12 Best Shipping Container Homes Under $100K

If you’re looking for an eco-friendly tiny home that’s as kind to your bank account as it is to the environment, then check out these affordable shipping container homes. Below, we go in depth examining 12 of the most notable container conversion builds under $100K.

Best Shipping Container Homes 2021

Want the short version? Here are our 12 favorite shipping container homes:

Why Choose a Container House?

In a time of rising property prices, many will feel priced out of ever owning a nice home. But an abundance of used shipping containers for sale offers a chance at alternative living that is both affordable and luxurious. And who doesn’t love upcycling?

Truthfully, container houses are a legitimate way to get a foot on the property ladder without a huge mortgage. And you won’t even have to rough it!

Maybe you’ve been living the van life and are looking to put down roots, or maybe you’re a first-time homebuyer with a DIY knack; in any case, the tiny house movement lends itself to endless creativity. (And amazing value for money, to boot.)

Top 12 Affordable Shipping Container Homes to Transform Your Lifestyle

If you’re on a limited budget but have the grand aspirations to save the planet and live in a comfortable, attractive home–you’re not actually crazy!

These ten shipping container homes all cost under $100K (many significantly under), and offer real lifestyle benefits beyond what many tiny homes are capable of yielding. Come with us on a virtual tour inside shipping container homes that will blow your mind!

1. MAC Container Housing – $17,000

Inside shipping container homes is luxuriously livable

At number one on our list is a UK-based company, MAC Container Housing. Their shipping container homes are custom-built for you and can include anything you would like.

You have a say in the layout of your new CONEX box house, allowing you to tailor the space to best fit your needs. That said, they have ample experience on staff, and can help you weigh your options effectively.

MAC Container Houses come in two different sizes: a 20’ x 8’ option, suitable for temporary accommodation; or a larger 40’ x 12’ option which can easily sleep a family of four in three separate bedrooms.

These tiny homes are affordable, coming in at £12,995 for the smaller option or £34,995 (prices +VAT), meaning you can feasibly bypass the mortgage altogether. Better yet, MAC Container Housing also have a dedicated team available to help you find a suitable piece of land to buy, lease or rent, for your new home!

MAC shipping container homes come with a ten-year warranty and can be ready to move into in just twelve weeks. Perfect!

2. Backcountry Containers – $40,000

Backcountry Containers cargo container homes

Second, on our list of shipping container homes is a family-run business based in Texas, Backcountry Containers. They specialise in custom builds and will help you realise your dream shipping container structure.

Prices for a Backcountry container home start at $40,000 for the 20’ option, for the larger 40’ container prices start at $60,000 and a larger home, using multiple containers costs $100,000 and upwards.

$100,000 may sound like a lot of money but for this price, you’re getting a gorgeous, full-sized home. If that’s still too much, then the single units are a much more affordable option. 

These cargo container homes are beautifully designed by a family team of engineers and interior designers. You’ll get something that, as well as being structurally sound, has a unique interior, with no detail missed.

One of the best features of Backcountry Containers is the option to add a roof deck or porch area. This feature not only adds an outdoor space, but also breaks up the corrugated metal exterior of the CONEX box to give a softer final look.

Backcountry Containers buildings are beautiful creations, and would easily make a comfortable home. 

3. IQ Container Homes – $35,000

IQ Container Homes - Custom shipping containers

Next up on our list of storage container houses is IQ Container Homes, a company based in New Zealand.

IQ Container Homes work with shipping containers of all sizes, all of which are grade A quality. (Meaning they have only made one trip in their lifetime as an actual shipping container.)

Using grade-A containers means that your home will have the longest life span possible, and will remain rust-free for years to come.  

The smallest shipping container IQ Container Homes works with is just 10’, prices for which start at $23,000 (NZD). Their range goes all the way up to multi-unit, multi-storey luxury container homes which can cost upwards of $350,000; but the average one-bedroom CONEX homes start at just $70,000 (about $35,000 USD).

IQ Container homes create amazing houses designed with both functionality and style in mind. They also offer an additional solar electrics and rainwater collection package, making your house more economical and environmentally friendly to run off the grid. Not too shabby!

4. Container Conversion Design and Build – $12,000

Container Conversion Design and Build

Next up on our list of shipping container homes we have another UK-based option, Container Conversion Design and Build. They offer some of the most affordable container cabin options, with the starter package coming in at just £8995.

This price includes a basic shell fit out, with one window and door, full insulation, interior cladding painted white, exterior paint, and electrics and lighting installed. 

Buying a ready-to-go shell is a great choice if you’d rather skip over the technical stuff and get right to decorating the interior. Once fitted with furniture and a drinking water connection, your shell will be ready to move in! (Of course, there are other options available that would give you a finished product up front.)

Container Conversion Design and Build have plenty of experience in converting shipping container into private homes, studios and commercial spaces. They’ll involve you in every step of your tiny house build, including 3D modelling and visualisation, plus the drawing of floor plans.

