Tiny House Appliances: Everything You Need to Minimally Equip your Tiny House Kitchen & Home

tiny house appliancesWhether you’re planning to build or you already live in a tiny home, chances are you need to outfit your kitchen with the right tools to cook. So, which tiny house appliances do you really need when space is at a premium?

It’s important to remember all tiny house appliances have two requirements: power and space. So be judicious when deciding which appliances you need for your small space. Not everyone needs every appliance to get by.

tiny house 2 burner gas stoveIn my house, there are a few appliances I couldn’t live without (and quite a few specially-made tiny house appliances I’ve skipped out on). For example, I don’t own an oven. I also don’t own a freezer. The truth is, I don’t have much use for those items, but I know others who couldn’t live without them! I own a small toaster oven, which I use occasionally, but for the most part, I cook on the stovetop and I love to grill.

Before you decide on which small space appliances you really need, assess your tiny house and lifestyle. Once you’ve determined what fits your needs, your space, and your specs, you’ll choose the right appliances that you’ll feel happy with.

The other important word of advice is to research and plan to invest in the best products you can find. Living in a tiny house means doubling down on quality, not quantity. When you own a minimally equipped kitchen, every appliance must be built to last. Buy the items that perform well and offer all the functions you need for enjoyable and easy cooking.

Choosing Tiny House Appliances to Fit Your Needs: Questions to Ask

choosing appliances to fit your needs

Like all purchasing decisions, appliances are an investment requiring research and preparation. There are a few questions you should ask yourself before you choose any small space appliance for your kitchen.

How will you power your tiny home?

how to power your tiny house

Power is an area that I often see people overlook when they dream up their tiny house kitchen. Depending on how you plan to power your home, you’ll need appliances to fit your power capacity. Kitchen appliances are notorious as the most significant power drains on your house, many of them often requiring 240 volt power connections. So it’s essential to plan accordingly. Are you on the grid? If so, what types of connections do you need for your appliances?

Are you planning to live off-grid, or would you like the possibility of going off-grid in the future? Unless you have an extensive power system, you’ll need to go with gas for your appliances. Consider if your inverter can handle 120V or 240V; not many inverters can handle 240V, which limits your appliance options (even if you’re looking at appliances made for small spaces).

If you’re planning to do a hybrid of on and off-grid, you get the most flexibility in terms of tiny house appliance options. In that case, you’re mainly looking at size and functionality, but you must consider the limitations of any system you plan to use.

Do you have the right ventilation?

do you have the right ventilation

The importance of ventilation in the kitchen can’t be overstated. Ventilation is a huge deal for a tiny house. In a small space like a tiny house, bad air accumulates quickly. If you don’t have the right ventilation in place, your tiny house can become unlivable and even dangerous.

Ventilation tubing is often large and awkward. It’s tricky to install in a tiny house, so it’s essential to plan carefully. You won’t want to adjust your layout later because you forgot to accommodate bulky ventilation.

You should consider installing ventilation directly over your stove, so you aren’t dragging oil particles all over your house. I’ve seen many people who assume they’ll get away with a bath fan, but in a very short amount of time, there’s a greasy film that’s accumulated all over their home. You’ll be surprised at the considerable difference ventilation makes when you cook.

Do you have the right water connections and drains?

do you have the right water connections

Many tiny house appliances don’t require much more than a power source, but there are appliances like washers and dishwashers where you’ll need drainage in place. Where will you source the water for your appliance? You’ll need to make sure you’ve planned to hook your appliance to a pipe or water tank.

On the same note, be sure to plan out your drain lines too. Nothing is worse than trying to install a drain line, only to discover a metal strut of your tiny house trailer is blocking your way (I learned that lesson the hard way). Placing drains and water connections is one of the toughest parts about planning a tiny house, so give it very careful consideration.

Do You have the right plugs and outlets?

Placing outlets for your tiny house kitchen appliances

It’s crucial to consider plugs, as well. Did you plan enough outlets and are they placed where you need them to run all the appliances in your tiny house? You don’t want to run a cord from the bathroom every time you need to use your blender or run your toaster oven. When power is at a premium, planning is critical.

Plugs cost only a few bucks apiece and take about five minutes to install while you’re building. Once you’ve built your tiny house, it’s a lot tougher to put in more outlets. Plan ahead! I can’t stress enough, the importance of planning your plug and outlet placement before you build. You will save a lot of time and headache later.

If you need assistance with planning your outlets and understanding your electrical setup, check out my Shockingly Simple Electrical For Tiny Houses.

