TRU Homes and Clayton Homes are leading manufactured housing brands known for quality construction. TRU focuses on fully customized homes with premium materials and craftsmanship. Clayton prioritizes affordability and efficiency through standardized models.
TRU works directly with buyers on custom designs, while Clayton offers flexibility within existing plans. Clayton’s immense manufacturing and distribution scale contrasts TRU’s smaller regional footprint.
For buyers, weighing factors like customization needs, budget, and location accessibility will determine if TRU or Clayton is the better choice. This article compares the differences across home styles, costs, purchasing process and manufacturing to inform buyers.
A Brief Comparison Table
|Mass production, variety of models
|Home Styles Offered
|Various styles and custom designs
|Standard models with some options
|Work directly with homebuyer on custom design
|Choose from existing model options
|Number of Manufacturing Plants
|Number of Dealerships
|100+ independent dealers
|300+ independent and company-owned dealers
Now let’s take a more detailed look at how TRU Homes and Clayton Homes compare across some key factors for homebuyers.
Key Differences Between TRU Homes And Clayton Homes For Mobile Home
- Home Quality
When it comes to home quality, both TRU Homes and Clayton Homes build durable and well-constructed homes.
However, TRU Homes emphasizes using higher-end materials and craftsmanship.
TRU Homes manufactures homes with thick, tapered exterior walls, premium windows and doors, hardwood cabinets, and other high-quality finishes.
Their homes meet strict quality control standards and go through multi-step inspections throughout the production process. This attention to detail allows TRU Homes to offer exceptional warranties, including a 10-year structural warranty.
Clayton Homes uses quality materials and construction techniques as well, but opts for more cost-efficient building methods to produce homes at a larger scale. Their homes may not have the same level of craftsmanship and customization as TRU but are very solid and meet all applicable housing codes.
Many Clayton models feature amenities like drywall interior walls, vinyl siding, and modern kitchens and baths.
So while both build solid homes, TRU offers a higher level of fit and finish for buyers looking for a more custom, luxury manufactured home.
- Home Styles
One area where TRU Homes stands out is in the variety of home styles they offer compared to Clayton Homes.
TRU Homes can work with homebuyers to create just about any type of home they want. Their manufacturing facilities can produce contemporary styles, large multi-section homes, cottages, Cape Cods, ranches, and more.
They also create designs featuring luxury elements like cathedral ceilings, crown molding, and top-of-the-line appliances.
Clayton Homes manufactures a wide range of models, but they are more standardized. They offer everything from single to multi-section homes, but floor plans and finishes packages tend to be preset rather than fully customizable.
This allows Clayton to produce their most popular models efficiently. But buyers who want a more unique, custom-designed home may be better off looking at TRU.
So for shoppers who know exactly what they want in a custom home, TRU Homes provides more flexibility. But Clayton offers simplicity and affordability with their collection of standardized options.
- Home Buying Process
Purchasing a manufactured home from TRU Homes or Clayton Homes follows slightly different processes as well.
With TRU Homes, buyers work directly with the company’s home designers to create their perfect custom home.
You collaborate on the layout, features, colors, and styles for your new home.
Once finalized, TRU builds your home to order at one of their manufacturing facilities, which typically takes 4-6 weeks. Then the home is delivered and installed on your property by a certified TRU dealer.
Clayton Homes has buyers choose from a selection of available models and floor plans. You can customize with different finishes and optional features, but within the bounds of what Clayton’s plants are tooled to produce efficiently.
The home is then built and you work with either an independent or Clayton-owned dealership to coordinate delivery and setup. This process usually takes 4-12 weeks.
The benefit of TRU’s approach is you get the home you want, built how you want it. Clayton Homes makes it simple to select a pre-designed home and personalize it to your tastes. But you have less flexibility in changing the home’s basic structure and layout.
In terms of upfront costs, Clayton Homes tends to offer more affordable base pricing on their manufactured homes compared to TRU. But TRU Homes provides added value through more customization and higher-end finishes.
A TRU Home with high-end features and designs may retail for $150,000 or more depending on size and custom options. Clayton’s homes range from $60,000 on the low end for simpler single-wide models to $140,000+ for large multi-section homes with additional upgrades.
