Tiny Homes on Wheels vs. ADUs: What Are the Differences?

Tiny Homes on Wheels vs. ADUs: What Are the Differences?

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You’re probably a little unsure about what your options are if you’ve been considering tiny home living. Some tiny houses are stationary while others are compact living options like tiny homes on wheels (THOWs) and accessory dwelling units (ADUs). Both are great choices and as leaders in the tiny house industry, Tru Form Tiny is here to break down the differences between tiny homes on wheels and ADUs so you can go with the housing option that’s right for you!


Mobility is one of the main differences between THOWs and ADUs. As the name suggests, builders construct THOWs on a trailer or chassis so you can easily move them. At Tru Form, we typically build on wheels so our homes can get the RVIA certification and go anywhere an RV can go. These THOWs are a great choice for adventure-seekers who want to explore different living environments.

Accessory dwelling units are more permanent compared to THOWs—which can make them seem less appealing. However, while our ADU offerings are still new, we’ve found that a permanent foundation provides stability and longevity and look forward to building more.

The legality of THOWs and ADUs is another important factor to consider. THOWs are often subject to zoning and building codes for recreational vehicles, while ADUs must follow the same regulations as traditional homes. Ultimately, these laws depend on the location you’re in. Research your local zoning laws before opting for a THOW so you’re sure you and your new home are compliant. ADUs are generally easier to build as they’re more compliant and easier to integrate into existing neighborhoods. All our THOWs are RVIA certified—which is a huge perk of working with us at Tru Form and something we take great pride in.

Size and Design

THOWs and ADUs also differ in terms of size and design. THOWs are much smaller, typically ranging from 100-400 square feet, while ADUs can be larger, up to 800 square feet or more. This difference in size also impacts the design of these two options. ADUs are more customizable, and they often come with full amenities, while THOWs require creativity in their design. You must consider some innovative, space-saving solutions that capitalize on your home’s compact and efficient layout to maximize functionality in a THOW.


The purpose of these two housing options is another important aspect to consider. THOWs are great for minimalists and outdoor enthusiasts or as a vacation home. On the other hand, ADUs are a great choice for the traditional homeowner looking for additional rental income. ADUs are also great as a second space for parents or guests.

The differences between ADUs and tiny homes on wheels are many, and you must consider most if not all of them to ensure you get the right home for you. Tru Form encourages you to consider your lifestyle, needs, and local regulations before deciding, whether the mobility of a tiny home on wheels or the stability of an ADU interests you. THOWs and ADUs offer a unique and alternative way of living, and our expert team at Tru Form can help you find the perfect tiny living solution for you, whichever you choose.

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If you are looking for a completely custom tiny home, a group of tinys for a commercial property, or any other idea – we would love to chat.