The best tiny house trailer manufacturers & how to choose
Choosing the right trailer to start your tiny house build is one of the most important decisions you'll make.
When I started my house there was no such thing as a tiny house trailer. I had to design my own modification to a traditional flatbed trailer. However, that's not the case anymore. Countless trailer manufacturers have started making tiny house trailers, hoping to make a buck or two off the tiny house craze.
But not all tiny house trailers are created equally! Make sure you get a trailer by a manufacturer who has been building tiny house trailers for years, and has had time to perfect their design to offer the best possible product. Do your homework and read reviews of any companies you choose to buy from.
Here are a couple of the most important specifications to pay attention to, assuming all manufacturers have properly engineered framing and required safety features in place (brakes, light, etc):
Number of axles, weight rating of each axle, and total GVWR - it can't be stressed enough how important it is to get a trailer with a GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) that is more the anticipated weight of your finished house. Overestimate by 20% because guessing too low could ruin the entire project! Also make sure the tires that the manufacturer includes on the trailer are rated for the weight they will be carrying.
- Deck height, axle type, and subfloor type - some trailers use drop-axles to reduce deck height. Some are designed for the subfloor to be built into the trailer frame, while others are designed to be built on top of. There are pros and cons of each (a later blog post) but make sure the trailer you get will work with your tiny house plans.
Below are 4 tiny house trailer manufacturers that I know to be very good at what they do. This is a good starting point in determining which one to choose.
Tiny House Basics
Tiny House Basics has made a name for itself as one of the most popular trailer manufacturers, claiming to be the #1 source for tiny house trailers in both the USA and Canada.
Tiny House Basics has five manufacturing locations and can deliver to all 50 states plus all Canadian provinces!
Tiny Home Builder
Dan Louche is one of these most trusted names in the tiny house world, and has been building tiny house trailers longer than anyone. Tiny Home Builders trailers are time-tested and are sure to be a solid foundation for your tiny house on wheels.
Tiny Home Builders has 4 manufacturing locations to serve the entire country.
Iron Eagle is also one of the first tiny house trailer manufacturers, using a trailer designed in part by the amazing Dee Williams of Portland Alternative Dwellings. Like Tiny House Builders, their trailers have been used on countless successful tiny house builds over the years.
Iron Eagle is located in Portland, OR, and also has dealers in Olympia Washington, California, Idaho, and Nevada.
Trailer Made is also quickly establishing itself as one of the go-to manufacturers for tiny house trailers. They offer a lifetime warranty on their chasis and offer all the features you want and need.
Trailer Made is located in Denver, CO and has manufacturing facilities all over the country for delivery anywhere!
The size and type of trailer you choose (and the house you build on it) will have a great impact on how easy or difficult it is to tow your house. As you plan your house and order a trailer, you should also be thinking ahead and designing a house that will tow well. To do this, make sure you include these essential items in your budget to make towing as safe and easy as possible.
To learn more about towing a tiny house, you can read all the details of both of our long distance towing adventures (with great lessons learned about trailers and proper two vehicles). See the following posts:
- Towing a Tiny House (from California to Texas)
- Our IA to CA Tiny House Towing Adventure: Part One and Part Two
Hi Alek, thank you for your blog.. I'm learning a lot! Question: why didn't you review the Tumbleweed trailers?
I did not include Tumbleweed trailers because I have heard many people have bad experiences with them. For this post, I only wanted to include trailer manufacturers that I believe to produce really good products.
Hi Alek, we are about to buy a never built but two year old Tumbleweed 20' trailer at a fair price of $4k. What are the problems people have had? We might reconsider. Thanks, tg
I don't have any personal experience with them, but I've heard that people have found them to be expensive for what you get, and some who have had some problems with the trailer not properly fitting with the Tumbleweed plans they also bought. I don't have enough info about them to be able to recommend them. I do however, know people directly who have used these other manufacturers and so those I can vouch for.
Appreciate the response, thank you.