Will you use DC or AC appliances?

will you use ac or dc power

DC versus AC is a huge question in the tiny house community. To clarify, DC means direct current, whereas most appliances use the traditional AC or alternating current. If you read many of the off-grid forums, you’ll inevitably come across people espousing the virtues of opting for DC over AC. At first pass, this seems like a great idea, but in practice, it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

When you compare the price differences between DC and AC tiny house appliances, you’ll find DC appliances are often 2-3 times more expensive. Your options for size and colors are limited. On top of those barriers, it’s often challenging to find a local electrician to do the installation work for you.

I suggest going with an AC power system in your tiny house and opting for AC powered tiny house appliances. You’ll get a much broader array of options, the prices are better, and you can use the money you save to buy more solar panels to compensate for any inefficiencies from AC.

Choosing the Best Tiny House Appliances

choosing the best appliances

A word before the tiny house appliance reviews. These are the appliances I use or recommend, because they work with my setup, or I’ve heard positive experiences from others in the tiny house world. You must assess your unique appliance needs before you go out and purchase any of these items. You may decide you don’t really need an oven, or you prefer a smaller fridge.

That said, here are the best tiny house appliances I’ve found for small spaces.

Best Stoves for Tiny Kitchens

best stoves for tiny house kitchens

I own a Verona two-burner stove. It’s good, but it runs hot. It’s actually not built as a tiny house appliance. It’s meant as a backup range option for people in huge houses where four burners (for some reason) aren’t enough. I like the stove for my needs, but I also grill a lot. If I cooked indoors more often, I would recommend one of the following.

Cuisinart Double Burner Induction Cooktop
Cuisinart Double Burner Induction Cooktop

This is a really nice option, and I really like them if you’re on the grid. They use about 1800 watts, which is a ton if you’re on solar power. Here are the pros:

  • Electric
  • Induction
  • Clean top
  • Very inexpensive (you can even keep a second one if you need more space for a larger meal)
  • Completely safe (once you remove the pan, it cools almost immediately)
  • Options that drop in flush with the countertop for a flexible space (great for small
    kitchens)
  • Also available in a single-burner option.
Kenyon Mediterranean Two Burner Trimline Cooktop
Kenyon Mediterranean Two-Burner Trimline Cooktop

This is a good option with many of the same features as the Cuisinart version above. This stovetop is 240V, making it challenging on solar (depending on your capacity and setup). The pros:

  • Electric
  • Clean top
  • Inexpensive
  • Safe
Avantco Double Countertop Induction Range
Avantco Double Countertop Induction Range

If you love the advantages of induction cooktops (safety and ease of use), then this is a nice option. At 120V, this will work with most solar systems, making it an ideal tiny house appliance. Pros of the Avantco:

  • Electric
  • Induction
  • Clean top
  • Affordable
  • Safe
  • 120V
Gas ONE Portable Butane Burner

Gas ONE Portable Butane Burner

Butane is another option many people love. I own this burner, which I use as a secondary burner, and I’m so happy with it. It’s particularly useful for cooking smelly and oily foods outside (bacon, fish, and frying). This is a fantastic backup stove that really comes in handy.

  • Butane
  • Great secondary burner
  • Adjustable
  • Easy to store and carry (comes with a case)
  • Extremely affordable ($25)
Happybuy Two Burner Gas Cooktop
Happybuy Two Burner Gas Cooktop

I know at least a few chefs who will ONLY use gas. I understand because you do get significant control over the heat with a gas stove. Honestly, if I didn’t grill out most of the time, I would likely prefer gas myself. For tiny house appliances, this two-burner gas cooktop is a great choice. Pros of the gas cooktop:

  • Gas
  • Two-burner cooktop
  • Affordable price
  • Excellent control for cooking
Avantco EB102 Double Burner Countertop Range
Avantco EB102 Double Burner Countertop Range

This stove is remarkable for several reasons. I like how you can put it away if you aren’t using it. It’s on the smaller end, but it’s an excellent option, especially if you don’t think you’ll use it daily and if you have minimal counter space.

  • Electric
  • 120V
  • Great for small counter spaces
Origo 6000 Alcohol Stove
Origo 6000 Alcohol Stove

This stove runs on grain alcohol (yes, like moonshine). Built for marine use, it’s an interesting option many tiny house owners like. It’s highly sustainable. That said, Origo stopped manufacturing these stoves last year. You can still find them on eBay and through tiny house and marine forums. The pros are:

  • Sustainable
  • Clean burning
  • Easy to fuel

Best Ovens for Tiny Kitchens

best ovens for tiny house kitchens

As I said above, I don’t own an oven amongst my tiny house appliances. This shocks some people, and others totally get it. I don’t bake, and when I was planning my tiny house kitchen, I took time to assess my use. I knew an oven would only get used a few times a year for significant events. To me, it seems silly to accommodate two meals and skimp on space for the other 363 days a year.

