Shipping containers have been used for everything from urban farms to off-the-grid getaways and all-in-one pools. Made from the thousands of surplus containers that sit on docks around the world, these homes can be an eco-friendly alternative to traditional building materials.
Shipping container diehards also love their durability and, in some cases, their portability—although this can cost a lot of time and money. And while there are plenty of DIY plans out there, it can be hard to devote the time to transforming a utilitarian box of steel into a cozy abode.
Luckily, several companies sell shipping container homes that can be delivered and assembled in as little as 10 weeks. Containers typically come in two sizes, either 20 feet by 8 feet or 40 feet by 8 feet. The smaller of the two equals about 160 square feet of living space, whereas the larger container gets you 320 square feet. That’s tiny home living at its smallest, so some manufacturers will also combine containers to create bigger models.
To help you figure out which one is the perfect design for you, here are five shipping container homes you can order right this second.
Size: 362 square feet
Key features: Alberta-based Honomobo builds several different models of shipping container homes. Some—like the HO2 studio home—are smaller and feature an open living area and kitchen, with a separate bathroom, nook for a bed and work area, and large glass wall bringing in light from the front.
Honomobo’s largest model costs $162,728 and fits three bedrooms. All Honomobo homes are built to local building codes and are typically installed on a permanent foundation.A funky, artistic home made for living off the grid:
Name: Rhino Cubed’s Zulu Queen
Size: 160 square feet
Key features: With off-the-grid capability, the tiny Zulu Queen container home is named after a ski run in Telluride, Colorado and features a full kitchen powered by a 1250-watt solar generator. It’s made by Boulder-based Rhino Cubed, a company that aims to combine the creature comforts of tiny living with artistic design like sculptural steel doors and colorful “artistic exterior paint.”
A porch-lover’s cozy shipping container:
Name: Custom Container Living
Size: 312 square feet
Key features: Made from a 40-foot shipping container, this home by Custom Container Living uses lap siding and stained pine to create an inviting and rather spacious tiny home with two sleeping lofts. The home fits a standard five-foot tub/shower unit, combo washer/dryer, and full-size dishwasher, and approximately a third of the unit is carved out to form a quaint covered porch.A light-filled shipping container full of upgrades:
Name: Montainer homes
Size: From 160 square feet to 800 square feet
Cost: Starting at $45,000 for the smallest models
Key features: Montana-based Montainer offers all-inclusive container dwellings, from a base modular unit to multiple containers that create living spaces up to 800 square feet. Each Montainer shipping container home comes with appliances and upgrades like wood floors, big windows, and the option to choose from bright exterior paint colors.
An affordable rustic home with a huge rooftop patio:
Name: Backcountry Containers
Size: 160 square feet
Cost: Starting at $32,999
Key features: Located in Houston, Backcountry Containers makes several different shipping container homes, including this model—called the Rustic Retreat—which was designed to sleep up to 3 people in a 20-foot container. There’s also a kitchenette, full bathroom, a large sliding glass door, and the company’s signature rooftop deck.