A trailer is the foundation of your tiny house, so picking the right one is an important part of your design! It will determine the overall square footage of your home as well as how much weight can be carried.
With the trailer being such a critical part of your home, it pays to know what options are available and what considerations need to be taken into account. Here is our guide to help you get started.
What types of trailers are available?
Bumper Pull – This is the most popular type of tiny house trailer and also the least expensive. A bumper pull trailer connects to a tow vehicle with a ball-hitch design. A flat deck (the “foundation”) fits between the fenders, which provides the lowest deck height and allows for a taller tiny house. The trailer comes in various lengths and can have one or more axles, allowing for more weight and length as you add axles.
Deckover – Similar to the bumper pull trailer, the deckover connects with a ball-hitch design and can have multiple axles. Where it differs is the deck fits over the wheels. While this allows for a flat deck and not having to work around wheel wells, it also means you will lose several inches of height.
Gooseneck – The gooseneck tiny home trailer (also known as a 5th wheel tiny home trailer) is a great option for a multi-level tiny house that has more headroom and doesn’t require a full set of stairs or ladder. A gooseneck trailer has a main section similar to a bumper pull trailer, plus it has an upper section — the gooseneck. This upper section is typically used for a bedroom or living room.
We have an in-depth description and sample gooseneck / 5th wheel tiny homes.
What is the most popular tiny house length?
Based on the custom houses we’ve featured, the most popular tiny house length is 28′. This length is the “sweet spot” between ease of moving and providing a good amount of living space (~238 square feet on the main floor of a 28′ x 8.5′ trailer).
What are the legal requirements?
Throughout the US, the maximum trailer width without a permit is 8’6″. While you can go wider, anything more than 8’6″ might require a special permit each time you take it on the road (and multiple permits if you are traveling between states).
The maximum height is 13’6″. Some states will allow higher trailers, but you might run into issues if you decide to move to another state.
As for length, the Department of Transportation allows a maximum of 53′ without a permit, which is why you see many semi truck trailers at that length. Tiny house trailers are smaller than this
Summary: To be road legal without a permit in the US, the maximum trailer size is 8’6″ wide, 13’6″ tall, and 53′ long.
Be sure to check your state, county, and city ordinances for any other restrictions.
Who are the most popular tiny house trailer manufacturers?
Several trailer manufacturers are now building tiny house trailers. Since this is the foundation of your house, we highly recommend getting a trailer built specifically for tiny houses instead of retrofitting a flatbed, car-hauler, or other type of trailer. Even though the other trailers might be rated to carry the weight, they may not be structurally sound to hold your house together.
Here are three of the most popular tiny house trailer manufacturers:
Tiny Home Builders – Florida, Ontario (Canada)
Trailer Made Custom Trailers – Several Locations
Iron Eagle Trailers – Oregon