Small But Mighty: 6 Tiny House Appliances You Can’t Live Without

Tiny house appliances: a small blue house surrounded by trees

If there's one housing trend that's been huge in the last several years, it's the tiny house trend. More than just a matter of size and budget, the tiny house movement is a philosophical and social shift that embraces a more simplified lifestyle in pursuit of the freedom that comes from a "less is more" approach to living.

Generally speaking, tiny houses are somewhere around 100–400 square feet, which is on par with the shrinking size of today's average hotel room. To accommodate these small spaces, you'll have to decide which appliances you simply can't live without and which ones you can say goodbye to altogether.

Of course, there will be some variations on "must-have" items from one tiny house dweller to another, but it's important to keep these three things in mind:

  • Floor Space: How much space do you have for each appliance to fit comfortably?
  • Budget: How much money are you willing to spend?
  • Power Source: Will you be on or off-grid for your water supply, sewer, gas, electrical power, and other utilities?

Household Appliances for Tiny Homes

Tiny house appliances: a small dining space

Adopting a downsized space doesn’t mean you’ll have to skimp on substance or style. Here's a list of the six main appliances you'll want to consider for your diminutive domicile.

1. A Cool Refrigerator

Tiny house appliances: a small fridge in a compact kitchen

Whether you have a giant kitchen or a tiny kitchen, one thing remains the same: the biggest space-hogging behemoths are usually the refrigerator and the oven. But before you think a mini-fridge (like the one in your old dorm room) is your only option, think again. There are a variety of compact refrigerators—complete with freezers—that are ideal for small kitchens.

Try the Energy Star certified Magic Chef Double Door Mini Refrigerator that measures in at just 4.5 cubic feet or the RCA 7.5 cu. ft Mini Fridge with a stainless steel look. Both of these require far less space than the average full-size refrigerator that starts at about 25 cubic feet.

2. An Oven That Does It All

Tiny house appliances: A woman uses the Tovala Steam Oven

When you're on the hunt for a small kitchen appliance that won't cramp your culinary style, look no further than the Tovala Oven. While there are plenty of other options to consider—a built-in wall oven, a gas range, or an electric range, for example—those can be quite pricey and not necessarily sized for tiny living.

Of course, there are microwave ovens, portable induction cooktops, and gas cooktops, too. But the Tovala checks off all the boxes for a must-have small appliance: it's affordable (priced as low as $249), takes minimal counter space, and is incredibly versatile—it bakes, toasts, reheats, broils, and steams with the touch of a button or a tap on your phone via the Tovala app for iOS or Android. Using Wi-Fi, your phone is your remote for precision cooking every time. It really is that simple.

While some ovens take an entire manual to figure out, Tovala’s five different cooking functions are directly on the oven so you always know which cooking mode is on.

But if you think a steam oven means you also need a toaster oven, think again. Tovala will perfectly toast your favorite bread, bagels, English muffins, and more.

Plus, you can try Tovala Meals, which will simplify your life even more with just one minute of prep and less than 20 minutes of cooking time.

3. A Time-Saving, Space-Saving Dishwasher

Tiny house appliances: the inside of a dishwasher

While not necessarily a must-have kitchen appliance, especially in a tiny house kitchen, a dishwasher is certainly a convenience even if you don't have a ton of dishes. (Plus, hand-washing can waste a lot of water.)

There are a number of compact dishwashers that would work in a tiny space, including the best-selling HomeLabs Compact Countertop Dishwasher, which comes in at less than $300 and offers a stainless steel interior, a six standard place-setting capacity, a silverware basket, and  six wash-cycle options.

4. A Handy Heater and Chill Cooling Unit

Tiny house appliances: closeup on the heating element of a space heater

Tiny houses are cozy thanks to their small stature, but that doesn't mean they can't get cold in the winter or hot in the summer just like a regular-sized house. To combat chilly or toasty temps you'll need a reliable heater and cooler.

You could go old-school with a wood stove (yes, they still make those!), although the easiest option would be a portable small space heater such as the Dyson Hot + Cool Fan Heater that provides quick, even room heating that's easily managed by remote control. This one will set you back $450, but it's worth the investment considering it doubles as a cooler for those warmer months.

For even more features with only a slightly higher price tag, consider the NewAir AC-14100H Portable Air Conditioner and Heater, a four-in-one machine that not only cools, but also works as a heater, dehumidifier, and fan. This one will run you about $499.

5. A Fresh Washer/Dryer Combo

Tiny house appliances: a front-load washer and dryer

If making weekly treks to the laundromat isn't part of your plan for a pared down lifestyle, then a compact washing machine and dryer are essential no matter how minuscule your tiny house might be.

A compact washer and dryer is one that has a 24-inch width compared to full-size units that measure 27-inches wide. That might not seem like much of a difference, but it allows for each unit to fit into a standard cabinet space much like in European kitchens.

The all-in-one LG WM3488HW Washer/Dryer Combo requires no access to external venting thanks to ventless condensing that dries clothes. But if spending more than $1,400 isn't in your budget, consider the Giantex twin-tub washing machine and spin dryer. At just over $100, this portable and compact 13-pound unit is ideal for tiny houses, RVs, or any other small spaces.

6. A Worry-Free Toilet

Tiny house appliances: a composting toilet in a small bathroom

When you gotta go, you gotta go. Fortunately, there are a number of toilet choices that won't flush away the comfort of your tiny living situation. Whether you're on grid or off-grid, consider a self-contained unit such as an RV toilet or compost toilet.

The Nature's Head composting toilet is a popular option. Also called a dry toilet, this eco-friendly commode features waterless operation, stainless steel hardware, and construction designed to withstand harsh weather conditions.

Home Small Home

Tiny house appliances: a small house seen through tree branches

While there will always be those who believe that bigger is better, many people are doing an about-face and giving up the trappings of a big house and a lifestyle loaded with "stuff." The tiny house movement is a giant part of this change. And with so many options ranging from DIY abodes to tiny house appliances, setting up your tiny house could put you on your way to having more time, money, and energy to spend doing the things you love.