RV or mobile home? (the main differences)

In this article, we will help you choose: RV or mobile home. We will explain what are the advantages and disadvantages of living in both of these motorhomes. 

RV or mobile home – what to choose? 

We understand that choosing between an RV or a mobile home may be a difficult decision for some. This is why below you can read about the main differences between an RV and a mobile home. 

CriteriaRVMobile home
ComfortLess space that you have to share with other family members. Smaller kitchen and bathroom, chemical toilet needs to be emptied, freshwater added, needs to be hooked up for electricity, etc. Like living in a house. Most mobile homes have the essential equipment: a real bed, a shower just for you, a small equipped kitchen, etc.
AtmosphereWhen located on the campsite it offers you less privacy, nonetheless, it gives you a type of freedom that other types of housing can’t. Located on the same campsite, it allows you to enjoy the same activities as in a normal neighbourhood with a very “friendly” atmosphere.
EnvironmentYou can sleep every night in a different place if you wish so. More difficult to move a mobile home than an RV. Besides, you can’t just “park it” somewhere, it must be an approved campsite for mobile homes.
PriceThe average rental price for an RV is estimated at $1,750 to $10,000 (Plus Tax) per month. The rental of a mobile home for 5 to 6 people, for 1 week in the high season in a 3-star campsite, is estimated on average at $663. Water consumption and electricity may be subject to an additional charge.

Before asking what is best – an RV or a mobile home – let’s first understand what types and models of motorhomes are there:

  • Mobile homes;
  • RVs;
  • Trailers;
  • Pop-up Trailers;
  • Caravans. 

A mobile home is a transportable home with all the qualities. It can be moved from one place to another with the help of the right professionals, but it is not as easy to transport as a caravan. These spaces are usually equipped with wheels and a piece to connect with a vehicle for subsequent transport.

RVs: The models range from the most basic and inexpensive, similar to tents to the most comfortable, with rooms, furniture and home equipment

Fifth-wheel trailers: They have greater load capacity, have a high-strength gooseneck hitch in the front and a hitch pin in the lower part that increases stability

Pop-up Trailer: They are smaller, lighter to carry and easier to park. They can be towed with a medium minivan. They typically have an expanding canvas roof and include a kitchen, shower, and toilet

Class A Caravans are great, they resemble buses. They can have more than six equipped rooms, full kitchens and additional storage. They are ideal units to spend a few weeks travelling

Class B Caravans are vans also known as “Camper vans” smaller than those of Class A and C. They have basic but very comfortable equipment and are suitable for short trips

Class C Caravans are the largest and most comfortable. Ideal for travelling long distances with the whole family. They have all the comforts and extra storage space


What are mobiles home

The mobile home sector is expanding more and more, but it is still unknown to many people. Hence, it never hurts to try pedagogy around some concepts that are not always entirely clear. 

For example, there are some people who ‘put’ caravans, motorhomes and mobile homes in the same package, when the first two are not the same as mobile homes. We explain it to you.

A mobile home is a mobile home with all the qualities. It can be moved from one place to another with the help of the right professionals, but it is not as easy to transport as a caravan. 

These spaces are usually equipped with wheels and a piece to connect with a vehicle for subsequent transport. Moving a mobile home is not complicated, but the structure and quality of prefabricated homes are more complex – and better than those of a caravan.

Regarding motorhomes, they are easier to define when comparing them with regular caravans. A motorhome is a motorized vehicle in which the caravan area is integrated. There is no vehicle towing the caravan, rather everything is brought together in a single mobile space. This concept is just as far from mobile homes or prefabricated houses.

In the mobile home catalogue, you can find some of the best-prefabricated houses on the market. They are always a better option than a caravan or a motorhome since they respond to the housing needs in the same way as a house to use. Of course, for a much lower price.

What are the differences between a mobile home and a prefabricated house?

Usually, the concepts of “prefabricated house” and “mobile home” are confused with each other. Both constructions share some common characteristics, but there are also numerous differences.

That is to say, they are a class of industrialized, self-supporting and monobloc housing, equipped with a galvanized steel chassis that incorporates a reversible drawbar or rudder and pneumatic wheels. With all this, they are 100% easily transportable.

Likewise, according to their manufacturing and installation criteria, they do not need to be attached or anchored to the ground or to make foundations or any kind of interlocking of civil works.

What does this mean? Well, these homes do not need a building license!

Although, it is advisable to consult the City Council of the place where your house will be located, in case there is any type of additional requirement.

Prefabricated houses, by another order, are fixed constructions, anchored to the ground, which need a previous foundation as well as a license for their construction and location.

Mobile homes, first of all, leave the factory completely finished, ready for installation. Their assembly does not usually last more than a day, and they come fully equipped and prepared to enjoy them.

Second, prefabricated houses are houses whose sections are previously manufactured and moved to their final location for subsequent assembly. The duration of its assembly varies according to the characteristics of the home and can last several days, or even weeks or months.

When selecting this type of construction, it is relevant to assess that, during this assembly period, noise and the transfer of materials can be somewhat annoying, particularly in campsites, whose clients may see their rest and relaxation impaired.

In mobile homes, given their mobility, the addition of upper floors is not recommended, as it would partly lose the ability to be transported easily.

However, it is possible to join several mobile homes, with the aim of achieving a home with more space. Thus, “double” or “twins” homes can be created, or even larger ones, which allows total customization of our home.

Since the prefabricated, on the other hand, are built on the basis of a modular system, they do enable the making of overlapping multi-story designs, although we must bear in mind that the price may be affected as a more complex design is required.

What is an RV

An RV is a habitable motor vehicle. It can also be called a motorhome or a caravan, although it is self-towed.

There are five types of motorhomes, each one adapting its own silhouette and layout.

Thus, there are integral motorhomes (the driver’s cabin part is integrated into the living area), profiled motorhomes (favouring aerodynamics), motorhomes with overhead cabins (they offer a sleeping space at- above the driver’s cabin), motorhomes with removable cell (living area placed on the back of a pick-up like a house on stilts) and converted vans, or vans, made famous thanks to the Volkswagen Combi.

Most motorhomes include all the necessary amenities for residential use: dining area and kitchen, heating and air conditioning, toilets, beds, shower …

In the US, the parking of motorhomes is regulated. Parking on public roads is possible at parking spaces as long as no camping accessories are installed. In certain municipalities, specific parking areas for motorhomes are provided for also supplying water and electricity, emptying wastewater and toilets, etc.

The bottom line

Living in an RV is the dream of many as it offers you freedom that a stationary house can’t. When considering which is best, an RV or mobile home, the answer is subjective. You will perhaps have more space and amenities in a mobile home, but it is more expensive to move it across the country. On the other hand, one can feel safer and more “grounded” in a mobile home than in an RV. 

What do you choose: Life in an RV or in a mobile home? Do not hesitate to share with us and our other readers what your preference is.

FAQ on RV or mobile home

What are mobile homes?

A mobile home is a house that can be easily transported because it is equipped with a chassis, wheels and towing lance.

What is a trailer park in the United States?

Mobile home parks or “trailer parks” in the United States are a flourishing business that uses a growing demand from low-income people, unable to access a home under normal conditions.

What is a manufactured home?

Manufactured homes are built in the controlled environment of a factory and transported in one or more sections on a permanent chassis.

How big is a trailer? 

A typical trailer box is 53 feet long, which is around 17 meters. However, they can measure up to 66 feet (22 meters) or even, as we have seen many times on our roads, double, because two boxes of the same size can be connected.


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