5. Lance’s Self Build Container Home – $10,000

Lance’s Self Build Custom Containers Homes

Next on our list of container homes for sale is a beautiful self build that cost less than $15,000 (CAD). Lance’s Self Build Container Home is proof that you can create a warm, cosy, and happy home on a small budget–as long as you are willing to put in the work.

A container home is a great project for any DIY-er wanting to take the leap into tiny houses. The structure is already there, so you don’t have to worry about building the shell. 

Lance’s home is slightly bigger than a 20ft shipping container. He has propped the end doors of the container open, then built a roof and wall around them to create an insulated addition to the container. This gives him a bit of extra space inside, which goes a long way in a tiny house.

Cleverly, Lance designed this extension so that it can be easily dismantled. The doors even close so that the container can still be moved if he decides to take his home elsewhere!

Inside, Lance’s home is bright and airy with white wooden cabin-style walls to allow sunlight to bounce around the home. Large windows frame the scenery outside, and pieces of nature have found a space inside bringing a rustic vibe to the home. Wooden accents in the kitchen and along the windowsills add to this feeling of bringing the outside in.

Lance’s build is an amazing space to call home for such a small budget. You can watch the full tour on Living Big in a Tiny House’s YouTube channel

6. The Helm by Cargo Home – $81,500

The Helm by Cargo Home 2 story shipping container homes

Here, we have a beautiful shipping container cabin that you can actually stay in through Air BnB. Built by Cargo Homes in Texas, The Helm can accommodate up to six people, with two double bedrooms and a sofa bed. This shipping container house also has two bathrooms–a luxury container box indeed!

This home is made out of two separate shipping containers, one large 40ft shipping container and a second 20ft CONEX box on top. Both of these units are blended seamlessly together through the use of 100-year-old barn cladding.

The wood transforms the metal moving containers, disguising the building’s origin and giving it a trendy finish. 

Inside, there is a spacious feel with a large, fully functioning galley kitchen. There’s also a living space slightly separated from the kitchen with a half wall. (That means that you can hide your washing up in the kitchen until later!)

The Helm is a great example of an affordable way to use more than one storage container for your home, as this build was completed for just $81,500 (USD). 

7. Kim and James Self Build – $67,000

Kim and James Self Build storage container homes

Next up, we have a private home belonging to Australian couple Kim and James.

Their home is a 40ft shipping container, trimmed down to 30ft in order to fit building regulations. It sits atop two additional 20ft containers, used as a workshop and storage, respectively. 

Kim and James’ shipping container home’s interior is finished almost entirely of plywood, which makes it look very stylish and minimalistic. At the far end is a multi-functional unit that is a dining room, bedroom, living room, nursery and storage all in one.

The design is based around the raised living room platform. This hides a slide-out double bed in the middle, as well as slide-out bench seats/storage at either side.

A fold-down and adjustable table is stored in the kitchen area, which can be placed in the seating area to comfortably host eight people. On top of the platform is the lounge area that has a comfortable sofa with even more storage beneath it, a crib for the baby, plus lots of book storage overhead. 

Kim and James’ build cost less than $100,000 (AUSD) including the price for the decking and planning consent. You can watch the full tour at Living Big in a Tiny Home.

8. Container Homes – $27,000

Cheap shipping container homes

Up next is an Australian company, appropriately named Container Homes.

Container Homes work with moving containers to give them the best finish possible for the harsh Australian climate. They are not only internally insulated (like most shipping container homes), but are also externally insulated to avoid a sauna effect in the scorching summer months. These sturdy tiny homes are also cyclone-proof. 

Prices from Container Homes range from $39,700 to $75,700 (AUSD) for standard models or more for a custom build, which involves you every step of the way. Alternatively, you can purchase a blank canvas CONEX box house for sale at just $12,700.

Container Homes have mastered the art of merging more than one container together to make a larger home. This is a clever way to give your home more space, as they are designed to stack on top of one another when on a ship.

Container Homes have also created a shipping container pool, which would be a funky addition to any home!

9. Alternative Living Spaces – $38,000

Alternative Living Spaces Custom Storage Containers for Sale

Now, we turn to Alternative Living Spaces, based in Las Vegas. Alternative Living Spaces specialise in creating homes of all sizes out of shipping containers, using one or more stacked in creative and imaginative ways to build a beautiful house. 

Inside shipping container homes custom built by Alternative Living Spaces can be however you want them to be. It can be modern and stylish with clean white lines and sharp angles; or soft, comfortable and cosy like a country cottage. 

The main drive behind the owner of Alternative Living Spaces was the need for affordable, alternative housing solutions in the USA. By using a cargo container as the base, it is possible to cut the cost of construction by tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Shipping container homes at Alternative Living Spaces start at a modest $38,000 (USD), making housing more accessible.

10. Home Cube by Rhino Cubed – $78,500

Home Cube by Rhino Cubed Modern Container Homes

If you’re worried about privacy when searching for the best shipping container homes, then Rhino Cubed has a fantastic solution.

