There is a growing trend of people looking to bypass the 'normal' route for climbing up the so-called housing ladder. One such option is to live in a converted or 'purpose-built' shipping container.
This kind of lifestyle has its own unique problems and benefits and is certainly a viable option if that's 'up your street'.
That said the following 9 are great examples of ready-made or DIY options you can take on your route to owning your very own shipping container home.
The following list is far from exhaustive and is in no particular order.
1. This shipping container is basically a tiny Amazon house
Price: $36,000 (plus P & P of 3,754.49)
Our first entry on our list of options to buy a house on Amazon is actually pretty nice by any standards. These shipping containers are prefab tiny houses with windows and other features.
This "pre-fabricated tiny home" can be yours for the low, low price of $36,000. Developed by the Wisconsin-based shipping container company, MODS International, it comes "fully furnished" and can be moved into right away.
Although it basically does just look like a shipping container with windows and doors it does come complete with a bedroom, shower, toilet, working sink, kitchenette, lounge and full double glazing and patio doors.
For added security when you're away from home you can shut the secure shipping container doors and lock them with specialized locks. The shipping container also comes complete with base plumbing, side electrical and water supply connections.
It weighs 7,500 pounds (3402 kg) is 320 feet (just under 30 m2) and is fully insulated, heated and also has air conditioning.
MODS markets the product as a temporary emergency housing unit but there is no reason you can't use it as a regular home.
They also produce a temporary office version.
2. This Amazon tiny house can be customized to your needs
The Weizhengheng Easy Install Prefabricated Container House is easily assembled and, like other shipping container homes, is a great example of recycling. Like other products from this company, you can customize the final product to your own specifications.
Each and every home comes completely equipped with power and lighting. Your purchase is not the end of your communication with the company. Their standard shipping container tiny house measures 19.5 feet (5.95 m) long, 15.6 feet (4.76 meters) wide and 8.3 feet (2.52 meters) tall but you can customize to your liking.
Being derived from a shipping container, its external aesthetics are, as you would expect true to its origins, but on the inside, it is a very different story.
You will be given pre-construction advice and consulting services as well as after-sales tracking services to make sure it meets or exceeds, your expectations.
This shipping container home's manufacturer primarily focuses on integrating housing solutions for construction companies, developers, and construction material traders so you can trust in their experience and quality of service.
According to their sales material they "apply industry-leading environmentally friendly green materials" to provide the world's leading structural design[s]".
Most of their products meet the strict requirements for CE, CNAS, BV and ISO 9001 (and other relevant industry certifications).
3. This tiny shipping container home comes with decking and a grill
Comes with a stainless steel refrigerator, two-burner stove and granite worktops.
Supplied by New Generations Builders their "Tiny Home" is not as aesthetically pleasing as other small homes, like say a log cabin, but it is distinctly unique.
Fully supplied with a cooker, fridge, stainless-steel taps (faucets) and sinks as well as a full-sized bath with a glass shower screen and 42-inch TV and surround sound.
Not enough decorative features for you? This unit also comes equipped with a Cyprus wood tongue and groove ceiling, a built-in granite dinette table & chairs, and a double pane sliding glass door with window tint.
Measuring 45 feet (13.72 meters) long by 8 feet (2.44 meters) wide by 9.5 meters (2.9 meters) high this shipping container home also comes with a mini-split AC unit. It also has a 100 amp main breaker panel, is wiring compliant to building codes, and foam insulation throughout.
What's not to like?
It also comes with an outside pressure treated wooden deck, awning, and storage area with outside access and a wall mounted grill. Sounds great but there is a catch...
"We will deliver for FREE anywhere within a 100 miles radius of Tampa, FL. Shipping must be within the US contiguous 48 States."
4. This shipping container tiny house comes with PV
Do you want to buy a prefab module container home that comes with its own power source?
Then this is the perfect choice for you. You can specify it to be designed for other uses so your options are not limited.
This one is a bit of a cheat as you'd need to take a second look to not think it was a converted shipping container.
This unit not only comes with its own PV panel array but also features a small wind power generator system on the roof. On delivery and after, you can expand and collapse the entire structure via remote control.
This feature is performed using a specially designed hydraulic system with the interior fully furnished to your specifications.
The interior fixtures and fittings are supplied to a high standard with fully equipped luxury shower and toilet, kitchen, bedroom, dining table, energy-saving air conditioner and many other features.
