an everyday car or truck.


Conveniently, when it comes to a trailer you can bring your home anywhere with you. Getting tired of the mountains? Haul that home over to the beach. And the best thing of all is, unlike a mobile home, you don’t have to hire a moving company. You can just back that car or truck up to the trailer hitch and get rolling.

Red truck and camping trailer

Lot space and utilities

The average cost per night for RV camping is $29.12. This comes out to $873.60 per month for parking your trailer. According to Wand’rly, this cost fluctuates based on location, private parks or government parks, and free camping. It all depends on the amenities and other factors you may desire. The beauty of it all is that utilities are included in your parking rental fee.

While this is exciting and all, you do need to consider the fact that you don’t have a place to cultivate a garden or host an outdoor party. As small as a trailer can be, you may even be hard-pressed to do much hosting indoors. Adequate yard space between you and your neighbors is also a factor to consider. This makes privacy an issue, but it doesn’t have to be a deal breaker if you’re OK with it. Wifi may also be harder to come by though not impossible.

Making your decision

Concluding the mobile home vs trailer dilemma, some of you may read about the trailer life and think, “Yes! This is all I’ve dreamed of – the flexibility to travel and see the world.” And that’s great.

Some of you may be holding back and balk at the thought of not having a place to sink your roots. But the allure of travel and flexibility is tantalizing. With the affordability of mobile home housing, you can have the best of both worlds. Who says you can’t make plans to travel more often? With your home in the care of good neighbors or a trusted house sitter, you can uproot yourself from time to time and find your way back home.

If you’re looking at housing options for living alone for the first time, here’s why a mobile home is a great idea.

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