The Best Mobile Home Manufacturers of 2022

Simplicity, affordability, and availability—there’s a lot to like about mobile homes. Here’s how to pick one of the best mobile home manufacturers.

By Tom Scalisi | Published Aug 16, 2022 1:37 PM

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The Best Mobile Home Manufacturer Options

Photo: tumbleweedhouses.com

Manufactured homes are light-years ahead of where they used to be. Once referred to as trailers, today’s mobile homes are better built, more efficient, and more customizable than ever. The best mobile home manufacturers are leading the way, building their homes to higher government standards and committing to value. Folks looking to learn more about these mobile home manufacturers and which brands to shop will want to continue reading. This guide will explain the information that mobile home shoppers will want to know and highlight some of the top manufacturers on the market.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Clayton Homes
  2. RUNNER-UP: Champion Home Builders
  3. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Skyline Homes
  4. BEST FOR TINY HOMES: Tumbleweed Tiny House Company
  5. ALSO CONSIDER: Palm Harbor Homes
The Best Mobile Home Manufacturer Options

Photo: tumbleweedhouses.com

What to Consider When Choosing One of the Best Mobile Home Manufacturers

A lot goes into choosing a mobile home manufacturer. While manufactured homes are typically more affordable than a standard site-built home, they’re still big investments. For that reason, prospective home buyers will want to do their homework before landing on a particular mobile home brand.

Manufactured vs. Mobile vs. Modular Homes

What is a manufactured home? What is a modular home? There’s a lot of jargon in the home- building world. There are essentially three types of factory-built homes: manufactured, mobile, and modular.

  • Manufactured homes are single, double, or triple-wide mobile homes built on movable chassis. The term “manufactured home” started being used in 1974 when the National Mobile Home Construction and Safety Standards Act became law. This act required manufacturers to meet specific criteria regarding materials, quality, and construction methods.
  • Mobile homes are single or double-wide mobile homes constructed on movable chassis. The term “mobile home” refers specifically to homes of this nature that were built before 1976 when quality, materials, and construction methods weren’t closely monitored. Mobile homes aren’t made anymore, but many still use the term to refer to manufactured homes.
  • Modular homes are multipiece homes built in factories and set on foundations. These homes can be as large or small as desired and sit on piers, slabs, or full foundations.

It’s also important to note that there are other forms of factory-built homes. Prefab homes are kits sold to homeowners or builders. The individual walls are built in a factory and shipped out for assembly. Tiny homes may be similar to manufactured homes but may be on a chassis or permanent foundation. Park-model recreational vehicles (PMRVs) are large, heavy, luxurious campers made specifically for campground or mobile home park living.

Retailer Locations and Touring Options

Federal law requires shoppers to purchase manufactured mobile homes from authorized mobile home dealers, not the manufacturers that make them. For this reason, it’s essential to research different manufacturers to see which ones have retail locations nearby. A search for “mobile home dealers near me” or “mobile homes near me” should provide some insight.

This becomes even more important for folks who’d prefer to tour a mobile home before purchasing one. Most retailers have several models set up for touring at their sales offices. Shoppers can schedule tours or drop in during regular business hours. They may be able to walk through one or two models, but some retailers may have a dozen models to compare. This allows shoppers to get a feel for whether mobile home living is right for them and which models would work best for their needs.

Price Range

The cost of a trailer house or mobile home averages around $110,000, but the price could increase to well over $400,000 for customized, luxurious models. A double-wide model will cost more than a single-wide mobile home, with the price jumping approximately 200 percent in some cases.

Home buyers will want to understand that the price of the land and its preparation are typically extra costs that the homeowner will incur. However, basic home installation is often covered by the purchase price.

Customization Options

One of the best parts of shopping for a manufactured mobile home is the ability to customize the design. Some brands allow shoppers to customize their floor plans, which lets customers tailor the manufactured home to their needs.

Some manufacturers may offer features like coffered ceilings, fireplaces, granite countertops, coffee bars, and fixtures. Paint colors, flooring materials, and other basic choices are also areas a customer can also have tailored to their preferences in most cases.

Construction Time

The factories in which manufacturers build mobile homes are highly efficient. They operate like assembly lines, very similar to the automotive industry. The facilities have large cranes for lifting walls and trusses and jigs and templates for quickly building repeatable structures.