My original plan was to refurbish a used trailer, because all new trailer manufacturers were too cost prohibitive with the delivery to East Coast. However, I have recently come across a distributor for Trailer Made in CT, so I'm beginning to entertain the idea. Their trailers are built out of tube steel and a structural engineer friend of mine is saying that they will rust from the inside out, due to trapped moisture, and that a C-channel or I-beam would be preferable. I'm curious if anyone has considered this? And it brings me to a more general questions. Prior to Tiny Homes, I don't believe trailers were expected to last for more than 20 years or so? And most boat trailers were made out of aluminum to escape the rust issue. With Tiny homes, I would expect the lifetime of a trailer should be much longer than that, especially if you invest in an expensive/quality house to be built on top of the trailer. What is the life expectancy of these tiny home trailers? If the trailer structure fails due to rust, is it possible to "move" the house to a new trailer? In 20 years or so, are we going to have an explosion of this issue with all the tiny homes being built today? Thanks!
So don't trap moisture inside when you build, eh? Throw a few packs of silicon beads in there. I reckon this is not an issue.
Those ultra flimsy overhangs on the iron eagle, right under all the weight of the walls, look pretty dodgy. Nice design otherwise. I'm making a hybrid of that bathtub nature with a beefy perimeter like the tiny home builders. 😉
Hi Alek, I'm stalled by indecision when it comes to this important foundation for my 24' home. Perhaps you have a post on the pros/cons of flush cross members or not flush? I'm stuck between a Trailer Made trailer and an Iron Eagle. I know that they can customize but as far as integrity and strength, is there an option you prefer over the other... to flush or not to flush?! Not flush would mean more materials/weight from building of a subfloor, flush would be using the members as in subfloor. Seems like flush would be the way to go but???? Any thoughts on this? I'd appreciate your opinion 🙂 Thanks!
Strength will be adequate with both of these options, assuming you get one designed to carry more than you expect your house to weight, just to be safe. You'll need two 7.5k axels or 3 5k or 6k axels to be safe.
Personally I prefer a flat deck for a full wood sub-floor as that will be better insulated that using the cross members of the trailer itself (metal is a better conductor than wood). Yes, it will be just a bit heavier with more lumber used, but there's always a tradeoff whichever way you go. Both choices will be perfectly fine (there is no right answer as different people will tell you that each is better). If you want an extra few inches, you can consider a drop-axel as well, depending on which type of trailer construction you choose.
Does anyone make Tiny House Trailers using aircraft aluminum?
Not that I know of, at least not any of the major TH trailer companies. It would probably be very expensive and I'm not sure if the engineering would be different compared to steel. You'd probably need to have something custom made.
In New Zealand the aluminium chasis seems to be the norm, steel stud framing is popular.
Aluminum will eventually fail from fatigue, where as with steel, you can engineer your design to eliminate the possibility of fatigue failure. I'd be scared towing an aluminum trailer knowing that its a mater of when it breaks, not if. Fatigue failure is sudden and catastrophic. You wouldn't necessarily see a crack in your frame before its too late. It's not out of the realm of possibility that it can be done safely, but you'd need an engineer to ensure that it will not fatigue in your lifetime from the vibrations and forces it will experience while being towed. They do the same thing with airplanes. The engineers know exactly when their design will fail, and the planes will be decommissioned before the hull fatigues.
Hi Alek, is it possible to deliver a 30X10ft trailer to Melbourne, Australia? Thanks in advance!
Hi Bindu -- You'll need to contact the manufacturers on this page and ask, but I'm pretty certain that you want to find someone in Australia. The legal/size requirements may be slightly different, and the delivery costs would be so huge from the USA that it probably would not make sense.
I just saw a video from Tiny House Big Living on a manufacture I think in Australia. Check out his videos very informative. He lives in New Zealand and travels all over
I’m looking to go with an aluminum gooseneck. Any manufacturer suggestions?
Hi Jim -- Maybe this has changed in recent years, but I doubt you'll find larger tiny house trailers being made of aluminum. Yes, that would be lighter, but structurally I don't think it can carry a load like steel can. I think you're better off trying to save weight elsewhere but get a normal steel trailer.
hi there. Im from the Uk. Northern Ireland -= looking into this for myself currently. where could i get a trailer from? thanks M