When your entire house measures a mere 200 square feet or less, there’s usually no room for an abundance of normal-sized appliances. If you’re thinking about making the jump to living tiny, you’ll want to start by considering which items you can’t live without — and how you’ll slot them all into your floor plan.
Most tiny house residents find a few basic appliances to be absolute essentials: a water heater, a cooktop, a refrigerator, and a heater or air conditioner. Whether you decide to add on an oven, freezer, washing machine, clothes dryer, microwave, generator, electric ventilation system, and/or various additional kitchen gadgets is up to you.
Your setup will also vary depending on whether you plan to be grid-connected at all times, fully off-grid, or somewhere in between. For flexibility, many people choose appliances that are capable of running on propane or DC power as well as AC power.
Sized just right for tiny homes and versatile enough for most applications, these five essential appliances are a great way to jump-start your shopping list:
Drop-in gas cooktops are affordable, attractive, and easy to use, and you can find them in both two and four-burner models. This one from Atwood, measuring just 16 by 20 inches, runs on propane and doesn’t require connection to power for ignition — just use a lighter or a match. If you really need an oven, too, similar models include one without taking up too much more precious space.
Available in sizes ranging from 2.1 cubic feet to 9.4 cubic feet, this off-grid refrigerator can be hooked up to grid power, run on a solar panel system, or connected to a propane tank. The larger models include a freezer, and while they’re still not full-sized fridges, they hold a lot for their size. Dometic is one of the best-known brands producing refrigerators like these, but many tiny home residents say the lower-priced SMETA is just as good.
Diminutive wood or propane-powered marine stoves are a popular choice for heating tiny houses, and they can offer a lot of cozy ambiance, to boot. But a more versatile option, if you have the electricity to spare, is an energy-efficient ductless mini-split air conditioner and heater combo. The condenser can be mounted to the tongue of your tiny house trailer while the indoor unit is mounted to an interior wall, high up out of the way. Models like this one from Mirage make temperature control easy throughout the year and use a lot less power than a conventional A/C unit.
On-demand hot water is a beautiful thing. This tankless, space-saving unit by Camplux runs on propane, offers a digital temperature display, and puts out 2.64 gallons per minute. While a lot of similar compact propane water heaters must be used outdoors for safety, this one comes with a horizontal venting pipe, exhaust fan, and safe electronic ignition system. Even better, it actually doesn’t look half bad hanging on the wall.
Few people have time to wash their clothes by hand these days, and laundromats aren’t so fun either. If you really want the ability to do laundry in your tiny home, a combo washer/dryer is the way to go. LG’s 2.3-cubic-foot model gives you almost the same capacity and all the same functions you’d get from standard washers and dryers in a single package measuring 24” x 33 1/2” x 25 1/4”. Is it a bit of a luxury in a tiny house? Yeah, but it’s worth it.
Top image via New Frontier Tiny Homes