In some cases, it takes just a few days for a factory to build a mobile home before it’s ready for delivery. However, the period between the time of order and the time of delivery can be 2 to 3 months or longer in some cases, depending on demand. However, this time allows the homeowner to prepare the site for delivery.

Shipping and Site Preparation

With traditional construction, the materials are delivered to the site, and the home is built in place. Manufactured homes are made in a factory and delivered as a finished product. Homeowners will want to ensure that the cost of shipping the home is included in the total purchase price.

Also, homeowners will want to note that site preparation is typically up to them. This consists of the costs or labor associated with removing trees, leveling the ground, and running utilities to the home. In some cases, the manufacturer will assist the homeowner with finding land, but it’s often through a third-party agency.

Financing Options

There are a lot of ways to finance a mobile home. Homes that are permanently affixed to the land are eligible for traditional mortgages. Those that aren’t may require a chattel loan, which is essentially a mortgage designed specifically for manufactured homes and other movable personal property. Should neither be available, most of the best mobile home manufacturers can help connect shoppers with financing. In some cases, the manufacturer may offer financing, while in other situations, it may have a third-party partner.

Warranties

Federal law requires manufactured home builders to provide a warranty of at least 1 year on their products. These warranties cover materials and workmanship. Some manufacturers take this further and provide their customers with longer terms, such as 15 or 18 months.

Folks who’d prefer long-term coverage may have the option of purchasing extended warranties. These warranties are sometimes a bit less comprehensive than the manufacturer’s warranty, and there may be more hoops to jump through, but they can potentially pay for themselves.

Our Top Picks

That’s a lot of information on choosing the best mobile home manufacturers—but choosing just one can still be a challenge. To help, we put together a list of some of the best companies.

Best Overall

The Best Mobile Home Manufacturer Option: Clayton Homes
Photo: claytonhomes.com

Why It Made the Cut: Between its awards for excellence, fast build times, range of options, and long-term warranties, Clayton Homes is a standout mobile home manufacturer.

Those looking for one of the best mobile home manufacturers will want to check out Clayton Homes. This company is one of the best home builders and also constructs manufactured and modular homes and PMRVs. Clayton offers a wide range of styles, so there’s something to suit just about every home buyer. The company has also won multiple Manufactured Housing Institute Excellence in Manufactured Housing Awards.

The functions on the home search section of the website are somewhat limited, which can slow down the process of looking at the various homes Clayton offers. But Clayton Homes does offer comprehensive home buying and ownership resources. These resources include guides through the buying process, interior decorating tips, and warranty information. And customers can get into their homes relatively quickly, as construction takes Clayton just 5 to 6 days (not including delivery or installation).

Clayton provides a relatively limited 1-year warranty on plumbing, heating, electrical, and appliances, but it also offers 5- and 10-year extended warranties. With home prices starting $60,000, most shoppers can find something to fit their budget as well.

Specs

  • Types of homes: Manufactured, modular, PMRV
  • Shipping area: Nationwide
  • Price range: $60,000 to $300,000
  • Warranties: 1 year on plumbing, heating, electrical, and appliances; 5- and 10-year extended warranties available
  • Financing options: Third-party financing accepted

Pros

Cons

  • Relatively limited base warranty of 1 year
  • Somewhat limited online home search filter functions

Runner-Up

The Best Mobile Home Manufacturer Option: Champion Home Builders
Photo: championhomes.com

Why It Made the Cut: Champion Home Builders offers upscale design features not typically available to mobile home customers, and the company has a wide range of designs to choose from.

Manufactured homes can be basic, but that’s not the case with Champion Home Builders. This manufactured home brand offers upscale features like walk-in closets, tray ceilings, and recessed lighting, giving customers the option to make their house their own. And with a range of floor plans between 500 and 2,300 square feet (including modular homes), there are a lot of designs to choose from.

Shoppers will find that the company’s website limits home searches to a 50-mile radius, which makes finding a retailer more difficult than it may need to be. Champion Home Builders manufactured homes range from roughly $46,000 to $212,000. And although warranties are required by law, each model’s coverage varies.