I opted with a quality countertop toaster oven instead of a built-in. I like it for several reasons. First of all, ovens are massive energy sinks. They use up quite a bit of power, which wasn’t worth it to me on solar. I also skipped out on the microwave, because most of the foods “cooked” in a microwave are junk food anyway. For me, it didn’t seem worth it.

You must consider your space, the way you cook, your family size, and other preferences. Your oven selection will also depend on your power levels, access to gas hookups, and of course, your personal preferences. Once you’ve figured out all of those factors, here are a few small-sized ovens to consider.

Breville Smart Ovens
Breville Smart Ovens

  • Breville offers a whole line of smart ovens and toasters. Many of them provide multifunctionality like air frying, dehydrating, and more. Better still, these are nice looking, stainless steel products.
  • Good price for the quality
  • Multifunctionality
  • Smart settings and sensors (to adjust temperature control)
  • Beautiful
Avantco Half Size Countertop Convection Oven

Avantco Half Size Countertop Convection Oven

These are very high-quality products, often used in professional test kitchens. They look beautiful and sleek. The Avantco offers significant capacity, considering it’s a countertop-sized oven.

  • Holds up to 4 ½ size sheet pans
  • Large interior space
  • Cool-touch glass door
  • 2800 watts (so only works well if you’re on-grid)
Cosori Air Fryer Toaster Oven

Cosori Air Fryer Toaster Oven

This smaller toaster oven is also on the affordable side but comes with tons of features. You may feel tempted to choose a $40 toaster oven and call it good, but if this is your only oven, I suggest you upgrade to a slightly nicer option like the COSORI. At 1800 watts, it’s going to use quite a bit of power but is still doable on a decent-sized solar system.

  • Air fryer and dehydrate options
  • Larger interior
  • Compact outside
  • Stainless steel finish
  • Affordable

Viante Digital Convection Toaster Oven

The Viante is similar to the COSORI. This convection toaster oven offers multifunctionality in a slightly smaller package. Still roomy enough for a medium-sized frozen pizza, the Viante is a good middle-of-the-road option. At 1500 watts, it’s also easier to power.

  • Convection technology
  • 10 Preset options including air fry and dehydrate
  • Great price
  • Compact size
  • Lower power requirements
Cuisinart TOA-60 Convection Oven Air Fryer Toaster

Cuisinart TOA-60 Convection Oven Air Fryer Toaster

I love Cuisinart products. They’re incredibly durable and are often also nicely designed. This convection oven is a bit on the larger side of the countertop options, but it’s roomy enough to cook a 4-pound chicken.

  • Stainless steel finish
  • Seven functions
  • 1800 watts
  • Durable
  • Air fryer option
Black Decker Six Slice Convection Countertop Oven

Black & Decker Six Slice Convection Countertop Oven

Sometimes you realize all you need is a standard toaster oven. If you’re cooking for one or two people (or if you’re like me and rarely use an oven in your cooking), then a small option like this super affordable Black & Decker oven is excellent.

  • Convection function
  • 1500 watts
  • Four settings
  • Two tray positions
  • Affordable price
Panasonic FlashXpress Toaster Oven

Panasonic FlashXpress Toaster Oven

This Panasonic FlashXpress oven is another great appliance for small spaces. This toaster oven cooks with infrared technology, using ceramic heating elements. While this is a smaller oven, it can still fit a 9-inch pizza and offers precise temperature control.

  • Easy to clean
  • 1300 watts
  • Infrared technology
  • Compact size
  • Temperature sensors and precise controls

Tiny Kitchen Refrigerators

refrigerators for tiny house kitchens

When it comes to tiny house appliances, refrigerators are one of your most significant purchases. I did a full review of tiny house refrigerator options in a range of sizes, including on and off-grid. Don’t miss my full tiny kitchen refrigerator review here.

Most refrigerators are a sizeable power users at around 350 kWh/year for an 18 cubic foot fridge. To give you an idea of size, 18 cubic feet is on the smaller side of most “regular-sized” house fridges. Because they need to run continuously to keep your food cold, it’s crucial to select a refrigerator that works with your power setup and to consider your fridge within your power planning.

Because they’re generally built into your kitchen layout, it’s essential to choose one that fits your space as well as your needs. A single person can get by with a mini-fridge, but several people may need a small, standard 16-18 cubic foot fridge instead.

