A common question most people have when they start learning about tiny houses is the average weight of a tiny house on wheels. It’s an important number to know, because the weight of your tiny house will define the type of trailer and axles you will need for your THOW; if the numbers don’t match up, your entire house and trailer could collapse.
So how much does an average tiny house on wheels weigh? With no personal belongings, people, furnishing, and other components of a house inside of the tiny house, the average tiny house weighs roughly 10,000 pounds. This is known as the dry weight.
Of course, the dry weight of your tiny house will most depend on two factors: the dimensions of your tiny house, and the type of materials used to construct it. Smaller tiny houses have a dry weight of 3,000 pounds; larger tiny houses can have a dry weight of 15,000 pounds. Essentially, you can expect to add an average of 450-500 pounds of weight for every extra foot of trailer length.
How Much Do Tiny Homes Weigh?
The bigger something is, the heavier it weighs (usually), and this applies to tiny houses on wheels. Since mobile tiny houses are generally capped at around 8’6” wide and just about 13’6” tall, it’s usually the length of a tiny house that varies the most. Here’s a rough estimate of the common lengths of tiny houses and their average weights:
|Tiny House Length||Tiny House Average Weight|
|12 – 14 ft||5700 – 6650 lbs|
|18 – 20 ft||8550 – 9500 lbs|
|24 – 28 ft||11,400 – 13,300 lbs|
|32 – 36 ft||15,200 – 17,100 lbs|
While most people build 18-20-foot-long tiny houses these days, there are definitely many who are interested in going longer, but weight becomes more and more of an issue with every extra foot of length.
This is why every tiny house needs to be planned from top to bottom before even the trailer is built or bought, including adding in the weights of every personal belonging, appliance, and building material. And remember: always give yourself at least 1000-2000 pounds of allowance, because these projects always end up being heavier than original paper plans.
Why Is Knowing the Weight of Your Tiny Home Important?
Knowing the weight of your tiny house on wheels is important for two reasons: road limits (more relevant for non-US tiny house readers), and your trailer and axle capacities.
Road weight limits are less relevant in the United States because roads in the US typically have no weight limits (you will only need a commercial driver’s license if the gross combined weight rating of your entire load is over 26,000lbs). Canadians will need a Class A license to tow weights over 9920lbs.
In other countries, weight limits are a more pressing concern, with the following weights limits in place:
- Australia: 4.5 tons (9920lbs)
- New Zealand: 3500kg (7716lbs)
- Europe: 3.5 tons (7700lbs)
Trailer and Axle Capacities
The carrying capacities of your trailer and axles are essential – if you go over these numbers, there is a strong possibility your tiny house will collapse through your trailer, leaving you grounded and in a ton of trouble. Generally, trailer and axle weight capacities are listed with any trailer and axle you buy, but on average you can expect the following numbers:
|Trailer Size (Length)||Trailer Capacity||Axle Carrying Capacity|
|20 feet and shorter||< 10,000 lbs||2 axles, 4000-5000 lbs each|
|20 – 30 feet||< 15,000 lbs||2 axles, 5000-6000 lbs each|
|30 – 40+ feet||< 21,000 lbs||3 axles, 6000-7000 lbs each|
How Do You Know If Your Trailer Can Handle It?
Navigating your way around the acronyms and math of tiny house trailer and axle capacities can be confusing, so here are the most important numbers that you should never exceed or ignore:
|Variable||What is it?|
|Trailer GVWR||Gross Vehicle Weight Rating – the max weight the tires and axles of the trailer can carry|
|Trailer GAWR||Gross Axle Weight Rating – the max weight the axles of the trailer can carry (not including the ratings of the tires)|
|Trailer Hitch Weight||The max support weight of the hitch|
|Tire Load Ratings||The max load your tires can carry|
|GCWR of whole rig||Gross Combined Weight Rating – Max weight of your vehicle, trailer, and tiny house|
|TW||Tongue Weight – This is the weight applied on the tongue, around the front of the tiny house and the back of the vehicle. This weight should always be at least 10-12% of the tiny house weight to maintain balance and driving control|
Note: your trailer weight distribution is extremely important, with 10-12% of the trailer weight pushed to the front near your tongue. If more of the weight is on the back of your trailer, towing your tiny house can be much more dangerous, as demonstrated in this video:
To find the tongue weight of your vehicle, use a tongue weight scale.
How Heavy Can a Tiny House Be?
In the United States with no weight limits for trailers, hypothetically you can build a tiny house as heavy as you want, as long as you stick to the maximum trailer dimensions. However, you are still limited in weight by the maximum capacities of your components; in this case, it’s your hitch.