Specs

  • Types of homes: Manufactured homes, modular homes, PMRVs
  • Shipping area: Nationwide
  • Price range: $46,800 to $212,631
  • Warranties: Varies by model
  • Finacing options: Third-party financing accepted

Pros

  • Wide range of manufactured, modular, and park-ready homes
  • Extensive variety of manufactured home floor plans from 500 to 2,300 square feet
  • Upscale home design features available

Cons

  • Somewhat limited retailer search functions

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Mobile Home Manufacturer Option: Skyline Homes
Photo: skylinehomes.com

Why It Made the Cut: With home prices on both ends of the spectrum, Skyline Homes offers budget-minded shoppers a selection of models to fit their needs.

When it comes to stretching a home shopping budget as far as it might go, Skyline Homes is worth considering. With prices at both ends of the cost spectrum (starting prices as low as $44,900 and as high as $447,515), Skyline Homes helps customers save money without sacrificing quality. Plus, the typical Skyline Homes employee has an average of 10 years’ experience at the company. In fact, Skyline is a two-time winner of the America’s Most Trusted Manufactured Home Builder Award.

Skyline Homes produces manufactured homes as well as modular homes. The company provides a 1-year warranty on structure, plumbing, heating, electrical, and appliances and a third-party 6-year warranty for an extra cost. Skyline can also help customers find financing through their third-party partners. Just don’t give up based on the somewhat limited retailer search functions on the website—it may be worth the effort to find a great home at an even better price.

Specs

  • Types of homes: Manufactured homes, modular homes
  • Shipping area: Nationwide
  • Price range: $44,900 to $447,515
  • Warranties: 1 year on structure, plumbing, heating, electrical, and appliances; additional 6-year warranty provided by third-party partners
  • Financing options: Third-party financing accepted

Pros

Cons

  • Somewhat limited retailer search functions

Best for Tiny Homes

The Best Mobile Home Manufacturer Option: Tumbleweed Tiny House Company
Photo: tumbleweedhouses.com

Why It Made the Cut: Tumbleweed Tiny House Company specializes in tiny homes on rolling chassis, giving shoppers an alternative to standard mobile housing.

Shoppers who want something different than a traditional mobile home might want to shop through the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company catalog. This mobile home manufacturer is one of the best tiny home builders and builds THOW (tiny homes on wheels) and PMRVs, offering shoppers a slightly more unique approach to mobile homes.

Tumbleweed shoppers benefit from taking high-quality 3D virtual tours, allowing them a look into almost every nook and cranny of the home. Also, the interactive online design and quote features mean shoppers will get to customize their homes to meet their taste or their budgets. Tiny homes are restricted to 26- and 30-foot lengths, but Tumbleweed does offer discount pricing for military members, teachers, and first responders. And shoppers looking for something one-of-a-kind can work with Tumbleweed to create a custom tiny home.

Specs

  • Types of homes: Tiny homes on wheels, PMRVs
  • Shipping area: Nationwide
  • Price range: $84,959 to $96,959
  • Warranties: 1 year on plumbing, electrical, roofing, windows, and doors
  • Financing options: Tiny house RV loans available; third-party financing accepted

Pros

  • Custom and production homes available
  • Practical interactive online design and quote feature
  • High-quality 3D virtual tours
  • Special pricing available for military members, teachers, and first responders

Cons

  • Tiny homes for sale restricted to 26-foot and 30-foot lengths

Also Consider

The Best Mobile Home Manufacturer Option: Palm Harbor Homes
Photo: palmharbor.com

Why It Made the Cut: With customizable floor plans and durable building practices, Palm Harbor Homes could be the right choice for some mobile home shoppers.

Palm Harbor Homes could be worth a shot for shoppers looking for more customization and durable building practices. This manufactured and modular home builder allows customers to develop their own floor plans by customizing existing mobile home designs. This offers a unique service that many other manufacturers may not. Unfortunately, there isn’t any pricing or warranty data information, and the website isn’t exactly user-friendly, thanks to its dated design.

Palm Harbor Homes designs and builds its homes to withstand harsh weather. The company even tracks its homes’ performances through major storms like Hurricanes Michael, Irma, Ike, Charley, and Andrew. So if durability and resilience are of the utmost importance, customers won’t want to skip over Palm Harbor Homes.

Specs

  • Types of homes: Manufactured homes, modular homes
  • Shipping area: Not specified
  • Price range: Not specified
  • Warranties: Not specified
  • Financing options: Third-party financing accepted

Pros

  • Customizations and floor plan modifications available
  • Durable homes built to withstand tropical storms and hurricanes

Cons

  • Somewhat user-unfriendly website
  • No pricing information available
  • No warranty information available

Our Verdict

Folks looking for an industry-recognized mobile home manufacturer that builds quickly and offers a wide range of homes will want to consider Clayton Homes. But folks who’d prefer to shop the budget-friendly side of Skyline Homes won’t be disappointed with the brand’s quality and expertise.