Fortunately, there are an array of tiny house refrigerator options out there:

  • Propane: Not recommended, because everyone I know who purchased one of these super expensive appliances has ended up throwing it out due to way too many issues.
  • High-Efficiency Electric: A small investment, but one that generally pays for itself in time, and works well with solar.
  • Mini Electric Fridge: This is what I use at four cubic feet. I like my fridge (and opted for one without a freezer). It’s the perfect size for me.
  • Small Electric Refrigerator: These are generally 7-9 cubic feet, which offers plenty of space for a 2-3 person household.
  • Small Standard Electric Refrigerator: These are available in 15 cubic feet and up (18 cubic feet is the top of the small house appliance-size range).
  • In-Counter Options: Refrigerated drawers and built-in units are a stylish and convenient option many people choose for their tiny house.

Other Tiny House Appliances

other appliances for tiny houses

When it comes to other tiny house appliances, I don’t use much beyond a few countertop appliances. A few items that often come up are washers, dryers, and dishwashers.

Washers & Dryers for Tiny Houses

washers and dryers for tiny houses

There are combination washer and dryer units out there, and everyone I know who uses them says they take FOREVER to run and they don’t work well. You also need to accommodate venting. Additionally, the combination units are costly. Having many friends who put these in their tiny house and grew to loath them, it’s my advice to pass on these.

Some of you may know, I send out my laundry through a service. I hate doing laundry more than any other chore. I realize this option isn’t for everyone, but it’s one way I simplify my life and protect my time. Otherwise, spending hours at a laundromat feels like such a waste to me.

If you feel you need a laundry option in your home, then a stackable unit is the way to go. Yes, these units take up more space, but you can find compact options made for apartments and small homes. These may also take up a significant amount of power—often requiring a 240V connection—so be sure your system can handle the requirements. Yes, you could skip the dryer in favor of only a washer, but with space at a premium, you don’t want to trip over-drying clothes every time the weather is cloudy.

Dishwashers

dishwashers for tiny houses

A friend of mine hates doing her dishes. She lives in a smaller duplex with a kitchen that wasn’t built for a regular dishwasher. She swears by her Danby portable dishwasher. The unit is on casters, so it rolls right up to the sink. The dishwasher connects to the sink faucet and runs quickly and efficiently. It uses 120 volts of electricity, and the top functions as additional counter space.

If you’re someone who detests doing dishes, or who needs a dishwasher for sanitization purposes, then a portable unit is a good tiny house appliance option.

Countertop Appliances

tiny house countertop appliances

I avoid cluttering up my countertop as much as possible, so I’m cautious about what I store on there. After all, when you live in a tiny space, the last thing you want is to clutter your minimalist kitchen. Whenever I think I want an appliance, I tell myself to wait until I need to use it at least three times in 30 days.

Then, if possible, I buy the item used or look for the least expensive option. If I use the appliance once a week for three months, then I let myself go out and upgrade to a nice, long-lasting version. For example, I wanted a Vitamix. Instead of spending $400+, I went to Walmart and bought a $15 version. It turned out the cheap mixer suited my needs well and held up, so I’ve stuck with it for now.

Depending on your needs, you may want to consider the following:

  • A food processor OR a bullet-style blender. Food processors are useful for chopping, pureeing, and for larger projects. Bullet blenders are great for beverages, smoothies, and small mixing jobs. I own a blender like this Hamilton Beach Go Sport.
  • A hand mixer.
  • Foodsaver Vacuum Machine, which is great for food preservation.
  • A food dehydrator (provided this is something you’re interested in using).
  • Instant Pot or crockpot. I prefer the Instant Pot, because it functions similarly to a slow cooker, but doesn’t take as long. It uses less power, which is essential when you are off-grid.
  • An outdoor grill. I live by my grill. I cook on mine several nights a week, and the cleanup is so fast and easy.
  • Air fryer. I’m not experienced with the air fryers, but I’ve considered them. People love them for healthy eating.

Watch for appliances that do more than one task, like the Instant Pot (which can slow cook and pressure cook) or the toaster ovens that also act as an air fryer. The multi-functionality is helpful, especially when your tiny space is at a premium.

Finally, remember it’s always important to buy quality, top-rated products. You may think you’re saving money on the front end, but in the long run, cheap products often cost more. Look for appliances that take up a minimal footprint in terms of space and energy. With a little research and planning, you’ll find tiny house appliances to outfit your kitchen perfectly!

Your Turn!

  • What tiny house appliances are your must-haves?
  • Which appliances do you keep on your countertop?

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