But resale value and long-term costs also matter. TRU Homes’ attention to detail and premium materials may give them an edge here, as their homes may hold value better over decades of ownership.
Both companies offer energy-efficient construction to help keep utility bills in check.
While TRU Homes has a higher starting price tag, buyers see returns through better customization, quality, and resale value down the road. Clayton Homes offers very solid construction at a more affordable upfront cost.
- Manufacturing and Dealers
As the nation’s largest builder of manufactured homes, Clayton Homes has an unparalleled manufacturing and distribution footprint. They operate over 30 manufacturing plants located throughout the U.S. This gives them efficiency advantages and the ability to serve a wider geographic area.
TRU Homes runs 5 manufacturing facilities located in Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. So their homes are best suited for buyers in Western states or those willing to pay added transport fees.
When it comes to dealership networks, Clayton works with hundreds of both independent retailers and company-owned sales centers to distribute their homes. This provides buyers with more options on where to purchase.
TRU utilizes over 100 independent dealers to sell their homes in local markets. So their coverage is smaller, but dealers can provide a more personalized sales experience.
Ultimately Clayton’s size gives them efficiency and distribution advantages. But some buyers may prefer TRU’s smaller, regionalized approach focused on quality over quantity.
Pros and Cons Comparison of TRU Homes And Clayton Homes
Here is a quick pros and cons breakdown when evaluating TRU Homes vs Clayton Homes:
- Fully custom designed homes
- Higher-end construction and materials
- Excellent warranties and structural integrity
- Wide range of floor plans and styles
- Dealers focused on personalized service
- Higher base prices
- Limited manufacturing and dealer network
- Longer lead times for custom builds
- More affordable pricing and financing options
- Massive manufacturing and distribution scale
- Large selection of models and floor plans
- Efficient buying process with preset options
- Wide dealer network across the U.S.
- Less customization flexibility
- Not able to fully customize designs
- Quality not on par with true custom builders
- Company-owned dealers motivate sales over service
Which Is The Better Choice?
So which manufacturer is better for you – TRU Homes or Clayton Homes?
For buyers who prioritize quality craftsmanship, custom designs, and higher-end features, TRU is likely the best fit. You’ll pay more upfront but get a home built exactly how you want it with premium materials that hold their value.
Opting for a Clayton Home makes sense for buyers who want a nice, solid home at the most affordable price. You have less flexibility in floor plans and features but can still personalize a quality home to meet your needs. Clayton’s huge manufacturing and distribution network also makes the buying process very smooth and efficient.
There’s no definitively “better” option for everyone – it comes down to aligning with your priorities as a homebuyer. Keep both TRU Homes and Clayton Homes on your radar when exploring manufactured housing.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
TRU Homes is known for building some of the highest quality manufactured homes. They use premium materials, focus extensively on craftsmanship, and offer the best warranties. Clayton Homes builds very solid homes as well, but TRU Homes edges them out when it comes to overall construction quality.
Some of Clayton Homes’ biggest competitors in manufactured housing are TRU Homes, Cavco Industries, Skyline Champion, and Palm Harbor Homes. As the nation’s largest builder, Clayton has more market share than any other company but faces competition from these other established brands.
Yes, the investment company Berkshire Hathaway, owned by business magnate Warren Buffett, remains the parent company of Clayton Homes today. Berkshire Hathaway purchased Clayton Homes in 2003 and it continues to operate as one of their subsidiaries.
Clayton Homes was founded in 1956 by entrepreneur Buck Clayton in Knoxville, Tennessee. Jim Clayton, Buck’s son, later took over leadership of the company and grew it into the top manufactured home builder in the nation before selling to Warren Buffett in 2003.
When comparing TRU Homes and Clayton Homes, buyers have two excellent options for quality manufactured housing. TRU Homes is the way to go for a highly customized home with premium features. Clayton Homes offers affordability, efficiency, and a wide dealer network.
Carefully weighing your priorities as a homebuyer will determine which brand is the better fit. Both companies build durable and comfortable homes that can provide many years of enjoyment.
With manufactured housing continuing to improve in quality and popularity, brands like TRU and Clayton give buyers excellent choices without sacrificing comfort, value or design.