Supplied and installed electrical equipment like lighting, a television and refrigerator have a total power consumption of 250w. According to the manufacturer, these can be used continuously for up to 32 hours straight.
The final product is actually nicely designed and its main building elements are made from composite fiberglass.
5. This is one of the smallest pre-built tiny homes on Amazon
Price: $3,625.99 (free P and P)
This tiny home (technically refuge shelter) is fire resistant but has no plumbing.
Built and supplied by DuraMAX, this miniature house wouldn't be practical long-term. It is fire-resistant, built from galvanized steel, and has a versatile metal foundation but is designed and built as a temporary emergency or on-site shelter.
It comes complete with a pre-fabricated metal foundation that is specially designed to allow the unit to be assembled on a flat surface. Fire resistance is provided by the units fire-retardant CFC-free B2 polyurethane insulation that has the added benefit of offering excellent thermal and acoustic insulation.
This shipping container house offers a snow load of 30 pounds per square foot (146.473 kg/m2) and is "one of the strongest do-it-yourself buildings" around. It is also very secure coming supplied with a deadbolt lock that can be used on any side of the panel wall. An extension kit is available in 40" increments and mountable on either side.
It is advertised as a temporary living space or emergency shelter as it is tiny with a floor space of 12 m2. As such, it is more of a cellular office or single bedroom than a true home.
6. This tiny Amazon house can also be used for a pop-up business
Built and supplied by Weizhengheng, their shipping containers can be converted for use as homes or as a base for your very own pop-up cafe, bar or office.
They come in a variety of sizes but you can request a custom one if their standard options don't work for you. Each of their shipping container houses is easy to assemble and their Amazon sales special mentions four skilled workers can assembly one in less than four hours.
They say their option is also environmentally friendly as the containers do not contain toxic paint or other building materials and their construction saves on waste compared to traditional buildings.
It also has an automatic opening and leveling system enabled by a hydraulic system that is controlled with the press of a button.
7. This Amazon tiny house is really small
Price: $23,000 (plus $4,379.49 shipping)
If the MODS International shipping container house above is too big for your budget you could always opt for its smaller 'brother'. The 20 foot (6 meters) option is more compact, as you'd expect, but has all the features you could need as a single person or young couple on a budget.
It has a total floor space of 160 square foot (49 meters squared) but this is more than enough room to pack in a bed (or bunk bed), little kitchenette and 'ensuite bathroom'. The shipping containers main secure doors include double patio versions behind them and it comes complete with full plumbing connections to an infrastructure underneath.
It is also supplied with side electrical and water connections. The finished product is also offered fully furnished with white goods, decorative flooring, lighting and conditioning plants.
Like its big brother, it is really intended for emergency situations but its high spec. the finish makes it ideal for anyone who wishes to own an eco-friendly, low-cost alternative to traditional housing options.
According to the sales material, it should be placed on 12 inch (30 cm) concrete footings or a solid concrete slab for optimum foundations.
8. You could just live in a plain ol' shipping container
Instead of spending the time (and money) on an interior designer, workmen, and architect, you could just live inside a 'vanilla' shipping container. Apparently, according to Amazon, you can pick up a decent one for about 5.5K.
Of course, your new 'home' will lack any form or fitted heating and cooling, electricity, plumbing, insulation, or indeed, windows. This isn't really an issue if you're an experienced 'outdoorsy' type , after all tents lack all of these features.
They do come with a pair of robust doors to one end but these tend to only be lockable from the outside so internal side security might need some work. However if your a 'shipping container home purist' this option is the only one open to you.
You could always get a dog or build your own form of robotic or a DIY security device for peace of mind whilst you're asleep or away from home.
9. This book will tell you everything you need to know to design your own
Price: $10 book, $2.73 kindle
And finally, instead of just buying a prefabricated shipping container home you might consider designing and building your own. Of course, to do this you might need some info.
The title of the book pretty tells you what to expect from its contents, which makes a nice change. It is written with the intent of teaching you the everything you need to know, or at least consider, should you wish to design your own shipping container based homestead.
It will take through common issues to consider, costs to think about and potential pitfalls to take into account on your journey towards your dream 'low cost', former freight container, house.
Of course, a book can only prepare you for the reality of the task at hand so expect the unexpected and, like any investment, make sure you make the appropriate analysis and research prior to spending any hard cash.
Reviews vary on Amazon but the majority, about 66% at the time or writing are generally very positive. As always its probably a good idea to supplement the literature with reaching out to others with experience in the area.