Differences Between Manufactured Homes and Mobile Homes

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At first glance, manufactured homes and mobile homes might look the same, and you might not be able to tell the difference between the two. In fact, the terms “mobile home” and “manufactured home” are often used interchangeably when there are actually various differences both inside and outside that make them distinct from one another. In this article, we will discuss the difference between manufactured and mobile homes to help provide a clear understanding of the two housing units.

Similarities Between Manufactured Homes and Mobile Homes

Both manufactured homes and mobile homes offer homeowners a variety of features. The sizes of both types of housing units can vary from single-story, two-story, or multi-sectional. They can also function as temporary or permanently built. Manufactured homes and mobile homes are housing units that are created and put together in a factory setting. When the home is almost in a completed state, it is then transported to the desired destination or location. After going through the stages of installation, assembly, and various desired design features, mobile homes and manufactured homes are ready to be occupied and serve as a residence.

Manufactured homes and mobile homes both offer various advantages. One advantage is that they can both be easily transported. They come at a much lower cost than a traditional built-in home, which makes them a popular option for many families. They also require less construction time than traditional homes and can be easily and conveniently upgraded and remodeled.

Manufactured Homes

Manufactured homes offer their own set of advantages that do not just stop at being affordable and convenient. According to the Manufactured Housing Institute, manufactured homes are “engineered for wind safety and energy efficiency based on the geographic region in which they are sold.”  Manufactured homes are secured to the ground with steel anchors so homeowners do not have to worry about their homes being able to withstand harsh weather. Not only are they weather resistant, but they are also environmentally friendly. According to the Manufactured Housing Institute, manufactured homes are built in a way that brings about up to “90 percent less waste and environmental impact than site-built housing,” making them perfect for the environmentally conscious homeowner.

HUD Code

The HUD code is one of the main factors that makes a manufactured home different than a mobile home. The HUD code became enacted in 1976 and set up the federal standards for what goes into building a manufactured home. It also contains information that includes how to regulate the construction and quality of all of the different factors that go into building a manufactured home. Some of these aspects include design, construction, strength, durability, transportability, fire resistance, energy efficiency, overall quality, and performance standards for all house systems, including electrical, plumbing, heating, and air conditioning. Before this period of time, there were no regulations in place to ensure quality manufacturing in housing, so the term “mobile home” refers to any housing unit that existed before this unregulated construction time, and the term “manufactured home” is in relation to any housing unit constructed after 1976 that follows the specific rules for design, durability, and safety.


One of the biggest differences between manufactured and mobile homes is how they are often perceived in society, and a lot of that is related to the HUD code. Mobile homes are the original transportable housing units. Before the code, many mobile homes were considered to be low quality housing units which is why the name changed from “mobile home” to “manufactured home” in 1976 to highlight that the features of the housing units had changed, and to help change public perception. Mobile homes are often referred to as “pre-Hud” and manufactured homes are commonly known as “HUD-compliant homes.” Manufactured homes are essentially mobile homes 2.0. Modern manufactured homes are designed according to very strict building standards and are attractive, functional, and often barely indistinguishable when compared to site-built homes. Manufactured homes are also considered real estate property after being properly assembled.

With all of the advantages that they offer, it is no surprise that prefabricated housing is an increasingly popular choice for potential home buyers. If you were previously confused by the terms “mobile home” and “manufactured home,” you are not alone. It is easy to see why people often confuse mobile homes with manufactured homes, but there are a few key differences that make them distinguishable from one another. It is important to know these differences to make sure that you understand what each type of housing unit can offer in order to help you make the best decision for housing that fits your family’s needs.

Steven Baker