The hitch is the part connected to the tow vehicle that links to the trailer. There are five classes of hitches, with each class having its own maximum gross trailer weight and maximum tongue weight.
|Hitch Class||Maximum Gross Trailer Carrying Weight||Maximum Tongue Carrying Weight|
With the maximum gross trailer carrying weight of the strongest Class V hitch at 17,000 pounds, this would mean you would need a custom-made hitch as well as a much stronger truck to tow any tiny house above 17,000 pounds. If the dry weight of your tiny house exceeds 17,000 pounds, you’re in for a much more complex towing situation.
Calculate the Weight During the Building Process
If you purchase a certain tiny house plan then it should come with the individual weights for each building component as well as the overall weight of the house. But if you are building your tiny house on your own, with no pre-set plans to guide you, then the easiest way to calculate the weight prior to building the house is adding the weight of every individual building material used.
Every board, screw, pipe, and more should be weighed and added to the total sum, along with the weight of the empty trailer. After weighing the materials and adding it all up, you can then weigh all the belongings you would have inside the house.
Remember: it is absolutely necessary to weigh your house before you build it. If you end up going over the weigh capacity of your trailer, you might be required to upgrade your axles, which is immensely more difficult to do when a house is already built on the trailer.
If you believe you might be going overweight, do your best to use lightweight building materials for your walls, roof, and flooring. Here are some common lightweight building material options:
|OSB Sheathing 3/8”||1.22lbs per square foot|
|OSB Sheathing ½”||1.63lbs per square foot|
|OSB Sheathing 5/8”||2.03lbs per square foot|
|Plywood 3/8”||1.08lbs per square foot|
|Plywood ½”||1.44lbs per square foot|
|Plywood 5/8”||1.8lbs per square foot|
|Gypsum drywall 1/4”||1.1lbs per square foot|
|Gypsum drywall 3/8”||1..65lbs per square foot|
|Gypsum drywall ½”||2.2lbs per square foot|
|Gypsum drywall 5/8”||2.75lbs per square foot|
|Metal Roofing||2.5lbs per square foot|
|Asphalt Roofing||2lbs per square foot|
|TPO Roofing||.7lbs per square foot|
|Porcelain tile||4.5lbs per square foot|
|Birch hardwood floor ½”||2.4lbs per square foot|
|Oak hardwood floor ½”||2.05lbs per square foot|
|Poplar hardwood floor ½”||1.45lbs per square foot|
|Pine wood planks ½”||1.46lbs per square foot|
|Granite ¼”||3.6lbs per square foot|
|Linoleum||.75lbs per square foot|
Weighing Your Tiny House at a CAT Truck Scale
Once the tiny house has been built on the trailer, measuring its final dry weight (or weight with your belongings) is easy enough. Simply head on over to your nearest CAT truck scale and follow the following steps:
- Drive your house over the scale. Ensure that your truck’s front axle is on the first platform and your second axle is on the next, with the axles of your tiny house over on its own platform.
- Have your house weighed, then drive off and receive your official certificate of weight. This should cost an average of $10.
- Drive over the scale again, but this time with just your truck to get the weight of your truck.
With these weights, you can calculate for your official tongue weight with the following formula:
Tongue weight = (Truck and Tiny House Steer Axle + Truck and Tiny House Drive Axle) – (Truck Steer Axle + Truck Drive Axle)
What Kind of Truck Can Pull a Tiny House?
The kind of truck you need for your tiny house on wheels will depend on the size (weight) of your tiny house. Remember: trucks of the same model can have different engines. If you own a truck or large SUV, make sure that you have the right engine for its towing capacity.
|Size||Average Vehicle Towing Capacity||Recommended Trucks|
|Light-To-Medium||< 20 ft length||4000 – 5000 lbs||Lighter trucks, SUVs, some sedans|
|Medium-To-Heavy||20 – 28 ft length||Up to 10,000 lbs||Trucks and large SUVs|
|Heavy-To-Extra Heavy||28 – 32+ ft length||10,000+||Heavy duty trucks|
Building Your Tiny House: Every Pound Matters
Tiny house living is about freedom and mobility, but doing it properly means making the right building and design choices. At the end of the day, your tiny house on wheels is on wheels, not a permanent foundation, and it is essential that you keep your trailer, axle, tires, and your entire house safe and sound for years.
Our advice? Stick to the recommended weights, and never worry about your tiny house’s weight again.
Hey, there! We're Ivan and Manuela from Croatia, and we're crazy about tiny houses. We don't own one (yet).
This website is a result of our passion to share all the knowledge, photos, tips and tricks that we were able to learn while studying everything possible about the tiny house movement.