Living in Mobile Homes Vs. Shipping Containers

Homeownership is an increasing possibility for many. Sadly, house prices are rising fast, making traditional houses less affordable. Therefore, a large number of potential homeowners are turning to alternate homes. Two alternatives are mobile homes and shipping containers homes.

While both of these offer affordable housing, each option comes with a set of advantages and disadvantages. This blog will look at both. If you are already living in a mobile home and are thinking of swapping for shipping containers, or you are considering living in a mobile home and want to know if you should go for shipping containers, then this is a great read for you.


What is a mobile home?

Mobile homes are a type of prefabricated structure that is usually built in a factory then is transported to the destination after. That entails disassembly of the house, getting the large pieces to the site, and assembling it there after. Mobile homes can also be referred to as trailers, home trailers, or trailer trucks.

The difference between them and travel trailers is that they are bult to last for years, since they are designed to stay in one place for the lifetime of the owner. The purpose of travel trailers, on the other hand, is temporary living. 


After it is transported, the home usually stay only in that place and is used as a permanent living accommodation. The mobile home can be connected to various utilities such as water, electricity, and even sewage. 

Mobile homes can come in different sizes, styles, and range from basic to luxurious looks. They are also built sturdily enough to withstand different weather conditions in that area. They are also designed to be energy efficient and just as attractive as usual homes. 


What is a shipping container home?

Shipping container homes are any homes that are made out of shipping containers. If you’re thinking of the shipping containers that you see out in the port, yes, they are exactly the same thing. While for most people, living in a shipping container home is something that is only seen in movies, it is now very much a possibility nowadays.

Now, it’s easy to assume that these homes are only found in third world countries and that people who live in them are struggling to survive, but you might be surprised. Shipping container homes are a growing trend that is gaining popularity not just in America but all over the world. They are now just being used more and more as a choice of sustainable, green, and practical housing.

You see, the shipping industry is one of the largest in the world, which means it is also responsible for millions of tons of waste. Part of that waste are shipping containers, so why not just use them for homes, right?

Pros and cons of living in mobile homes

If you’re considering living in a mobile home, here are some pros:

  • Mobile homes are great for people who are on a budget, since they’re cheaper than the usual house and can be assembled and transported to any location you like.
  • They’re also environmentally-friendly because they don’t require a lot of materials to build.
  • Mobile homes are also surprisingly roomy for their size. Since they can be custom-built according to your preferences, you can make a three-bedroom house with amenities you wouldn’t be able to afford in a usual home.

Of course, for all benefits you can get out of a mobile home, there are also some negative aspects, including:

  • Mobile homes are less durable if you compare them to shipping containers. Because the materials aren’t as sturdy, you will eventually have to make lot of repairs.
  • This is especially true if you plan to keep relocating. While it is indeed possible to keep moving to various locations, mobile homes are not designed for frequent moves, which again will affect your materials’ integrity.
  • If your image is important to you in your job, you’d have to know that there’s a stigma against living in a mobile home. It’s been going down, but some people will still look down on you for simply living in an alternate home.
  • If you want to sell your mobile home in the future (like your plans have changed), its value won’t be as good as a traditional house.

Pros and cons of living in shipping containers

Now, if you’re considering living in shipping containers, here are some of their benefits:

  • Shipping containers are made to last; after all, they’re made to be on ships that meet different weather conditions constantly. They’re very sturdy and can withstand harsh elements. That makes them an excellent foundation for a home.
  • While you might think you’ll be stuck with just the shipping container look, you can actually also modify your home. They’re very flexible, allowing you to shape them to suit your needs, style and personality. In fact, there are already offices, stores, libraries, bars, and even hotels that are all made from shipping containers.
  • Shipping containers do not need any assembly. Just buy a used one, and you’re good to go. They’re also easy to transport.
  • Shipping containers will actually cost less in the long run than a mobile home. Mobile homes will need more construction time and use up a lot of materials. 

Of course, while living in shipping containers sound great, there are also some negatives, such as:

  • They’re actually narrower than you’d think. So if you don’t want to live in a cramped area, a shipping container may not be for you. Sure, you can install other shipping containers for wider rooms, but that will cost more.
  • The metal of the containers can make it hard for you to have insulation installed. There are no spaces for insulation, unlike typical walls.
  • If you buy a used container, you might have to have it cleaned and disinfected for a while, depending on what was transported inside. And that also means the recycling benefit may not really be as good.


Both mobile homes and shipping containers are a great way to save money on housing and can be very practical to live in. But at the end of the day, you’d want to live in a place which are definitely more stable and will really last a long time. 

If you check out various photo or news reports of shipping containers falling or anything like that, you’d rarely see a shipping container totally squashed or out of shape. That’s how strong they are. 

Mobile homes, on the other hand, are not as sturdy or as safe. Imagine if a hail storm occurred and rocks started flying in the hair. Mobile homes would not last. Or imagine the worst, that a tornado makes a house fly in the air and it lands on your mobile home, your home will be completely squashed.

Because shipping containers are made of very strong metal, we’d go for shipping containers as our bet. You won’t have to worry about structural integrity, and no matter what weather condition occurs, you can rest safe and secure that your home will not collapse in on yourself, and you’re protected from whatever is happening outside.