How We Chose the Best Best Mobile Home Manufacturers

Filling a list of the best mobile home manufacturers was quite a task. We wanted to make sure that every brand we suggested offered enough value and made sense for shoppers. First, we considered all the crucial features that a top-rated mobile home manufacturer might possess so we would know what to look for. Next, we performed lengthy research on dozens of mobile home brands. We compared factors like pricing, warranties, and build times. We gave companies that met our standards awards based on their strengths.

Before You Buy From One of the Best Mobile Home Manufacturers

Mobile homes aren’t for everyone. Folks who want a basement or a more permanent foundation may find that a mobile home won’t work for them. Also, shoppers who want a highly customized floor plan might find manufactured homes limiting. Furthermore, some banks can be challenging to deal with when it comes to mobile homes. Some banks see these homes as value-depreciating personal property, and obtaining financing can be difficult. Luckily, home buyers can seek out one of the best mobile home loans. Home buyers will also need to consider one of the best mobile home insurance companies, as not every home insurance company will readily insure manufactured homes.

Cost of Buying From One of the Best Mobile Home Manufacturers

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average price of a new mobile home in 2022 was $129,200. While that’s still more affordable than the average price for a house, a mobile home is still a significant investment, especially if it’s new construction. Shoppers looking for mobile homes for sale under $2,000 will likely need to resort to looking for used mobile homes.

Single-section mobile homes are typically less than half the cost of double-section versions, but this can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Add-ons and customizations will tack on more to the price. And customers will want to consider any fees associated with the land the mobile home is on. If a customer rents land in a manufactured home community, that rent will be an added recurring cost, even if the homeowner owns the mobile home outright.

Customers will want to get the details on what the price of their home includes, which might be an extended warranty, delivery, and installation fees. Also, home buyers need to be aware that while a mortgage may cover costs associated with site work, manufacturer financing may not.

The Advantages of Buying From One of the Best Mobile Home Manufacturers

The best mobile home manufacturers work quickly. Some builders can construct an entire mobile home in their facility in 6 or 7 days. While the customers will still have to wait for delivery and installation, this process is much faster than building a traditional home.

Choosing a top-tier mobile home builder may mean access to better warranties. Larger companies often have deals with warranty brands that allow them to offer better coverage, sweetening the deal.

Manufactured mobile home builders have standards they must meet. These standards are set forth by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This helps ensure customers are buying quality homes built to certain specs.

  • The best manufacturers have the facilities, tools, and expertise to build quickly.
  • Top-tier mobile home builders may have access to better warranties.
  • Following HUD standards means better-built homes.

FAQs

Even with all that information on the best mobile home manufacturers, some questions could still arise. Those questions are important to ask, as a manufactured home is a big investment. This section should help answer some of the most frequently asked questions about mobile homes and their manufacturers.

Q. Is a manufactured the same as a mobile home?

The term “mobile home” officially refers to one- or two-section (also known as a double-wide trailer) homes built on rolling chassis before June 15, 1976. The term “manufactured home” refers to one-, two-, or three-section homes built on rolling chassis after June 15, 1976. That year marked a change in how these structures were built, making them safer and of higher quality.

Q. What is the best foundation for a manufactured home?

Manufactured homes on rolling chassis don’t require a foundation. However, piers and concrete pads are both good options for manufactured home foundations.

Q. What are the disadvantages of buying a manufactured home?

Manufactured homes’ values don’t appreciate like traditional site-built or even modular homes. This can be an issue from an investment standpoint, so folks need to weigh their options.

Q. How do you prepare land for a mobile home?

Preparing land for a mobile home involves getting a survey, collecting the necessary permits, determining the exact positioning of the home, building a foundation, and running utilities.

Q. How thick does a concrete slab need to be for a mobile home?

Concrete slabs need to be 4 to 6 inches thick to support a manufactured home properly.

Q. How long do modular homes last?

Modular homes can last 30 to 100 years with proper maintenance. These homes are surprisingly sturdy because they have to make it through transportation at highway speeds.