With a 320 square foot floor plan, the Home Cube provides both the privacy of a separate bedroom, and a spacious interior. And with it comes plenty of storage, which is a welcome addition to shipping container homes.

Along with an expansive living space, the Home Cube offers a fully stocked galley kitchen. This innovative design features ample counter space, and every kitchen appliance you could ever need. There’s even an option to add a dishwasher, plus a washer and dryer.

In addition to being stylish, the Home Cube is also durable. In fact, these storage container houses are water-, bug-, and fireproof. This, along with being able to hold up to 100 lbs. of snow, and withstand strong winds!

The Home Cube by Rhino Cubed has a suggested retail price of $78,500. So, if your budget is $100k, you’ll be able to splurge on some upgrades. Or use the extra towards buying your own land to put your shipping container home on.

11. Nomad by Cargotecture and Hybrid Architecture – $65,000

Nomad by Cargotecture and Hybrid Architecture Custom Cargo Containers for Sale

For anyone searching for a minimalist take on shipping container homes, the c192 Nomad by Cargotecture is sure to pique your interest.

These aptly named container home builders are strong advocates for accessible, and sustainable housing. Thanks to their desire to collaborate on unique upcycled container homes, the c192 Nomad is everything you want in a compact, eco-friendly package.

Even with only 192 square feet, this vibrant vessel is anything but small and stuffy. In addition to a large glass front door, the side door to the kitchen opens wide with swinging shipping container doors.

What’s more, the c192 Nomad features a kitchenette, and a fully stocked bathroom. Plus if you don’t mind sharing your space, this shipping container home can sleep up to four people comfortably.

The c192 Nomad retails for $65,000. And with such a great price, you can always opt to upgrade your container home.

12. ModHouse Australia – $98,000

Three black cladded shipping containers in a row.

Last but not least on our list of shipping container homes we have Mod House Australia, a company that grew after creating their own amazing shipping container house to live in as a family. (You can check out the full tour on Living Big in a Tiny House.)

Richard and Amy have created an impressive home using three 20ft shipping containers, staggered to create an eye-catching end result. Each CONEX box is connected to the next using a link room, like a corridor which also allows extra space. 

The whole shebang is kitted out in a trendy black cladding, which also allows for extra insulation for easier heating and cooling.

And that striking floating roof provides extra shade, and is home to plenty of solar panels. On top of this, the roof collects water that is stored in storage tanks below.

Each room serves a separate function: the first being a kitchen, the second a living room and office, and the third unit is the bedroom and bathroom. This design flows well and allows each space to be separate, while still complementing each other with the continuing plywood theme.

A great aspect of this build is the ability to expand space, simply by adding another shipping container and link–brilliant for a growing family! This home came in at an affordable $98,000 (USD) and you can work with their company Mod House Australia to create your own. 

What to Consider Before You Buy a Shipping Container Home?

So, how do you know if a shipping container home is right for you? Well, before you go all in on a new home and a new way of life, there are a few important factors to consider.

Luxury shipping container homes made from stacked CONEX boxes

What Size Shipping Container Home is Right for You?

The beauty of shipping container homes is that they’re compact yet adaptable. Feel like expanding your space? Just add on another shipping container.

Of course if you enjoy the comforts of a studio space, then a single shipping container might be all you need–making for quite an affordable tiny home indeed.

Either way, these aren’t like brick and mortar houses. So, if you’re looking for that white picket fence vibe, then shipping container homes might not be able to satisfy your needs.

Where Will You Live in Your Shipping Container Home?

As with any building project or renovation, before you get your shipping container you have to ensure you follow all of the local building codes. Depending on your desired location, the laws could prevent you from having a shipping container home as a standalone property.

However, if you feel like a change of scenery, moving shipping container homes is a fairly simple process. At least when you compare it to moving a brick and mortar home. Just be sure to check which states allow shipping container homes before you commit to your move!

How Much Is a Container Home to Build or Buy?

When it comes to what shipping container homes cost, it can vary quite a bit. Want more space? You’ll need more cash. Want all the bells and whistles? You’ll need even more cash.

But there are many hidden fees associated with shipping container homes. Those local building codes and inspections we talked about above? Well, you’ll be paying fees. Plus you’ll spend a lot of time getting through that lovely bureaucratic red tape.

Even after you finally get your container home set up and move in ready, you need to consider maintenance. And remember, the bigger the space you have, the more you’ll need to repair overtime.

Of course, as with many things in life, you get what you pay for. So, if you buy a quality product to start, there’s a good chance you’ll be doing fewer repairs over time.

Luckily, you’ve already found 12 of the best shipping container homes on the market that never sacrifice quality for affordability.

Best Shipping Container Homes: Final Thoughts

We hope that this list of shipping container homes has inspired you to think about alternative living and has shown you that you do not need to be a millionaire to have a beautiful house with everything you could ever need.

Sometimes the best things come in small boxes; we think these shipping container houses prove that to be true. Let us know what you think of these tiny homes by joining the Van Clan over on Facebook Instagram and Twitter – or in a comment below!

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